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Metal talk
(Bakerteam Records)
Release Date: 13/05/14

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

holy shire

Holy Shire are an Italian eight piece (yes I said eight piece) Metal band who like to play what they call fantasy Metal, symphonic and epic is their aiming point. 'Midgard' is their first full length album since forming in 2009.

Opening track 'Bewitched (My Words Are Power)' sets their stall out with a mixture of riffing guitars, multiple vocalists and a symphonic, power Metal style. The added twist is that they have a flute player weaving melodic lines in an out of the sound.

The next track is very sensibly going to be the first single from the album and have an accompanying video. It's called 'Winter Is Coming' and is inspired by the fantasy series 'Game Of Thrones' which is a worldwide hit right now so a good chance for the band to attract some related attention by using the show's famous tagline.

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The song itself is in suitable territory being effectively an epic metal ballad full of harmonies and soaring vocals over riffing guitars and swathes of keyboards. Not forgetting the flute of course! It's not a bad song but comes over as underpowered and lacking punch.

'Gift Of Death' is a similar case in point, it's a perfectly competent melodic metal song but the production means it comes over sounding a bit polite for metal. I don't know whether this is to allow the flute to be heard but the same issue dogs much of the album.

'Overlord Of Fire' starts promisingly with an almost folk Metal feel when the riffing guitars and drums come in they have a bit more edge but the song suffers from a weak vocal and a lack of focus. 'Holy Shire' as the song they are named after should have the huge sound they crave but again it comes over as lacking that epic feel.

holy shire

'Revenge Of The Shadow' actually has some really interesting ideas and pairing the flute and guitar together actually works well but I think the vocal lines let the song down again. Next track 'Beyond' is the same with some nice ideas(and lyrics about unicorns) but it suffers from poor execution. I find lead vocalist Aeon struggles to make his mark again and again although the other singer La Sisiki fares better but not by enough.

'Holy War' has some nice touches particularly from the flute and guitars while the album's title track is eight and a half minutes of epic which just fails to take off.

The closer on my copy is the digipack bonus cover of 'Greensleeves' and is a bizarre attempt to metal-ise the medieval song. A brave idea and sometimes these things work but to my ears it just comes over as a bit of comical WTF end to the album. Maybe it works better in a live environment.

Verdict: There are some nice ideas on this album and it was surprising to me how effective the flute was being mixed in successfully on just about every song. I enjoy this kind of melodic Metal a lot but 'Midgard' is let down by a production which accentuates the melodies but lacks enough punch as well as some less than stellar vocals and inconsistent songwriting.

However I hope the single 'Winter Is Coming' is a success for them and allows them to raise their profile enough to have another go with a bigger budget.

Line up:
theMaxx drums
Aeon lead vocals
ReverendJack keyboards
Ale flute
Andrew Moon lead guitar
Ed Gibson guitar
BlackBass bass
La Sisiki vocals


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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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