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

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.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Heat 4 – Bad Earth

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, Heat 4

M2TM North Wales 2022, Heat 4
Central Live Music Venue, Wrexham
22/04/2022
Live review and photos by Beth Jones

And just like that, the final heat of the 2022 North Wales Metal 2 The Masses was upon us. This was a bumper weekend for me, too. M2TM Friday, Devin Townsend on Saturday, and a family meal followed by Jazz on Sunday. Niiice! As usual, we rocked up to Central ready for some great music. Two of the bands were old names to me; Bad Earth and Thrashatouille. But the other two, Absolence and Bourbon Hitcher, were not ones that I’ve come across until now.

Absolence kicked the night off. And before their set they went round dishing out free wristbands to everyone who wanted one – a nice touch, and something to make them memorable. They play a very tight and pleasing Metalcore, which was performed very well. The frontman has a decent amount of stage presence, and the band as a whole gelled comfortably together. They looked like they were having a great time, and were musically solid. To take it to the next level, I think a bit more exploring the full extent of their talents would be a good move, because there’s no question that these guys are a talented bunch, but it did start to get a little samey. They also finished their set 9 minutes early. Whether this was because they played everything at double time through nerves or not, I don’t know. But guys, honestly just relax and have fun with it – you don’t need to feel nervous, because what you do is high quality and solid.

https://www.facebook.com/Absolence

Bourbon Hitcher looked very promising. The frontman/guitarist cut a prominent figure, and instantly had a lot of stage presence. They confidently played a set of dirty, hard-hitting, heavy rock. But, and without wanting to sound like my mother here, it was waaaaaay too loud! Talk about turning things up to eleven! It was actually physically painful to listen to, and after the first couple of songs we had to duck outside. It was that loud that we could actually hear it better standing outside than we could when we’d been facing the stage. The volume of the guitar meant that the vocals, and most of the bass were almost inaudible, and it was only for the fact that the drummer was beating the living shit out of his kit that the rhythms could be heard. So, all in all, a good solid sound with some extremely skillful playing, especially for guitar solos, that was wasted by too much amp crankage. 

https://www.facebook.com/BourbonHitcher

The penultimate band of the evening were Bad Earth. Having seen these guys many times in the past, they certainly weren’t strangers. But the new line-up of Jordie, Karl on Bass, and Ben on Drums, has brought a completely new dimension to them. The second they hit the stage, the presence, professionalism, and calibre took a giant step up. They are hard rocking, with a dash of Thrash and Core too. Rock Thrashcore. There we go. New genre time. This performance was electric, and the pure joy in all of their faces was actually really lovely to see. They have an endearing quality which just makes you feel all warm and cosy. It’s like a hug, but metal as fuck! Superb performance, and my judges’ vote.

https://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH

Closing the night, and putting me in the mood for a kebab, where Cheshire’s finest Chef Metallers, Thrashatouille. Again, I’ve seen these guys numerous times, and they never fail to disappoint. This performance was another step up from them, though. They all looked really into it, and frontman Rob had total command of the crowd at all times. Professionalism, presence and showmanship where at the front of this performance, as they had been with Bad Earth earlier, and it was easy to watch. Their set was also perfectly timed, to within 25 seconds of their allotted half hour! They made me smile, they made me get my groove on, and they made me very happy to be part of our little local scene. Top performance.

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille

As the chefs packed up their wares, it was time for us judges to go and deliberate. For me, in terms of the complete packages that we were looking for, it was obvious which bands should progress, and again the judges’ verdict was unanimous. Thrashatouille took the audience vote, and Bad Earth took the judges’. But, as it was the last heat, Fozzy also got to announce his two wildcard acts. These were acts that didn’t quite make it in the heats, but had enough about them to impress Fozzy into giving them a spot in the semis. That accolade went to one of my favourites, IN DEPTHS, who just missed out in heat 2 and Absolence – our first band from this heat. Again, choices that I think all the judges would have called, too. These semis are going to be the toughest we have had since M2TM started up again round here, and I can’t wait!

LINKS:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

M2TM North Wales:

Bloostock Festival:

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.

EMQ’s With BAD EARTH – M2TM Edition

Bad Earth Logo

EMQ’s With Bad Earth – M2TM Edition

Hi everyone. Welcome to another special Bloostock Metal 2 The Masses edition of our EMQs interview. This time it’s with North Wales based Heavy Rock/ Rockcore band, Bad Earth. Huge thanks to their drummer, Ben Burke, 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?

I’m Ben “Sor” Burke, I play Drums for Bad Earth. Bad Earth are a 3-piece Hard Rock band from North Wales and have been going for a few years (about 8) with a few different members coming and going, but founding member Steve “Geordie” Coxon has been the main guy doing vocals and guitar from the start. I’ve been with the band about 2 years with Karl “Jagerbomb” Ditcher coming in the same time to fill in on bass duties. Over the last 2 years the band have been involved in some big gigs – Bloodstock, Hammerfest, Sophiefest and supporting Black Spiders. Hopefully we can continue with these big gigs.

What genre of Metal do you play?

We have a bit of all sorts going on, can play on Metal shows, Biker rallies and Rock shows. So, we’re not Metalcore or Hard Rock… We’re Rockcore!!

How did you come up with your band name?

There are all types of stories going around about how BAD EARTH got their name but the simplest way to say is it’s about a dodgy lead / cable…

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

We’re based in North Wales (2 Wrexham and 1 Denbigh) and I’d say the scene in both towns are a bit dismal. Wrexham over the years have tried their hardest to keep live music going but finding it hard to maintain people coming to shows. And I don’t think Denbigh has any “scene”!

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

We’re in the middle of recording an album now. We have a few recordings from previous members, but with this line up there is a few live videos, a live practice video and a new song released last year called ‘Shallow Man’.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We have many different influences in the band. Geordie likes Clutch, Motorhead & Orange Goblin. Ben likes Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage & Metallica. Karl likes Tool, Nine Inch Nails & Dillinger Escape Plan. So a real mix in the band.

What first got you into music?

I (Ben) Come from a musical family, my uncle is a bit older than me and plays guitar and was into Skid Row & Slayer bands like that when we were younger and every time I went round to my Nan’s house, he’d be in his bedroom thrashing out on his guitar and I wanted to play music so got into the bands he was into. There is a few of my family members play guitar so I wanted to break the mould and wanted to play the drums.

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

As all 3 of us are into different bands we’d all pick someone different. We’ve also talked about a second guitarist coming in but think we’re happy as a 3 piece, a lot less politics and bullshit! 

What does Bloodstock Festival represent to you? 

I think it’s about how friendly the festival is, how they cater for the fans and even how they look after up and coming bands and give them the chance to play a major festival. It’s probably the best organised one and it’s nice and compact. Not like other festivals where you need a 3 day camel ride between the tent and arena.

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

I have been twice to Bloodstock and I was very lucky to play it both times too, on 2 different stages, 2019 I won North Wales M2TM with my then band Scars of Remembrance and played the New Blood Stage and in 2021 on the Jägermeister Stage with Bad Earth, we forwarded our EPK on to Simon Hall and luckily he asked us to play that stage. I think 2021 was my favourite memory because we played on the Thursday and then partied like rockstars for 3 days solid, having a right good laugh and made loads of new friends. We’re hoping to get on the New Blood Stage with this band or even better the Sophie Lancaster stage……

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

Just a great energetic hard rockcore set with no bullshit or gimmicks, just straight to the point, fast pace, this is what we’re about, there’s only 3 of us and we do carry a big sound as a 3 piece. We love what we do on stage, people can see that and we all fill in on vocals (well try) so people are not just fixed on the “vocalist”.

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

Go and like our fucking Facebook page!! 

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

I’ve been playing drums for 25+ years, so I’ve been about but just to be on a stage playing music in front of a nice big crowd and everyone enjoying it and having band members that love it too is what I enjoy. I hate travelling to shows and there’s no one there and you’re just playing to band members and bar staff, that seems a waste of time to me. And over charging people for shows, I hate that too!

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

There are loads of things that need changing but the big one has to be the selling or steaming of music, Artist can’t seem to make much money anymore from their music and you have these streaming sites that earn millions from band’s music with the band seeing next to nothing from it… unless your massive like Metallica that is!!!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

I have 100’s of albums and I love listening to music so to narrow it down to an all-time favourite album is impossible for me, so I’ll say the album I’m listening to at the moment – Jinjer, “Macro”.

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

I’m a massive CD collector, I have 100’s of them.

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

I have played loads of good gigs over the years and so many to choose a best gig, we’ve played Bloodstock, Sophiefest, Pentrefest, but our last one was a special one as we weren’t even meant to be on the bill and got asked the day before, it was this year’s Hammerfest 13, we had a very good reception and loads of good comments off people after it.

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

I have a full-time job as I’m not a rockstar and this band pays shit money!! LOL.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

No one as I’m as chef by day job, they’d get me to cook so it’ll only be “Which four people would you invite to a dinner party? Fuck that!!! Ha ha!

What’s next for the band?

We’re in the middle of recording an album, we’re doing that ourselves, we have Pentrefest coming up along with Smoke on Trent Fest and M2TM North Wales to compete in.

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

E:mail – bad.earth@hotmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH
Instagram   https://www.instagram.com/bad.earth 
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/bad-earth-1
Youtube – Bad Earth 

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Is it a “Jaffa Cake” or “Jaffa Biscuit”?????

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

Thanks to everyone for checking us out, we have some merch so please buy it as Karl is running out of “Jager bomb” funds!!! We’re in the process of recording new material and will look at getting them on CD’s “YES FUCKING CDS!! HOW OLD ARE WE????” We look forward to seeing you at a gig in the near future. If you are bored go and check some of our interviews from Bloodstock and Pentrefest as we don’t half utter bollocks, but it’s fun. Cheers! Bad-Earth-N.

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.

Pentre Fest 2022

Pentre Fest 2022
McLeans, Pentre
25/26.02.22
Review by Beth Jones and Alun Jones
Photography by Beth Jones


Day 1 – 25th February

Well, this one had been a long time coming. The last big gig we’d attended before what I’m now lovingly referring to as ‘The Clusterfuck’ was Pentre Fest 2020. February 2020 – remember those days? Before the whole world simultaneously stopped, complained, went a bit mad, then fell out with each other… So bloody hell was I ready for this gig. And it was somewhat of a reunion of part of team Ever Metal – with Roving Reporter Rob and North Wales’ finest, Platinum Al joining the merry trio! And here are our collective thoughts on the first day of what was set to be an absolute barnstormer of a weekend! (Well, mine and Al’s anyway – Rob was busy networking and interviewing!)

Navnlos – Alun Jones

The first band this year was Navnlos and I love these guys, so that was a pretty good start! They deliver some heavy Groove Metal, that’s powerful and relentless. I also detected something of a nasty Grunge element, like Tad jamming Pantera songs in Venom’s garage. Navnlos feature evil riffs, primal rhythms and ogre like vocals – it’s the sound of a rampaging army of berserkers storming your tea party. Bloody great way to kick things off! 

https://www.facebook.com/Navnlosband

Ryuko – Beth Jones

Opening the outdoor ‘Unleashed’ acoustic stage were local garage rockers, Ryuko. They play a brand of Grungy Rock, with a Pop Punk edge, that takes me right back to the 90’s – my formative years, starting a band in my mate’s garage, with my little bro on drums, me on bass and my mate on guitars. Clad in lumberjack shirts and spurious haircuts, we spent many a Saturday afternoon making a cacophonous racket and irritating neighbours. Ahh… the good old days… Anyway, I digress. This duo have something, but they haven’t quiet worked out what that something is yet. They have the sound down, but the delivery isn’t quiet keeping up. That said, it was a cold night, on a stage that was dimly lit, so I’ll cut them a bit of slack.

https://www.facebook.com/RyukoBand

Dan Moran – Beth Jones

Due to an attack of the omnipresent ‘rona, Lullaby for a Unicorn weren’t able to play this festival – we all did a collective ‘boooooo’ because we wouldn’t get to see a scowling Beany, with a broom, cleaning up the mess afterwards! BUT!! Replacing them was a last-minute stand in set from the ridiculously talented Dan Moran, front man of Reaper and now Shrapnel as well, who stepped once more into the breach with a half hour of acoustic joy. As always with this fine young gent from Liverpool, his talent absolutely brims out by the bucket load. I have never seen him give a bad performance yet and I will eat my hat if one day he does. Everything oozes with passion and pure musicianship, from the tone and execution of his guitar skills to the pinpoint dynamics in his vocals. I could wax lyrical about this chap for hours, but there’s more to get through, so I’ll simply say it was a bit good!

https://www.facebook.com/DanielMoranMusic/

Hellfire Devilles – Alun Jones

Some may have wondered how a Psychobilly band would go down at a Metal festival. Well, it turns out that Hellfire Devilles fitted in snugger than Tommy Lee’s underpants. A raucous, Rock ’n’ Roll three-piece trading in high energy, foot on the gas music – these guys wrought crazy voodoo all over the outside stage. Thumping drums, frantic guitar and slapping upright bass – along with monster movie lyrics – the set was an absolute joy. This was freaky tiki, cocktail chaos a go-go: Killerbilly has arrived! Do not miss Hellfire Devilles if you get a chance to see them. Main stage next time, please. (Beth here – I completely second this. Absolutely one of my bands of the weekend!)

https://www.facebook.com/HELLFIREDEVILLES

IN DEPTHS – Beth Jones

Back over on the main stage, and one of my favourite young Modern Metal bands were preparing to give us another blinding set. Tonight though, the IN DEPTHS boys were minus a drummer and using samples to make up for it. But they did it with such professionalism that, if you closed your eyes, you wouldn’t even have known that they were a man down. Front man Callum has such an electrifying stage presence, and the freakiest eyes I’ve ever seen when he’s growling! These guys will go very far, I can feel it in my waters!

https://www.facebook.com/InDepths

Adam Robinson Acoustic – Beth Jones

Back out on the now very cold and very dark acoustic stage, the redcoat of Metal, Adam Robinson gave us a lovely little acoustic set, standing in for the very missed Edd Case, who’d also been imprisoned by the ‘rona, again! Adam is just so much fun to watch, and audience participation is the name of the game. This was to be the first of 3 sets he did at Pentre Fest 2022. So, I won’t bang on too much now – catch part two of the review to find out more!

Raised By Owls – Beth Jones

Our Friday headliners were the sublimely ridiculous comedy Death Metal / Grindcore masters, Raised By Owls. While I still haven’t yet forgiven them for their most recent Christmas single (although it was for charity so I supposed I’ll let them off), this set was the absolute tonic that everyone needed following the couple of years we’d just had. It was silly, madcap, and full of a set list that was about 100 songs long (admittedly a lot of them were only a second or so long)! We also got treated to a singing competition, where the Raised By Owls guys learnt a very important lesson – If Jordan Bridges is at a gig, do not invite him onto a stage! It was hilarious. I don’t think I have ever laughed so heartily at a complete set in my life. But I should also point out that not only are these guys funny to the core, they’re also very competent musicians. Everything was completely tight and together, and the total crazy xen of their performance made their allotted time fly by. And every single person in that room left there with a smile on their face at the end of it. And that, my learned friends, is the healing power of music…

And there it was gone, as they say here in the Wales. The first day of Pentre Fest 2022 was done and dusted. A great time was had by all, and we were all very much looking forward to getting back to McLeans for day 2…

https://www.facebook.com/RaisedByOwls

Day 2 – 26th February

After what had been a cracking first day, we all eagerly headed back to our now second home, McLeans Pentre, ready and willing for Pentre Fest 2022 to be unleashed on us (I honestly didn’t do that as a good lead in to the first act being on the Unleashed Acoustic stage, it just tripped off the tongue nicely).

Adam Robinson (Again!) – Beth Jones

First up on the Unleashed stage was the ever happy Adam Robinson again! In true Hi-De-Hi fashion, he got the slightly hungover bunch of happy campers going in style, with bags of charm and a wicked sense of humour, portrayed through his lyrics, and sly one-liners when introducing tracks. He’s a breath of fresh air, and was a great way to start the fun!

Leatherback – Beth Jones

Opening the main stage was one man Industrial Electronica Noise machine, Leatherback. This is an artist who has gone from pole to pole in my tastes. I started off really not liking it when I first saw him, but now I get it, and I like it! So much so I even bought a patch! His use of lighting as part of the music, and a show that include no speaking or singing at all, makes everything that little bit more mysterious and menacing, and the combination of crushing guitar with Synthwave sounds really does work ridiculously well.

https://www.facebook.com/leatherbackworld

Ellena – Beth Jones

Back over on the acoustic stage, we were in for something a little different. Local busker, Ellena, who delivered a beautiful solo set. Her voice is mesmeric, full of beautiful Mezzo / Alto richness, with a mighty range, and real power. In honesty, it was a shame that she was just singing to backing tapes, because she is a wasted talent doing that. She needs to be fronting an awesome Symphonic Metal band, as she has the tone, the power, and the stage presence to do that with ease!

‘Saur – Beth Jones

Adam Robinson was a busy chappy this weekend, as he was next up on the main stage, but this time with his band, ‘Saur. They’re a 90’s-esque Pop-Punk trio who just love to have fun. And they peddled the old favourites out here – ‘Unsolicited Dick Pics’ being my personal pick of the audience participation numbers. The pleasing thing about these guys is, while they’re all about parody and fun, musically they’re really tight, and they always look like they’re having a fun time. By this point, too, everyone has pretty much drunk their hangovers away, so the audience part of the audience participation was delivered with more gusto than it had been at the beginning of the day too! Awesome fun. 

https://www.facebook.com/Saur-103682872118906

Oliver Carins – Beth Jones

Nu Metal regulars, Scarfoot, had been down on the bill for Pentre Fest 2022, but unfortunately had to pull out last minute following a health scare for their bass player, Rhys, which saw him in hospital on the day of the gig. But front man Oli still came along and gave us a very mellow and chilled out acoustic set, which really displayed his vocal talent, and guitar mastery really well. There’s something magical about the sound of a 12 string acoustic, and it has the power to take you off to happy place, especially in the middle of the afternoon on an unusually sunny February day! Great set. 

Bad Earth – Alun Jones

Although happily installed as Pentre Fest regulars, Bad Earth have had anything but a comfortable couple of years. With the band reduced to just founder member Geordie at one point, the addition of new members Karl and Ben has reinvigorated this band beyond belief. Big, fast, dirty, non-stop Biker Rock that would make my old mate Lemmy very proud indeed, Bad Earth played brilliantly and performed a highlight set. The term “power trio” does not do justice here: more like “annihilation trio”. I wore my Bad Earth T-shirt ‘cos I’m a fanboy and you can fuck objective journalism sky high. (Beth here – Bad Earth’s set was hands down my most ‘wow’ performance of the weekend. This was the first time I’d seen them with the new line up and holy hell was it good!) 

https://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH

Mad Spanner’s Michael Randall Stand Up Show – Beth Jones

Back over on the Unleashed stage, it was time for something completely different! And yes, that is a reference to Monty Python, who I have no doubt are influences of Mad Spanner’s Michael Randall, who was here to give us a hefty dose of stand-up comedy. This was his first ever half hour slot, and he had no idea how it was going to go down, if it was funny, or if he would just die on his arse. Well, dear readers, I can tell you that it was probably one of the funniest half hours I have spent in many, many years. I laughed so much my face ached and my ribs stung. It was explicit, dirty, and raucous, but God this man is funny to his bones!

https://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner

Wrath of Man – Alun Jones

On the main stage next was Wrath Of Man. My first experience of these guys and they were intense, with a capital “fucking hell mate, who just punched my teeth out?” Originally slated to appear earlier, Wrath of Man were delayed due to a horde of Visigoths on the A55 (Bad Earth moved their own set to accommodate). The Wrath encapsulate a steaming Metal cauldron of brutal riff and Thrashy ferocity, topped with growling vocals that suddenly bloom into melodically sung choruses. Uncompromising, surprising and you should check them out, like now.

https://www.facebook.com/wrathofman

Master Charger – Alun Jones

The next act to tear up the main stage was Master Charger. RIFF OVERLOAD! Quick, pals – jump on Al’s Master Charger fun bus, we’re starting a club for MC fanboys and I’ve saved you all a seat! I’d listened to Master Charger before, but never seen them live – and oh, what beauty I did behold. Sludgier than a dirty bath, doomier than the Goat of Mendes, we sold our souls for Master Charger and they gave us a blinding set of fuzzy, scuzzy rock. Seriously supreme, this trio destroyed all before them – afterward, I destroyed their merch table because yes, I bought bloody everything! I’m not pissing about; Master Charger were AMAZING.

https://www.facebook.com/mastercharger

Luke Appleton Acoustic – Beth Jones

Luke Appleton, the youngest of the Appleton brothers, who are some of the hardest working guys Heavy Metal that you will find, has become somewhat of a N.E.W Metal Productions institution! And I for one have no qualms about that. This performance was his first of three at Pentre Fest 2022, and it saw him gracing the now very dark Unleashed stage. He took us through some of his acoustic repertoire, and was even joined on stage by big brother Chris or a couple of songs. There’s something electric that happens when they both get up together on stage – a true bond of brothers. But Luke is also the consummate performer, and this was a great set to help keep us warm on what was turning into a pretty nippy evening!

https://www.facebook.com/lukeappletonofficial

Reaper – Beth Jones

I don’t think I can say much about these guys that I haven’t said before. I have run out of superlatives countless times trying to describe just how bloody good they are. And this set was no exception to that. Blistering pace and energy, enormous stage presence, plus genius level technicality and musicianship. Their brand of Progressive Thrash is in your face, tripping it’s tits off, fucking unbelievably exciting, and I just love them, the talented young blighters! If you looked at anyone’s face in that room, it was filled with joy and excitement at the vision of Reaper tearing Pentre a new one. If you haven’t yet come across these guys, I implore you to change that right now! 

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialReaperUK

Cadence Noir – Beth Jones

Apart from a raging inferno and a few litres of Rum, nothing will keep you warmer on a chilly February evening than everyone’s favourite gothic Folk ‘n’ Rollers, Cadence Noir. And that’s exactly what they did here, as headliners on the Unleashed stage. As we huddled round to keep warm, they huddled together on stage… mainly because it was only a small stage, and with 5 members and a certain need for elbow room along with the potential to have someone’s eye out with a pointed stick, otherwise known as Fiddle player, Emma’s bow, that small stage was tight. But not to be deterred, Frontman Ade simply took to the floor, his mic stand adorned with pretty puce butterfly lights. And this set became the camp, leather clad raucous Kaleigh that we all needed. Smashing show, and a great closer for the Unleashed sage.

https://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir

Absolva – Beth Jones

The main support for Pentre Fest 2022 were one of the UK’s finest Heavy Metal outfits, Absolva! Fronted by the older Appleton, Chris, with Luke as his wingman, drummer John Bonham, and bass player Karl Schramm completing the line-up, this was a performance of the highest calibre. The professionalism and showmanship of these guys takes things to another level, and they had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand within seconds. It was thunderous, fast paced, (and to use a phrase that is done to death, but perfect) pedal to the metal Heavy Metal that made it impossible not move and be caught up in the excitement. This was by far the biggest attended Pentre Fest yet, and the room was on fire throughout the entirety of Absolva’s set. Brilliant!

https://www.facebook.com/absolva

Blaze Bayley – Beth Jones

Blaze Bayley is a name that everyone knows. So to have him do a show here at our little venue in Pentre is possibly the most astonishing thing I’ve come across in a long time. I think there’s one word to describe Maestro Beany’s feelings about it… And that is ‘Moist’!!! And, by a stroke of luck, his backing band were already there, in the shape of the Absolva boys, so it couldn’t have been more perfect really – anyone would think it had been planned that way 😉!

One thing that you are always guaranteed with Blaze is showmanship. The powerful voice, the crazed eyes and elaborate facial expressions, the big hand gestures and power grabs. It’s just the Metal world’s most brilliant and endearing cliché, and we flipping loved it in that room! From start to finish, this was a show of greatness that filled every person in there with joy. And compared to the couple of times I’ve seen Blaze before, this show felt different. It felt intimate, and real. The yarns he spun, the time he took to speak to the gathered fans, even after the set, as he did a signing. It was really the perfect end to a perfect return for Pentre Fest. God I was so happy to be alive in that moment. It’s one that will live on in my memory for a long time to come.

https://www.facebook.com/officialblazebayley

And so that wrapped up another year. And this one was so very special. Our scene round here might not be as huge and vibrant as the major cities across the border, but what we have here is special. It’s passionate and caring, and the love that we’ve all missed for the last two years poured out into that room. And I feel very privileged to have been there. Once again, a great event, and thanks must, as ever, go to the hard work and dedications of Beany and Fozzy for putting their heart and soul into putting this event on. Until next year mes amis… Beth X.

LINKS:

N.E.W METAL PRODUCTIONS:

McLeans, Pentre:

Goodfor Audio:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Alun 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.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, The Grand Final – Penny Black / XS Wrexham – 07/06/2019

00 M2TM North Wales Final Poster

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, The Grand Final
Penny Black / XS Wrexham – 07/06/2019
Review by Beth Jones and Rick Tilley

They say time flies when you are having fun, and that certainly couldn’t be truer about this year’s Bloodstock M2TM North Wales competition. Last Friday saw the culmination of months of work, peppered with smiles and tears, frustration and joy and some challenges that made this night all the more of an achievement, both from the bands and the organisers. It was certainly promising to be a metal extravaganza, with four guest bands, including a headline slot from Damim.
Thankfully the subject of many musings, the great British road network, didn’t let us down, meaning that Bloodstock’s own, Rob Bannister and his awesome better half Sherrell, arrived with us exactly at the time they had planned and we got to the venue just as the first band started.
Our venue for this final was Penny Black / XS bar, in the centre of Wrexham. Comprising of XS bar upstairs, and Penny Black downstairs, this was not a venue that had been used by North East Wales Metal Productions before, and we were all keen to see how it was going to fare. Our first band to perform was one of the guests, In Depths, in the downstairs bar.
In Depths
A local band from just over the border, in Chester, we saw these guys last year and like them. Since then they have gone through a slight line-up change, but they still have a great sound, and a dedicated bunch of followers. They gave a really good performance and warmed the crowd up nicely in readiness for the competition bands. For those that haven’t seen them, they are a modern djent type metal band, who have a really good feel about them. Well worth a watch.

01 In Depthshttps://www.facebook.com/InDepths/

Bad Earth
Our initial trip to the upstairs bar was to see the first of our competition bands, BAD EARTH, who we have been impressed with for many reasons, not least their heavy groovy laden rock/metal. We have been especially impressed with them recently because of the seamless addition of their new bass player, Tim Nicholls, who despite only being a member for about a month, looks like he has been there years! In this performance, he also took on some backing vocals, which added an extra depth to the music. Again, this was a great performance from them, especially as front-man Steven had been struck down with tonsillitis earlier in the week, which didn’t really show. A great way to start the evenings battling!

02 Bad Earthhttps://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH/

Cadence Noir
We always love a bit of gothic folk and roll to clear our heads – I mean, who doesn’t, right? And who better to provide that than the very lovely Cadence Noir, playing in the downstairs bar. As last year’s M2TM winners, it was great to see them back here performing as guests. They played a range of their catalogue, from old to new, and got the gathered crowd moving along at a fair old pace. Vocalist / Guitarist Adrien Perrie is a fabulous front-man who also possesses a dark sense of humour which perfectly matches their music. Add to that the wonderful violin playing of Emma Bennett and an increasingly sharp rhythm section and you have a band that should soon be occupying bigger stages!

03 Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

Lullaby For A Unicorn
We have come to know by now that when Lullaby For A Unicorn play, shit’s gonna get messy! So, we were very pleased to see that they had brought their trusty Henry Hoover with them to ‘speed up the clean-up’ operation tonight! Back upstairs they were the second competing band, and threw the kitchen sink at their performance. Now you all know that I love these guys dearly, both on stage and off, so what I’m about to say may come as a surprise. I didn’t think this was the best we had seen them and Rick was of the same opinion! I know, I KNOW I’m sorry!! I don’t know what it was – maybe they were just too stoked for it and put too much pressure on themselves, but whilst they were still brilliant, and despite the silly string, party popper assaults and the party cannons, it lacked just a little bit of their usual unicorn charm, which made us a little sad.

04 Lullaby For A Unicornhttps://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Scars Of Remembrance
Of all the bands who we have seen in this competition, this is the band who had the least confidence in the fact they could be in the running to win. When I spoke to them back at their heat, their plan was turn up, play a good gig and that was were it ended. Their main aim was to give people a show, and they were in complete shock when they progressed in that heat, and then again as the public vote winners in the semi-finals. They approached this gig with the same attitude – they were hungry as hell for it, but still had a humbleness that made them not yet believe. Well, guys, believe. This performance was, again, the best that we had seen them play, and you could see in each and every one of them how much this meant to them. Musically it was tight, it was well thought out, and it was so easy to get lost in the rhythms. Performance wise, they all gave it their all. Mike Edwards, as a front man, is brilliant and draws people in with his stare, and Ben thrashed the drums so hard that he completely sheered off one of his cymbal stands mid-song but carried on without missing a beat. It was a storming set!

05 Scars Of Remembrancehttps://www.facebook.com/scarsofremembrance/

Damim
We headed downstairs and had a short break before watching Guest Headliners Damim. These guys were new to us, and whilst they were not necessarily what I would usually choose, I actually really liked them for the musical ability. As for Rick, well he absolutely loved them! They were so precise it was superhuman, and every member was a stunningly talented musician. We found out afterwards that the guys on rhythm guitar and bass were actually stand-ins for the actual members who weren’t available that night! WOW, that level of talent and commitment cannot be learned, that is just something you are born with. Lead singer Nathanael is the most suave and focused person I have ever seen in Wrexham! He had an aura about him on and off stage which was very impressive. They also had an unfortunate random intrusion from the back of the stage, when one of the local Neanderthals managed to gain entry through the fire escape, however being the consummate professionals they clearly are, they never missed a beat, and the security had the incident under control in a matter of seconds, meaning most of the crowd didn’t even notice it happen. For anyone who hasn’t seen Damim before, and as we haven’t written about them before, their style is blackened thrash, with influences from Morbid Angel, Meshuggah and Death, to name but a few. They are very, very good and well worth checking out.

06 Damimhttps://www.facebook.com/dam.nation.uk/

Navnløs
It was then upstairs again for the final competing band Navnløs. Last time we saw these guys we criticized them for having too long a break between songs and looking slightly lost in said break. They had clearly listened, as the break between songs was much smaller and there was always a bit of guitar or something filling the gap, and it made such a difference – so thanks for taking that constructive criticism and making a positive change guys – it really was an improvement. Their pace was much better, and they were really impressing us, and the crowd. Then they had a bit of a moment – I’m not sure what happened but they had to restart a song twice, and I think at that point they knew what that would inevitably mean. It was a real shame, because they had really stepped it up for the final. I get them, but I don’t at the same time, if you know what I mean! Musically they are all talented, and they have a good sound, but I think nerves hinder their performance, which makes them not quite there yet. Please keep at it though guys. Work on the performance element, because the music is solid. I’m going to shut up now because I am starting to sound like Simon Cowell!!

07 Navnløshttps://www.facebook.com/Navnlosband/

With that, the competition section was over, and we had one last guest band to play whilst Bloodstock’s Rob Bannister, who had the extremely hard task of judging this event, deliberated and collected his thoughts on what he had seen. In my opinion it was between two of the bands, but I couldn’t decide which. We restocked on beverages and settled in for the finale performance from Left For Red.
Left For Red
Rick has been on at me for ages to check these guys out, and I had been looking forward to seeing them. I wasn’t disappointed – a cracking five piece from the West Midlands, they deliver a combination of groove and prog and classic British heavy metal which has an enthralling and almost hypnotic draw to it. Front-man LC is a ball of energy on stage and has a look about him that made me think of Blaze Bayley – to the point that I was like ‘is this Blaze’s long-lost brother?!’ This performance was also slightly bittersweet, as it was one of bassist Dan Carter’s final performances with the band, as he is moving on to different pastures soon. It was a really great way to finish a really great night, and I would definitely recommend checking these guys out too – their new album “Human Complex” has recently been released, and is liked very much by the team at Ever Metal.

08 Left For Redhttps://www.facebook.com/leftforreduk/

So here we were – the result (and no Ant and Dec anywhere in sight!). Rob had deliberated and, based on the performances he had seen his winners were…SCARS OF REMEMBRANCE!! We have to say that we concurred – they gave the best performance on the night, and you could see how much they wanted it, and this was why they won. The look on their faces was an absolute picture – total disbelieving joy, and I have to admit it got me a bit emotional. Having watched them grow since last year, I felt a bit like a proud mum!! Much happiness ensued, involving lots of hugging and love for everyone. Our thanks must be extended to not only the bands, who have slogged it for the whole competition, but also the really good sized crowd that turned up to the final, to Rob Bannister for judging and his lovely lady Sherell for manning the raffle and looking after my bags, to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North of NEW Metal Productions for organizing the whole thing in the face of some truly challenging times and to Dani & Joe Maguire of Powerzone and John Matthews of Phoenix Rising, for judging the heats and just being awesome people who make you smile when you see them at a gig. This is what happiness is. This is why we do this; the feeling at the end of this gig, the culmination of all that work. If we could bottle that, we would be millionaires. Bring on 2020!!
LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingrocks/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/
 
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Richard Tilley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of all parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 1 – Mcleans Pentre – 17/05/2019

00 Event Poster

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 1
Mcleans Pentre – 17/05/2019
Review by Beth Jones

It doesn’t seem like two minutes since the first heat of this year’s M2TM North Wales competition, and yet all of a sudden, here we are at the business end of proceedings!
The first semi-final promised a definite step up in standards, and we were very much looking forward to it. Sadly, again, one competing band, Mindriot 15, had to pull out due to a family emergency, so we were left with four really good bands to battle for just two places in the final; Favela, Lullaby For A Unicorn, Bad Earth and Scarfoot.
When we arrived at Mcleans, it was great to see a really good turnout, despite road closures and all sorts of other things happening that weekend. The running order was drawn live, and Favela were picked to go on first.
Favela
After seeing these guys in the heat, we knew what they were all about. They are heavy, 90’s inspired, shouty and tight. They certainly put on a performance here, with front man Tom Harrison covering every inch of available stage space in a performance full of energy and vigour. This might make me unpopular, but I actually think I preferred their performance in their initial heat. I don’t even know why! I think maybe they were almost trying too hard here, and it didn’t feel as real as in the heat. Rick however totally disagrees with me! He thought they were really good. Maybe I was just in a bad mood! Hard day at work and all that!!

01 Favelahttps://www.facebook.com/FavelaUK/

Lullaby For A Unicorn
I don’t need to say much about these guys, apart from it is always a pleasure to be in their company and watch them play, and they were on fire for this performance. Even though it was shorter than their usual craziness, they still managed to make a huge mess! Guitarist Dan Alexander also looked like a man possessed. Usually very reserved whilst playing, he was jumping round like a complete nutter and really going for it with his presence and witty banter, which was great to see. They were super good, as always, and super tight. I have a real soft spot for these guys. Luckily, I’m not a judge, so it doesn’t matter if I am biased!

02 Lullaby For A Unicornhttps://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Bad Earth
Here is a band who have been through the mill a bit recently, but they have had good news, just this week, with the appointment of new bass player, Tim Nicholls. Having not heard him play before and knowing that he had had just 5 days to learn the set, we were nervous for them, but we needn’t have been. Oh my word, what a show! Big, big kudos to Tim, who did an outstanding job, and seems to have just slotted right in to the band perfectly. Drummer Ren Stefan and Guitarist/Vocalist Stephen Coxon looked so much more relaxed on stage, and their performance was spot on. I spoke to Stephen afterwards and he said that was the best he has felt on stage for a while – that it felt comfortable. We could really tell from out front! A great performance. And, just for Stephen’s benefit, I would like to point out that the lighting was perfect, and they all had the correct number of clothes on 😉.

03 Bad Earthhttps://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH/

Scarfoot
They were definitely up for this performance and put on a pretty good show on the whole. They are very passionate and are great lads, but for me they were lacking in something here, and I can never quite put my finger on what it is. Don’t get me wrong, they have come on a long way from when we first saw them, but I think that they still have more locked up potential that they need to find the key for. Their songs are creative, quite proggy in places, and they perform them well, but it just doesn’t gel quite right sometimes. That being said, they did work their socks off and the crowd were appreciative. They are really lovely guys too.

04 Scarfoothttps://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband/

That was the final competing band, and after a swift round of voting, and a trip to the bar, and while the judges went off to deliberate on their choice, we had the pleasure of discovering an interesting bunch from South Wales!
Apathy Avenue
On their Facebook page, these guys say they are Alternative/Hard Rock. The lead singer certainly had a hefty does of alternative flare, a bit like if Dr Who went to Glastonbury stoned out of his tree! They were very tight and well-rehearsed, and had a quirky style. Sections of rap peppered their songs, along with clean vocals and some nice guitar work. Whilst they were not what I was expecting, they were good, and I quite liked them. They weren’t particularly heavy, and I think some of the crowd were in need of something a bit more growly, but the ones that did stay to watch them seemed to enjoy it too.

05 Guest Headliner Apathy Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/Apathyavenue/

And so, the results were in. It was going to be a really hard one to call, as every band had upped their game. I knew who I thought it should be, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Progressing to the final were (drum roll please)…………. Bad Earth and Lullaby For A Unicorn! I was very happy with this. It was, in my humble opinion, the right choice. Favela missed out by the narrowest of margins, but it is all about what happens on the night, and Lullaby and Bad Earth just had that edge. Well done to all the competing bands for getting this far, and we shall look forward to seeing all of you, in some capacity, very soon.
Thanks again to all the bands for a great night, and of course to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Paul Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North for their constant hard work and dedication to the scene here in North Wales. See you at Semi Final 2, which is going to be even tougher than this one!
LINKS:
Semi-Final 2 Event Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/2350996518296726/
Grand Final Event Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/172760083629491/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/
 
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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.

Witch Tripper, Lullaby For A Unicorn and Bad Earth – Live At G21, The Saddle Bar, Chester – 13/04/2019

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Witch Tripper, Lullaby For A Unicorn and Bad Earth
Live At G21
The Saddle Bar, Chester
13/04/2019
Review by Beth Jones

After an interesting heat of M2TM 24 hours previous, we were in the mood for a good dose of proper metal to knock away the lingering winter chill that was in the air and reset our minds! We headed over the border to Chester, and The Saddle Bar, for NEW Metal Productions latest gathering of banging bands. I remember this bar from many years ago, when it used to be one of my haunts in my mis-spent youth, but back then it was called the Chester Bells, and was a bit spit and sawdust, so it was interesting to see what the new owners had done with it. All the reports we had heard had been positive. Tonight, the Saddle was hosting two gigs, a UFO tribute act in the main bar, and our destination, Bad Earth, Lullaby For A Unicorn and Witch Tripper in the old stables out the back, which is now lovingly called the G21 bar!
It was an interesting little space! It looked a bit like the dungeon of Madame Elektra, with red walls, black ceilings and drapes, and elaborate chandeliers! It just needed some whips and a gimp mask for the full effect! The floor was a little uneven, which made it a bit tricky for Rick, but it was still a nice sized space, and full of friendly faces. We have seen all three of these bands on many occasions now, and have got to know them all, and love them all, so we knew it was going to be a good night.
Bad Earth
First on the bill was Bad Earth, now thankfully back to a full quota of members, which was really great to see – they work so well together as a three piece and we are so happy that bassist Rob has managed to come back to the fold. As predicted, they smashed it. The sound was brilliant, and their performance was tight. My only woe was the lighting, in so much as there pretty much wasn’t any! Red walls and no lighting do not make a happy photographer! Considering how red everything was, the air around me was very, very blue I can tell you!!!!
IMPORTANT EDIT – For one reason and another this review is slightly late in being posted to our website and yesterday, 6th May, there was an announcement on the Bad Earth Facebook page that bassist Rob has again parted ways with the rest of the band. We wish them all the best in finding a replacement soon! – Rick

01 Bad Earthhttps://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH/

Lullaby For A Unicorn
Ah, my boys, my boys. What can I say? Yet again a splendid performance, full of chunky riffs, crazy vocals, and mess! Silly string, party poppers and party cannons aplenty were released over the crowd and it really kick started the party atmosphere, as there were at least four notable people in the room celebrating their birthdays that night. These guys are so much fun, and I love them, both as a band, and now as new found friends. They really are my kind of people!

02 Lullaby For A Unicornhttps://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Witch Tripper
The North’s hardest working band of the moment gave us another energy packed, full on groove fest! It was by this point incredibly warm in the room and Rick and I had to decamp half way through as he was hurting, and I was getting a touch wobbly, but luckily, we could still hear them from out in the beer garden! They are so good, so groovy, so tight, and their new drummer is amazing, and has brought a new dimension to them as a group. He also has lovely hair!

03 Witch Tripperhttps://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

We decided not so stay for the UFO tribute act, as the main bar was so packed, which was great to see in the sense of people coming out to see live music, but not so great in the sense of being a small person and trying not to get squished to death! Also, there is an old law in Chester that has never (if tales are to be believed) been revoked – if a Welshman is found within the city walls after midnight, they can be shot through the head with a crossbow! I wasn’t up for taking any chances, and having an arrow through my brain would be somewhat of an inconvenient hinderance to my writing and photography! We had had a really fun night and were glad that we had experienced this new venue.
Plusses for me were the fact that the G21 is separate from the main pub, as we didn’t have to do too much fighting through crowds, and also the sound yet again was superb – thanks to Fozzy for this. Minuses with the venue are the flooring, and lack of lighting, but these are both easily rectifiable. A great night was had by all!
LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/Thesaddleinnchester/
https://www.facebook.com/Grosvenor21/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
 
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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..
All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/