Author Archives: Neil Mach

RAMzine Senior Writer - With a career spanning 30 years author / journalist Neil Mach is an expert on the music business and is a reliable guide. He especially loves heavy metal, prog & blues.

Saxon ‘Unplugged and Strung’

‘Unplugged and Strung Up’ is a bunch of new, ferocious interpretations of old Saxon classics. When I first read the title on the album – especially the ‘Unplugged’ bit – my heart sunk. Why unplug these immense and powerful songs? But don’t despair – it’s only the last four tracks that are properly ‘unplugged’ – and even these are as ...

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Interview with Arjen Anthony Lucassen of Ayreon

The Dutch composer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon) writes and produces complex “rock operas” with disconcerting and intriguing story-lines. These invariably include a series of interesting characters, each one of which is represented by an individual singer. Lucassen plays many of the instruments in each of his works, but he also encourages other guest musicians to participate. Ayreon’s music ...

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Touchstone and Von Hertzen Brothers at Robin 2, Bilston

Von Hertzen Brothers Way back in the high-days of prog-rock history – the crowds at “Yes”concerts always used to roar with excitement when the band finally played “Roundabout” from their ‘Fragile’ album. I have always been struck by the fact that those dedicated progressive rock fans may well have enjoyed all of the fancy concepts, the de-constructed metaphors, the spiritual ...

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Ayreon ‘The Theory Of Everything’

Ayreon is the flagship musical project by Dutch composer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen. As with every Ayreon album, ‘The Theory Of Everything’ is a concept album with each character being portrayed by one singer. Singers on this project include former King Crimson and current Asia member John Wetton, Marco Hietala of Nightwish and Tarot, Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, ...

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Blues Pills ‘Devil Man’

In 2011 Swedish lead singer Elin Larsson, with drummer Cory Berry and bass player Zack Anderson – all just in their early Twenties – formed up with French guitar player Dorian Sorriaux to create Blues Pills – a blues-rock group which may well become one of the most acclaimed and interesting bands of the decade. They have just released their ...

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Jonny Cola & The A-Grades ‘Spitfire’

Hark! Is that a Rolls-Royce engine that I can hear puffing away beyond those branches? Perhaps it is. Is that a Beano annual that I have found under my bed? So it is. Is that a Chinnichap riff filling the track ‘In The Woods’ by Jonny Cola and the A-Grades. Yes, it seems so. I must therefore assume that I ...

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Tigertailz ‘Knives’

Tigers are known to have relatively little stamina. Normally they hide for hours – days if necessary – before they are ready to pounce. So if you’re a fan of these charismatic beasts, you have to be patient. Very patient. To see them at work. The giants of Welsh glam metal, Tigertailz from Cardiff – are very similar. Their most ...

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Interview with HAKEN

At this year’s HRH PROG Festival at the Magna Centre Rotherham RAMzine managed to catch up with the young British prog-rock saviours HAKEN to chat about their new album: ‘The Mountain’ (just released on Inside Out – Century Media). RAMzine: Why is your new album called ‘The Mountain’? “I guess it’s kind of an analogy for the uphill struggle for ...

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HAKEN ‘The Mountain’

Haken were once described (by Classic Rock presents Prog Magazine) as: “Prodigiously talented youths that will benefit prog.” And it appears that they have now repaid that complement, by creating a masterpiece that can be enjoyed by all. After Haken’s début album ‘Aquarius’ enjoyed international release in 2010, the band began to spread their music across Europe , and started ...

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Interview with Borderline: FIRE

Five-piece heavy rock minstrels Borderline:FIRE are already one of Reading’s fastest growing bands. Formed in 2010, they quickly established themselves as exciting artists with a very unique sound. They combine sweltering metallic anthems with commercially viable and very catchy melodies. We spoke to then about working on their new EP – ‘This Trojan State’ and about any Chains that might ...

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