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.

Badgerfest Promotions Presents… Badger & The Mushrooms Christmas All Dayer, Rebellion, Manchester – 11/12/21

Badger And The Mushrooms Poster

Badgerfest Promotions Presents…
Badger & The Mushrooms Christmas All Dayer
Rebellion, Manchester,11/12/21
Review by Rob Sutton

It had been a while since I’d last been to the rebellion in Manchester, and since the lockdown there have been many setbacks for the venue. Deansgate station needed work done to it and this in turn caused the closure of Rebellion for a number of months while the work was taking place. This has led to many things in Rebellion suffering. Firstly the entire toilet block had been destroyed, leaving the venue having to replace the facilities with portaloos. Not only that,but the stage itself looked to have been hastily put back together and looked unfinished. This was a massive shame as this venue was one of my favourites to go to. Tonight’s gig was also plagued with numerous technical difficulties and sound issues. Never-the-less the bands made the best out of this situation.

Due to work commitments I didn’t manage to catch World Held Hostage or Mairu.



So first up for me was 40,000 Leagues, a band I have seen many times and each time they seem to get better. The whole band oozes with charisma on stage and are very engaging to watch. Vocally, Nathan’s voice was absolutely on point again, in fact I would say here it was the best I have heard it. Some of the notes he hit were simply stunning, and it was backed with some soaring solos and on point drums. There was a huge amount of crowd participation in this set, most notably ‘story time’ where the whole crowd sits down! While this has been done before, it was something unusual for the Manchester scene, which was great. My only criticism is that the last song did go on a little bit too long for me, but the addition of a Christmas song was very fitting. This was a cracking set and a great start to my day.


Next it was the turn of Clashmute, a band I first reviewed at Badgerfest, where they properly won me over. This set was equally as good, as the band again looked professional on stage, and again gave a show worthy of bigger stages. This gig was the final show for their bassist, and what a reaction they got with pits present throughout their set. The atmosphere was amplified by more cracking breakdowns which had the whole crowd banging their heads. A personal highlight of this set for me was ‘In Virtue’; this song is a proper banger, and Clashmute had the crowd shouting the lyrics back at them. Ryan’s voice has improved massively over the years I have seen them, but tonight didn’t quite match their set at Badgerfest and this did result in some moments of feedback when he cupped the mic. Having said that, this set really got the night going for me; it had everything you want from a Metalcore band. Definitely a fan!


UK Melodic Death Metal is hard to come by these days, and in Manchester I only really know of one band, Frozen in Shadows. They are made up of members of many other bands, including Footprints in the Custard. You could say they are a super-group. Sadly here they suffered with a lot of technical difficulties which led to the guitars cutting out and almost inaudible keyboards. This was a real shame as at Bloodstock these guys were fantastic, but the whole sound got completely lost. I also felt the drums were overly complicated for the sound they were going for; that’s not me saying the drums are bad, but in some cases you can over play and be overly technical, or throw fills where they aren’t really necessary, and this was an example of that. This took away from some of the fantastic riffs that would otherwise be much more noticeable and also seemed to drown out the keyboards further. As previously mentioned there are members of Footprints in the Custard, and while the genre Frozen in Shadows are going for is completely different, I can’t help but notice the silliness from FITC has transferred over here, and it’s not something I feel works. I’m all for a band being a little silly every now and again but this did feel like a mirror of Footprints’ comedy. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Frozen in Shadows. ‘Alone’ is an absolute belter of a Melodic Death Metal track, but this set fell flat tonight for me.


Gospelhiem I saw a few months ago for their very first show, so I was eagerly awaiting this set to see if they had improved. I was not disappointed. Their confidence as a band has grown immensely, and vocally I could hear them so much more clearly than previously. They created a depressingly dark atmosphere throughout the venue, one which was a great change from the previous bands. I was particularly impressed with Lenore’s voice which was incredibly haunting throughout the set. Gospelheim really have massively improved since last time and I can see why they are getting bigger and bigger gigs thrown their way. They are completely different to anything else in the genre, and I love it. If I had to nit-pick this set, I would say it was a song too long; a half hour set for me would have been absolutely spot on. Definitely a band to watch going forward!


Another blast from the past for me was After the Abduction. I have previously seen them on a number of occasions, and played alongside them, so it was nice to see them again. There was a notable change to their line-up, as they have recruited a new bassist/vocalist, although he was in their previous band, The Threat. With this change of line-up also came a slight change in genre, the familiar slams and brees have been replaced by Death Metal grunts. The whole sound was very different from their previous guise, but was a welcomed change. After the Abduction have always been known to play to an exceedingly high standard and this performance was no exception, I don’t think there was a note wrong here. They utilise some lovely chops within riffs to really emphasise their competence, and add a nice breakup of the song. Throw in some ridiculously heavy breakdowns to that mix, and the whole set just felt tight and polished. ATA don’t lack confidence on stage either – each member, including the drummer, can be seen glaring at the crowd, head banging, and generally going mental on stage! Even though ATA did suffer with technical difficulties which completely wiped out the bass, they continued on. Luckily for them this happened during the last song, but it did leave the vocalist/bassist a little lost without his instrument. This was an absolutely stunning set. It was performed perfectly and left me lost for words, outstanding is the perfect phrase for this set.


From downright heavy, to pretty next! Another band I have seen on many occasions is Countless Skies, and by this point I am pretty sure they are sick of the sight of me. Especially after running into them in Slovenia, of all places. Countless Skies hold a special place for me as I am a massive Melodic Death Metal fan, and I have always considered these guys to be amongst the best in the genre! I own every album/EP they have released, and about 3 of their t-shirts. Anyway, enough fanboying! On to their set. It was simply beautiful. The backing tracks were at a perfect level as to not overpower the guitars, and there were some stunning keys underneath what can only be described as breathtaking guitars. Their use of tapping really tugs on your heartstrings and you really feel the emotion within the songs just from the guitars alone. Once you add in the powerhouse of a voice that the bassist possesses, it takes the whole sound to a new level. We were treated to a few new songs from their new album, one of which, ‘Glow’, took up the majority of their set. This is not a complaint though, as it is brilliant. I would have loved this set to have been longer and would also have loved to have heard ‘Ethereal’ again, but I can’t use these points to mark down what was probably the most enjoyable and emotionally powerful set I have seen this year.


Anyone who has seen a metal gig line-up will have probably seen a logo that stands out from all the others. Here it was a colourful, child-like design which looked as if someone was having a joke with the poster. But if you thought that, you would be wrong! Party-Cannon from Scotland are no joke, just heavy as hell fun! They were the last of the original bands tonight and brought with them a party like no other. We had a huge amount of inflatables, as well as bags of party balloons. The crowd went wild for this and we ended up with numerous crowd surfers on top of an inflatable shark (most of whom fell off immediately), and a set that had nonstop circle pits, spin kicks, and general violence! Crowd aside, Party-Cannon play a good mix of grindcore and slam, but their overall sound is very different from the usual slam bands I see them play with. There’s a lot more emphasis on the riffs and the groove within the songs, coupled with some utterly filthy gutturals which make it just damn dirty! They do also add slam elements to their sound, but their breakdowns aren’t the usual slam style. There is a bit more to them than that, and I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly, but damn I like it. Party-Cannon are not only brutal and enjoyable to watch, but also add the element of entertainment when it comes to getting the crowd going. I have not seen a band have this much control over the mayhem that’s ensuing before them, and it is impressive. This was again an absolute blast to watch!


We ended the night with Badger and the Mushrooms, a covers band that, obviously, with the name, played Badgerfest. Last time they had a half hour set to open a festival, this time we had about an hour and they were the headliners. Now, obviously being a covers band, I can’t comment on their music creativity, and unfortunately there were quite a few mess ups within the set which were noticeable. Having said that, they are fun, and the whole point of this set wasn’t to be serious or show off. It was to entertain. And that they very much did. While we had the usual Rock/Metal covers of artists such as Disturbed, Metallica and Ozzy Osborne, tonight we had a few extras, including a Christmas song, a ballad from Alter Bridge (blackbird) and my personal highlight, ‘Gay Bar’. I am not going to sit here and tell you this was a brilliant set or musically they’re the best covers band, but what I will say is it was the perfect way to close this all dayer. The whole crowd dancing, the whole crowd singing along, and everyone leaving the venue with a massive smile on their face. That is what Badger and the Mushrooms are about, having a good ol’ party!

This was a fantastic gig with a fantastic line-up, Badger really has a knack for putting on gigs like this now, and I love them. Sadly, the venue not being finished and nearly every set having some form of technical difficulties did let the day down a little. But really this shouldn’t take away from what was a truly awesome gig. I enjoyed every band I saw, and would happily see them again. Badger, you should be proud of this one!

One other note was for the bar man, Jake, who was the most helpful and chatty bar man I have had the pleasure of being served by. He went above and beyond!

Bagerfest Promotions:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. 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.

EMQ’s with 40,000 LEAGUES

EMQ’s with 40,000 LEAGUES

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Greater Manchester, UK based Metal band 40,000 Leagues. Huge thanks to them for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Hello there, we are 40,000 Leagues. We are a Manchester based metal band that consists of Nathan ‘Nips’ Crossdale on vocals, Joe Leonard on lead guitar, Rick Wiltshire on bass, Paul Beesley on drums and Harry Hulme on rhythm guitar and backing vocals.

40,000 Leagues started in late 2016 in the back room of our former guitarist Andy Davidson’s house, in Macclesfield. Nips and Andy would jam songs together, covering bands such as Alter Bridge, Atreyu, Metallica and many more. From there, Nips brought in Paul – as they had been in a band together previously during their teenage years. Rick joined the band soon afterwards, as he had been looking for a band to join for a while. Finally, Andy revealed the secret weapon, which was Joe. Thus 40,000 Leagues was born!

In January 2019 Andy departed the band, and Harry boldly stepped in!

How did you come up with your band name?

After trialling several names – none of which we liked – we spent an entire band practice trying to come up with a name based off classical literature or film. After what seemed like hours; Nathan suggested 40,000 Leagues – as he had recently watched 20,000 leagues under the sea. Paul then jokingly suggested that our mascot could be a scuba-diving lobster; though we all thought he said hamster. This bizarrely had us in stitches and so we decided to stick with the name – though we never did go for the mascot idea!

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from Manchester (though Joe is from Macclesfield) and while this might sound biased; we do believe that Manchester has the best metal scene in the country! We are thrilled to be part of the 0161 underground metal community and have played with many great bands also from the local area.

All the bands, promoters and fans are part of the community and it feels like one big happy metal family!

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our latest single is a cover of ‘Chaka Khan and Rufus – Ain’t Nobody’; for anyone who enjoys a cheesy 80s classic in a metal style.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Nips: My big influences are Avenged Sevenfold; I don’t think I would have started making music if it were not for them! Pantera are up there too; as the first time I heard ‘Cemetery Gates’, I was in awe! Sylosis too, as when I first started in a band ‘Conclusion of an Age’ definitely played a huge part in my song-writing and vocals! Last but not least it has to be Alter Bridge, the vocal ability of Myles Kennedy should be illegal, and I can only hope to one day be half as good as he is!

Paul: I personally really enjoy a lot of different genres and styles of music but would say I’m on the heavy scale of metal.

Harry: Pantera and AC/DC.

Joe: Dream Theater, Metallica, Trivium, Avenged Sevenfold, Opeth, Porcupine Tree.

Rick: I grew up listening to my dad’s rock and metal collection; so bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Dio, Saxon and Rainbow have perhaps had the biggest impact upon my musical tastes and stylings!

What first got you into music?

Paul: Always been into music as long as I can remember but my younger brother was actually the one that got me into rock music to begin with and then he started listening to dubstep funny how life works isn’t it?

Harry: Guitar Hero.

Rick: My family got me my first acoustic guitar at 10 years old; and I vividly remember trying to learn ‘Smoke on the Water’ on it; I was definitely playing it wrong, but from there I have always wanted to play music and be part of a band.

Joe: My friends did it, so I decided to.

Nips: I first got into music when my Mum used to take me to karaoke as a kid! 8-year-old Nips belting out ‘When you’re looking like that’ by Westlife was something to witness I assure you. 25-year-old Nips still does that.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Harry: Lamb of God.

Joe: Big JP.

Rick: Avantasia hands down! Tobias Sammet is a musical genius!

Nips: The list of people I would like to collaborate with is endless! Obviously, I would love to collaborate with Avenged Sevenfold; but I would most definitely pass out! I would also love to collaborate with MGK! He’s another big influence of mine.

Paul: Taylor Swift.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Nips: I would absolutely love to play Download and I know I’m definitely not alone on that one! I also would love to play Bloodstock!

Harry: Download, it’s a haven for both present and new bands.

Joe: Download – the one I have been to and everyone is always nice.

Paul: Wacken Open Air 100%!

Rick: I would love to play Wacken Open Air as well; I love power metal and folk metal, and that is their home turf.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Nips: In terms of weird gifts we have not actually received anything weird that I can remember!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Harry: Keep supporting unsigned bands!

Paul: Stop giving a F*** about what people think of you or what you do.

Nips: To the fans, we all cannot thank you enough for the undying support you are truly the most loyal fans and friends! You make us feel like we’re really doing something good here, and none of what we are doing could happen without any of you! We love you and thank you!

Joe: Could do with a higher setting considering the weather we are currently having.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Joe: Dio.

Nips: I cannot give one answer for this one; so, I have to go with two! I would definitely bring back Dimebag Darrell; he was taken far too soon and had the filthiest riffs! I would also bring back Freddie Mercury; another one taken far too soon and there will never be another like him.

Rick: A tough question as there are so many who I would want to see live; but I think I also would have to go with Dio!

Paul: Mitch Lucker from Suicide Silence.

Harry: Dimebag Darrell.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Harry: You can always learn something new, no matter how long you’ve been playing. I hate the struggle to learn new rhythms but in the end it is rewarding.

Nips: I’ve been in bands since the age of 15 and from the moment I screamed out the first lines of ‘Unholy Confessions’ at my first ever band practice I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life and music is it. I absolutely love the feeling I get on stage I can’t put it into words I’m just free. The one thing I hate is how much water I have on gig days.

Joe: Being creative. Everything else.

Paul: I just love music and the energy you get when you’re performing; nothing even comes close to that feeling, and the adrenaline is unreal! I could be buzzing for 2-3 days off one amazing show, then I need to get that buzz again.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Joe: Allow artists to have more control over their music, reducing the need for high volumes of merchandise sales to keep going.

Rick: The way it is treated as a business venture by so many record labels and managers. In my eyes the excitement and joy that music brings should be front and centre, rather than how much money can be made from it for a small percentage of people.

Harry: More independent labels and a cap on how many labels a corporation can own.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Paul: Mudvayne – “Lost And Found”. I’m pretty sure it was the first ever metal album I bought.

Rick: Meatloaf – “Bat Out Of Hell”.

Joe: Dream Theater – “Scenes From A Memory”.

Nips: Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds… is that allowed? (Absolutely Yes! Superb Album – Rick)

Harry: AC/DC – “If You Want Blood You’ve Got It”.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Nips: You can’t beat a classic vinyl!

Rick: I listen to a lot of CD’s while I’m driving; I find it ensures I listen to whole albums rather than just the same few songs on repeat.

Paul: Right now, downloads but I can appreciate all.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Paul: M2TM at the Bread Shed in January 2020.

Nips: The best gig for me would have to be Badgerfest 2019! We opened the weekend and the pressure was immense, but we gave it our all! The crowd were ready, they gave us everything! The event was run so smoothly, it was just perfect! Thanks again Badger!

Harry: Badgerfest 2019.

Joe: Manchester M2TM Final 2019.

Rick: I would also say the Manchester M2TM final 2019; playing to our biggest crowd yet was simply sublime!

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Rick: Well I have wanted to be an actor for almost as long as I have wanted to be a musician; so hopefully that!

Harry: Psychologist.

Paul: Hopefully, actually making some money to live.

Nips: Well I work at Tesco currently so if I wasn’t a musician, I would most probably be the greatest meal deal salesman.

Joe: Much of the same but with a notable lack of stress.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Nips: Ooh a dinner party! M Shadows, Myles Kennedy, Ewan McGregor – in Obi Wan Kenobi attire, Jason Momoa and Chris Hemsworth (partly because my girlfriend loves him, but mostly because I want to be him).

Harry: Gandalf, Michael Starr, Thor, Tony Stark and Luke Skywalker.

Joe: Big JP, Large JP, JP, the Petrooch, Giant JP.

Rick: For me it would have to be Christopher Lee, Andrew WK, Ritchie Blackmore, Stan Lee and Richard Kiel (who played Jaws in the James Bond films). Ooh I forgot Tobias Sammet, can I have him there too?

What’s next for the band?

We had a lot of gigs planned for this year; though sadly with the current world pandemic, they have been postponed or cancelled. Currently we’re all at home writing for our next release.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

We are quite active on social media with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Our music is available on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Bandcamp and many more!

Though the busiest sites for us are probably Spotify, Facebook and Instagram pages.

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Joe: It’s a cake and anyone who says it’s a biscuit needs to sort themselves out.

Harry: Cakes go hard when they are stale, biscuits go soft.

Nips: Jaffa cakes! I think they are so nice they can tell me whatever they want, and I will believe them.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for the interview and for anyone who hasn’t yet checked out our music, make sure you do!

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