These are some of the former bands covered by the former Dead and Gone records group.

Damage control

Damage Control are a straight edge hardcore band from Oslo. Rather than balk at their sound being compared to classic hardcore bands such as Chain Of Strength, Uniform Choice and Dag Nasty, Damage Control are proud of the comparison.

After the release of their debut 7"/MCD Can't Keep Us Down, two European and a US tour in February 2003 they dropped their debut album What It Takes on Livewire Records. In early 2005 we're doing a limited European pressing of the LP.

  • - vocals
  • - guitar
  • - guitar
  • - bass
  • - drums

Spitfire Down

These guys exploded out of Newcastle in early 2003 with a great first show in Durham with Count Me Out. They have since provided the north east scene with their own band to be proud of. Many, many road trips have followed and they have played with everyone and anyone up and down the country. With a sound that's a blend of Horror Show, Fearless Vampire Killers, Carry On and Creep DivisionSpitfire Down released the best demo of last year. Anthem-ic old school hardcore at it's best. The first real release, All I Ever Loved, eclipsed that.

  • Mike – vocals
  • Allen – bass
  • Sid – guitar
  • Dave - drums

Sadly Spitfire Down called it a day in 2004. New band from Mike, Allen and Dave is in the mix. Expect a demo sometime in early 2005. Sid currently plays bass in Break It Up.

The Last Chance

The Last Chance formed in Manchester, England in early 2002. The main aim being to start a sincere straight edge hardcore band. Drawing on experience from playing in bands such as Thirty Seconds Until Armageddon, In The Clear and Good Clean Fun, the band created a unique anthem-ic sound. In February 2003 they went into Premier Studios to record with Iain Wetherall the end result was 6 songs which reflect a love of traditional straight edge hardcore and a desire to create something new.

These tracks appeared on the self titled MCD and the 7” on AM Records. Countless shows and 4 tours later the band called it a day. Thankfully they decided to record there final four songs which ended up as the ‘Where We Stand 7” and play a great last show (photos here, here and here and a full video here).

The Last Chance was (at some time or other):

  • Ian Wiles - vocals
  • James Stocks - bass
  • Kev Walsh - guitar
  • Dave Olejnik - bass/guitar
  • Matt Ward - guitar
  • Shaun Gilchrist - drums

Having received their excellent 6-track demo last year expectations were undoubtedly raised for this, their debut album and although it takes a few listens for their hooks to really take a hold of you it doesn’t disappoint at all. Released via their own label DIE TRYING is simple grassroots pop-punk that criss-crosses elements of Down by Law and Alkaline Trio whilst retaining a tenable link with their Midlands contemporaries. If they could only inject a bit more fire and punch into their sound The Fatal Mistake would be more than capable of bigger things. At least that's what I think.

 
 

POWERSURGE

heavy/speed metal - Road Runner (1991) - mp3 : Pulled Over - Rating : 9/10
 

For a couple of years, I thought that the metal industry was different from the mainstream one. I was persuaded that since metal CD's can be assessed by that thing called songwriting, HQ albums didn't need any promotion achieve the success they deserved. I was not familiar with the underground scene at this time. As a matter of fact, Powersurge had all the cards to kick batches of asses. Their material was a fine mixture of genuine speed metal and dark and brilliant US Power Metal, shaped into an output so personal that you won't even bother figuring out their influences. And although it contains no filler, some tracks like Battle Cry containing one of the best solos ever written - or Call Me still stand out as definitive anthems. Unfortunately, their debut came out in the middle of that 6-month Grunge era, and on a label which soon turned itself into one of the most horrendous mall-core garbage dealer. So if you ever come across a copy of it, don't miss it.

 

 

ENGINE

 
Dark Power Metal - Metal Blade (1999) - mp3 : Falling Star - Rating : 9/10
 

Engine is a side-project formed by members of Agent Steel (B. Versailles), Fates Warning (Ray Alder) and Armored Saint (Joey Vera) . Although the material of their respective bands are quite a bit different from one another, they created a solid album with a style of its own and continuous throughout, though not monotonous. It could be described as Type O Negative-meets-Nevermore, with tracks ranging from dark and slow-paced anthems (Tree of Life) to more typical power metal with crushing riffs and the drumming which fits (You're Awake). Bonus, the lyrics match the melancholy mood of their tunes without sounding whiny a single moment - and are aptly brought to life by Ray Alder's singing. One complain, 45 minutes is damn short for an album which sounds so original in nowadays' metal landscape.

 

 

ACCEPT "Staying a Life"

 
Dark Power Metal - RCA (1990) - mp3 : Head over Heels - Rating : 9/10
 

Recorded in Osaka in 1985, Staying a Life was originally a post-mortem live tossed at a bunch of nostalgic fans of this mythic 80's band. Several hundred thousands of copies sold later, Accept decided to reform, for a while. Not such a surprising success given the quality of this recording. From "Up to the Limit" to "Fast as a Shark" along with "Metal Heart", "Breaker"... none of their classics is missing in action, the power and clarity of the sound are plain awesome and the performance of the whole band lifts up the songs in a way that's hardly ever been heard on a live album, except Live After Death or Decade of Aggression (Slayer). Two discs to be recommended in particular to young metal fans, who have only had been the opportunity to get acquainted with Accept through covers by new metal bands in lack of inspiration.

 

 

SKYCLAD "Folkemon"

 
heavy/folk metal - Nuclear Blast (2000) - mp3 :The Anti-body Politic - Rating : 8.25/10
   Having been scared away by Skyclad's folk metal label until I heard The Great Brain Robbery off of this album, it'd would be an understatement to say I didn't expect them to sound like that. Riffs pretty close to speed/thrash, angry, yet melodic vocals, and only a discrete violin qualifying as a folk element. The rest is not that uptempo but still keeps this fine mix of dominant guitars and strings often used to echo them, thus adding thickness to the songs. The musicianship is flawless and the songwriting has little to complain about. If you like the mp3 clip and are searching for fresh-sounding metal and don't mind lyrics somewhat offbeat (so what ?), you can do no wrong in picking up Folkemon. Singer and main writer Martin Walker recently parted ways with the band, which will carry on with a substitute.

 

 
SINNER "The Nature of Evil"
 
heavy/power metal - Nuclear Blast (1998) - mp3 :Trust Noone - Rating : 8/10
   Ever heard of Matt Sinner's work ? If you dig Primal Fear, you might have without even knowing it since Ralph Scheeper gets all the attention from metal mags, though Matt Sinner is the keystone to their material, in particular in the songwriting and production departments. So don't be surprised if his band sounds *quite a bit* like PF. Now, why would the world need another euro-power-metal album in that vein, will you ask ? Firstly because the songs on this CD are far from being leftovers of a Primal Fear CD - overall, it's even as good, if not better than any of them to me - and secondly, the smart - read moderate - use of keyboard gives it a noticeable personal twist. Matt Sinner sure hasn't Ralf Sheeper's range, but if songwriting is your main concern in metal, chances are you'll enjoy what you'll find on The Nature of Evil.

 

 

EXHUMATION "Traumaticon"

death metal - Holy Records (1998) - mp3 : Awakening - Rating : 8/10

I had never heard of Exhumation until I was slipped a promo copy of that CD into one of my mail orders. An excellent idea they had since it's one of the best melodic death metal album I've heard for a while. In a nutshell, they sound like Swedish Death Metal a la In Flames with reminiscences of old Paradise Lost. Respectable references and the songwriting lives up to them. Expect non-formulaic tunes with memorable choruses, elaborate leads and even 1and1/2 instrumentals. I also liked the singing which come off as quite original being just halfway through clear and typical death metal vocals. And last, it's packaged in the shape of a nice un-foldable Digipak, which can be ordered directly from their label for no more than $10. Which makes more than a good reason to purchase it.

DESTINY'S END "Transition"

speed metal - Metal Blade (2001) - mp3 : The Watcher - Rating : 8.5/10
 
Long delayed due to the band's in-satisfaction with the mixing, Transition eventually reached record stores a few months ago and it was definitely worth the wait. Lead by an uncompromising James Rivera, Destiny's End delivers a deeper speed metal follower to the already indispensable Breathe Deep the Dark. And when I say Speed metal, forget about the watered-down, keyboard-plagued ersatz that's all the rage among too many Euro bands nowadays, I mean the genuine one, dark and heavy, the riffs of which rip your sorry face like a razor blade and make you want to give your axe away in sheer desperation. Actually, it took 4-5 listens for the record to grow on me completely as the band bothers offering some intricate and epic tracks - even if it also contain immediate killers like Storm Clouds or The Watcher - but it's now become one of my 3 favorite CD's of 2001.

SAXON "Unleash the Beast"

heavy/power metal - Virgin (1997) - mp3 : Bloodletter - Rating : 9/10
 
If you're only familiar with Saxon's pre-Unleash the Beast era, be prepared for something of a surprise. The Hard Rock veterans indeed dropped their former style for heavy/power metal with a modern - German-sounding - production in addition. And the metamorphosis turned out to be more than convincing since as from the delicious opening -title- track, to the dark ballad The Thin Red Line with its awesome solo to raw-power-oriented songs like All Hell breaking Loose, the bands delivers its share of catchy choruses, maiden-esque melodies and killer riffs in an addictive kind of way which makes it mandatory listening for any fan of the genre. If you bought Virtual XI, released around the same time, you just have no right to go past it. For your own sake.