We are releasing a brand new Reforge The Steel shirt which can be pre-ordered for £12 here or bundled with a CD and a patch here. If you pre-order the t-shirt today you will get it at a discounted price before it hits the merch stand later this year. Kaine members will receive further discounts on the shirt.
The “Reforged” version of Kaine reached it’s third anniversary, having formed on this day in 2018. The line up of Rage Sadler (rhythm guitars and vocals), Liam Etheridge (drums), Toby Woods (lead guitars) and Isaac Healy (bass) has released a studio album (Reforge The Steel), two EP’s (The Waystone and Kaine) and two live albums (Kaine X and Reforge The Steel Live) since their formation and is preparing to record a brand new album and EP this year.
You can read a recap of the last three years here.
- The A Crisis of Faith Line-Up splits
- Liam Etheridge joins Kaine as Drummer on the 13th of April 2018
- Toby Woods joins Kaine as Lead Guitarist on 5th of May 2018
- Isaac Healy joins Kaine as Bassist on 12th May of 2018
- New version of Kaine plays first gig on 26th of May 2018
*Click on each link to expand the articles.
We’ve been looking back over the last 3 years as we reach the third anniversary of the new line-up coming together this week. Each article above covers the A Crisis of Faith line-up ending, and what Liam’s, Toby’s and Isaac’s reflections are from the last three years with the band. We’ve also covered some of the earliest gigs with the band.
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.
What have been your favourite moments from your three years in Kaine so far?
For me, the highlights of my time in the band have probably got to be the 10-year anniversary show at Colchester Arts Centre and Burr Fest at The Dome in London with my favourite of the two being the 10-year show, which has been the gig with the best crowd so far.
I also got a dent in my new car trying to find somewhere to park at night in the rain for a crappy hotel that was possibly also a drug den so there’s that too.
How have you changed since joining Kaine?
I own more shirts without sleeves and more music equipment.
But seriously, I feel that I’ve become more confident and comfortable when performing on stage. Before joining Kaine, I pretty much stood still, not doing much. Obviously, I’ve still got room for improvement but I’m getting there. For the next album, I’ve adopted the use of a pick for most of the new songs as I feel the sound of it suits some of the material much better. It’s also given me the chance to get more familiar with a pick as I never really used one in the past, with the only song prior having me sometimes use a pick was “Loudwire” on Reforge. Also apparently a lot of venues have crap monitors for bass players, If I even get one that is. I recall one venue claiming that they can’t put the bass through the monitors, so that was fun.
What were your experiences recording Reforge The Steel?
Most of the main writing for Reforge had already been done prior to me joining the band. I mainly just worked on my own basslines. But I feel that a lot of the time everybody is subtly changing what they play over the course of weeks or months of playing the same songs. Even some of the songs that we have recorded already are played differently than what’s on the album versions.
Recording Reforge was fun as we hadn’t really been working together as a band for very long, although Rage and Liam had been working together for a little while before Toby and I joined. And Toby and I were previously in another band together for a couple of years.
All the rehearsals and gigs leading up to the recording of the album did not prepare me for the seemingly endless guitar harmonies that were added to the songs on Reforge, however.
How about The Waystone Anniversary EP? How did you find working on that?
The Waystone was pretty fun to record, as a lot of the album had subtle changes with everyone throwing their own takes and different influences on the original versions of the songs.
The title track was probably the most difficult to learn and remember each part, what with how many different sections the song has and the different time signatures for certain sections. We also came to a decision of changing the original bass focus intro and making the song more concise. I think it’s the only time in any of the songs we’ve recorded that feature bass tapping except for my version of the bass fill in “Fall of Jericho” when we play that live. Even so, the final recorded version was different from the original version I initially wrote. As I initially wrote it on the six-string bass, utilising the high C string but In the end, I recorded it on the five-string and decided to not go as high.
What have you contributed to the new Kaine album?
On the new album, I’ve got a song that I wrote most of but had some input from the rest of the guys, I also have another couple of ideas that I just haven’t put into music yet.
And obviously, I’ve been mainly writing and playing my own basslines for each song but have been simplifying them somewhat to suit the different nature of the new material. The new album has been a different experience to write, as most of it wasn’t written beforehand with us learning how to play it.
Are you looking forward to hitting the studio in the coming months to record it?
Well, I can’t really say I’m not at this point, can I? Anyone want to take bets as to how many extra harmonies Rage and Toby add to the songs?
In all seriousness, being in the studio can be frustrating when you keep messing up the same take, over and over but at the end of the day, it’s great fun.
Are you excited to play live again, now the band is clear to play again?
Since March 2020, we’ve had a total of 1 gig, which was a Livestream only gig a couple of months ago. I can’t wait to be back out playing especially with the 13 or so gigs we have booked for the next few months this year. It’ll also give me a chance to use my new Spector that has been in the past few rehearsal videos in a live setting for the first time.
What are your ambitions with Kaine moving forward?
Well hopefully, as well as all the gigs we currently have booked, it would be great to get to play some larger venues, even as a support act for some more well-known bands. Of course, a tour or two wouldn’t hurt either.
I’d also like to try and get an endorsement of some kind from one of the brands I use, even if it’s just cables.
What would be your dream gig?
For a dream gig or scenario, think it’d have to be headlining a sold-out tour, not even necessarily in massive stadiums or venues. Just decent-sized venues with great crowds, doesn’t even matter where in the world they are.
What are the highlights from your three years in Kaine?
Obviously, the first two that come to mind are The 10th-anniversary show at Colchester Arts Centre and Burr Fest last year. The Arts Centre has always been one of my favourite venues and after seeing Dragonforce there on the Maximum Overload Tour I made it a goal of mine to play there at some point. The 10-year show was a really special night. I remember looking out from behind the curtain at the back of the stage just after Osmium Guillotine had finished and then being completely lost for words at how many people were in that room. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that full before!
Then Burr Fest last year. I mean what a last gig before gigs were made illegal. Isaac and myself have been to the Dome a couple of times to see Band Maid and Man With A Mission. They were great shows and I always thought it would be great to play there. It was a little daunting being the first band on of the day as there were thoughts of no one being there when we started but luckily the place was nearly full when we started playing. It was a great feeling standing and playing on the same stage that I’d seen some of my favourite bands play on and was a great night overall.
What are the main differences from when you started in Kaine to now?
I would say my stage presence has greatly improved. When I first started with the band I would worry about getting the notes right more than actually performing. Over the last three years, I’ve become a lot more confident on stage and have found the gigs go better if I just have fun rather than trying to make everything “perfect”. I’ve also come a long way as a guitarist. I’ve found that if I write solos that I can’t play then I have to get better so I can play them.
Other than that, I’ve got longer hair and some different guitars.
What was it like writing and recording Reforge The Steel?
Well, I think Reforge is a testament to how well the four of us work together. We had been playing together less than a year when we started recording. To have all the songs written and well enough rehearsed to start recording all within a year of meeting each other was quite impressive I think. The writing process was a lot of fun. We spent a while just jamming the songs that Rage had put together and adding our parts in until they were fully formed songs.
The recording was equally as fun. I really love when you start to hear the songs coming together as you gradually add more parts until the finished product is there. Obviously, some of the songs could have done with some more harmonies but they’ll have to wait for the next album!
What was it like recording The Waystone anniversary EP?
It was a great time reworking the songs in rehearsal to fit the current line-up. We have different styles to the line-up that was the album so it was fun putting our own spins on the songs. I’m really happy with how it turned out in the end. It was also great to throw the new song Monument on there as well. Whilst it was written a while ago it had never been recorded so it was good to be able to record it and put it out. That one’s also a lot of fun to play.
What are your contributions to the new album?
I have written two songs for the album and contributed my own ideas and guitar parts to the rest of the songs. This album has been a much more collaborative effort with some of the songs being written as we just jammed in the rehearsal room which has been enjoyable. My two songs are very guitar-heavy and I tried to make them faster paced so that they’re harder to play.
Are you looking forward to recording again?
I am. I always love going into the studio as it always inspires new ideas. You think you know everything that you’re going to record but then once you’re there, you find different things that you can add to make the songs heavier or add more harmonies.
Are you looking forward to playing live again?
Of course. The lack of gigs has been frustrating to everyone so it’ll be great when we can play loud for some people again. It’s been really exciting seeing all of the gig offers coming in recently and it’ll be wonderful being on stage again with my amp up too loud and unable to see the fretboard because my hair’s in my face and the stage lights are shining in my eyes. What a good time that’ll be.
What are your ambitions moving forward with the band?
I think the ultimate goal for all of us is Rockstar, isn’t it? Why would you be in a band and not want that? Whilst that would be nice I’d love for us to play some bigger venues with some bigger bands possibly. Would be nice to do a tour or two to see how that is. Another thing I’ve always been interested in is writing a concept album. I think it would be a challenge to try and get the whole album flowing with itself almost like one long song with one theme. I might have to give it a go.
What would be your dream gig, tour or festival to play with the band?
Absolute dream situation, I’d love to play the Budokan in Japan. So many of my favourite bands have played there and it would be awesome to be there playing. A sold-out world tour in sensible sized venues would also be nice. Just anything with a packed room of people who have come to see us really. We got a little taste of it when we played the 10-year show but I can only imagine the feeling of having that every night.
Kaine has finally recorded all of the scratch tracks and is now ready to book into the studio to begin recording their 5th album, and the second from the “Reforge The Steel” line-up of Sadler/Etheridge/Woods/Healy. The album will have 9 new tracks written by all members of the band. The album has been postponed several times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however the band is hopeful that the album can be recorded without further delay with vaccination rates increasing and the infection rates decreasing across the board in England.
The scratch tracks are the base tracks the band will record to in the studio, so its important that these are absolutely accurate to make the recording process as smooth and accurate as possible.
On the EP, which was recorded by back in December, the second version has finally been mixed and the release is now ready to be printed to CD. The EP will contain 2 versions, the first being the “Gallow Wood” mix by Talon Payne and the second is the “Twisted Illusion” mix by Matt Jones with both mixes being very different from one another.
Yesterday Kaine finished tracking the new EP at Gallow Wood Media’s new location in Margaret Roding in Essex. The EP was originally recorded live at The Smokehouse in Ipswich, with additional tracking taking place AT Gallow Wood Media’s original Danbury location late last year. The EP is now being edited, mixed, and mastered by Talon Payne who has worked with the band on their previous two live album releases and The Waystone EP.
The tracklisting will be:
- Reforge The Steel
- Master of Mankind
It will also be the first Kaine release to feature the new logo and it will be self-titled. Artwork can be seen above.
The band will also be returning to action on Sunday when they hit Unit One studios in Colchester to begin rehearsing the new album ready to begin recording the album in full later this year.
Kaine’s regular rehearsal rooms, Pioneer Music in Colchester have now closed after 13 years of service to local bands and musicians. It is an end of an era for the band who will be returning to rehearsal in a few weeks to resume work on the bands new album.
“Hi all, to those who don’t already know, I am closing Pioneer Music in the next week or so.
I’ve been thinking about moving on for a couple of years now, and having a pretty empty studio for almost a year has helped me make that final decision.
I’d like to thank everyone for their support over the past 13 years, I won’t start naming names because there are so many and I am bound to forget important ones!
Also I’d like to wish everyone good luck with their future plans, whether it is music or not, I wish you all the very best. It’s been a blast and I have tons of great memories of working with you all, for which I am eternally grateful.
So long and thanks for all the fish.” – Matthew Abbott
Kaine started rehearsing at Pioneer Music back in 2011 and every line-up of the band has rehearsed there, bar the original since the original band formed in 2009. We would like to thank Maz for his many years of excellent service to the local music community as well as treating us exceptionally over the past ten years, which included collecting Liam’s keys from the roof of Bartech!