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The Half Moon, Putney, London
28th April 2016

Sara Harding – TV Producer – Classic Rock Awards, Metal Hammer Golden Gods, Kerrang! TV, Scuzz and Headbangers Ball

sara harding


Have you ever been to a gig and thought: "I'm so glad I saw this group perform at a small intimate venue", then five years later you see them rocking Wembley Arena and you can proudly say I saw them back in the day at the Half Moon in Putney? Then this band is HeKz.

As these Bedford prog metallers took to the stage, the venue was fairly quiet but within seconds of their first song blasting out, droves of people filed in to witness HeKz packing this legendary venue to the max. Frontman Matt Young's soaring vocals provided the siren that called us all in to witness one of the best British young bands on the scene.

Tonight it's acoustic, but this five piece still managed to turn it up to eleven with a set that kept us all rivetted. HeKz literally were a hex on us all – leaving us spellbound, mesmerised and enchanted.

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Easy on the eye and even easier on the ear, these John Mitchell endorsed proggers took us on an aural journey with clever keyboards, brilliant drum parts, soaring guitars, bold basslines and heavenly vocals from Matt. This gig was pure prognography.

The band kicked off with 'Progress And Failure' and there are hints of Opeth, Dream Theater and Floyd in this opus, but this band are no copycats. They have their own style and are the best young proggers on the block and their songwriting skills should be celebrated.


This first song on the setlist has one of the best builds in the biz, hooking us in with crescendo verses that build and build, then aurally punching us with awesome harmonies, minor chords and keyboard wizardry in their clever choruses. Goose bumps were aplenty and the crowd whooped and cheered with delight at this brilliant tune's clever ending.

Song two is 'Bring The Fire', a deeper, darker dish of prog all served up with plenty of bass. All five members of the band work together to make this song so cohesive. You can tell there are no egos in this band and they the real deal, real musicians with real talent. Again the audience go crazy at the end of this tune. In fact this song would definitely get the Andy Nathan, my mullet wearing journo cohort's, nod of approval.


'Obscurity City' is next on the setlist and this song shows their haunting harmonies off to perfection with killer acapella parts and keyboards that had me dusting off my air Hammond and playing along. Again hints of early Floyd had me imagining an amazing laser light show and wanting to see this band at the Royal Albert Hall with a huge production behind them.

'For Our Lives' is up next and this is the ultimate singalong. Matt encourages us all to join in with him and you can't help it; you just have to. The verses are ethereal and then build to a catchy chorus which had us all "woh woh wohing" along. Matt reveals when they play this song up north that the fans add in an extra word - "bollocks" - which cracks the band up but as we're in posh Putney we just do the "wohs wohs" and I didn't hear one bollock.


Song six is 'Journey's End' which features on the new album which will be out soon and it's an eighteen minute long prog epic but tonight we were treated to the edited highlights. If this is what the new album is going to be like, then I'm going to be the first on iTunes to download it! I can't wait to experience the full eighteen minutes in all it's glory as it was simply awesome.

HeKz end their set with a cover of The Moody Blues 'Knights In White Satin'. The band hooked us in with their three way harmonies (well four if you include me). Their take on this 1967 classic was simply pure class, giving this cover a brand new lease of life.


Matt's voice warmed up to the max, his flawless and pitch perfect vocals literally held the crowd captive. The singer's end note, which was a good progging thirty seconds, was off the scale and would give Rob Halford, Thom Yorke or Bruce Dickinson a run for their money. People were literally pinching themselves to believe what they had witnessed. It was an epic end to an epic set.

If this is HeKz acoustic then God help us when we see them loud, live and plugged in. We all need to hail young British talent like this and if this band are playing in a venue near you go – and buy the t-shirt which is also bloody brilliant.

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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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