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Les-Fest, Valley International Park, Crossford Friday 28th June

Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid

johnny main


Friday night 'Thrash Night' headliners at this year's Les-Fest were Huddersfield based Evile. Their booking was a bit of a coup for the festival organisers as it was their only UK festival headline appearance this year, and their only Scottish festival appearance this summer too, so with a lot of expectation on their shoulders you have to wonder how much pressure the band were under to deliver.

As they took to the stage at a little before a quarter past midnight any worries about the audience went straight out of the window as they received a truly euphoric response from the packed out crowd. After a quick introduction from festival organiser, Dave Ritchie, it seemed that everyone at the festival was a fan of the band and had turned out to see them.

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For the next seventy minutes or so, the band powered through an amazing set. From the off, bass player Joel Graham was just a mass of hair as he head banged his way through the set without missing a note. 'Underworld', from the band's new album 'Skull' (released in the UK in March 2013) is met with loud appreciation, as the band plough through the song at full tilt.

'In Dreams Of Terror' and 'Cult' both get an especially rapturous reception so it's safe to say that these numbers will be kept in the bands live set for some time to come. Vocalist Matt Drake doesn't need to spend too much time energizing the crowd as everyone seems to be having the time of their lives, as the fans jostle down the front for a better viewing position. Lead guitarist Ol Drake has a bit of fun punctuating the guitar chords of 'Eternal Empire' with theatrical stabs to his power chords, whist drummer Ben Carter just seems to pummel the drums from the start of the bands set right through to the end of it.


Sections from Pink Floyd's 'Money', 'Day Tripper' by The Beatles and the Megadeth classic 'Peace Sells (But Who's Buying)' from Ol pepper the set in between numbers, much to the delight of the crowd, before the band literally fly through some early classic material in the shape of 'Enter The Grave' and 'Killer From The Deep' before wrapping up tonights set with a blistering rendition of 'Infected Nations'. The Les-Fest audience were looking for a top notch act to headline tonight, and they certainly got one with Evile – as far as the band concerned, they can leave happy in the knowledge that they have made a lot of new fans tonight.

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I caught up with Matt Drake and Joel Graham before their Les-Fest set, to ask what they'd been up to lately and their thoughts on Les-Fest:

I started the chat by mentioning that the band's last Scottish gig was in 25th October 2012 at the O2 ABC in Glasgow (which was reviewed by MetalTalk here) to which Matt asks: "Have we played the O2 in Glasgow? I have the worst memory, so I'm sorry", but asking them what they have been up to recently, he continued: "Well, we've just done a couple of festivals in France and Belgium. We've just started to tour the new album really. We have this gig and then we have a gig with Suicidal Tendencies next week and then a gig in Lithuania, I think", before Joel adds that in September, they return to the UK for four shows in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.


When asked how the Suicidal Tendencies support show came about, Joel is ruthlessly honest when he says "someone called us up and asked if we wanted to support Suicidal Tendencies and we did, so we said yes!" Well, you can't be much more honest than that - can you?

When asked what they expected of Les-Fest, they both have a good think before Matt replies, "We don't really know honestly, we didn't even know what the place was like! We saw signs for the pet shop and the little train and these lovely surroundings - it's great!"


"The first thing, literally, that I noticed when we drove in," Matt continues after a pause to collect his thoughts, "it looks like Bloodstock (the annual festival held in Catton Park, Derby) the very first year I went. That was the very early days of what is now, a great festival, but they way we have been treated here and how everyone has looked after us here, it's been awesome!"

When asked how they heard about the festival, Matt says that he knows Fede Valls (one of the orgainsers of Les-Fest) quite well, and "(I) speak to him quite often on social networks, and I do remember him saying that he was involved in a festival, but you meet so many people", he continues, "that you don't take it all in sometimes, but then we received an email asking if we'd play it and we thought - why not."


When asked what the band have planned for the future, Joel mentions that they don't really know although they would like to "revisit Les-Fest if it's still here" before he changes his mind and suggests that we meet up here (at the Les-Fest site) in ten years and we can have a talk about it!"

Matt adds that "in ten years, I hope we're still recording and playing gigs - we've not just jinxed the future of the band have we? I hope not!" Before the chat can go any further, however, they have other duties to attend to - so let's hope that the band are still gigging and recording in ten year's time, and if so, I'll do another interview at Les-Fest - and who knows, they might just headline there when we meet up again!


With thanks to Matt Drake and Joel Graham for their time.

The official lyric video for 'Underworld' can be viewed here:


You can see Evile live here:
Sunday 7th July - Electric Ballroom, London (supporting Suicidal Tendencies)
Saturday 3rd August - Formoz Festival, Taipei, Taiwan
Saturday 24th August - Scarfest, Launceston
Saturday 14th September - Raismes Festival, Raismes, France
Thursday 26th September – CF10, Cardiff University, Cardiff
Friday 27th September – Button Factory, Dublin
Saturday 28th September – Academy II, Manchester
Sunday 29th September – Audio, Glasgow
Saturday 19th October - Kyttaro Live, Athens, Greece
Friday 25th October - Maximum Festival Bucharest, Romania


Set List:
In Dreams Of Terror
In Memoriam
Eternal Empire
Five Serpents Teeth
Enter The Grave
Killer From The Deep
Infected Nations

Evile are:
Matt Drake – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Ol Drake – Lead Guitar
Joel Graham – Bass Guitar
Ben Carter – Drums


Official Website:




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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