M2TM North Wales 2022 Grand Final

M2TM North Wales 2022 Grand Final
Penny Black, Wrexham
01/07/2022
Review and Photography by Beth Jones

Metal 2 The Masses is always a marathon event, which draws you in and makes you really start feeling something for the local bands who go through the stages of the competition, all vying for that coveted prize, a spot on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock Festival. And, as ever, when you do reach that final lap, nerves are frayed, and everything is left in the lap of the gods. Or at least, God of the New Blood stage, Simon Hall. 

This year would be the first year Simon had attended in person to judge the competition, and it was set to be a great night. Last year’s winners, Severenth were opening the show, then the 4 competing bands, Omega Throne, Apollyon, Bad Earth, and Thrashatouille would take to the stage. And to top off the whole party, Nottinghamshire Pirate Metallers Red Rum where set to headline.

Penny Black’s is a venue that North East Wales Metal Productions have used before, and it’s an interesting place. Laser lights feature heavily, and the bar is over-priced, but that’s the norm these days. I remember when you could go out with a tenner in your pocket, get comfortably wasted, and get a bag of chips, and still have change… Ah the good old days… Anyway, I digress! For this gig, the venue was rammed to the rafters, and we were hit by a wall of sauna – like heat as we made our way into the main room. My little, gothic, and slightly bizarre body does not like heat one bit! But it was great to see such a large crowd. It proves there is still a passion for Metal in our (newly endowed) city.  

So, to the bands! Severenth are one of my favourite local bands and have been since their comeback gig a few years ago. They deservedly won M2TM last year, but sadly lead singer Peet came down with the Rona the day before Bloodstock, so never got a chance to strut his stuff on the New Blood stage, although the rest of the band pushed on without him. Here, they really brought the show to the already sizable audience, and I loved it. The sound was great, with every instrument crystal clear, and Peet’s screams and cleans cutting through everything brilliantly. It got the night off to a flying start and raised the temperature of the room another few degrees! 

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth

Omega Throne had drawn the opening slot at their heat, the quarters, the semis, and the final. So far it seemed to have been a lucky slot for them, as they had made it all the way to the last leg. But would tonight be the same? Only time would tell. The Liverpool based band look the part, and really like to give it some welly when they’re on stage, with the frontman, guitarist, and bassist all pulling a myriad of ‘let’s fuck some shit up and melt some faces’ expressions. I do love a good expressive face! And their music is powerful and chunky enough to go along with the expressions, with huge vocals, crunching riffs, and some kick-ass bass work. They put in another impressive performance here, but I think the heat in the room sadly dwindled the audience numbers a little. Me being one of them. I took my photos, then had to remove myself from the room for a bit so that I didn’t end up in a heap on the floor. What I did see of their set though was on point. 

https://www.facebook.com/OmegaThrone-1986460878039288

Now, I’m going to start this section with a disclaimer. I don’t like Classic Thrash. I’ve said this before, I know, but I thought it was worth saying again. It just does nothing for me, regardless of how well it’s played. 

Apollyon are a Classic Thrash band from Wrexham. In my review of the Semi-final, I said they’re good at what they do, if you like that sort of thing, and I will stick by that. In fact, they are extremely good at what they do, and the sound here was better than it was at the semis. The crowd was also a lot more pumped, which helped lift their performance even more. They gave a very confident, assured, and professional performance, which really did show them off at their best, a fact that I think was noted by Simon Hall. It was slick, tight, and punchy. I just don’t like Classic Thrash! 

https://www.facebook.com/apollyonsteel

Bad Earth are, for me, the most improved and most exciting local band I have witnessed round here for a long time. They make me do a lot of smiling with their high-powered, heavy as fuck ‘Rockcore’. And here they had pits and slams breaking out all over the place. Frontman, Jordie, had a bit of a mare at the beginning of the set, with a dodgy plug socket, and I think this threw him off a bit, in an already tense and nervous situation. But he was back in full swing by the end of the first song and was up and down on his flight box like a man possessed! Bassist Karl was also throwing some immense shapes around the stage, and drummer, Ben, was clouting hell out of his kit in true Animal fashion (he wins my drummer of the year award – he’s insanely good). The crowd were lapping it up, and for me, musically, this set was my favourite of the evening, and I could have gone on listening to them all night. They make everything feel alive and lively, and I really do hope that they break into the bigtime, because they truly deserve it for the sheer energy and gusto they put into every performance. 

https://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH

Our final competing band of the evening were Thrashatouille – Chef Metallers from Northwich, with our very own roving reporter, Rob Sutton, at the helm. These guys are always great fun, with their food based observational comedy style Modern Death/Thrash/everything but the kitchen sink Metal. Sounds random, and like it shouldn’t work. But, like cheese and jam toasties, it actually does, and should be on your ‘must try’ list. Here, they were really fired up, and had the audience pitting and throwing around enough inflatable ice-creams to lift the roof off the venue. Rob did have a bit of a nightmare at the beginning though, too. His microphone decided it didn’t want to play ball. Cue a slightly panicked expression, and a quick grab of a spare mic, and all was back on track though. Again, another fantastic performance, filled with energy and fun. BUT… and I am going to say it again and keep saying it again and again… the intro eats into their set time, and is only funny for people that actually know what it says, who know the band, and have followed their history. For fresh faces, who don’t know who they are, or what they’re about, it falls flat. 

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille

With the competing bands over, our headliners Red Rum, took to the stage. Now, there’s quite a lot of them, and the stage isn’t that big. So, the ensuing Pirate party was a little cramped. But these swashbuckling seafarers weren’t deterred from bringing their rum-fuel shenanigans to the slightly tiddled audience who were still ready to party! I do love a bit of yo-ho-ho in my Folk Metal, and these guys bring it by the bucket load, complete with Pirate attire, sunglasses, bare chests, and more twiddly-diddly riffs than you can shake a skull and crossbones at. Had I not been dying of heat exhaustion and ridiculously sober, I would have been in the merry mosh-up at the front, linking arms and chugging ales with the rest of them. But my aching body was about to give out, so I chose a comfy chair at the back, and a bit of head bobbing as the preferable option. Honestly, getting old has nothing going for it! This was a very fun set, and a great way to close the night. Although next time I see these guys I intend to be spaffed out of my head on Rum cocktails!

https://www.facebook.com/redrummetal

And so, with the merry madness over, it was time for the result. Unfortunately, Simon had had to duck out early, due to an ongoing back issue that’s been blighting him throughout this epic run of finals that he’s had to attend. I feel your pain Simon and wish you a speedy recovery. But he had left the result with our master of ceremonies, Beany. And without further ado, he announced that the band taking the spot on the New Blood stage would beeeeee…… APOLLYON. To be honest, I had a feeling this was the way it would go. While I’m not a fan of their music, they were the most professional band on the night, with the slickest changeovers and the most prepared and polished performance. Gutted for the other bands. It’s always a hard end, because all the bands become special to you. But it is what it is. It’s been a great competition, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

LINKS:

N.E.W Metal Productions

M2TM North Wales

Penny Black

Bloodstock Festival

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. Photography by Beth Jones. 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 North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 2 – Apollyon

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 2

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 2
McLean’s Pub, Pentre, Deeside
03/06/22

Review and Photography by Beth Jones

Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses is always a hugely fun but nerve-wracking marathon, and this year has been no exception. But now we’re reaching the business end, with the last of the Semi Finals. This second semi would be do or die for the four competing bands (sadly Leatherback had to drop out due to illness), and as a judge, I knew that it was going to be the toughest call we’d made yet, because of the calibre of all the competing bands. So, what was in store for us? Well, let’s find out.

In Depths

In Depths are a Metalcore band from Chester, who are a stalwart on the stages of our local scene, and have been for some time. Here, they sounded great. They were really heavy, and technically on point, which is what we’ve come to expect from them. They use samples both in the songs, and during the gaps between songs, to keep the atmosphere up, which worked really well. Front man Callum was really into it for this performance too, throwing himself around the stage, and the area in front of it. But there was, by the end of the set, a huge elephant in the room. They overran by 7 minutes. This not only irritated the other bands, but also put pressure on the already tight schedule for the night. This was, unfortunately, unacceptable, which is a real shame as, musically, I couldn’t fault them. Speaking to Beany during the judging process, he said “Unfortunately, no matter how good In Depths were, when they announced at 29 minutes into their set, that they had two songs left, they forced the team into a decision – do we cut them off, or let them carry on and discount them from the vote? The decision was made to discount them from the judges’ vote, due to lack of professionalism. However, it was decided that, if they won the crowd vote, we would let them go through. Their timing issues created bad feeling with the other competing bands, and as N.E.W Metal Production we are massively disappointed that a band we put through on a wild card, giving them a second chance, would throw it away in this fashion and pile the pressure on us for the rest of the night, to get back on track.”

https://www.facebook.com/InDepths

Wrath Of Man

These guys are brutal Death Metal from Preston. And boy are they brutal. They smacked us in the face straight off the bat. Hard, heavy as fuck, and LOOOUUUDDDDD!!!!! They have a real aggressiveness that told the audience exactly who Wrath Of Man were from the get go. But they’re also masters of intricate guitar riffs and rythms, and have a good sense of stagecraft. Their frontman is a man mountain, who commanded the entire place really well, and believe me , when he roars, you sit up and listen! The drums were possibly a little too high in the mix, and the bass was a bit muddy. But this didn’t take away from what was a brilliant performance, and is only me nit-picking. You could see how seriously they were taking it, it was a step up from their performance in the heats, and it was totally worthy of a spot on the New Blood stage. My one word of advice would be to get a little slicker between song changes. Keep the momentum going. Other than that, absolutely spot on. Well done fellas. 

https://www.facebook.com/wrathofman

Bad Earth

Y Bois Bach! Hailing one third from Denbigh and two thirds from Wrexham, these chaps are our real home guys. Every time I see them, I don’t think they can get any better, yet somehow, every time, they do! They play their own brand of Rock, mixed with Thrash, and a spoonful of Modern Metal, and this performance was, for me, very frikkin’ special. It was on point and faultless, and every one of the trio gave everything they had to bring the show to the crowd. It was hi-octane from start to finish and I bloody loved it!!! They really have something magical going on now they’ve found the sweet spot with line-up – it’s a proper bromance, which comes together epically when the lights go up on them. This was my performance of the night. They absolutely deserve to go a very long way, and it would please me no end if they did. I feel like a proud mum! Bendigedig cariads!!!

https://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH

Apollyon

Apollyon are a long-standing Wrexham band, who took a breather for a bit, but have come back full force. They’re a good solid UK Thrash trio whose experience does show in their stage presentation. They bring powerful riffs, angry vocals, and thundering drums, as you would expect from a quality Thrash band. But I have to say that while they are musically and technically very proficient and well-rehearsed, they don’t really float my boat. Old school Thrash has never really been my thing, and still isn’t. I just can’t get excited about it. You can’t like everything can you? But if you like that sort of thing, you’ll love them, so please do check them out!

https://www.facebook.com/apollyonsteel

Solitary

Our first guest headline of the evening was more UK Thrash – Solitary. They’re kicking it with the bigger boys now, and their performance showed off their next level status and experience. They have a huge amount of stage presences, and everything is in your face with bells on (not literally, it’s another few months until Christmas yet. That said, bells being played in a Thrash style could be fun…) Vocally, they were on point, too. Crystal clear and angry as fuck! The bass player also has a huge stage presence, and pulls many bass-faces, which is great to watch. They managed to work the somewhat knackered crowd really well, too, which again shows off their calibre. Like with Apollyon, it’s not my cup of tea, but I did enjoy the pace and flow of the set. 

https://www.facebook.com/Official.Solitary

Democratus

Now, here are a gang of lads from South Wales who I absolutely love, and when they were announced as guest headliners for this gig, I did a little happy dance. Having seen them a few times before, I knew what was in store for the remaining crowd, and as usual Democratus did not disappoint! They play pacey Melodic Death Metal, and man do they do it well. They also love a bit of audience participation, with a couple of singalongs that went down a treat with us die hard late nighters! Now, at this point I want to mention something. The amazing talent of the bass player. He was absolutely steaming drunk by the time they got on stage, to the point of almost not being able to stand, but he didn’t miss a note of his uber intricate basslines! That takes real talent! Hats off to you sir! I absolutely loved Democratus’ set, and could have listened to them all night.

https://www.facebook.com/democratusband

However, sadly, it did have to come to an end so the final announcement made of who would progress to the final could be made. Before Democratus played, Beany had announced that Bad Earth took the crowd vote – a fact I was very pleased about, as they gave the best performance on the night by a country mile. Taking the judges vote, and for the first time this year, NOT by unanimous verdict, were Apollyon. Personally, I went for Wrath Of Man, for the aforementioned reasons, but it was a very close-run thing. Wrath Of Man, please come back next year! Your performance was epic.

And that was another great night at an end. I have to say I’m mighty glad I’m not judging in the final.  It’s going to be a very difficult task for Bloodstock’s very own Simon Hall! Bring it on!!

LINKS:
M2TM North Wales:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

Mclean’s Pentre:

Bloodstock:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Beth Jones. 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.

North Wales Metal 2 The Masses Heat 2 – McLean’s Pentre, 01/04/2022

M2TM North Wales Heat 2 Poster

North Wales Metal 2 The Masses Heat 2
McLean’s Pentre
01/04/2022
Live Review by Anthony Timmis

Another trip to one of my favourite venues in North Wales McLean’s Pentre. Tonight was Heat 2 of the North Wales Metal to the Masses. It’s a strange little venue in the middle of a quiet village, but it does have a big stage room. Also only just walking in and immediately finding out I will not just be reviewing but also judging tonight was unexpected!

Omega Throne

First up was Blackened Death Metal from Liverpool’s Omega Throne. At the start of the set, the vocalist brought a combination of the gut wrenching lows and the all too familiar Black Metal shriek, which put a little smile to my face. As a guitarist, I love his dark riffs and those solos…ooft. Not only was he phenomenal to watch, but between songs he was shouting at the crowd. His passion was fantastic! I just wish I can say the same of the bassist, who didn’t seem as engaged with the music. Having said that, she have a good crunchy bass tone which really drove their sound, along with the drummer’s ability to move seamlessly between tempos – an absolute pleasure! As I really enjoyed these guys, the only two criticisms I have were that during the first few songs, the vocalist was interacting with the crowd in between songs then after it was just seemed to give this up. The second was they went a bit over their set time. On the up-side I really enjoyed these guys, and even bought a T-shirt!

https://www.facebook.com/OmegaThrone-1986460878039288

Atanamir

Next up was Sludge Metal from Liverpool’s Atanamir, and boy do they hit hard. These guys are all about the riffs and they drive their sound so much, as well as those soaring solos. Each member was fully engaged with their music, furiously head banging throughout – which in turn was replicated by a few members of the crowd. My eyes were immediately drawn to the bassist, not only for his riffs but also the lack of a head on the bass. It looks weird, but kind of cool at the same time. Vocally, their style sort of works but did sound a little strained. For me their whole set was faultless, everything fitted together well, even if a little short. Saying that these guys just weren’t to my taste, they are fantastic at what they do but it just isn’t for me.

https://www.facebook.com/Atanamir.uk

Apollyon 

Apollyon have been around a fair few years now, which immediately begs the question – do they need to be competing for a slot at Bloodstock? The guys brought it tonight, throwing their Thrash right at the crowd with full aggression. The speed Apollyon play is mind blowing reminiscent of Kreator and other old school Thrash bands. They look ultra professional while playing; pumping the crowd during songs, “Let me see those horns”. The only thing that slightly let their performance down a little was the amount of time it took to tune between songs. This is difficult being only a 3 piece band and not having a standalone vocalist, but I felt there could have been a more cleaner way of doing this. Never the less Apollyon ticked all the boxes when it came to Thrash, fast guitars, rapid drums, stunning solos and the gritty voice that accompanies. Loved it!

https://www.facebook.com/apollyonsteel

Navnlos

Being the only nearly Welsh band on the bill, there was a certain level of expectation on their shoulders. Not only this but, having reached the final of this competition in 2018, this added extra pressure. Since then however, they have undergone many line-up changes – which in some ways have worked for them, such as their solos and also the individual bass lines. Sadly this was about all that worked tonight as the drummer seemed out of time, which threw the other two off. For me, this completely killed their set. There were attempts at crowd interaction but these seemed to fall on deaf ears. I feel as if a lot of practice is required and a bit more confidence is needed when on stage. The potential is there and I have seen these guys play brilliantly, but tonight was not one of those nights.

https://www.facebook.com/Navnlosband

In Depths

Who are In Depths? It’s not like I haven’t seen these guys before… (last week to be precise). They brought their “A” game then, so I was expecting much of the same tonight. In Depths Brought the most Modern Metal sound to the night, mixing Deathcore with elements of Slam and just about every other genre. It is hard to place them but it works beautifully. They are heavier than a hippo at fat fighters. Vocally his voice is on point, mixing lows and highs in a typical Deathcore manner, as well as ending up off the stage more than he was on it (this didn’t matter to me as it fits the style they’re going for). The one issue with having one guitarist is that when something goes wrong it massively affects the rest of the show. This happened at the beginning of the set, where it seemed to take way too long to fix the issue before they started. Aside from this, I thoroughly enjoyed this set, my head was well and truly banging!

https://www.facebook.com/InDepths

Results time and for me this was a tricky one, as 4 of the bands deserved to progress. Each band brought something slightly different to the stage, but sadly only two bands could progress. The crowd chose Apollyon and the judges had a fight and then ended up choosing Omega Throne. Both deserved to go through and I hope if there is a wild card vote Atanamir and In Depths should seriously be considered.

LINKS:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

M2TM North Wales:

Bloodstock Festival:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Anthony Timmis 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.

EMQ’s With APOLLYON – M2TM EDITION

Apollyon Logo

EMQ’s With APOLLYON – M2TM EDITION

Hello everyone! Welcome to a special Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses North Wales edition of our EMQs. This one is with Ellesmere Port, UK Technical Death/ Thrash band, Apollyon. Huge thanks to them for taking part.

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

Glen Brazier:  The 6 strings of doom power axe. (Guitar)

Gareth Owen: His purple headed Oboe aka: the bass boomstick (Bass guitar and vocals)

James Roberts: Anything that makes a sound. (Drums)

Apollyon formed in 2005 when Glen and Gareth used to frequently make sweet music, alone, in Gareth’s static caravan. They used to often talk about some of the pathetic bands in their local scene and how if they could just find a drummer, they could leave a legacy behind, making a proper mark on the scene. They churned out many pubeless, flaccid drummers over the years but never really got going until they auditioned James Roberts. James tuned up in his tight jogging pants and a finely trimmed moustache and could clearly see he meant business. From that day the band never looked back and have gone from strength to strength. They had a break from music in 20012 when James Left the band to get a job, this had a huge effect on Gareth, he hit the booze and developed a wanking addiction in 2015 spiralling into a black hole.  

A few more years passed and the band decided to reform in 2017 with its original line-up, after deciding they still had some more to give. During Lockdown they compiled some of their greatest music and decided Metal to the masses would be something high on their radar! 

With a new E.P arriving soon things are now looking very positive.

What genre of Metal do you play?

We play fast technical, wank worthy thrash/Death metal. Heavier than a ten ton period.

How did you come up with your band name?

Gareth came up with the name, he chinned 12 fosters one night and whilst cuddling with his cat Scraggy (rip) he stumbled across Apollyon (the destroyer)

Where are you based and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are based in Ellesmere Port, the scene is pretty rubbish to be honest. Bits seem to be picking up around Chester. We have been playing around Manchester and Liverpool recently and looking forward to branching out a bit further again.

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

We are working hard to release a new EP at the moment, this will be happening later in the year. Our most current EP is Life’s Conclusion which should be going back onto Spotify again soon.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We all have varied influences ranging from Pantera, Chimaira, Slayer, Megadeth, Death, Killswitch….. the list can go on, basically anything heavy and interesting.

What first got you into music?

Ears

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

Maybe The Bangles or Bewitched, Gaz performs at his best when he’s horny. I wouldn’t allow them to take part in any writing, they would simply be there to arouse Gaz.

What does Bloodstock Festival represent to you? 

We have been attending this festival for over 10 years now. It’s the go to festival. Really not into the pussy bands that play at other festivals. You get great bands and great people going to see them here!

Have you been to Bloodstock, and if so, what’s your favourite memory from the festival?

Watching Gaz trying to put his tent up, inflating his air bed up outside the tent then not being able to get it in the tent and then watching a gnat bite his forehead before finally snapping.

What are you going to bring to M2TM that you think will earn you a place on the New Blood Stage?

The biggest sound coming from just 3 guys, despite an average age of 40 were still quite handsome. Leather kecks, massive tashes and sweets for the nippers.

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

Be excellent to each other.

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

Love telling Gaz he’s not a real musician because he only writes nasty lyrics

Hate the drain on my wallet and the incredible urge to keep buying stuff I don’t even need.

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

The little things, I’d probably remove some of the bell end incompetent promotors around. Some are excellent and organise some awesome events, some are idiots and can’t be arsed even getting back to you.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Death: “symbolic” is an album that gets us all a bit excited

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

CDs! nothing compared to buying a CD, admiring the artwork, enjoying the lyrics and adding it to the collection.

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

We supported Soulfly a few years ago, we all grew up listening to them and enjoyed asking Max if he fancied a bite at Chicken Yum Yums after the gig. He told me to “Fuck off” and we realised that night he’s not a nice guy.

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

Gareth: Gaz only pretends to be a musician, so this is void

Glen: Dosser/Dwad

James: Hairdresser

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Mr Blobby
Fred the weatherman
Wolf from Gladiators
Nelson Mandela
Mother Theresa

What’s next for the band?

Get this EP sorted and more shows! Hopefully win this competition and have a festival to look forward to.

Where can people find you online? Drop us your links below:

www.facebook.com/apollyonsteel
https://apollyon.bandcamp.com/

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Cakes because they go hard when they go off

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

No, I’m tired now…. Who came up with all this???!

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.