M2TM Manchester 2023 – Heat 3

M2TM MANCHESTER 2023 Heat 3 Poster

M2TM Manchester 2023 – Heat 3
Auraboros, Feign, Square Wild, Napierdalac
The Rebellion
29/01/2023
Review by Rob Sutton

Heat 3 and this one had a difference as all 4 bands were new to me. I won’t say much more and just go straight in.

Now I was a little late this time and did miss half of Auraboros’ set. Walking in there was a huge LGBT flag being held across the stage. The music itself, had numerous different influences from metalcore and hardcore to a bit of groove and it did fit together fairly well, the drumming being a particular highlight and very tight. The guitars were pretty good too with some nice riffs and clean sections. Vocally, the shouts and growls were also pretty good, but the clean singing… it’s really not good. The mic control and projection were atrocious, meaning the voice continually got lost in the mix. The stage show itself was also lacking here, with some movement and some engagement but not enough, which actually left me pretty bored throughout the set. I’ll be honest, it actually sounded and looked amateur and was disappointing. Sorry, this really is not for me.

https://www.facebook.com/auraborosuk

Second to hit the stage was Manchester hardcore trio Feign and these guys do bring the stage show, instantly kicking in and pumping the crowd, which had my attention straight away. To back that up there were some good riffs and some nice breakdowns to go with it, and the Hatebreed style voice also fit brilliantly. But as the set went on things started to become more and more disjointed with breaks in the songs that were way too long, riffs that didn’t fit together well at all and a random slam influenced riff that didn’t go anywhere. It honestly felt like they had thrown a load of ideas together and hoped it worked… it didn’t. 

Another thing which got really fucking annoying was the constant tuning. Every other song we are left in silence while the guitarist pisses about. What the fuck are you doing to your guitar to be out of tune after 2 songs and why is no one speaking or some samples playing while he does this? Completely killed the energy and this annoyed me, the set annoyed me – again not for me.

https://www.facebook.com/feignhc

By this point I was pretty fed up so when Square Wild came on, I really wasn’t in the mood. Thankfully though Square Wild were actually really fucking good! The dual guitar solos were frankly sublime and the vocal range here was simply beautiful! Finally, someone in this heat who can actually sing! Now, Square Wild are completely different, bringing a more funky sound to the table and it was so much fun. I actually had a smile on my face and was having a little jig to all the cool riffs, bass lines, and drum-beats, which were cool as fuck! 

This honestly was like a happy, party band and with the character the vocalist had on stage it was just so enjoyable to watch, even taking the mick out of metal asking for a wall of death, which did make me laugh. I think that’s the vibe these guys were going for, fun, not too serious and to be entertaining and they achieved all that. My big question though, is this right for Bloodstock? In my honest opinion, no, but they still smashed this set!

https://www.facebook.com/squarewild

The night descended into a dark and frankly evil ambiance when Napierdalec hit the stage. An epic intro track led beautifully into an assault of an opening track! Everything here was just spot on, belting drums, cracking riffs, and insanely good vocals. Just everything screamed black metal and it’s ruthlessly fast and epic. The crowd absolutely lapped this up breaking into pits instantly and then continuing throughout the set. There was a slight issue going into the second song where the backing track didn’t quite play properly leaving them having to restart the song, but these things happen, and the second song again was a belter with an absolutely stunning guitar tone cutting through. 

You may as well stop now as after this song, things take a turn for the worse and don’t get better. We had more issues with the backing tracks leading to yet more restarts. I think after this they need to work on how these flow, as this is clearly a major issue. I’m also not sure if they had more issues on stage as by song 4, I don’t think they had any idea what they were doing. The songs were all over the place, no one in time and then finishing songs early. They also shouldn’t have told the crowd that. By the end of the set, I was so disappointed as they started so well but finished like 5 guys who had never played together before. This could have all been down to sound issues but still left the crowd a little lost. Still, that first song blew me away!

https://www.facebook.com/napierdalacband

This was by far and away the weakest Metal To The Masses I have ever been to. Three of the bands were poor and one was completely the wrong genre for the competition. Still Feign went through on judges and Square Wild on crowd vote. I’m saying no more other than I hope next week is better.

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Embodiment, Any Given Reason, Ambrius, Chaplain

Embodiment at The Rigger, Stoke Poster

Embodiment, Any Given Reason, Ambrius, Chaplain
The Rigger, Stoke
13/01/2023
Live Review by Rob Sutton

It’s been a whole year since I’ve been to a gig or even done a review… right, got that terrible joke out the way. My first gig of the year has me heading to Stoke and The Rigger, a venue I am very familiar with having gigged there numerous times with Thrashatouille. The Rigger ticks all the boxes when it comes to a venue: good stage, pool tables, reasonable prices and good sound. The one thing that did let the venue down was the toilets as the urinal trough was practically a swimming pool even when we turned up. Aside from that, we had 4 bands to look forward to so let’s crack on.

First up was Coventry based Chaplain who brought a very riff based sound. Now I will state that I walked in a little late so I did miss the first song but the second song when I walked in really gripped me by the neck. There was a solid amount of groove with a good range of vocals and this continued into the following song. Safe to say I was ready for the rest of the set. Although the following songs didn’t have quite the same punch as the first two, they still held their own and the amount of energy all members showed on stage was phenomenal. Both guitarists bouncing around headbanging, bassist shouting at the crowd and the vocalist getting in the audience’s faces. It all worked and created a very engaging set. To sum Chaplain up, there isn’t much that’s reinventing the wheel but this was an incredibly tight and enjoyable set. If you love your no bullshit metal then you will love Chaplain.

https://www.facebook.com/ChaplainBandOfficial

Gloucester based Ambrius hit the stage next and I had previously heard a lot about these guys but never had the chance to see them until now. Boy, did these guys blow me away! Right from the first song the guitar melodies and solos were just on another level, and while the growls fit the sound Ambrius are going for it was when the clean singing hit that Ambrius were really elevated. The range of the vocalist is just insane. It’s rare enough to find someone who can sing and growl but to be able to hit the notes that this guy can hit stunned me. In fairness the whole set was impressively tight and their use of backing tracks and pedal boards for the additional guitar harmonies and vocal harmonies just worked beautifully, however I feel like they could have gone straight into the songs after the intro as having the count in did kill a bit of the energy. Overall Ambrius’ prog metal sound really struck a chord for me, their musicianship was to die for, and these are some seriously talented lads!

https://www.facebook.com/AmbriusOfficial

Any Given Reason hit the stage with a clear sponsorship from RedBull as both vocalists bounce on and off the stage, into the crowd and just everywhere! Oh, and it’s not like the rest of them stand still either as there is plenty of headbanging going on onstage. Now these guys have gone for a more nu-metal/metalcore crossover which does work really well. The chemistry between the 2 vocalists during the songs makes the transitions between them seamless. Between the songs however there is a little bit of talking over each other, as well as way too much talking. I get it when the technical problems hit but before this there was a good 3 or 4 mins of chat. Yeah it does kind of pump the crowd but it did get a bit much. Realistically though I can’t complain much here. Yeah Any Given Reason weren’t the tightest and there was a bit too much banter but they were incredibly energetic and honestly so much fun to watch on stage!

https://www.facebook.com/anygivenreasonband

Rounding out the night is Bristol Tech Death giants Embodiment. I personally have been excited to see these for a long time as sadly they had to pull out of Birmingham summer smash last year. Straight off the bat there is a massive delay before they take to the stage which i can only assume is down to some technical gremlins but when they kick in, my word we were in for a treat! Blistering drums, insanely paced guitar riffs and monster vocals. Everything about them fits the genre perfectly and technically it’s brilliant! I also particularly enjoyed the vocalist’s banter between songs as he is quite a character connecting with the crowd on a personal and humorous level, which really adds so much to their show. Now I will point out that they are only a 3 piece at the moment and while they did have backing tracks the stage did look empty and there was a small lack of low end that a bass would provide. Also the technical issues did continue as during one song the guitar completely cut out forcing them to stop and restart. Far from ideal but these things happen. As well as this the set was far shorter than planned which did leave the crowd wanting more. They did promise to come back and I hope they do and bring a full headline set. Aside from the issues when they hit the songs they were impeccable and stupidly tight but this was just one of those sets where things didn’t quite go to plan.

https://www.facebook.com/EmbodimentOfficial

For my first gig of 2023 this was a belting way to start, all the bands were fantastic and the venue was packed. I guess the scene in Stoke really is alive and kicking!

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM Manchester 2023, Heat 2

M2TM Manchester 2023 Heat 2 poster

M2TM Manchester 2023, Heat 2 – Divinitas, The Machinist, Visitor and Archetype 
The Rebellion, Manchester 
22/01/2023
Live Review by Rob Sutton

After the incredibly tough Heat 1, I was excited to see what Heat 2 had to offer, especially as 3 of the 4 bands were new to me. So I am not going to blabber on and I’ll dive straight into it.

First up was newcomers Divinitas who I had tried to research beforehand but drew a blank. I then found out that these guys actually don’t have a Facebook so my efforts were pointless. In fact, this was only their second gig and from the awkward start to their set where it felt like they had no idea who was taking the lead to kick things off and a very long intro, it felt like their second gig. But, as the set went on things really did start to pick up, the riffs really did shine and then the lead sections cut through beautifully adding a fantastic layer to their metalcore sound. Heck, they even threw in a breakdown or 2 which absolutely hit the spot. Everything became tight and well oiled after the first song and was an absolute pleasure to watch. Now with these guys being instrumental there was minimal crowd engagement from them which to me didn’t matter, I would have cut it out completely and let the music shine through. This is where the question lies, do Divinitas need a vocalist? Well yes and no, yes as it will really work in the metalcore scene but you would need a really stunning vocalist to match them, and they would risk becoming ‘yet another metalcore band’ and no because they actually work really well as an instrumental group. To summarise, this was an impressive set once it kicked in and it’s well worth keeping an eye on these guys!

(No Facebook)

Things take a darker turn as industrial black/death outfit The Machinist hit the stage and right off these guys kick in with their Anaal Nathrakh style. Now straight off these guys don’t have a drummer but this actually doesn’t matter too much as the style does lean towards a more electric sound and fits perfectly. The only issue is that the drum track doesn’t seem to be of the best quality, most notably when it came to the snare rolls which just sounded messy and distorted. The backing tracks in general didn’t seem to have been mixed very well on the night and thus lost a lot of their impact and it did kill their ambience. Luckily the guitars are where The Machinist shine as the lead tremolo picking is absolutely sublime and the sheer speed these guys are playing at is just mesmerising. There is also a lot of energy on stage with plenty of movement from both the vocalists. I do love the styles used by both vocalists but I’m not sure the sound they’re going for needs 2 vocalists as they were very similar in style. The fact the band went seamlessly from one song to another really did keep the energy throughout the set, but for me was let down by trying to engage with the crowd. In this case I think less is more when it comes to engagement. Now, I was really looking forward to these guys as they are a unique sound in the underground scene right now but with the sound issues and the meh backing track it actually fell a bit flat.

https://www.facebook.com/TheMachinistUK

For the first time tonight we have a full band in the shape of Visitor, straight away you can tell these guys have brought a crowd and whip them into a thrashy craze. Their presence on stage is something that is unmatched this evening and they really do dominate the stage. I really dig the thrashy parts in their set, the shouts work, the pacing is brilliant and the drums are blistering. There are also some cheeky breakdowns thrown in the mix which are perfect for waking up the next day with whiplash. Now sadly when the thrash side stops we get a metalcore side with lots of clean singing… Now, I have to be honest, the singing really isn’t great. Yes, it’s cool that it’s the drummer using a Britney Spears mic but God it’s flat, lacks power and is just whiney. Saying that the frontman’s singing isn’t much better and suffers with similar issues. Being honest because of the singing I couldn’t enjoy this set as much as I wanted to, saying that I’m 100% loving the thrashy breakdowns and the stage show they did put on.

https://www.facebook.com/visitormetaluk

Finally we go back to an instrumental band in the shape of Archetype, who I had actually seen the night before in Rhyl, so I had a good idea what to expect. What can you expect from Archetype? Well tonight’s set was fairly tight but still had the odd missed note or two but I wouldn’t say it was anything too alarming and they did utilise the whole stage really well. Archetype are showmen and this shows tonight as their professionalism really shines through. Honestly their music is very interesting and chops and changes throughout the show, though I did ask myself, is this just trying to be clever for clever sake or is this actually something I would enjoy? Erm for me this is maybe just a bit clever and show offish which kind of works, but I can’t help but feel that this is just Zebedy without vocals. That’s no bad thing as I enjoy Zebedy a lot, and I sort of enjoy Archetype too and this set was good and did tick all the boxes so in terms of this competition and this was probably the strongest on the night.

https://www.facebook.com/wearethearchetypeUK

So last week I mentioned the lighting and despite my previous review not being published before the event the lighting was better tonight on the whole. Though it didn’t quite work for the Machinist. So, in terms of the results, this was a slightly weaker heat than the last one in my opinion but Visitor went through on crowd and Archetype on the judges. Both were good enough to go through in my opinion but Divinitas have certainly made a new fan tonight!

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM Manchester 2023, Heat 1

M2TM Manchester 2023 Heat 1 Poster

M2TM Manchester 2023, Heat 1 – Dekaytah, The Island, Wrath of Man & Blacklist
The Rebellion , Manchester
15/01/23
Review by Rob Sutton

It feels like only yesterday that Manchester’s final was won by Portrayal Of Ruinn but here we are back for another year and with what looks like the toughest competition to date. 

Dekaytah

Dekaytah are a fairly new band on the scene, but one which I personally shared the stage with at the tail end of 2022 and they really impressed me then – so I was excited to see what a couple of months had done for them. Firstly, I did miss a song due to well traffic and bloody road works, but they did kick the competition off in fine style, bags of energy on stage and a cracking mix of different subgenres. Everything from Hatebreed to Lamb of God and hints of Metalcore in there as well. This all blended perfectly together, and the crowd absolutely loved it firing off into pits throughout the set. Their musicianship was pretty spot on as well, with the only niggle I could find was the actual singing. It wasn’t great in fairness, but the screams and shouts did make up for this. Honestly Dekaytah set the bar really high not only for the night but for the whole competition. A really impressive start.

https://www.facebook.com/dekaytah

The Island 

A complete change of pace in The Island was up next and they took things down a more Hard Rock route. For me the first song took way too long to kick in and when it did really lacked punch, which was a shame as in terms of performance it was really tight and had a good blend of influences which reminded me off Tool crossed with Placebo. Once the set kicked in, they really did turn up the energy most notably when the front man got rid of the guitar and gave it some beans, and then more so with the solos cutting through beautifully. Now his voice again didn’t quite work. The shouts were good and fitted the genre well, but the singing was off key and dare I say it, a bit drab. He did however make up for this with the ‘nice guy’ persona on stage, which I really liked as it was a complete change to the aggressive hyper front men in Metal. Although The Island weren’t my cup of tea, they were good and I really did enjoy the last song, but I think nerves got the better of them.

https://m.facebook.com/The.Island.Band1

Wrath of Man 

Another band that have been well and truly on my radar for the past few years is Wrath of Man. Now these guys have been about for a while and with two members also in All Consumed, you would expect a certain level of professionalism. This is exactly what we got, after the slight delay with the backing track they bounce on stage hyping the crowd and kick straight in with a heavy as fuck Death Metal tune. Again, the crowd instantly start pitting, headbanging and well the usual Metal things. The riffs on display here are absolutely brutal, a good cross between Groove and Death, with a slight hint of Thrash. Couple this with some blistering drums and a snare that echoes in your ears for the next few days, and you get the idea just how intense these guys were. The vocal ranges used were also pretty damn sweet with the lows being gut wrenching and the highs and shouts slotting in just the right places, but again the singing did nothing to me. I’d prefer just the growls and screaming if I’m honest. Nevertheless, this was an incredibly slick and professional performance and raised the bar even higher.

https://www.facebook.com/wrathofman

Blacklist 

Last up was Blackpool thrashers Blacklist, another band that have been on my radar for a fair few years. These guys also aren’t short of experience, and it shows. Despite another issue with what I think was an intro track they bounced on stage hyping the crowd and immediately kicked into… well Thrash. To me this is what Blacklist are, ticking every box when it comes to Thrash Metal and their performance. It was tight, energetic, epic solos, thundering bass and a crowd going mental. Yes, pits throughout once again with a huge wall of death and even a slow dance pit. I honestly loved this set and that’s coming from someone who isn’t into Thrash, but it did everything that you would want from a show. I really couldn’t find any fault with them.

https://www.facebook.com/BlacklistMetal

For me three bands deserved to go through and it was a tough one to call, but Dekaytah went through on crowd vote – which didn’t surprise me as they seemingly brought most of the crowd but still had done enough to warrant a judges vote too. Wrath of Man went through on the judges views, which I can also agree on. Blacklist definitely should be in the hunt for a wildcard if there is one though.

OK now I have to rant. Lighting… for Dekaytah there was basically nothing going on just a pre-set, The Island got some fancy bits throughout, and Wrath of Man got the same treatment but then Blacklist had nothing until the last song. This is a competition and lighting places a huge part in how an audience looks at a band. In the interest of fairness either put a pre-set and leave it for every band or go nuts for every band, not as and when you feel like it. Also please check levels for backing tracks. Speaking to the bands using them for intro’s, it transpired that these weren’t checked during their line check and left a band stood side of stage in silence waiting, I wouldn’t mind but these were thirty-minute changeovers, so there really is no excuse.

Aside from that this was a well attended and promoted show and has set the standard for the rest of the heats.

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Moshville WinterFest 2022 – Ivory Blacks, Glasgow – 10/12/22

Moshville WinterFest 2022
Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
10/12/22
Review by Rob Sutton
Photography By Bracken Hake

I’ll be honest, I had never been to Glasgow before and waking up on the Saturday morning for a 4 and a half hour drive and seeing a 3inch thick blanket of snow was not the start I wanted. Nevertheless, I braved the snow, fog, rain and sun all in the name of reviewing. A true soldier! Now the venue itself, Ivory Blacks did have a more rustic/dinghy feel to it but with really good toilet facilities, plenty of seating, a good stage and a mega sound system. Although the beer prices were a little higher than at most venues, I am in the middle of a city so I can understand it.

All bar one of the bands on this bill were new to me and first up was Ac Rid who were down quite a few members , including their brass section but they decided to play despite only being a 3 piece for the night. This meant that the vocalist/bassist was on both duties for the first time and did appear to have some of the lyrics on her phone. This would normally be an issue but I think the circumstances tonight meant this was fine. In terms of their actual music, well it was more on the pop punky side and the vocals were fantastic with some brilliant harmonies from the other band members as well as some tight as fuck drumming. Sadly their stage show was somewhat lacking with very little movement and sometimes a bit too much silence between the songs which also seemed to lose the interest of some of the crowd. Some of the covers were also a little ropey with a few of them slipping out of time but these did manage to get the crowd going a bit. This was by no means a perfect set but despite all the issues really did warm everyone up for the rest of the day. A good opening act.

https://www.facebook.com/TheMightyACRid

Next to hit the stage was a second late addition to the line up, Nassau. Now these guys are certainly different with the guitarist using a kazoo as part of the intro and this kind of set the tone for the rest of their set. Musically there were so many different influences and crazy additions within the songs it well and truly kept the audience engaged. I mean using a 6 string bass guitar is cool in itself but then having the bassist be all over the fretboard was incredible to watch. Couple this with a drummer being all over the kit throwing odd beats left right and centre made the whole musical experience utterly awe inspiring. At the start of the set the members themselves were a little static on stage but as the set went on they seemed to find their groove and started moshing away on stage nicely, including one of my personal favourites, the Synchronised headbang! Vocally, it did feel a little dry, while it kind of fitted the sound they were going for, it wasn’t my usual cup of tea. As a set and performance I’m not sure I enjoyed it or was just gobsmacked at the level of musicianship that was on display, I guess I will have to watch these guys again sometime. Although if you like your weird as fuck prog metal, these guys are totally for you!

https://www.facebook.com/bandnassau

I can’t lie when I say I have seen my fair share of deathcore bands this year but sadly I’ve not seen many from Scotland, this all changed when The Head of a Traitor hit the stage and boy did these guys bring the energy! Not only energy but also keys being played live!!! Although these were a bit quiet in parts but when you could hear them they really added a whole new layer to their sound. Let’s call it Ingested meets Lorna Shore! Vocally as well there was an incredible range from guttural to highs and everything in between, there is a slight hint of jealousy here I can’t lie. Throughout the whole set there was a mix of fast paced riffs, blast beats and neck snapping breakdowns which honestly left me with a huge smile on my face, to say I was like a kid opening a Christmas present to find it was the thing I’d always wanted would describe it best. I was in my element and this probably doesn’t do The Head of a Traitor justice as to just how much I enjoyed this set! Deathcore fans, you need these guys in your life!

https://www.facebook.com/TheHeadOfTheTraitor

Another late addition to the festival was Tempered and again this is another band I haven’t seen before. I won’t lie thrash is not normally my thing but boy did these guys bring it, their energy onstage was infectious! Their style of thrash also leant slightly to the hardcore side, reminding me of Dishonour the Crown. The sheer speed these guys were playing at was phenomenal and really got the pits going and the heads banging, not only that but it was fucking tight! Thrash also tends to lend itself nicely to the good old guitar solos and Tempered did not disappoint, with the guitars cleanly cutting through the mix, heck I wanted to air guitar to this!! As I said at the beginning, thrash really isn’t my thing but every now and again one band will stand out for me and Tempered were that band! Again another utterly stunning set and another band I’ll be keeping my eye on!

https://www.facebook.com/temperedcst

Footprints in the Custard ended up being the sole band I had actually seen before so I knew what to expect, the crowd also were clearly fans with a fair few t-shirts on display. Now if I were to tell you that this set was tight, professional and serious then that wouldn’t be a Footprints show. Yes it was tight and yes it was professional but in parts seemed a little more serious than previous shows, yeah we still have a guitarist in a mankini and silly song titles with a lot of charisma on stage but it’s almost like they have grown up a little bit, there isn’t quite as much silliness as you would expect and the newer songs are musically more serious than before. Does this work? Well to me, yes! The music really strikes a chord with me as there is a definite melodeath feel to some of them and slightly toning down the silliness also allows the music to shine through a little more. Now I’m not saying that these guys have lost their funny side as the songs are still really funny but it’s a more mature overall sound with hilarious themes. As for this set it was great fun as always and I would always recommend these guys as they are one of the top comedy metal bands in the UK right now!

https://www.facebook.com/Footprintsinthecustard

The final band of the evening was Dog Tired and they hit the stage with a shit load of groove! The riffs on display were delicious coupled with cracking bass lines, aggressive vocals and hard hitting beats. I would normally go further into their playing but as soon as these guys hit the stage, I finished my beer and bounced into the pit running into whoever I could find, hair down, horns up and having an absolute blast. Now for anyone that knows me, I try to avoid pits and moshing, yes I’m getting old. So for a band I’ve never seen before to instantly grip me in the way that Dog Tired did means they are something special and boy were they! An entire set spent in the pit and a very sore neck the next day should be praise of the highest calibre. Dog Tired were seriously good on another level!

https://www.facebook.com/dogtiredmetal

I have to give massive props to Moshville for this event, not only was it well promoted and had a good turn out but the bands really were fantastic and gave me an opportunity to watch new bands in a new place. I honestly hope that they make this an annual event!

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. Photography property of Bracken Hake. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Anaal Nathrakh, Sigh, De Profundis – ‘Scala’, London – 14/12/2022

Anaal Nathrakh, Sigh, De Profundis
‘Scala’, London
14/12/2022
Photos and Live Review by Chris Galea

Amidst the pandemic Anaal Nathrakh managed to record and release an album in 2020, the sonically violent “Endarkenment”, but other than that the band had been relatively quiet since then. Tonight’s gig was not part of a tour – as band vocalist Dave Hunt (a.k.a. V.I.T.R.I.O.L.) said, it was a one-off “experiment to see if anyone still cared” about Anaal Nathrakh. In fact, the gig might even be the band’s swansong. Co-headliners were Sigh, on a rare visit to England from their home country of Japan. Clearly this was an unmissable gig, so it was no surprise that eventually it sold out.

If I remember correctly, the identity of the opening band changed a couple of times since the gig was first announced but in the end, it was De Profundis who were entrusted to get the crowd going. Speaking of which…

DE PROFUNDIS

De Profundis are local but command high regard from the world over. Although I was already familiar with the band’s music this was the first time I was seeing them ‘live’. The quintet’s Progressive brand of Death Metal takes a leaf out of bands such as Morbid Angel or Atheist. In other words they can get quite technical at times but still sound unforgivingly heavy. None of the heaviness or technical intricacies seemed to be lost at the ‘Scala’ as the band delivered a dynamic and tight set.

While I enjoyed all their show, my attention often drifted towards the Jazzy bass lines of Steve Woodcock, the band’s most recent recruit. Tonight’s setlist was mainly focused on “The Corruption Of Virtue”, De Profundis’ recent album, from which the band played ‘Ritual Cannibalism’, ‘Sectarian Warfare’, ‘Weaponised Rape’, ‘Religious Cancer’ and ‘Scapegoat’. All potent and intense compositions.

A great band that keeps getting better.

https://www.facebook.com/deprofundistheband

SIGH

Having followed the band intermittently since their Cacophonous days, I was very much looking forward to see Sigh. And yet my high expectations were surpassed. And then some.

Essentially the band’s music can be categorised as Black Metal, but Sigh have their fingers in so many other music genres…. Death Metal, Neo-Classical Metal, Dark Folk… and rather than stick to one style at the ‘Scala’, the band sort of celebrated the richness of their sound. Hence their set-list comprised a relatively wide take of their repertoire. For example, they played ‘A Victory Of Dakini’ from their first album (“Scorn Defeat” of 1993), ‘The Transfiguration Fear’ (from “Insomniphobia” of 2012) and of course a few songs from the band’s recent magnum opus: “Shiki”.

Sigh’s show was striking both musically and visually. Band founder Mirai Kawashima, on bass guitar and lead vocals, was dressed in hooded robe, the band’s drummer looked like an anime character made flesh and guitarist Nozumi Wakai (who showcased some amazing licks tonight) was dressed in colourful make-up and garb that was unmistakably Japanese. He even wore a samurai sword which he occasionally unsheathed and brandished at the audience while Mirai was up to pranks of his own such as holding aloft a burning bible.

I liked how Sigh ended their set, with a cover of Venom’s ‘Black Metal’…. very fitting in current circumstances. The guitar sound decided to go A.W.O.L. for that song, only to return in time for Wakai to play Mantas’ last few riffs.

Truly a fantastic show. It’s amazing how much intensity can come out of just three band members.

https://www.facebook.com/sighjapan

ANAAL NATHRAKH

Every riff, every solo, every sound from Anaal Nathrakh’s set seemed designed to accentuate the music’s brutality. Despite its unbridled fury, the material also had hints of melody in it. I’d describe the music as Blackened Death Metal but, like Sigh before them, categorising the music of Anaal Nathrakh is far from straightforward…. and that quality alone is instantly a bonus in my book.

V.I.T.R.I.O.L. took time to give a bit of context to many songs the band played. This created a stronger bond with the audience, and he seemed genuinely taken with the audience’s rapturous support. Clearly, they still cared for the band.

Rather than focus on their “Endarkenment” album, Anaal Nathrakh opted to revisit each of their albums in their set. All in all I was positively impressed by what I heard. It was an emotional performance for many reasons and I sure hope the triumph of this gig will convince them to make their comeback more definite.

Three bands, each with their own distinctive style but each gave a great show. Tonight was one helluva night for extreme Metal.

https://www.facebook.com/Anaalnathrakhofficial

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Rob’s Top 10 Live Shows of 2022

A weathered skull stands out in a sea of decay.

Rob’s Top 10 Live Shows of 2022
By Rob Sutton

So since everyone has been doing album reviews, I thought I would be a little different and do my top 10 live reviews of 2022. So without further ado:

10 – Ferocious Dog – Bloodstock Sophie Stage

Bloodstock had many incredible performances this year across all stages but for me Ferocious Dog stood out as they were something a bit different from the rest of the line-up, mixing elements of folk, rock and a bit of punk. Honestly this was a highly entertaining and tight set! Special thanks to Ever Metal’s own, Simon for dragging me to see these.

https://www.facebook.com/FerociousDog

9 – Beyond Extinction – Wrexham Central

I think there is something in the water down in Essex as recently there has been a whole host of brilliant bands coming from there. Beyond Extinction for me though were top tier, relentlessly brutal and heavier than Thor’s hammer! If you want to hear Black Tongue but better, these guys are your band.

https://www.facebook.com/beyondextinctionband

8 – Rosen Bridge – The Hive Winsford

I’ve seen Rosen Bridge so many times this year and sadly half of their sets were plagued with technical difficulties but in Winsford, this was not the case. Everything was absolutely spot on, from the vocals, to the epic lead guitars to the blistering drums. These guys are really a band to watch! Album next?

https://www.facebook.com/RosenBridgeUK

7 – Blood Church – Gerbfest

Now I know there might be a slight bit of bias as this was a festival run by JTR but still these Telford lads stunned the crowd with a mix of black metal and slam. Not only was the set ungodly evil but they also got the first pits of the day. Oh and those pig squeals are on another level of good!

https://www.facebook.com/BloodChurchBand/

6 – Beyond Your Design – The Hairy Dog Derby

What can I say about these boys? I’ve been taking the mickey out of them all year for sounding like Trivium but that aside, their music is infectiously catchy and their presence on stage is unmatched in the genre. The addition of a stand-in drummer also added so much more punch to their set and honestly, I can’t wait for them to find a drummer now!

https://www.facebook.com/bydbanduk

5 – Arcaeon – Wangies Eccles 

Would it be a yearly round up without me mentioning Arcaeon? Well this year I caught them twice, first at Techfest and then at Wangies. While Techfest was a stunning performance by these Londoners, Wangies had a much more personal feel to it and it played right into their hands. As they could show off their personality so much more. Not only that but we were treated to a new song which seems so much heavier than their previous material. Already pumped for the next album!

https://www.facebook.com/arcaeonuk

4 – Cabin Boy Jumped Ship – XS Wrexham 

Oh my god there was so much nostalgia here, the MySpace era of electronic metalcore is something I grew up on and is so rarely heard these days. Thankfully Cabin Boy Jumped Ship are still pumping out solid music of this style, not to mention their live show being so tight and full of energy it was impossible not to mosh and dance simultaneously. This was probably the most fun I’ve had watching a live band all year!

https://www.facebook.com/CabinBoyJumpedShip

3 – Ghosts of Atlantis – The Alma Bolton

Now there was a lot to moan about at this gig, most notably the massive delays but when GOA came on, they simply blew me away! I have a soft spot for symphonic metal and when it’s mixed with melodic death metal and elements of black, it ticks all the boxes. This performance stood out the most for me as everything worked so perfectly and they were just mindblowingly tight. I had so many spine tingles while watching these guys, it was simply beautiful!

https://www.facebook.com/GhostsOfAtlantisofficial

2 – Vulvodynia – Techfest

Techfest by far and away had the highest standard of bands in one place and it was really difficult for me not to just fill this list with Techfest. I picked out Vulvodynia as they were just so intense and in your face! In terms of deathcore, these guys are in another league right now. My neck was well and truly shattered after this set.

https://www.facebook.com/vulvodyniaslam

1 – Karma’s Puppet – M2TM Final Chesterfield 

Another band I have seen so many times this year but their final takes the bacon! Seeing as this was a competition, every band stepped up their game but for me Karma’s Puppet stepped it up so much there was no competition! (And that’s not saying that the other bands weren’t good, each warranted a slot as well). Karma’s Puppet had the hooks and the reel and the crowd bit and went crazy! I don’t think any other band this year has put on a show like these boys. Gutted I missed them at bloodstock now…

https://www.facebook.com/karmaspuppet

This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

The Dead Daisies / Graham Bonnet / FM at SWX, Bristol, 15/12/2022

The Dead Daisies / Graham Bonnet / FM
SWX, Bristol
15/12/2022
Live Review and Photography by Paul Hutchings

It’s cold, very cold but the centre of Bristol is teeming with shoppers. Scurrying through the winter market, it’s a relief to join the already growing queue of excited fans outside SWX, the Bristol nightclub cum music venue. There’s some rock royalty in the house tonight and the anticipation is high. 

It’s only 7:10pm when British melodic rockers FM hit the stage. A band with enough pedigree to headline this location, it’s something of a shock to see them limited to 30 minutes and the opening slot. They don’t seem to care mind, with broad smiles across the board from start to finish. Formed in 1984, the band are veterans and demonstrate their class with a smooth set that draws from several albums in their extensive discography. 

Vocalist Steve Overland is the focal point, his rich tones filling the air as the band move rapidly through a six-song repertoire that comprises songs from their early releases as well as more recent albums “Atomic Generation”, “Synchronised” and this year’s excellent “Thirteen”. Keyboardist Jem Davies is hidden in the shadows, only occasionally appearing when the light touches him. It’s down to Jim Kirkpatrick to take the other spotlight, his guitar work sublime. There’s limited banter, as you’d expect with a short slot. It is a reminder that the band are a class act, and it shows with a huge round of applause and even cries for “more”.

https://www.facebook.com/FMofficial

He was excellent at Steelhouse Festival in July, and hard rock legend Graham Bonnet rolls back the years with a 40-minute show that is heavy on the distant back catalogue.  It’s no fewer than four drawn from Rainbow’s “Down to Earth”, along with a couple from his first stint with Michael Schenker and of course, the obligatory hit ‘Night Games’, where Bonnet poignantly refers to drummer Cozy Powell amongst others. 

A few days short of his 75th birthday, Bonnet still possesses the power in the vocal chords. ‘Eyes of the World’ kicks things off, those familiar with the album singing along. Bonnet has ensured he’s supported by a younger cast, including his partner Beth-Ami Heavenstone. Brazilian guitarist Conrado Pesinato meanwhile gets to play out his Blackmore and Schenker fantasies with aplomb, whilst he also manages to take on the first verse of ‘All Night Long’ after his boss strangely forgets the words, some feat on a song he’s been singing for over four decades. 

“I came here to do my stand-up routine” quips Bonnet, as he quickly recovers and moves forward. He’s got a story for every song, as he moves onto ‘Desert Song’, one of two from the “Assault Attack” album. He’s always been an unlikely looking rock star, renowned in the late 70’s for winding Richie Blackmore up with his flamboyant Hawaiian shirts, but he’s held the same style since the 1960’s, so he isn’t going to change now and with his vocals quality why would he? It’s singalong time with ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ before a thunderous rendition of ‘Lost in Hollywood’ sends him off to his Horlicks with the knowledge of a job well done. 

https://www.facebook.com/grahambonnetmusic

With their latest wonderful album behind them in “Radiance”, the musical collective known as The Dead Daisies are very much a band these days. It’s the arrival of Glenn Hughes that has, in my opinion, seen the band shift through to the upper gears and this incarnation purrs like a top of the range automobile. There’s smoke, more poses that the rock handbook can list, solos and some cover versions. It’s a rock show at its best. 

Hughes isn’t known as the ‘voice of rock’ for nothing and even on the last night of the tour he demonstrates why even in his early seventies he remains peerless. His performance during the band’s massive version of Deep Purple’s ‘Mistreated’ is mesmerising, his ability to hold a note causing the heaving masses in front of the stage to hold its collective breath. He’s also a superb bassist and anchors the rhythm section alongside returning drummer Brian Tichy with ease. Tichy is something else, making his rolls and fills with an ease that is frustratingly brilliant, whilst his drum solo, not something I would normally be thrilled about is incredible, his bouncing sticks hitting the ceiling before dropping back to his hands with the assuredness of an international wicket keeper. 

That engine room is supplemented by David Lowy, the mastermind behind the band. Lowy is content to roll the riffs out in a display of solid confidence, which leaves the floor open for the bare-chested Doug Aldrich to showboat with the ease and flamboyance that you’d expect from the former Whitesnake and Dio man. He shreds for fun, provides many shapes for us photographers and generally makes you wish you looked like him! He’s every inch the rock star, from the open shirt to the blond mane that shows no signs of thinning. 

Musically, it’s a treat after treat with songs predominantly from “Radiance” and “Holy Ground” supplemented by a couple from the band’s earlier records as well as a selection of classic covers. CCR’s ‘Fortunate Son’ remains on the set list from 2021, as does ‘Mistreated’, and the double song encore of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s ‘Midnight Moses’ and a blasting finale of Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’ which sees the audience optimistically trying to keep up with Hughes. They fail but it’s good fun. 

The Dead Daisies are now a real force in the world of hard rock. You get the feeling there are many more miles under the hood of this purebred beast. As we emerged in the frosty evening, it’s almost a given that this time we’ll all be back for another opportunity to see these master craftsmen at work once more. 

https://www.facebook.com/TheDeadDaisies

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. Photography property of Paul Hutchings. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Magnum, with support from Vega, and Theia at Tramshed, Cardiff 07/12/22

Magnum, with support from Vega, and Theia
Tramshed, Cardiff
07/12/2022
Live Review by Richard Oliver
Photography by Paul Hutchings 

Opening tonight’s proceedings were alternative rock two-piece Theia.  Describing themselves as “the bastard sons of Royal Blood and Twenty One Pilots”, the duo had the tough job of warming up a frozen crowd thanks to the sub-zero temperatures outside.  With a mix of accessible, modern and straightforward rock mixed with plenty of self-deprecating humour, dad jokes and a determination to have fun, Theia succeeded in winning round the audience by the time they finished their set.  The duo are brothers with Kyle Lamley on vocals and guitar and Ash Lamley on the drums whe rest of the instrumentation being provided by backing tracks.  Whilst backing tracks are commonly used by bands there was an over-reliance on them which detracted from the live experience for me.  Whilst the music wasn’t the sort of thing I would listen to out of choice, there was no denying the fun and enthusiasm put forth by Theia and they did a great job of warming up the audience in The Tramshed.

https://www.facebook.com/THEIAuk

Landing the main support slot were UK melodic hard rockers Vega.  The band are a six-piece who formed in 2009 and have been mainstays of the melodic and hard rock circuit since with a string of excellent albums.  I have seen Vega perform multiple times and they are always an exceptional act and tonight was no different.  They are an immensely slick and polished act and masters of their craft, with absolutely flawless performances especially from lead guitarist Marcus Thurston, who cracked out some absolutely fantastic solos and from frontman Nick Workman who never fails to impress with his vocal range.  Many in the crowd were familiar with Vega and cheered, clapped and sang along enthusiastically to songs such as Worth Dying For, Every Little Monster and White Flag.  Their set was brought to a close with a cover of Def Leppard’s radio Rock classic ‘Animal’, which was a bit of an odd choice considering Vega have seven albums worth of their own material but it went down well with all the classic rock fans in the house.  Once again Vega proved themselves to be one of the top acts in the UK AOR and Melodic Rock scene.

https://www.facebook.com/OFFICIALVEGA

Headlining the evening were a band that really needs no introduction with a career spanning 50 years and a discography longer than the extended versions of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy – it was the legendary Magnum.  The show had been postponed from earlier in the year due to a member of the band catching covid, but this was a show that was definitely worth the wait.  Two members of the band are now in their 70’s but this certainly does not hold back the band in terms of intensity and enthusiasm, with Magnum performing to a level that most bands should aspire to.  There was fantastic interplay between the members, especially between guitarist Tony Clarkin and keyboard player Rick Benton.  Legendary frontman Bob Catley may have a few vocal wobbles here and there, but his stamina and stage presence which belies his age and the vocal interplay between him and bassist Dennis Ward was sublime.  The love and loyalty from the band’s fanbase has not dimmed either and the band seem to be gaining new fans as there was a real cross-section of generations in attendance at the show and the cheers, clapping and sing-alongs were in abundance.  With fifty years of material and twenty-two albums to pick from it is always going to be difficult for a band to find a setlist which covers their career unless they played for five hours, but Magnum managed to find an excellent balance with songs from latest album “The Monster Roars”, songs off more recent albums such as ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ and ‘Where Are You Eden?’ as well as some deeper cuts such as ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’ and ‘The Flood (Red Cloud’s War)’ as well as songs from what are deemed as the classic albums, which of course got the biggest and most enthusiastic responses from the audience, such as ‘Days Of No Trust’, ‘Rockin’ Chair’, ‘All England’s Eyes’, ‘Vigilante’ and ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’.  Bands like Magnum aren’t going to be with us for much longer as time and age marches on, but right now they are still at their peak; playing killer shows and releasing great albums.  The balance between newer and older songs shows that Magnum are far from a nostalgia act and are still an essential band in the Melodic and Hard Rick scene.  With shows as good as this one, get out  and see Magnum whilst you still have a chance. 

https://www.facebook.com/magnumbandpage

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard and Ever Metal. Photography property of Paul Hutchings. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Nile, with Krisiun, In Element, and Decrepid – ‘The Garage’, London – 06/11/2022

Nile, with Krisiun, In Element, and Decrepid
‘The Garage’, London
06/11/2022
Live Review & Photos by Chris Galea

DECREPID

Decrepid are a local Brutal Death Metal band – as far as I can remember this was my first foray into their music. They sounded tight and intense … jeez, if this was only the first band, I dread to imagine how flayed my body and mind will be by the end of the event. Anyway, the vocals sounded particularly fierce and occasionally I heard some cool guitar licks amongst a ferocious barrage of riffs.

https://www.facebook.com/decrepid

IN ELEMENT

In Element stood out from the rest of the bill but not necessarily for the right reasons. The band does a sort of Industrial / Nu-Metal cross-bred with Crematory-type sonorities. They sounded a bit lost to me to be honest and definitely weren’t my cup of tea. At times their singer kept babbling incoherently for more than my patience could endure. As in the case of Decrepid, In Element had very little stage space to move about. Consequentially their singer performed standing on the pit barrier, and it was weird avoiding any collisions when I skirted from one side of the pit to the other to take my photos. Brownie points to the band for their efforts in providing a visually impactful show despite stage restrictions.

https://www.facebook.com/inelement/

KRISIUN

Krisiun’s confidence in delivering the goods was clear as the band steam-rolled through their set with fearsome tightness. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past thirty years, Krisiun, from Brazil, infuse the aural menace of Thrash and Death Metal. The Kolesne brothers that make up the band performed a sort of greatest hits from their vast repertoire with an understandable leaning towards their new album “Mortem Solis”.

The Garage happily lapped everything up and the band members seemed quite pleased at the audience’s reaction. Highlights for me included some guitar shredding from Moyses Kolesne that I hadn’t always picked up from the band’s recordings. Set closer ‘Hatred Inherit’ was particularly impressive too but was delivered with the same passion that the trio showed for the whole set. Quite a good live band.

https://www.facebook.com/krisiun.official/

NILE

Nile upped the ante in terms of brutality and the crowd responded to that with some serious moshing. Sounding immensely tight, the U.S.A. quartet delivered its own brand of Death Metal inspired by Ancient Egypt and its grim mythology.

Behind the drum kit, George Kollias was particularly impressive … tight, precise and relentless. I remember meeting him when he was playing with Greek band Nightfall … he has built up quite a name for himself since then. Similarly, guitarist, band founder and riff-meister Karl Sanders was excellent as he flew through one intricate series of riffs to another without getting entangled.

Despite the fact that the band members seem to work well together, this line-up is actually quite new. Brian Kingsland, on guitar and lead vocals, joined just as the band started working on “Vile Nilotic Rites”, Nile’s most recent album, from which the band played a couple of numbers tonight. Bass player and lead growler Julian David Guillen has only been with Nile for a few weeks, and this is in fact his very first tour with the band. 

Thankfully I exited The Garage relatively unscathed but pleased as it had been a while since I attended such a good Death Metal gig.

https://www.facebook.com/nilecatacombs

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. Photography property of Chris Galea It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.