M2TM Manchester 2023 – Heat 6

M2TM Manchester 2023 - Heat 6 Poster

M2TM Manchester 2023 – Heat 6
The Rebellion, Manchester
Review by Rob Sutton 

So on paper this heat was by far and away the toughest heat and by the sheer number of people that turned up in support also shows that these bands are among the most popular in the competition.

Hitting the stage first was Destroy Planets who have recently promoted their bassist to frontman which has given the band a very different sound vocally than before, although I didn’t manage to watch them previously. Now these guys are very much in the metalcore genre, one which is absolutely flooded with bands these days so personally I’m looking for something a bit different and Destroy Planets do deliver on this. There is a great use of backing tracks and samples within the songs which portray a more dancey side to the genre and this is met with some really interesting rap/screams which to me are insanely cool and performed perfectly. In fact the screams and growls in general are really fucking good, though for some of the lower growls he does cup the mic leading to a bit of feedback. The singing though is lacking a bit, with some parts a little flat and sounding almost forced so this didn’t do anything for me. Musically these guys are tight as fuck and throw that in with lots of movement on stage and a lot of banter they’ve set the bar high for the night – this includes pits straight off the bat. What can I say? This set was really enjoyable and I wanted another song… Oh they had about 4 minutes left of a set… Could have done one more… Never mind at least it wasn’t over their allotted time. I still wanted more!


Technologist return to the competition after making it to the semi finals last year and begin… Well, very nervously and almost unprepared. They have this wonderful intro but while it’s playing they’re all standing around not really doing anything. Guys, why not walk on stage to the intro? Would look so much better than the awkward as fuck start. OK music time! Technologist kick in like they had done in previous events with their incredibly tight take on progressive death metal and the crowd love it, massive cheers after each song and they respond to everything that’s asked of them. I do really love this band, the way they flick from aggression to technical beauty is such a skill that so few bands can pull off and the guitars absolutely make this! Yes the solos may not be as stand out as last week but they’re subtle and slot right into their overall sound perfectly. Vocally as with Destroy Planets, growls are incredible and have an impressive amount of power but some of the singing again is a little flat (although the harmonies do work really well) and the shouts get completely lost in the mix. Before the last song we are introduced to the band, something I get and understand but with the style of music Technologist play this really could have been done during the last song. Oh and again these guys were under by 4 minutes, if they had cut out the chatter before the last song we could have had another and I would have really liked another song as the performance was simply stunning!


Another new band for me was Felicia and I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to expect as we have a frontwoman dressed in a business suit, an 8 string guitar, 4 string bass and a huge kit… then as the set starts we have a strip show? (Don’t worry it wasn’t down to bare skin). This is certainly new for me at one of these. So strip show aside the music is definitely reminiscent of KoRn or Deftones but for me this screams Marilyn Mason! Felicia’s musical style is definitely something that isn’t heard too often these days and again is performed really well, perhaps not as tight as the other bands but for me the focus is definitely more on the performance as opposed to the music so this isn’t a huge deal. Though I will say the drums are absolutely fantastic, the beats are brilliant and the fills are sublime and really are a highlight of this set. The guitars are a little quiet and sometimes muddy, while the riffs are played well they do lack punch for me. Vocally there is a massive mix of styles from rapping, singing to screaming. I love the rappy bits and the screams are also performed with a good amount of power and control but the singing again isn’t the best with a few flat notes and sometimes they too get lost in the mix. Now a few weeks ago there were a lot of technical issues which led to a band falling to pieces. Tonight Felicia also were met with technical difficulties but instead of stopping songs or looking confused they powered through their set like professionals. Even more credit as in a competition this could really knock their confidence but they didn’t let it bother them! I must say I enjoyed this show, it’s different and very entertaining. It’s a performance I would love to catch again!


Last to take the stage was 40,000 Leagues, a band I have seen on many occasions and do usually enjoy. So was tonight any different? No! They hit the stage in fine bouncy fashion, completely owning the stage. The guitar work is absolutely on point with the solos being a real highlight. Although one of the dual solos did have a strange sound, whether this was the wrong pedal hit I’m not sure but it did sound a bit like bagpipes… Still, their crossover from old school metal with the newer feel of metalcore works perfectly with the vocal range being another highlight of this performance. Definitely some of the best clean vocals I’ve heard in this competition. Throughout the set there is plenty of crowd participation and even the trademarked story time with all the crowd sitting down. 40k also ended up being the first band I actually got in a pit to and had a proper mosh and that in itself is a testament to how much I enjoyed their set and I don’t think I need to say more than that!


This heat was seriously good, every band brought their A game and had they not all been in the same heat, should have progressed into the next round. Alas, only 2 can go through and the crowd chose Technologist with the judges choosing 40,000 Leagues. I can’t argue with this as any 2 of the 4 bands would be worthy winners tonight and I have my suspicion that the wild cards could be used on this event. To put it bluntly, this was good enough to have been the final!




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 5 

M2TM Manchester 2023 Heat 5 Poster

M2TM Manchester 2023 – Heat 5 
Rebellion, Manchester 
Live Review by Rob Sutton

I’ve done enough of these now to bother with an intro so let’s just go straight into the first competing band, Wailing Banshee. These guys have recently acquired a new vocalist which I would love to compare to the last one but I’ve never seen them before. Either way these guys (and girl) kicked off in fine fashion, pouncing straight into the first song after some immediate crowd pumping – exactly what you would expect from a heavy metal/heavy rock band. Their style leans towards that of Iron Maiden crossed with Judas Priest in my eyes, with the guitar work particularly fitting of this style providing some very nice riffs and soaring solos to match. Couple that with some pounding drums and brilliant bass lines and you get an idea what’s going on here. On stage there was a lot of movement from all members, (even the drummer!) as well as plenty of crowd interaction. The stage presence here was so much better than the previous 2 events and honestly I breathed a sigh of relief. Now vocally is also where these guys shine. For the most part she hit all her notes and had a good amount of power, even doing a raw scream on the final number which just shows her brilliant control and emotion while she performed. Honestly this was a fantastic performance and one on paper I wasn’t that hyped about but live, blew me away!


I Am The Wreckage are a band I have reviewed a number of times and I have come to know exactly what to expect from them. The banners on stage really did give a professional look to them and the addition of an intro track also meant they walked on stage to thunderous cheers before bouncing straight into 2 brand new songs. A risk but one that was worth taking. The rest of the set followed this great start with tons of energy on stage, mainly the bassist doing his usual parkour around the stage and the guitarist having a wander into the crowd. Their engagement was again spot on, hyping the crowd and encouraging pits, which they get throughout their set. From a performance side, everything was pretty good too, with only a couple of missed notes and beats but this is hardcore so being clinical didn’t matter to me. Where I felt a little meh was the new songs as they didn’t really sound like anything new for them. Still I guess don’t fix something that isn’t broken so I can’t take that as a mark down when the performance was this good.


Two bands in and already I was in a good mood as it seems this heat had a lot more going for it than some of the others, which left third band The Feral Kings with their work cut out. Straight off their take on heavy rock worked well and was performed to another very high standard. Their set is tight, with some really good riffs and solos again as well as some chunky bass lines. Drums were also really strong keeping the whole set very head-bangable (think I just made up a word). The thing that was lacking over the previous two bands was the stage show, while there was some crowd interaction the actual stage presence was minimal to non-existent with most members just stood playing, leaving only the singer’s minimal movements and the lead guitarist’s slight showing off during the solos. In my opinion this got a little boring and I did find myself zoning out multiple times during the set. That’s not me saying they performed badly, in fact quite the opposite as vocally as well, there were some lovely notes hit and some great harmonies in the backings but I could have just listened to a recording.


With such a strong night so far that left Chrysalid with even more work to do. Again these guys were another unknown to me and with a very nice played intro featuring a fair few drum rolls before the vocalist takes to the stage to greet the crowd they kick into the first song with… wait for it… more drum rolls… There were more drum rolls at the beginning of this set than a marching band (had to put that in)! After that though we were treated to some good old heavy metal with a vocal range reminiscent of Merciful Fate and it’s marvellous! The notes this guy hits does send shivers down your spine and then we get more stunning solos and over the top fills throughout the set. This did tick all the boxes when it comes to a good heavy metal show including their crowd engagement, thus getting pits and also introducing the band individually, which was a nice touch. A slight thing that bugged me was when the sound tech nearly played the wrong intro to a song the singer was a bit snappy with him which didn’t look good, however I will say that this should have been sorted during the 30 minute changeovers we had or even do it yourself rather than relying on the sound tech. Aside from this, Chrysalid played a blinder of a set as well and are definitely a band that any heavy metal fan should get on!


So after all that we finally had a really strong heat, something which I was waiting for over the last few weeks and all the bands really stepped it up. So on crowd vote was I Am The Wreckage which was no surprise and the judges’ was The Feral Kings? Ey? Don’t get me wrong, they did play well but there wasn’t a stage show and to me Wailing Banshee and Chrysalid brought the music and the stage show. I must be missing something here… 

Commiserations to both Chrysalid and Wailing Banshee as I personally believe both bands were worthy of going through. I hope to see them both again.




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 4

M2TM Manchester 2023, Heat 4 poster

M2TM Manchester 2023 – Heat 4
The Rebellion,
Review by Rob Sutton

OK, so last weeks heat was not to my taste so much and this weeks one seemed to have been cursed with 2 bands pulling out in the run up with only one of those slots being replaced by a competing band and the other with a guest. I will say hats off to the 0161 for managing to get 2 bands in on such short notice!

First up for the night was thrash 4 piece Viral Strain who have entered before and I had seen on a few occasions. They start off well with some good riffs on display as well as instantly hyping the crowd. So far this is looking pretty good. We have a unique style of vocals which is quite squealy compared to some thrash but strangely fits these guys well. In fact these guys fit the thrash genre very well as I mentioned the riffs are pretty tasty, the group vocals thrown in work fantastically and the bass lines are pretty fucking sweet. Throw that with a few cheeky effects pedals and yeah, its good. For me though the drums were sometimes a bit minimalist and I felt that there could have been a few more technical patterns or fills used to spice the riffs up further and make things a little more interesting but again they did fit so it was OK. I guess that’s what I can say about Viral Strain, it does exactly what it says on the tin… its Thrash, I guess it didn’t excite me as much as I would have liked but it was a good performance.


A new band for me was Apparitia, now these guys (and girl) are more of a rocky style band but certainly have a following and the energy to warrant a place on the bill. The first song was a little slow to get started but once the second song hit then we start to see what these guys are about. There is an awful lot of bouncing on stage, mostly from the bassist which is good to see and the whole band do look like they are enjoying themselves which in turn the crowd do the same even ending up with a full crowd sway, a first for me at one of these events. I also love the guitar work from the riffs to the breakdowns and the tapping to the soloing. These guitarists have some serious talent and personally, I love it! There were a few things however which I did pick up on. Firstly the bassist didn’t seem to know the set list and could be heard asking ‘is it this one’ the band all looked a little confused so if this was a joke it didn’t really work but if not then perhaps write him a set list out. Secondly (I feel like I’m picking on the bassist a bit here, sorry) but while playing his picking was fantastic and worked really well but when he started fingering, the technique was just a bit wrong and didn’t sound right. (Nothing worse than sloppy fingering -Ed) It was like he was very tense and thus left him not able to utilise the sound which fingering would give. I really can’t believe how that has come out there but oh well I’m leaving it in. Finally the vocal range wasn’t great until the last song. For the majority of the set there was very little change in pitch or range and it ended up sounding like talking singing which got a bit boring. Now I know she can sing well as she proved that with her actually doing all of the above in the final song so why not do it throughout the set? I’ve picked a bit at these guys but really this was a solid show and did have the biggest crowd engagement and participation out of the 3 competing bands. Again it was a solid set.


Finally another returning competitor in Asylum City Zoo and these guys don’t lack experience and it shows with probably the tightest set of the competing bands and their presence on stage, there is no lack of confidence here. Now they bring a bit of an odd mix of genres but I liked their term of Dad Metal so we will use that. The solos are pretty good cutting through nicely with again some lovely riffs to get the heads nodding along with some incredible double kick work, this really caught my attention and I think the drums are an absolute highlight of these guys. ACZ did exactly what I expected of them, were tight, engaging and full of character Although there were a few awkward pauses but nothing alarming. Yes some of the singing wasn’t the best but compared to where they were last year, they have massively improved and they were enjoyable to watch although this didn’t blow me away like I would have hoped for, I guess I was just wanting a bit more from them. Still though another solid set.


3 Competition bands done so onto our guest headliners in the shape of Akkadian from Cambridge. Straight off the bat these guys prove why they have been given this slot, an epic intro leads into an absolute barrage of riffs, heavy ass drums and thumping bass. The musical talent here is next level! Their mix of Gojira and Lamb of God for me is brilliant. I actually have my head banging! More solid solos and ambient sounding guitars are used throughout and perfectly break the songs up but my god this drummer is a machine! I know their triggers but the speed is just immense and I love it. These guys really were in a different league compared to the other bands tonight, their level of tightness, professionalism and stage show were on point. This however doesn’t mean there weren’t faults, vocally while a good tone and range lacked power, seriously lacked power. To the point where sometimes he wasn’t heard at all, especially during the spoken bits and on the moments he put power in he cupped the mic meaning it either fed back or became overly loud. For me there needs to be a fair bit of work on projection here as even during the last 15 minutes when the sound guy had clearly boosted him up there were some very strange and not a good strange sounds coming from him. Aside from this, a brutal, pit inducing 40 minutes left the crowd begging for more and that’s what a guest headliner is all about.


So after last week this was a step up in terms of the competition, I didn’t hate any of the bands though nothing blew me away. Apparitia went through on crowd and Asylum City Zoo on judges and I actually agree with this. Onwards to heat 5!




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 3

M2TM MANCHESTER 2023 Heat 3 Poster

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




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.

Rob’s Review of 2021

Rob’s Review of 2021
By Rob Sutton

Beth here! Our newest addition to the team, Rob, has been a busy beaver for his highlights review of 2021! Not only has he done top ten albums, but he’s also done top ten EPs, and top ten live performances, too! Check out his comprehensive review of the year that live music sort of got back on track, just about! 

2021 has been a strange year, the first half was spent sitting in doors, and then suddenly we were all allowed to do what we wanted! We have had everything from online festivals to sit down gigs and then back to normality. One thing that has remained fairly normal has been the constant stream of new albums and EPs, though. So, without further ado, up first is my personal top 10 albums.

10 – Bullet for my Valentine – “Bullet for my Valentine”

Bullet For My Valentine came out of the blocks with “The Poison” back in 2005 and it was a stunning album. Since then for me they never quite got back to the quality that album had. Until now, BFMV have come back with a bang, and without the gimmicks. For me this is their first proper Metal album, and has some cracking riffs and even some breakdowns. Matt has also gone back to using more growls than screams, which personally appeals to me greatly. 

Bullet For My Valentine Album Cover Art


9 – Our Hollow, Our Home – “Burn in the Flood”

Our Hollow, Our Home has been a band I have followed since watching them on 2019’s Never Say Die Tour and I absolutely fell in love with their sound. Their combination of Pop Punk style beats and choruses mixed with true Metalcore breakdowns and growls is something very different from the rest of the genre. This album perfectly encapsulates their sound and the addition of Rio from Crystal Lake on ‘Remember Me’ is simply brilliant.

Burn In The Flood Album Cover Art


8 – Dreamshade – “A Pale Blue Dot”

These guys are a band that randomly came on my spotify playlists while working, and since then I have not stopped listening to this album. It is so darn catchy! Their guitar work is reminiscent of the Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal scene. Throw this in with some Hardcore style vocals and you have something that is unlike anything else. My personal favourites from this album have to be ‘Shanghai Nights’ and ‘Stone Cold Digital’, again so freaking catchy!

A Pale Blue Dot Album Cover Art


7 – Imminence – “Heaven in Hiding”

The Architects style Metalcore is something that has been replicated and imitated by many bands in this day and age and while MetalHammer put this down as almost plagiarism, I wholeheartedly disagree! There are so many more layers in this album, the addition of a violin is just spine tinglingly pretty. There’s also a much more melancholy feel to each song, as opposed to being upbeat, which is actually welcomed. They aren’t as catchy as some of my other picks here but Imminence offer something a little different from your standard Metalcore.

Heaven In Hiding Album Cover Art


6 – Architects – “For Those That Wish To Exist”

I’m sure by now you can tell I like my Metalcore, so it was probably obvious that Architects would be one here. “For Those That Wish To Exist” was a slight change to their usual style, the Nu-Metal influences were clear in songs such as ‘Animals’. Architects have been a blueprint for many bands recently, so for them to evolve away from the norm was refreshing.

For Those That Wish To Exist Album Cover Art


5 – Ex Deo – “The Thirteen Years Of Nero”

Ex Deo, a band consisting of members of Kataklysm, who said at Metaldays they don’t deal with gimmicks, have a side project that is just that. Aside from the roman theme, the Death Metal on offer here is in your face heavy. The additions of keys make this really feel like it would have been composed by a Roman. I love the concept, I love the music, and this album is how quirky bands should be – more about the music with the theme on top!

The Thirteen Years Of Nero Album Cover Art


4 – Vola – “Witness”

Straight up I have to point out that there isn’t a scream or growl in sight on this album and “Witness” is the only one on my list like that. Vocally, Vola are incredible. Riffs, Vola are jaw dropping, and the technicality in the music is just phenomenal. I have had this album on repeat so many times in my car, singing along to ‘Head Mounted Sideways’.

Witness Album Cover Art


3 – Arcaeon – “Cascadence”

A late addition to my list, as I only discovered these at November’s Techabilitation, but my god this album is good! Vocally, there are notes I didn’t even think a singer could hit – just listen to ‘Origin of Dreams’ or ‘Ezekiel’s Wheel’! Musically, this is up there with the likes of Periphery. The whole album is just a massive show off of talent and pure Progressive/Djent perfection. Every time I listen to this album I get goose bumps and not many albums do that.

Cascadence Album Cover Art


2 – Spiritbox – “Eternal Blue”

Again, probably predictable on this list, but that is for good reason. This album has taken the Metal world by storm. Before 2021, no-one knew who Spiritbox were, now they are almost a household name. This album was greatly anticipated after songs like ‘Holy Roller’ were released. They did not disappoint! Eternal Blue is simply stunning from start to finish.

Eternal Blue Album Cover Art


1 – Annisokay – “Aurora”

For anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for metalcore, this list has made that obvious. This year produced Aurora, probably one of my most played albums of all time now. It is again stupidly catchy and vocally beautiful. Songs such as STFU highlight the bands ability to be straight up heavy while others like Bonfire of the Millennial add a much slower feel to them. This album comes with recommendations from Within Temptation after Sharon worked with the guitarist for a song. These guys aren’t very well known and seriously deserve a lot more recognition, this album is the soundtrack to my 2021!

Aurora Album Cover Art


Rob’s Review of 2021 – Part 2: EPs

2021 also produced some stunning EPs, so I thought a quick ‘top 5’ were worth a mention.

5 – Attack! Attack! – “Long Time No Sea”

Yes I know they are a meme band from the MySpace era and we all used to joke about their constant use of crabcore. These guys did inspire an entire genre and then disappeared off the face of the earth. Strangely I was happy when I saw this was coming out as, despite all their faults, I did really enjoy them. “Long Time No Sea” shows they have grown up a little. Gone are the overly auto tuned cleans, and we are left with a solid singing voice that is quality on its own merit. The EP felt stripped back from the early days without losing too much of what made Attack! Attack! Legends.

Long Time No Sea EP Cover Art


4 – Insomnium – “Argent Moon”

I love my pretty Melodic Death Metal, and for me Insomnium are among the best at it. Each release never fails to send me to a state of pure relaxation. “Argent Moon” isn’t anything new for them, but for me a slight evolution on “Heart Like a Grave”. Trying to fix something that isn’t broken springs to mind with this EP. “Argent Moon” is simply beautiful.

Argent Moon EP Cover Art


3 – Orbit Culture – “Shaman”

If I was making a list last year these guys would have had album of the year, alas all I can add on here is “Shaman”. This is a small addition to “Nija”, and just feels like they have added 5 more songs to the album. They haven’t changed much in a year, but that’s fine; their cross between Metallica and Gojira is just sublime. I think Orbit Culture have the most headbangable riffs in Metal at the moment.

Shaman Ep Cover Art


2 – Impending Doom – “Hellbent”

Deathcore feels like a dying genre, but there are still a few gems hiding out there. Impending Doom are one of them. This EP is heavy and relentless, 20 minutes of some delicious breakdowns, bleughs, and blast beats. I wish they had made an album as it has been so many years since new material, and this made me want to walk outside and throw something. AHHHH ANGER!

Hellbent EP Cover Art


1 – Lorna Shore – “…And I Return to Nothingness”

Lorna Shore had the misfortune of having to replace a vocalist; this can be make or break for a band. In this case it has made the band into one of the biggest in the scene. Their mix of Synths and Black Metal elements may be some that are used with other bands, but they are simply terrifying here. Throw in some face melting breakdowns and you have proper Deathcore. Okay, this is all good but the real reason these guys have hit the big time is that voice! There is nothing in the Metal genre that comes close. If you haven’t listened to ‘To The Hellfire’, then do so. You will see why this is number 1.

And I Return To Nothingness EP Cover Art


Rob’s Review of 2021 – Part 3: Live sets

Seeing as I have managed to go to so many live gigs this year I thought it was only right to make a top 10. Now obviously, I have seen hundreds of bands this year, and each one was quality on their own merit. This was by far and away the hardest list to make.

10 – Recall the Remains – Grand Central

Grand Central this year has put on some fantastic shows, but for me the set performed by Recall the Remains was head and shoulders above the rest. The sheer power in the voices and cracking stage presence was just stunning. This for me was better than their set at Badgerfest, which many had down as one of the sets of the festival!


9 – Asleep at the Helm – The Waterloo

Asleep at the Helm were utterly brilliant at this gig, and being the first band on, they set the bar incredibly high for the rest of the night. Vocally, they are almost unmatched in the underground Metalcore scene, and the crowd here were bouncing and singing along to almost every song.


8 – Blood Church – The Gifford Arms

If you want to witness a stupidly heavy band, then Blood Church are for you! This set was filled with Black Metal ambience and insanely heavy breakdowns, not to mention one of the best pig squeals I have heard all year. They not only destroyed the venue but for me were the best band on the bill.


7 – Harbinger – Techabillitation

I couldn’t have a live list without this set. Harbingers entire set was spent with me pitting, spin kicking, or on someone’s back. I absolutely broke myself to these guys and was one of the few times this year I fully got involved when at a show. Pure aggression and brilliant stage presence!


6 – Solar Shift – Techabillitation

Another one from Techabillitation. SolarShift I have reviewed on a number of occasions this year, and their set in Oldham was a little lacklustre, but here everything came together beautifully. As a last minute addition to the bill they were very much welcomed. This set was exactly what SolarShift are all about, great fun and of course… BOUNCE!


5 – Grief Ritual – Badgerfest

Grief Ritual are probably one of my finds of the year, their Black Metal/ Hardcore crossover is simply brilliant, and they were the band that really kicked off Badgerfest for me. Not only that, but they also gave me a sore neck, which I had to endure for the rest of the weekend. This whole set was heavy and aggressive and I simply loved it.


4 – Dreameater – Breadshed

This was a last minute gig for me, and I honestly hadn’t heard of Dreameater before, but their ability to flick between genres during a set, all while keeping their sound was stunning. They were brutal and I have been listening to them non-stop since. Their new album, “Cold”, is also worth checking out!


3 – Necronautical – Bloodstock

Surprisingly the only Bloodstock band on here! This wasn’t to say the bands weren’t good at Bloodstock, more that there were so many quality gigs as well. Necronautical were my stand out band at BOA though. Their take on Symphonic Black Metal with the assistance of 2 opera singers (male and female) was gorgeous. The entire set was spine tinglingly good, and will forever be ingrained in my memory.


2 – Arcaeon – Techabillitation

As I have mentioned with my album list, these guys are incredibly talented and this translated fantastically on stage. Although down a guitarist, this didn’t feel thin or light, but was just jaw droppingly good. Not to mention the entire band had massive smiles on their face the whole way through the set, and the vocalist must be one of the happiest vocalists I have seen. The whole set was just perfection and I highly recommend checking these guys if you get a chance.


1 – Countless Skies – Rebellion

A very late addition to this list as I had already started writing it before I went to this gig! However, I simply could not ignore this set. Countless Skies performed an utterly beautiful set that was littered with stunning guitar work and a magnificent voice to accompany. I was left completely speechless afterwards and in a state of awe. I may have seen Countless Skies countless times but each time they amaze me, and for me this was the most enjoyable set of the year.


Honourable mentions:

Just a few other things that impressed me or I thought deserved a mention.

Badgerfest – As a whole this was by far and away the best run of the 3 festivals I have been to this year.

Portrayal of Ruinn – For smashing their headline set in Eccles https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn/

0161 MUMC/And Heavy Metal for Wigan – For consistently putting on top quality gigs all year

The Cartographer/From Her Ashes – for being lovely to an unknown drunk northerner at Techabillitation. (Me) 

Ever Metal – for giving me a platform to write about the music I so dearly love!

Thrashatouille – for being the best band in the world, ever, and who need signing to every record label so they can take over the world one pizza slice at a time! (I joke this is my band).

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.

Portrayal Of Ruinn w/ Cast In Tephra, I Am The Wreckage, and Biomech Wangies, Eccles – 13/11/2021

Portrayal Of Ruinn at Wangies Poster

Portrayal Of Ruinn
w/ Cast In Tephra, I Am The Wreckage, and Biomech
Wangies, Eccles – 13/11/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

Tonight was the first time I had ventured to Eccles for a gig! And on first observation, before I start talking about the bands, I have to say Wangies is a cracking little venue, filled with character and some of the loveliest bar staff around. The whole place has a lovely homely local venue feel about it. That made the prospect of live music even more great!

First up was a band I knew nothing about. I hadn’t listened to them before hand or heard the name until this gig, though there was a familiar face behind the kit in Aaron, who I have seen in many of his previous bands. Biomech are a mix of Tech Death, with elements of Deathcore, and their influences are clear to see. The tone of the solitary guitar has a delicious crunchy sound to it, and gives their overall sound a meaty fee. This is coupled with some blistering drumming, and some of the fastest double bass, I have heard in a long time. The drums really are solid and jaw dropping to watch. Biomech also utilise backing tracks to create some added ambience to their music, and this includes the lead guitars. While this is all well and good, I honestly would have preferred the leads to be played live with the backing tracks being the rhythm guitars. I do like to see bands show off, and Biomech missed a trick here. This set felt a little rough around the edges, but with a bit more practice these guys have the potential to go far, as they all clearly have a lot of talent.


Second up was a band I have been following since my first post lockdown gig. I Am The Wreckage seem to have built a name for themselves by, well, wrecking venues. This set was no exception; they were full of beans and leaping around like a bunch of scared gazelles. The bassist could be seen standing on amps, spinning around, or lying down on the stage. It’s hard to keep your eyes off him, but it wasn’t just limited to bass! The guitarist seems to be making a habit of starting the carnage by merely strolling into the crowd and knocking a few people around. It worked, as pits continue from here for the rest of their set. Musically, this did not seem as well polished as last time I saw them – the muddy tone of the guitar drowned out everything else, and left each song sounding rather messy and rushed. Saying that, there were a few moments where a very tasty riff would shine through, and everything came together neatly. This was by no means their best set, but it was packed with energy, and was an incredible amount of fun to watch and to join in.


Cast in Tephra travelled a long way to play this show. All the way from Newcastle to be exact. With them, they brought a new level of heavy to proceedings, mixing Slam and Deathcore together to create something that was ungodly heavy. Vocally, there is a cracking mix of styles, including some disgusting pig squeals. (I say disgusting as a good thing). There was plenty to headbang to here, and pit to, and they were again present throughout the set, and much more brutal than before. People were yet again getting thrown out the door, or falling into the bar, although that’s not a bad thing as you can just get another beer while you’re there! The use of samples for the intros was nicely done, and didn’t take away from their overall sound, in fact it was a fantastic addition. We were also treated to a few covers in this set, firstly for all the old school Deathcore fans, ‘Recreant’ by Chelsea Grin, which was performed beautifully and allowed me to sing along, much to the confusion of a few around me, as it seemed no one had got which song this was. Then, as the final song of the set, we were treated to ‘Roots’ by Sepultura, a classic! And this cover was probably one of the best I have heard a band play. My main criticism with this though is that they had a half hour set, and playing 2 covers felt like a waste, when their own material was of such a high quality. This actually left me really disappointed, as I felt like this could have been one of the best sets of the year, had I heard more of them, and not other peoples work. Saying this, they were enjoyable and were so close to playing an absolute blinder of set, hopefully next time one less cover will elevate the set higher.


Tonight was all about one band – a band I have reviewed on a number of occasions -but tonight was Portrayal of Ruinn’s first headline set. They continued exactly where Cast in Tephra left off. Pure, in your face brutality, and plenty of pits ahoy. Although the crowd may have thinned a little they show no signs of relenting. Portrayal played a mix of old and new songs throughout the set, and you could hear the crowd joining in on the more well known songs. They also began the set with an intro sample which thankfully this time didn’t continue playing through the first song. Apart from this there were no other samples in the set, and this was no bad thing as it gave Calvin (vocals) plenty of chance to pump the crowd. Portrayal have had critics in the past for not moving much on stage, tonight however, they were bouncing, moshing and generally getting in with the crowd. Doing this however caused an unusual issue, with a guitar getting tangled in the netting on the roof. This took a lot of time to untangle, but was hilarious to watch! This wasn’t the only problem they had with the netting, as while throwing some free t-shirts out, one managed to land perfectly in the netting as well. Portrayal also treated the crowd to a new song which I felt did need a little bit of work as it ended rather abruptly, and they didn’t look as confident playing it as their others. But this was a good time to try something different. They also brought a guest on for their latest single ‘Lifeless Life’, however I cannot comment on this song as the guest was me!! Portrayal of Ruinn have really grown in the last few months, a lot of gigs and hard work definitely seem to be paying off, as they dragged a huge crowd to this show. I can see 2022 being a very good year for these guys with this rate of progression.


Portrayal and the 0161 have pulled another blinder of a gig; they really are showing that the Manchester scene is alive and kicking. This is a fantastic destination for any band in the underground scene.

0161 MUMC:


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.

Old Selves w/ Recall The Remains, Only The Righteous, and Death By Discourse

Old Selves at Grand Central Manchester Poster

Old Selves w/ Recall The Remains,
Only The Righteous, and Death By Discourse
Grand Central, Manchester – 11/11/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

The Coronavirus nearly stole Grand Central from the Manchester scene, with plans afoot to make it into a family restaurant. Luckily for local metal, it was saved, and brought back as the go to pub for metalheads. Not only this, but gigs have also resumed at the venue, which shows just how strong the scene in Manchester is.

Tonight, 4 bands took to the stage, the first of which being Death by Discourse. Sadly, due to some Mercedes driver deciding to have a crash on the road into Manchester, we were unable to catch them.


First up for me then was Only the Righteous, a post-hardcore band from the North West. These guys have been floating around on my radar for a few months, but this was the first time I’ve managed to catch them. Sadly, they were missing a drummer, and thus had to make do with a drum machine. It worked for this gig, although being pre-programmed, they did lack punch. Luckily the rest of the band bouncing around made up for the missing member, and they spent pretty much every song fully engaging the audience, which was met with many audience members singing back at them. Vocally they seem to be going down the style of old school Underoath. However, while the more shouty style of screams really fit the genre, in this case it did sound strained, and I feel they need a lot of work. Only the Righteous also boast multiple members adding to the vocals, but for me this needed quite a bit more practice, as there were a few places where they were out of time with each other. Tonight’s show was fairly solid though. They got the crowd going, and warmed up for the evening, and above all, many people looked to be enjoying the show.


I had the pleasure of seeing Recall the Remains at BadgerFest a few weeks ago. They blew the audience away then, and tonight was much the same for them. Not only were they full of energy, but they performed with a level of precision that is unmatched by many bands in the scene. We were even treated to a new song, which was a highlight in the set for me, as well as some of the older tunes, which I found myself singing along to. Speaking of singing, the clean vocals performed by Jordan (bassist) are simply beautiful, and among some of the best in the genre. He also performed some screams, which sadly don’t quite work for me, they sound a little rough. Maybe this is the style from inhaling that just doesn’t float it for me. Front man Jacob is a beast on stage, jumping around and headbanging throughout the set, all while treating the crowd to a mix of growls and screams. It’s quite an art to mosh and growl at the same time, but he pulled it off perfectly. Backing the fantastic vocals were 2 phenomenal guitarists, who sometimes got lost behind the vocals. But the mix of sweeping and tapping solos, with the use of a whammy bar is a sound that really puts a smile on your face. Underneath all this there was a hint of backing tracks. They’re nice to hear, as they aren’t in the forefront, and let you appreciate the musical talent on display. Recall the Remains played a blinder of a set – one worthy of a headline slot. The buzz for these guys in Manchester is growing, and rightly so! It was a thoroughly enjoyable set, and I look forward to seeing what they do next.


Finally for tonight was a band I had pleasure of sharing the stage with on Halloween. Yorkshire boys, Old Selves, seem to be constantly on the road at the moment playing gigs right across the UK. They have clearly already made a name for themselves in Manchester, as there were many of their t-shirts on display here. The crowd, however, seemed to have thinned drastically, and constant feedback issues during sound check would have knocked any band, but not these guys. They open with pure energy and were already bouncing around the stage. Their guitar work is fantastic, the whole set was laden with incredible riffs and soaring solos. These guys show off, and rightfully so; they are exceptional guitarists. Their use of backing tracks when I played with them was subtle, and added a really nice element to their style. Tonight though, they were way too loud, and because of this all the other instruments got lost in the mix. Old Selves throw a mix of different subgenres into their sound; from hardcore, to metalcore and even thrash. This creates something new, something that stands out from your normal metal band. I really enjoy watching them and trying to pick out where their influences are. As entertaining bands go, these guys are up there, but I keep thinking the headline slot wasn’t right for them tonight, as they didn’t get the same reaction as the previous 2 bands.


It feels so good knowing that Grand Central is back! It has always been a great venue to play and to watch and with gigs coming thick and fast here, I will be back again!


Grand Central:

0161 MUMC:

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.