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Heavy New Year: Why 2024 is going to be historic for Merseyside metal


Members of the band Conan

Conan



 

Last year saw the continued resurgence of the Merseyside metal scene. From sell-out shows by Obituary to the long-awaited return of Carcass to the healthiest crowds we’ve ever seen for Metal 2 The Masses Merseyside, 2023 was packed with highlights.


Yet, with last year’s successes hardly out of the rear-view mirror, 2024 is upon us like a brilliant blinding sun rise, dazzling us with its potential. Below, we look at a few reasons why.


Conan and the launch of Show No Mersey


Conan’s brand of sludgy ‘caveman battle doom’ has set the international metal scene alight since the mid-2000s. Appearances at festivals such as Roadburn, Samhain, Hellfest and Bloodstock Open Air, alongside high-profile tours with the likes of Max and Iggor Cavalera, Bell Witch, Black Label Society and Monolord have seen the band establish themselves as a formidable live act.


Surprisingly, however, Conan have rarely performed in their home city of Liverpool and have never had a headline appearance there. 2024 is the year when this situation will finally be rectified. Headlining the first incarnation of Show No Mersey on 2nd February at District, an event that Metal on Merseyside is co-promoting with UK Slam Fest events, Conan are relishing the chance to play on their home turf.


Speaking to us ahead of the gig, Conan told us that: “We don’t play Liverpool as often as we would like, and this show marks our first headline show EVER in the city. We consider Liverpool our home, although the current line up lives outside the city walls, and our early years were spent rehearsing in Crash and Vulcan. Because of this, we’re super excited to play this show and will be working on more Liverpool dates in the not-too-distant future


Conan’s headline slot should be worth the entry money alone, yet Show No Mersey also features a showcase of rising talents from the Merseyside hard rock and metal scene. Deathgrind monsters Crepitation, fresh from their special guest slot supporting Obituary at O2 Academy Liverpool last year, will bring their distinctive brand of slam to proceedings. Horror rockers, Novacrow, tech-metal visionaries, Utopia, and alt rockers Spitfyre complete what is sure to be, even if we say so ourselves, an outstanding line-up.


Tickets for this spectacular show are available here


Heavy Metal on the Airwaves Symposium


As if Show No Mersey did not already make 2nd February a date to savour, the first ever Heavy Metal on the Airwaves Symposium at Liverpool John Moores University will take place during the daytime. A sold-out event, featuring an appearance from the one and only Loz Guest, head of music at Planet Rock radio and DJ for both Planet Rock and Kerrang!, the symposium brings together academics and practitioners interested in the relationship between rock, metal and radio. Expect a range of informative talks and lively debates regarding the past, present and future of a medium that still has a pivotal role in the dissemination of hard and heavy music.




Members of Video Nasties

Video Nasties (photo credit: Craig Alexander Wright)


The return of the Video Nasties


The back end of last year saw the first new music from Video Nasties since 2021 in the form of latest single ‘Harvest of Flies’.


Merseyside’s finest purveyors of creepy, John Carpenter inspired, black ‘n’ roll promise to deliver more new music in 2024 and the thought of a follow-up to 2020’s moral panic-inducing Dominion (which went on to be APF Records’ biggest selling release) has us shaking in our boots with excitement.


Dark Reign Festival


Merseyside’s latest metal music promoter, Dark Reign Productions, promise to hit the ground running with the inaugural Dark Reign Festival, which is on 1st June at Future Yard in Birkenhead.


The first all-day heavy metal festival of its kind in the region, Dark Reign will take place across two stages with no clashes. It will also feature a unique after show party hosted by none other than James Monteith from prog-metal behemoths TesseracT.


Confirmed acts for the festival so far include India’s death metal titans, Godless, alongside tech-death merchants Unfathomable Ruination, as well as Merseyside’s own Witcheater and Reclaim. Expect a full line-up announcement and information about early-bird tickets imminently.


Promoting Metal on Merseyside exhibition


Promoting Metal on Merseyside will be the inaugural exhibition of artefacts from the Metal on Merseyside project. Hosted by the fantastic Dark Earth Records in Wallasey, it will consist of a collection of posters and flyers advertising concerts stretching back several decades. The exhibition is scheduled for summer 2024 and will provide a fascinating insight into both the work that goes into sustaining heavy rock and metal and how the media used to promote events has changed.


Ogun’s World of Hate


Merseyside is blessed with talented thrash metal acts with the likes of Devil’s Henchmen and Reaper making serious waves in the last few years. Ogun are Liverpool thrash metal royalty (having been initially established in 2002) and they made a triumphant return in 2022 with a series of live performances. Although one of the most killer acts on the live scene, up to this point they haven’t committed their brand of abrasive thrash to a full-length record. 2024 is set to see this glaring omission rectified and their debut album World of Hate should hit the shelves at some point this year.


The Spoken Metal Sessions


Fresh from the first ever Spoken Metal Show Podcast live, which took place in November last year, Mark Cooper is back with the Spoken Metal Sessions. The first of these will take place on 10th February at Outpost, Liverpool and will feature live bands curated by the Spoken Metal Show together with interviews. For this initial event, upcoming local acts Thrashatouille, Mortala, and Seven Days Dead will be taking to the stage.


Gigs, gigs, gigs


From Napalm Death to Alestorm to Evile the live metal scene in Merseyside has rarely looked healthier. This year also sees plenty of bands adding Liverpool to their touring cycle for the first time, for instance the likes of Malevolence and Green Lung make their live debuts within the city in 2024. It is also encouraging to see established venues such as Molly’s Chambers in Birkenhead starting to accommodate new metal acts. For details of the plethora of forthcoming gigs visit our guide.



Guitarist from the band Devil's Henchmen

Devil's Henchmen at Metal 2 The Masses Merseyside (image credit: Phil Vidamour)


Metal 2 The Masses Merseyside


Last year’s M2TM Merseyside competition was arguably the fiercest yet, with healthy audiences and exceptional bands. Eventual winners Devil’s Henchmen scorched the New Blood stage at Bloodstock Open Air and this year’s crop will be looking to do the same.

Although full details haven’t yet been released, the competition is once again in the capable hands of Deathwave Entertainment and the line-up of heats and the final (alongside the usual high quality guest headliners) is set to be announced soon.





TNT Extreme Wrestling are launching TNT Music at Zanzibar


The team behind TNT Extreme Wrestling are launching TNT Music in February 2024. Combining both live music and a club night, the inaugural event is due to take place on 1st February at Zanzibar, Liverpool. Artists interested in playing at TNT Music events should email: info@tntwrestling.co.uk


Metal meets Burlesque?!


Capones in Liverpool plays host to Massacre, an intriguing sounding night of metal and burlesque dancing that will feature a DJ set on 15th February.


Rough Trade is Coming to Liverpool


In what is sure to be a shot in the arm for the rock and metal music scene as well as the wider local music industries, leading independent music retailer Rough Trade has announced that they are opening a large new store in Liverpool. Scheduled to open during the first half of 2024 on Hanover Street, the 6500 square foot store will become Rough Trade’s largest location in the UK and boast its largest venue space. For further information visit: https://blog.roughtrade.com/gb/rough-trade-is-coming-to-liverpool/

 

Once again, Metal on Merseyside will be working behind the scenes on various projects in addition to some of those mentioned above, so make sure you keep tabs on us via this site and our other social media platforms. See you soon and keep on supporting your scene.

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