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(AOR Heaven)
Release Date: 3rd March 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus


They hail from the capital city of Sweden, Stockholm, and thanks to an abundance of requests by their loyal fan-base have regrouped and while rejuvenated, crank up the Rock baby!

A busy duration from 1993 to 1995 saw these melodic Hard Rockers tear up their native country and further afield while touring alongside the likes of Therapy?, Motörhead and D-A-D. Two studio albums were left over as the gravestones of testimony to their existence when they called it a day back then, but now they reveal their next step which they call 'Refueled'. Is this more than an appropriate title for an album, and something that goes deeper or is it merely coincidence?

The first thing I noticed when the music was blaring away in my ears on this new album was how awesome the sound was. Great co-producing credits go to Oscar Ammer for capturing a tremendously complementary sound. What about the songs though I hear you cry?

Article continues below...

On the first rotation of this virtual disc of demons I hear standout moments like 'Hardcore MF Heartattack' and the first single 'Monster' is pretty good too. While I remember, I must share with you when Myke Gray from the UK based Rockers Skin formed Red, White & Blues, the lead vocalist was none other than Matti Alfonzetti who is the front-man of Skintrade. Thought you'd be interested in that if you didn't already know of such things.

'Refueled' is an interesting listening experience. With the evidently cool sound and the feel of something that should really blow your socks off, the songs don't reach deep enough for hooks. There is power and punch with songs like 'Pay In Blood' or 'Look Me In The Eye' but I didn't get the impression that there was anything extra special waiting to be discovered.

I'm almost tempted to say that this is all show and bravado but is in some ways disposable. But even now that sounds really harsh. 'Refueled' isn't a bad album and would certainly be worthy of your time, it's just that they don't explore anything other than what feels like their comfort zone. Maybe that is what Skintrade are all about?

'Liar' is a corker that made my butt wiggle and the reflective, yet powerful 'Close My Eyes' soars in to the yonder on cushions made of jagged crystal wings. 'Getting Away With Murder' contains a tasty riff or two and the chorus has a confident swagger which sounds effortless but nevertheless effective.

'Mountain' does very little for me despite the prolific nature of its upbeat tempo. This is followed by 'Been To The Bottom' which saunters along on a laid back aura for the most part.

Joining lead vocalist Alfonzetti are Hakan Masen Persson pounding the drums and providing vocals; Håkan Calmroth covering bass duties and Stefan Bergström riffing on guitar and adding his vocals. Their musicianship and chemistry are not in dispute as they plough their way competently through 'Worse Than Wasted' and 'Dying In Your Arms' married with that fabulous sound, but I'm not jumping around with the buzz of being exposed to something that reaches a little further in to hook-laden waters.

They have swagger; they have virtuosity; they have power and they have experience. What they don't have on this album as far as my ears are concerned is a true classic album. Would you pelt me with rotten tomatoes if I said this was a near miss?

Pay In Blood
Hardcore MF Heartattack
Close My Eyes
Getting Away With Murder
Been To The Bottom
Worse Than Wasted
Dying In Your Arms
Wild One
Look Me In The Eye

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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