M2TM Manchester 2023 – Heat 3
Auraboros, Feign, Square Wild, Napierdalac
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.
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.
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!
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!
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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