M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 2 – (Special Guest Headliners) Democratus

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M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 2 – Solitary (Special Guests)

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M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 2 – Apollyon

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M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 2 – Wrath Of Man

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M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 2 – In Depths

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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 – Semi Final 1 – Djinova (Guest Headliners)

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 1 – Grief 

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.

Vexes – Imagine What We Could Destroy /// If Only Given Time (Double Album)

Imagine What... Album Cover Art

Vexes – Imagine What We Could Destroy /// If Only Given Time (Double Album)
Self-Released
Release Date: 17/06/22
Running Time: 108:02
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Hello my dear readers! My, it’s been a while since I actually got time to review an album! But, thanks to Her Majesty QE II being on the throne for rather a long time, we’ve had a couple of extra Bank Holidays here in the UK, and for me that meant the gift of free time! 

So, without further ado, let’s see what we have in store from American Alternative Metal band, Vexes. I’ve never come across these guys before, but I do like to explore something a little different. Vexes first appeared on the scene in 2018 with their debut album “Ancient Geometry”, which got the chatter about them started, due to its experimental nature. And, on first listen, it has to be said that this album is deliciously Progressive and experimental. It’s filled with cross rhythms, close harmonies, and dynamic changes, which create an interesting listen. 

This behemoth of an album is, according to the press release, not a concept album, but a view of the world in the last 4 years, and how our lives are driven by our obsession with presenting the ‘perfect image’ in the public eye. This bleak, stark, but unfortunately accurate vision is presented here with a feel of being in two halves, emotionally. The first half of the album certainly has an air of confused, anxious calamity about it, which does indeed reflect the ever-more unbalanced world in which we now live. 

Musically, I really like the experimentation that is thrown into things. Unusual chord progressions, and the aforementioned rhythmic and dynamic changes litter the album, in a very pleasing way. It’s got a Post-Rock feel to it, which merges beautifully with the almost Grungy guitar riffs. But it is very definitely Metal, I feel, with the crunchiness and chunkiness of the downtuned guitar work throughout making it so. 

They use samples effectively to fill out the sound, which ends up being really massive. I now have the privilege of having some spectacular speakers to listen to this on, which is helpful, as this is an album that needs to be listened to loud for full effect! 

However, they also dabble delicately with classical instrumentation; atmospheric piano, and I think Double Bass or Cello and violins being used to great effect, particularly in ‘Imagine What We Could Destroy’. This haunting instrumental piece marks the symbolic ‘halfway point’ of the album, centering things after the rollercoaster ride of the first section. This is also the first of a few instrumental pieces. 

The second half of the album is not as fractious – it’s almost like a concession and acceptance of the madness that’s all around – a flowing with it, rather than fighting a losing battle against it. 

I want to mention the vocals at this point. They are a bit good!! Vocalist, Charlie, has a wonderful lilting, floating voice, which cuts through the engulfing calamitous heaviness of the music beneath it. It makes a really interesting metaphor for life in my opinion. The pace and movement of the daily bedlam, that somehow delivers us moments of clarity, between meetings, or while hiding in the bathroom to escape the madness, even if only briefly.

This is a band who know what their sound is, and considering this is only their sophomore album, that sound is an extremely mature one. They have also self-recorded and produced this album, which is commendable, as the quality of it shows what can be done if you try – other bands, take note! 

“What We Could Destroy/// If Only Given Time” is a very pleasing listen, and although it’s long, I implore you to listen to it as a whole entity, because this is how it works best. It’s dark and melancholy, but conversely soothing and relaxing. Maybe that’s because I’m still a Goth at heart and find solace in the depressing! I don’t know, and quite frankly, don’t care! I am a happy Beth – this was a great choice to start me off back into the realms of album reviews. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Digital Trust
02. Beyond The Sinking
03. End With Me
04. We Are If We Dare
05. E.O.T.W
06. A Darker Motion
07. Gather Your Bones
08. Dryspit
09. Twisting Of The Points
10. Inexerol
11. Imagine What We Could Destroy
12. Low Choices
13. Phantom Pain
14. The Symptoms Of Dying
15. Collapse At Limit
16. Energy Vampire(s)
17. In This Destruction
18. The Dream Disease
19. Bleak Machine
20. At Nothing
21. Invisible Shine
22. Tangents
23. Away Stars
24. If Only Given Time

LINE-UP:
Charlie – Guitar and Vocals
John – Guitar
Justin – Drums
Bobby – Bass

LINKS:

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.