I thought I would do a write-up on the year with the band given it’s been our busiest ever. In the early part of the year, we played a run of gigs put on by One Eye Toad Records which really helped us get back on the road again after the Covid-era restrictions were finally lifted in most cases. Most of these gigs were with Neverworld and Planet Fatale, two bands we have played with on a number of occasions over the years and with who we enjoy playing alongside. It’s worth mentioning that John Morter who organised these gigs and helped us get back to a regular gigging schedule sadly passed away last month. For all of his hard work and dedication to the scene, he will be greatly missed.
During that run of gigs, we had a one-night-only reunion with Anthony Murch on lead guitar. Ant was in the band from 2012-2015 and played on our first two albums. Anthony again played songs from both his time in the band and later albums since his departure. He’s currently playing alongside our former drummer Chris MacKinnon (who likewise joined in 2012, but after our debut album before leaving in 2018) in a band called It’s Not A Phase Mum, covering the 2000’s era classics which can be found here.
We made our return to two of our favourite venues this year too, both the Melbourn Rock Club and the Rock Den in Hatfield, both of which were fun nights.
A large portion of the year has been taken up with recording, editing, mixing, mastering, and so on. We worked extremely hard to get our new album After Extinction finished this year, as well as recording a further 10 tracks for two EPs, one of which has been released digitally and the other is currently being worked on. I have said previously that I cannot remember a time the band has been busier and 2022 certainly was a challenging year, but I feel a great relief to know everything on our end is now completed and there is very little remaining to do going into 2023.
It is worth mentioning that there will be a new Falling Through Freedom t-shirt and patch coming to all our Patreon’s soon, with two EPs (which include a multi-disc set) on CD heading out to everyone paying £3 or more ASAP. We have been slightly delayed in getting these out due to the Extinction After EP still being finalised! These will be with you soon, depending on Royal Mail strikes!
In August of course we joined the Lillian Axe/Riot Act (ex-Riot) tour as a replacement for Kim Melville. This is the first tour this line-up has done, and we had an amazing time on the road, and we are very thankful for the opportunity to play with two exceptional bands here in the U.K.
We aptly finished the year with two hometown shows in Colchester both at the Brewhouse on the 25th of November and Coda, on the 14th.
We also introduced a new Patreon tier, a band backer tier which was to help the band fund an opportunity we were recently offered. Without giving too much away at this stage, an official offer/contract has come through and we used some of the new Patreon funds to have the offer independently accessed by an expert, as well as general guidance on the best route forward for the band in 2023, with more the be revealed at a later date.
This week we have released 3 exclusive live albums for our Bandcamp members which include 3 sets from our recent One-Eyed Toad Records tour alongside Neverworld and Planet Fatale. We have uploaded the Coda set, which features a one-night reunion with former guitarist Ant Murch, and our full sets from Cambridge and Hastings earlier this year. The sets also contain three new songs from the forthcoming album.
You can download all 3 albums here. Membership just cost £5 a year and includes a ton of exclusives and out-of-print releases as well as a 10% discount. As it’s Bandcamp Friday, anything ordered will result in 100% of the revenue going to the band.
We will be heading to Unit One tomorrow to prepare for our next two gigs next weekend in Cambridge and Hastings. We return to our regular line-up and will be playing a mixture of songs from Reforge The Steel and After Extinction.
On Wednesday night we played a one off gig with Anthony Murch while Toby was away. We did a mixture of songs from Reforge The Steel, The Waystone and Falling Through Freedom which can be seen on the above video.
The previous Friday we had played Club 85, Hitchin.
We will be rehearsing with Anthony Murch for the final time today in order to get prepared for our show on Wednesday at CODA Colchester. Toby is away with Status Quo for the night so Anthony will be filling in, as a result we’ll be playing songs from Falling Through Freedom and The Waystone, the two albums Anthony played on during his time with the band. If you wish to attend the gig please click here for more information.
We had a very successful return to gigging last night at a packed Club85 alongside Neverworld, Death Valley Knights and Planet Fatale. It was one of the best nights of live music we have played and it shows the scene is in great health going into 2022!
Tomorrow we are back in rehearsals at Unit One Colchester with Anthony Murch for the show at CODA, Colchester on Wednesday again with Neverworld and Planet Fatale. We will be playing tracks from The Waystone and Falling Through Freedom for the first time in many years.
We will again be preparing for our run of shows with Neverworld and Planet Fatale in March at Unit One in Colchester today. Anthony Murch will be again joining the sessions to prepare for the Colchester show where the band will be playing a number of songs from The Waystone and Falling Through Freedom for the first time live in a number of years.
Tickets are available for all the shows by clicking here.
We are preparing to return to playing live shows for 2022 during our rehearsal sessions at Unit One, Colchester today. The first gig is at Club85 Hitchin and tickets are available here.
Neverworld return to Club85 with a new line-up, a new release and a new show.
Neverworld https://www.facebook.com/NeverworldMetal/ “Neverworld remind us all of what heavy metal is all about. At a time when we seem fixated on the next big subgenre or the ‘scene’, here is a band that have metaphorically stuck two fingers up and said, ‘we just want to rock’. And for that, Neverworld should be applauded…”
We are pleased to announce that Anthony Murch will be stepping in for Toby Woods at the March 9th show at Coda, Colchester to play lead guitar for the band. Toby Woods is unavailable for the evening which is why Anthony is stepping in for the night.
Anthony last played with Kaine at The Smokehouse on May 20th 2017 for a unique one night line-up of Rage Sadler (vocals/guitars), Stephen Ellis (bass), John Moreton (drums) and Anthony Murch (lead guitar) to celebrate the band Elimination’s ten year anniversary.
Anthony Murch played on Kaine’s debut album Falling Through Freedom (2012) and it’s follow up The Waystone (2014) before departing the band in late 2015. He currently plays alongside former Kaine drummer Chris MacKinnon in the band It’s Not A Phase Mum which can be found here.
Anthony’s one off return coincides with the 10th anniversary of the bands debut album, Falling Through Freedom.
Our first gig was on May 26th 2018. It was one of our regular shows there as I had booked a reasonably busy schedule that year to help promote A Crisis of Faith. We arrived at the venue early and were chatting outside prior to load in when Dan Mailer and Josh Birch arrived together (from Osmium Guillotine) pulling up in the carpark, I had a half empty bottle of Coca-Cola which I was able to throw through the passenger window, past Josh’s head and straight into Dan’s face as he pulled up. Dan, looking for revenge, jumped out of his car and came charging up the B2 steps towards me, having forgot to put his handbrake on, turning to see Josh and his car going for unplanned trip into the Brickmakers beer garden!
The other amusing moment from that gig was the late great Wayne MacConnachie had arrived with Peter Keliris for the gig, he looked at me, looked at the guys and said “where’s ya band” obviously having not heard the news, I said to him that this was the band, he looked at me, looked at them “your fucking joking aren’t you?” I said the others had left the band and he was gobsmacked “they left you? They all left you? They all fucking left you?!”. Wayne simply couldn’t believe the last line up had left! That was sadly the last time I saw Wayne alive and were informed of his passing on the way to the Reforge The Steel Live recording gig in November 2019. We played a tribute to Wayne alongside Osmium Guillotine and Walk in Coma in January 2020 in Braintree.
Gent aka local legend Andy Martin opened the night, and Osmium Guillotine obviously also played. Dan Mailer jumped on on stage with us for the encore and all in all it was a successful first gig with very few mistakes. I think we genuinely shocked a few people. The band was formed in a fortnight and was already playing live, and to a good level, the transition seamless from the previous line-up.
Our next gig was a charity event in Long Melford, famous for being the place the legendary Hellfire Club was founded and much of the local folklore surrounds nefarious activities by the local nobles at Melford Hall. It is also famous for Beatrix Potter having stayed there. The gig itself was for our friend Bonnie Kelly’s fathers best friends memorial – Bonnie has her own band New Pages which can be checked out here. Toby and Isaac had to perform double duty as Cannon were also on the bill. Chris MacKinnon was also doing sound that night, obviously unable to stay away from us! After that we played the Unicorn in Camden for the first time. We would play a few gigs there in 2018 which were all really good, but weirdly after that we were never invited back! Kaine actually hadn’t played the gig since 2013 when we supported Canadian Metal legends Striker there! Again the gig went well and the band started to gel on stage.
After that we played with Alter the Sky at the Blue Moon, Cambridge. This is another venue we used to play a lot back in the day when it was the Man on the Moon, we even had a residency there for a bit in 2013. Again the show went incredibly well and people struggled to believe that this was a brand new band. We also started playing songs from Reforge The Steel around this time in the set as well. We were literally rehearsing, learning the Crisis material and adding new material into the set as well which really helped progress the Reforge The Steel album quickly.
It was in this period that I wrote the 8 tracks for Reforge The Steel at home. I decided that to prove the band wasn’t dead and this band was as good as ever, I had to get a new album out as quickly as possible. I wrote Reforge The Steel, Black and Rebirth first, Wake was a song and I and Saxon Davids started working on some years previous that we even played live in instrumental form toward the back end of 2017, and songs like Master of Mankind and In Cold Light were written later with Loudwire being the last one I think I wrote for that album. It was important to show the world that we were still going and that is why Reforge The Steel came out so soon after A Crisis of Faith. We just learned the new songs between the Crisis material, and then played them live to iron out the cracks. It was a very busy period for the band. I had also started a new job around that time, which was less all over the place then the warehouse work but infinitely more stressful!
We had another gig at the B2 in July. Anthony Murch joined us for a few songs that night and a solo trade-off on stage, which I part inspired the ending of Master of Mankind! As Ant arrived the venue I was able to sneak around his car with a traffic cone, and block his door off so he couldn’t get out of his car! Is it any wonder people leave my band….Having looked back at the dates we had a very busy 2018! We were back at the Unicorn that month and also played our first and only gig at The Rock Den in Hatfield, another venue we’d previously been a resident band at.
At the end of July we played Swanfest at the Swan, Ipswich in what was one of the hottest gigs I have ever played. Long term band friend Adam Prowse (who had played bass in Cardinal) joined us for the encore on vocals. The Swan is famous for having Ed Sheeran play there before he was famous. Ed recently having sponsored Ipswich Town Football Club, my football team and is famous for other things, but for me that’s the most important! Much like me he’s a regular at Town games, but at least he has a successful musical career to drown out the misery! It’s good to see him plough some money into the club under the new owners, but having said that if the club dropped any lower then I could have probably afforded to buy it, let alone sponsor it!
So I thought I would give a little detail on our early gigs as a band. It’s weird to think this was all three years ago now. I will cover the back end of 2018 and the start of the recording of Reforge The Steel next week.
The new version of Kaine was officially formed on May 12th 2018. But How did we arrive at this point?
The original band had been formed in 2009 and had had various line ups over the years, the people in the band would usually gradually change over time so things didn’t seem so radical to the wider audience. However in 2016, following the departure of founding member Dan Mailer (bass/vocals) and Ant Murch (lead guitar) in 2015 the line-up of myself, Chris MacKinnon (drums), Saxon Davids (lead guitar) and Stephen Ellis (bass) formed in 2016. Dan and Ant had been known to most people as they had both performed on our first two albums, Dan had left in August 2015 and Ant left at the close of play in 2015. Stevo had been with us a few months already when Anthony departed, and Saxon first joined the band in 2014 as a substitute for Anthony on a tour he couldn’t do and just remained in the band from that point alongside Anthony so the transition between Dan and Anthony departing didn’t seem that different or radical to those who had followed us for years.
The 2016 version of Kaine would go on to be a very popular line-up, from playing our regular shows at The Soundhouse in Colchester, the Asylum in Chelmsford, the B2 in Norwich and The Smokehouse in Ipswich among others. We built up a real following of regular gig goers and supporters during that period and began to write a new album, which would eventually end up being A Crisis of Faith, an album which we played most of the stuff live before we recorded it. There was a real emotional attachment between that group of guys and audience throughout that period and real desire to see us do well. We released A Crisis of Faith in early 2018, and although our fans loved it, it was largely ignored by the wider Metal audience and it didn’t really pick up much steam. Because it took a more modern, proggier direction from our previous release The Waystone it was met with a lot of criticism from the New Wave of Traditional Metal community and it generally didn’t go down well with that audience. We had a number of gigs booked and were also on the biggest festival billing we had ever been on, at Hard Rock Hell Metal 2018 playing the same stage as Grave Digger. We played the gig and we went down a storm at the sold out o2 Academy, Birmingham and it looked like to many on the outside that things were about to happen for the band.
Sadly, life doesn’t work out that way.
Internally within the band there were a number of personal circumstances that would force change. Chris was the first to depart not long after that in April, but this was largely an expected departure due to Chris own circumstances and thus I had already sounded out Liam Etheridge as a potential replacement. Liam is someone I knew from way back as his old band Asylum had played with Kaine on a number of shows, someone who I knew was a good drummer and a decent guy and someone who I thought would work really well for the band. I did however offer Josh (or original drummer) the opportunity to come on board again if he would like to, but he was busy with A Bribe for the Ferryman and Dismanibus at that time as well as working with Elimination. Chris formally left the band and Liam came in the week later, rehearsed and we were back to gigging almost straight away with no downtime. Stevo however had said to me at this point that he didn’t enjoy playing in the band without Chris and said he would stick it out but was generally unhappy.
A few weeks go by and Saxon calls me to inform me that he was leaving the band to move to America to be with his then fiance. I accepted his resignation and then called Stevo to offer him his release from the band. Both agreed to stay as long as it would take to find replacements.
I called Liam and gave him the bad news, and we agreed that it was probably game over for Kaine but we would see what our options were and try and keep it going.
I offered Dan and Anthony their old spots back, but Dan had recently joined Osmium Guillotine as a vocalist and was suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome which was restricting what he could do on bass. Ant was playing in covers bands and couldn’t commit to Kaine at that stage. People may think its strange to invite former members back to the band but I feel its a matter of courtesy. Josh, Dan and Ant poured a lot of their own time and money into Kaine in the early years and the band simply would have never existed without them. The least I can do is offer them their position back if it comes up. I never want to be one of those musicians who never asks someone back or holds grudges about departures. Life happens. People have their own reasons for leaving bands, usually varied and you can’t take it personally and you have to respect what they did to help make that band happen to begin with. We wouldn’t exist without those guys, or anyone who has been in the band these past 12 years and they deserve the credit for what they contributed. I knew they couldn’t come back, it’s just a matter of respect, and I respect them enough to ask, even if it is a “no”.
So, the night of the departure announcement I put up an advert for both positions and go to bed thinking that it was probably game over. In fact I had written a retirement statement that night anyway as I had fully expected it was game over. At that point in my life things were a bit of a nightmare anyway, I had started shift work in a warehouse after being made redundant the year previous from a job I had been at for a long time. I was working hard and my hours were all over the place, so my brain was scrambled trying to adapt to that on top of the band imploding suddenly immediately after an album release. I also had a ton of unsold CD’s, shirts and vinyl’s from that release which probably cost me close to £10k to produce altogether that without a band, wouldn’t have been sold so I was in a bit of a desperate situation financially as a result. I am not a wealthy man, so spending that sort of cash (not all at once might I add) on making that recording and then printing the CD’s, Vinyl and shirts to not sell them would have been a huge issue as I wouldn’t have had money to survive on! I think it’s worth pointing out that there are no issues between myself and any of the members from the A Crisis of Faith line-up. That is not the reason the split occurred. As with anything, its more complicated than that and I respect their decision to leave the band.
A few people have had digs at me for my decision to continue the band. They probably don’t understand that the A Crisis of Faith line-up wasn’t the original band and we had always had changing members over the years. They also were probably unaware of the financially implications to me personally if the band did end. I swallowed all of the bands costs (and still do) and don’t get that money back without sales so for me to put out a record without selling it would have been financial suicide for me at the time. This wasn’t about my ego.
The next morning I was messaged by a guitarist named Toby Woods about trying out. I asked if he could do Saturday, which he could, which was just a few days away and we booked in a try out. Toby went away and learned the stuff. That day I had a message from Dan suggesting I try out “this guy” and sends me a video. He had tried out for Elimination when Dan was working with them and didn’t get the gig. It turns out that guitarist was Toby. Dan’s pretty good at spotting good players so that’s a good endorsement to have going into your first try-out with Kaine!
On the Saturday session at Pioneer it was myself, Stevo, Liam and Saxon with Toby. We go to start playing Heavens Abandonment from A Crisis of Faith and Toby just didn’t join in. I am thinking in my head, this isn’t good and look over to Liam who looked back at me in silent agreement. We stopped playing and asked if he wanted to join in this time. So we start and Toby then plays the song through exceptionally well. Relief. It turns out he was just watching Saxon to just get an idea of how he played the song! The rest of audition went perfectly and we offered him the gig, well Stevo did actually, which was a bit cheeky as he was leaving the band as well! But that was fine as we were in a agreement. We causally asked him as we packed down if he knew any bassists and he said he had a mate who could play bass. We asked if he could ask him to try out, and by that evening his mate was booked in for a audition the following week. Toby was announced for the band and Saxon had officially departed as of that point. He never did find America though.
The week after Isaac Healy, who Toby had played with in Cannon, tried out for the band. Myself, Liam, Stevo and Toby were present. Again it went well and he was offered the position, which he accepted. He and the new line-up were announced that night. Toby would have his first gig with us on the 19th (the following weekend), which would be Stevo’s last show, at The Smokehouse, Ipswich and the new bands very first gig would be May 26th at the B2 in Norwich and we have been together ever since.
During this period I started writing what would become Reforge The Steel. We would learn and work on the new songs between gigs and even began recording it in November 2018, just months after the line-up had changed and not even a year after A Crisis of Faith. We would continue to gig and work on the new album, Reforge The Steel until it was finally released in 2019. We’ve since played 40+ shows together (which would have been a lot more before Covid hit!) released The Waystone anniversary EP, two live albums, another EP and are just about to record a brand new album. This will also be the first time in the bands history that the same line-up has appeared on back to back albums.
I will cover more detail from the new line-up period in more posts throughout the week, I just thought this would be a good starting point to give more details on how this version of Kaine formed, and why.