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Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
Friday 12th December 2014

Johnny Main

johnny main

wildfire and ice

As a prelude to the festive season, Wildfire and Ice (named after Wildfire, Scotland's only Rock and Metal festival) has been a firm fixture for the last couple of years.

This isn't a battle of the bands as such, simply a showcase for up and coming bands to show what they can do in a live environment and with the exception of the two headlining acts, those who impressed the Wildfire organisers most, would be given the opportunity to have a slot on the Wildfire 2015 bill.

Soul Remover

Over two days, ten bands crammed into Ivory Blacks in Glasgow intent on proving they had what it takes to play the festival.

Glasgow based hard rock band Soul Remover were first to tread the boards and had a good solid start with 'One Night Only'. Its long instrumental section gave guitarist Craig Hall room to show his guitar skills. Vocalist Paul Coia put on a good display too, though, where he showcased his voice with some long and powerful notes.

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'Blow Us Away' was accompanied by a crunchy riff with curly guitarist who came away with another great solo while 'So Fine' has drummer Mic Forbes throwing out a faster tempo and is one of the best of their set. Unfortunately their set was brought to a halt with some technical difficulties, so while these were being sorted out, it was left up to Coia to joke around and keep the audience amused.

With everything back on track, Coia whistles the intro to 'Snake Oil' which had the audience clapping along. "It's time to get funky!" Coia tells the audience before 'Salvation' which for me was a highlight of the bands set with Forbes coming to the fore with a great display of skill.

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Coia explains that the band have just released a video for the track 'Poison Eye' but confusingly to some in the audience, they elect not to play but go with 'Fist To Face' instead. Don't get me wrong, it's another good song but I'm not sure why 'Poison Eye' wasn't played instead after they plugged the video so blatantly.

At the end of the day, though, Soul Remover did a more than capable job of opening the event and the band are well worth catching if you see them live. Oh, and if you want to see the video for 'Poison Eye', you can watch it here:

Soul Remover Set List:
One Night Only
Blow Us Away
So Fine
Snake Oil
Fist To Face

Soul Remover are:
Paul Coia – Vocals
Craig Hall – Lead Guitar
Scotty Williamson – Rhythm Guitar
Jimmy McPhee – Bass Guitar
Mic Forbes – Drums

Soul Remover Online:

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Corrupt The System

Bringing the Heavy Metal element of the evening were Glasgow based Corrupt The System. 'The World' had the crowd nodding along to the guitar riff while front man Neil Parkinson gave out some tuneful vocals while guitarist Paul McAllister has a more abrasive vocal sound. 'Personal Hell' was a more mid-paced number with Parkinson trading lead vocals with McAllister.

'Dehumanised' is announced as a brand new song, which was seeing its live debut, and it turns out to be another good mid-paced number which again had portions of the audience nodding along. The songs central riff is kept in check by Parkinson and McAllister and the slower mid section slowly builds back up to the main guitar riff as Parkinson really reaches for the high notes, making this a good solid performance.

'Left For Dead' (which can be heard on the bands Soundcloud page) has a group of head bangers down the front doing their thing. As for the song itself, it's a fast and furious number with drummer Adam McSherry showing some skill during the off beats and drum fills. There's some twin (phased) guitar in the mid section which slows the pace slightly, but it doesn't make the song any less enjoyable as the pace quickens once again as the number reaches its finale. Overall, one of my favourites except, perhaps, for the rather haphazard ending.

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'Once Before' is exactly as described by Parkinson when he said it was a "heavy one" with its great central riff. The addition of some dry ice mid song, also provides some extra atmosphere making this a real highlight of their set.

'Clay soldiers' gives bass player Gary Hughes his moment in the spotlight before Parkinson takes the guitar solo too much applause from the audience. Rounding off their set with 'Temptations of Anarchy' (available on iTunes, we're told) which has the audience clapping along as McSherry throws out a military style beat. To be fair it looks like the band were just hitting their stride at this point so I'll definitely make a point of seeing then again.

If, like me, you like a good, loud Thrash band, then do yourself a favour, and check this lot out.

Corrupt The System Set List:
The World
Personal Hell
Left For Dead
Once Before
Clay Soldiers
Temptations of Anarchy

Corrupt The System are:
Neil Parkinson - Vocals/Guitar
Paul McAllister - Guitar/Vocals
Gary Hughes - Bass/Vocals
Adam McSherry - Drums

Corrupt The System Online:

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Rank Berry

Having caught Rank Berry live before a part of a bill supporting The Electric Boys, I knew that I was in for a good solid set from them here, and I have to say that I wasn't disappointed! From the first to the last note, it was a self assured performance from a band who have a bright future ahead of them.

Set opener 'Down The River' drew a crowd of head bangers to the front of the stage as drummer Grant Dallas solidly pounded out the beat. 'This Disease' followed quickly and was another good number with guitarist Brian Kerr pulling out a great solo whilst front man Jamie O'Donnell and bass player Marc Doherty share a joke mid song.

'Fortunate Son', a cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival number, had Kerr using every inch of the stage in a great bit of stagecraft and the noise from the audience at its conclusion affirmed that this was a great performance of a great song. "We're far enough into the set that I can say the word ballad", jokes O'Donnell before 'Your Road To Glory' although the term "ballad" may be underselling the song. It's a solid piece of rock music that the band should be justifiably proud of. It also gifts O'Donnell one of his best performances of the night and it was a real highlight for me.

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'Crazy Town' had the band settling into the groove with one of their best band performances. Kerr delighted the crowd by taking a quick sojourn on top of the merchandise table during his solo, and let's face it, that's certainly one way to advertise where your CDs are on sale! It was a classy performance from not only him but the rest of the band too – top marks.

'What You Need' is a good old fashioned twelve bar rocker good too and sees the band letting loose. The audience are treated to a brand new song to, in the shape of 'One Track Mind'. It keeps the tempo up and features another great solo from Kerr while Doherty has his moment in the spotlight with a cracking bass riff.

The band bring their set to a close with another cover – this time it's the Rolling Stones 'Honky Tonk Woman' that gets the Rank Berry make over treatment with O'Donnell giving it everything he's got, but in their own style as opposed to singing a straight cover. All in all, though, an accomplished set from a band who, hopefully, will get a well deserved chance to play at Wildfire 2015.

Rank Berry Set List:
Down The River
This Disease
Fortunate Son
Your Road To Glory
Crazy Town
What You Need
One Track Mind
Good Times
Fake It
Honky Tonk Woman

Rank Berry are:
Jamie O'Donnell – Vocals/Guitar
Brian Kerr – Guitar
Marc Doherty – Bass Guitar
Grant Dallas – Drums

Rank Berry Online:

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Hellion Rising:

For Newcastle based Hellion Rising, this wasn't just another gig in Glasgow for them but a headlining appearance giving them the main spotlight for the night. Having previously seen the band perform around the corner at The Classic Grand back in September as part of Highway To Hell, I was delighted they got the chance to headline at Wildfire and Ice.

As the band sauntered onstage to a roar of applause, it seemed like the band and the audience were ready to party. "Take That were too busy so they let us slip in here as headliners", jokes vocalist Matt Adamson before the band get down to business. Kicking straight into the 'The Beast' from the debut EP, 'Eight of Swords', a heavy slab of rock, even this early in their set it's clear to see why the band were chosen to close the first day.

wildfire and ice

It doesn't take long for guitarist Giovanni Camillo to get into the it as he fist bumps some of the audience wedged hard against the crowd barrier before he unleashes the guitar solo. A favourite of mine, 'Heavy With A Groove' has Adamson throwing about his mane of hair as bass player Kieran Cant gives it everything he's got. Guitarist Davey Reay comes to fore too with a great solo as drummer Adam Telford really pounds out the beat at the back.

'Bereavement Of The Chimes' is another song with a heavy groove as Adamson comes into his own here as alternatives between a great vocal performance and head banging as if his life depended on it. He really is a true front man in every sense of the word – a really great performance.

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'Bastardisation' follows which is a new one but the band have obviously spent a lot of time perfecting it. A real high point in the bands set as they go from subtle rhythms to a more aggressive sound with Camillo taking centre stage with some flanged guitar whilst all the time Cant and Telford keeps the solid backing track together.

The crowd favourite 'Goat Charmer' gets an airing too (you can see the official video on YouTube below) has the band head banging away has Camillo playing a great moody solo.

The band finish their set and the evening with 'Just For Tonight', giving everything one last time. It's blatantly clear why Hellion Rising were chosen to headline as they finish their solid set in fine fashion. As I said at the top, this wasn't a battle of the bands competition, but after a performance like this, it would be a great shame if Hellion Rising didn't end up paying at Wildfire 2015 because this is a band that you really need to see live.

Hellion Rising Set List:
The Beast
1940 Scream
Heavy With A Groove
Bereavement Of The Chimes
Goat Charmer
Just For Tonight

Hellion Rising are:
Matt Adamson - Vocals
Davey Reay - Guitars
Giovanni Camillo - Guitars
Kieran Cant - Bass
Adam Telford - Drums

Hellion Rising Online:

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Soul Remover photo - (c) InFocus Music Photography 2013
Corrupt The System photo - (c) Corrupt The System 2014
Rank Berry photo - (c) Gobo Photography 2013
Hellion Rising photo - (c) Farrow Photography 2013



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