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

sara harding

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra

On the hottest night of the year, loads of us journos made a very sweaty pilgrimage to trendy Shoreditch and the Sonos Studio to meet the legends behind stonking new supergroup, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra.

As we entered the air conditioned studio and revived ourselves with a much needed cool beer, my Alice In Chains mate, singer William DuVall, is happily wondering around chatting to us all obviously very excited about this supersonic project happily acronymned as GTO.

The band was formed by Ben Weinman from The Dillinger Escape Plan a couple of years back as he wanted to create a new sonic baby made up from some of the most inspirational musicians he had had the pleasure of touring with. And what a line-up it is. The current GTO incarnation features Ben, Brent Hinds of Mastodon, Dethklok bassist Pete Griffin and The Mars Volta drummer Thomas Prigden. Original singers included Juliette Lewis but the band have now firmly settled with Alice In Chains vocalist DuVall. And what a powerhouse this band is.

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As we were treated to five tracks from the band's debut album 'Broken Lines', it was an aural journey almost as hot as my tube ride to this showcase. Each track is strong, brutal, skilled, gnarly, crafted and epic with a nod to prog, dance, jazz, Metal and rock – it's a brilliant showcase of the different genres, skills and playing styles that every member of GTO bring to the table. So much so, it was hard for us to stay in our seats, as this is one of those albums you need to stand up and conduct to, like you would a finely honed orchestra.

This band are about synergy, not being a supergroup, and when questioned about the "supergroup" label Ben jumps in to say they are not, they are just a group of touring musicians who got together and put together a baby band. And like any new group they worry whether they will pull the punters in to their gigs or that the album will do well even though singer Will is already playing to sold out arenas as Alice In Chains open up for Guns n' Roses.

DuVall states that the GTO album and subsequent gigs have to be of a very high standard. He stresses that this band is a whole different animal (giraffe!) to Alice In Chains and he's very proud that this is a project that will and can exist on it's own.

Back to the album and the band are proud that this is a set of songs you can dance and headbang to. Ben reveals they are all tracks with attitude and it had to be just right: "There are a lot of strong dudes in this band, but this album had to be right." Although some of the time the band happily recorded from 9.00pm till 9.00am in their onesies. That I would have loved to see!

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra

The band put down the tracks with Will writing and adding vocals later. This was done by laying down all the songs as finished then shipping them off to Will who had the daunting process of finishing each of them off. DuVall said he spent a long time driving around listening to the tracks and coming up with the lyrics. As these tracks were already laid off, he didn't want to change the arrangement so adapted his vocals to fit these finalised recordings.

It wasn't a normal set-up but the singer was happy to give it a bash and the end result is an album the whole band agree was very gratifying. Especially finishing title track 'Broken Lines' which the band originally called 'Frankenstein' as it was such a monster of a song to get right. But get it right they certainly did.

So album finished, the band finally all got together a month ago to rehearse for their upcoming live debut and were especially nervous of their Reading Festival show that happened this Bank holiday weekend. "No pressure then," they say and all laugh. And as Will concludes: "The rehearsals were great, and with shows like this coming up you just have to step up, no excuses (no pun intended)."

Which had all of us AiC fans rolling around as this showcase came to a brilliant end.

And according to the feedback on Twitter, Reading went very well indeed. Look our a live review on MetalTalk when the band hit London.





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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