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.

Cadence Noir – A Reckless Endeavour EP

Cadence Noir – A Reckless Endeavour EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 19/06/2020
Running Time: 24:32
Review By Beth Jones
8/10

As we approach summer the days are getting warmer, the nights are drawing out, and the sun has currently got his hat firmly on, and what better way to celebrate this than will a good bit of Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll! It’s time to put on your best crushed velvet cravat, crack open a bottle of red and find a shady patch, because the new Cadence Noir EP is about to drop (Well in a month or more, but who’s counting – every day’s Thingday at the moment, right? 🙃).

These guys have now been around for almost a decade, but our history with them is more recent, in part. From stumbling upon them a few years ago, then discovering that frontman Ade was a childhood friend who I’d not seen for nigh on 30 years, to watching them progress and win the North Wales M2TM in 2018, a year which also saw the release of their debut full length album, “Physical Copy”. Since then, we’ve seen them a good few more times, and now welcome the release of their second EP.

Recorded in somewhat odd, but sensibly socially distant circumstances, due to the current plague situation, “A Reckless Endeavour” sees the band finally getting the last of their old tracks formally put to press, along with some ‘new’ tracks. I say new, as some of these have been concepts for a good while, but like a fine wine, have been maturing to give them that true vintage flavour. Releasing this EP now leaves them time to, as their press release says, ‘focus on writing entirely new terrible material as the still immature late 30’s angsty millennial lefty goths that they are, were and always will be!’

“A Reckless Endeavor” is very much what we’ve come to know and love about Cadence Noir; a jaunty hop, skip and jump through the suitably dark and disturbed! With deep routes in folk sounds, enhanced by Violinist Emma Bennett, along with the raspy vocal style of Ade Perrie, the solid guitar work of Ade and Nick Chamberlain, and the steady hands of Tom Smith on Bass and David Budge on Drums, this EP is a catchy mix of happy Goth Punk-Folk Celtic Thrash Pop metal, with a couple of surprises thrown in. Drums is all I’m saying. You’ll have to have a listen, but… Hey Yeah! Drums.

Music wise, this is Cadence Noir through and through and it makes you smile with your eyebrows. However, where I think they have upped their game is in the recording, and given the circumstances, that is a pretty awesome achievement. The mix on this EP is spot on – so kudos for that. Will it realign the universe and unite the nations? Doubtful, but it is bloody good fun, musically pleasing, conceptually solid, well recorded, and will get your toes tapping. You can’t really ask more than that. Personally, I think this is their best release yet. Check it out.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Weighing Owls
2. Hammered And Sickened
3. A Reckless Endeavour
4. Down The Park
5. My Place
6. Dave’s Turnip Tart
7. Hey Yeah (Secret Track)

LINE-UP:
Adrien Perrie – Guitar and Vocals
Nick Chamberlain – Guitar and Backing Vocals
Tom Smith – Bass
Emma Bennett – Violin
David Budge – Drums and Percussion

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/
www.twitter.com/CadenceNoir
www.instagram.com/cadencenoir/
www.cadencenoir.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UC2kb6CwpIEHr_CrL31UgcKg

By Beth Jones

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.

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/

Pentre Fest 2019 Day Two – Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales – 23/02/2019

 
00 Pentrefest 2019 Final Line-Up Poster 3

Pentre Fest 2019 Day Two
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
23/02/2019
Review by Beth & Rick Tilley
Pictures by Beth Jones

…We arrived back at McLean’s Bar around Midday, fresh faced and ready for Day Two of Pentre Fest. To say there were a few faces looking slightly less fresh would be an understatement, but a good old ‘hair of the dog’ session was already ensuing for most! The weather was fine, everyone was smiling & chatting and we were thoroughly looking forward to another day of full on Metal, starting with a relatively new, local band, Navnlos.
Navnlos
Its always nice to see local acts perform at events like this, and Navnlos certainly kicked the day off in style, with there thrashy groove metal style executed really well. It certainly cleared the head of the already growing crowd, and was a great way to get people back in to the swing of things. They had catchy hooks to their songs, and you could move to them, and everything they played was executed really well. Our one qualm with their performance was the length of time between songs, spent in relative silence. It was too much and they lost all the energy that the song had just built up. Their stage craft will grow the more they gig but, apart from that, musically they are a talented bunch and we are both very much looking forward to see what they do!

01 Navnloshttps://www.facebook.com/Navnlosband/

Cheerfully Undiagnosed
Next, we went from the sublime to the cor blimey, with another new local band, who hadn’t played many gigs before. They were a kind of punk pop metal crossover, and their lead vocalist was certainly up for it, and had everyone joining in with some audience participation on the majority of their quirky, funny and bizarre set. They weren’t the best band that we were going to hear on the day, but they certainly weren’t the worst we had ever heard. With a bit more gelling time, and a bit more confidence as a band together, they could be good. I hope they carry on working on this because it was funny and light – hearted, but if it doesn’t work out, then frontman Adam (who reminded us of comedian Jack Whitehall) could probably do really well as a kid’s party host, after managing to command the hungover gathering here, and get them to sing random things with seeming ease!

02 Cheerfully Undiagnosedhttps://www.facebook.com/Cheerfully-Undiagnosed-1791893794227072/

Agent 47
I hadn’t heard these guys before, so wasn’t sure what to expect, but my ears pricked up when they started playing, as their style was instantly recognisable to me as the sound of the 90s! A Rage Against The Machine / Alice In Chains / Corrosion Of Conformity influenced sound that got me jigging along and took me back my formative years! They were really tight and very bloody good. Formed in 2011, and hailing from the Manchester scene, you could tell that they properly know what they are doing, and they deliver it with passion and style. For me they were one of my stand out bands of the weekend, not only because I love their sound, but because of how well rehearsed they were. A new one to add to my list of ‘must see again’ bands.

03 Agent 47https://www.facebook.com/Agent47UK/

Promethium
I saw these guys at Badgerfest last year, and was not as impressed with them as I thought I might be. I had wanted to see them again, and for Rick to see them too, to see if my first impression was founded, or if I was just a complete dick. The answer to that question was, ‘I’m a complete dick!’ Although, in my defence, I don’t think the sound issues at Badgerfest helped them last year, and thus the performance I saw then wasn’t their best, but I am so glad that I saw them again here, where the sound was superb, and I was able to make a more informed judgement about them. They are a super-talented product of Lancaster and well worth a watch. Lead vocalist Steve Graham has a great set of pipes on him, and the Rhythmic work of Kev Yates on drums and Ben Macfarlane on bass is spot on and If you top that with some crunchy, groove laden and intricate guitars then you have a recipe for awesome. Rick said they were one of his top bands of the weekend and that he actually preferred hearing them live rather than on album.

04 Promethiumhttps://www.facebook.com/Promethiumband/

Deified
Next up, and getting dangerously close to clashing with the most important game in the Rugby Calendar – Wales vs England in the Six Nations – were the Merseyside monsters, Deified! With as much punch as an angry gorilla on amphetamines with a score to settle, we LOVE these guys. We first saw them at the Christmas Mosh back in December, and were impressed then, but somehow, they were even better at this performance. Putting the OOO into groove metal, and the AAAaAAraragh into thrash, with an added spoonful of death metal vocals, they crushed our skulls continuously for their 45 minute set, and left us all wanting more. Fair play to these guys – they kept the crowd until the end of the set, and put everyone in a great mood!

05 Deifiedhttps://www.facebook.com/deified/

The next set was delayed, because of a small matter of one of the best Rugby games in recent years playing out on the big screen in the bar, and everybody, including the bands and the event organisers wanting to watch it! It was nail-biting, but Wales managed to overcome England! CYMRU AM BYTH!!!!!!! (Apologies to the English members amongst the merry gathering, but it was a damn fine game, and the best team won! We still love you though).
Frozen In Shadows
I was a bit like a child with a new toy when I found out Frozen In Shadows were playing at Pentre Fest – I couldn’t wait for Rick to see them after they totally destroyed my mind with their immenseness at Badgerfest last year. They were once again brilliant! They are excitingly heavy, and it makes every bone and sinew in your body vibrate with their power. For me they are the epitome of a super group. Incredibly talented musicians from other bands, coming together to do something magical that plays to each of their strengths. They are incredible to watch, with so much energy, passion and technique, that I am quite sure they will blow me away every time I see them. I don’t really think I need to say any more than that!

06 Frozen In Shadowshttps://www.facebook.com/frozeninshadows/

Ashen Crown
After seeing these guys as a full band at Amplified 2018, and seeing lead singer Kieran guesting with Mad Spanner on a number of occasions, we knew what these guys were about, and they lived up to their Amplified performance of last year, which was fab. They are super technical and tight, and Kieran’s growly death metal vocals punch you in the face like a street fighter on steroids! They are brutal as, and always fill the stage with energy. The local crowd love these guys, and it is easy to see why, when they deliver a belting performance every time, and this was no exception.

07 Ashen Crownhttps://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk/

Cadence Noir
Filling the main support slot were last years M2TM North Wales winners, and all-round lovely folk, Cadence Noir, bringing their unique ‘Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll’ to Deeside. I love these guys, and it is always a pleasure to watch them play, especially when they have a full quota of members, as they did tonight, with Nick on guitar making up the quintet. The thing that makes me love them is the way they blend heavy metal riffs, with folk melodies, and lamenting violin with crunchy distorted guitars. They put on a great show for everyone again here, whipping up the hall into good old jig! Speaking to frontman Ade after the show, he said that he was happy with the performance, and that it felt good – that was definitely transmitted to the room, because it sounded good too.

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

Sodomised Cadaver
So, to the headliners. We had watched these guys earlier in the day doing an ‘acoustic’ (lol) set on the acoustic stage, so knew they were going to be heavy and loud as fuuuuuuck! They were. Crazy energy, meets brain shattering vocals, meets speed drumming, meets everything turned up to eleven, with a side helping of so much hair it would make bald men weep! I seriously thought that my skin might disintegrate, and needed to go hunting for my ear drums, which I could only assume had ended up somewhere in the car park! Whilst musically these guys aren’t really me cup of tea, tipping the scales into the realms of too heavy, they are very adept at their style and they are also endearing chaps who all have a great sense of humour. Good to watch, and if you like to feel like your whole body has been in an industrial tumble dryer, then you definitely need to look them up.

09 Sodomized Cadaverhttps://www.facebook.com/SodomizedCadaver/

Acoustic Stage
One thing that we have touched upon throughout this, but not gone into detail about was the Acoustic Stage, run over both days, by the one and only Edd Case, a stalwart of the local scene, with an immense passion not just for music, but for supporting underground, unsigned and local talent. His acoustic stage showcased a number of local acts: Neill Murphy, Captain Andy, The Hairy Bitches, and Zanda Stone, along with acoustic sets from Adam Robinson of Cheerfully Undiagnosed, Ade and Emma from Cadence Noir who pulled off an immense cover of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’, and a full on acoustic set, complete with a bin lid bass drum, from Sodomized Cadaver, which is possibly the funniest acoustic set I have ever seen. Edd himself also did a few turns on the stage, closing the proceedings by doing his final set with his pants round his ankles! Clearly one of those, ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ moments, as it was a little chilly! It was a brilliant side attraction to the main event, and a great place to chill out and have a right old giggle between bands. I definitely would like to see this return next year.
10 Edd Case - Acoustic Stage
One other thing that I need to mention, before I stop waxing lyrical about what a brilliant weekend we had, was the sound quality. For every single band, throughout the weekend, on both the main and acoustic stages, the sound was completely faultless. With the diverse line-up, this was no mean feat, and a special mention needs to be given to LA1 Audio’s Edward Davies who absolutely stepped up to the plate and worked like a Trojan all weekend. A special thank you must also be given to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North, for putting on yet another brilliant show in their tireless pursuit of bringing Metal back to North Wales. They both do a sterling job, and the local scene owes a lot to their dedication – thanks again guys. Bring on next year – HELL YEAH!!!
Links
https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
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 Rick Tilley and 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/

Cadence Noir – Physical Copy

physical copy cover

Cadence Noir – Physical Copy
Self-Released
Release Date: 22/12/18
Running Time: 33:09
Review By Beth Jones
6/10

After 8 years of fannying about, Cadence Noir, my favourite Gothic Folk’n’Rollers (yes, it is a genre, shut yer face) have finally released their debut album. It dropped just in time for the Christmas panic buyers to slip it into a loved one’s stocking (shrewd move chaps, shrewd move!) I almost fell off my chair when they announced the news that it was actually happening, so eagerly awaited its arrival, and am now finally getting round to writing my thoughts on it a month after the event!

It is instantly recognisable as Cadence Noir. It is the sound that The Levellers would make if they had been playing all-night drinking games and jamming blues with Jim Morrison, Lemmy and Ozzy! Its raucous, its loud, its heavy, its bouncy and its blues folk jazzy! They are a proper party band, with an unmistakably unique sound, and that has transferred well onto the album. Ade’s scratchy vocals juxtaposed with Emma’s soaring, pure violin, and backed up by solid rhythms and crunchy guitars, with more than a smattering of Celtic influence, makes for a really interesting mix.

The album is a fine selection of ditties, with their classic, and one of my favourites, ‘The Traveller’ kicking off proceedings. It is an upbeat foot tapper which is sure to get things swinging, so it is a great way to start an album. The majority of the album moves at a frenetic pace and keeps your attention, however one song, which is 80% ballad, sticks out for me; ‘A Truth Held Dear’. It has a deep melancholy about it that I really like.

In the band’s press release, they say:

“Is it polished? No. Is it the height of pro audio production? God no. Does it sound like Cadence Noir? Yes it does.”

I have to concur, especially on the production side. The mix is a little top-heavy for me and this lets it down – I’m a bass girl and like to hear a meaty bottom end full of boom! Admittedly that isn’t really what Cadence Noir are about, and they did record their parts in separate home studios, so I will give them a bit of leeway, but I think the top end could do with coming down just a touch! However, I do quite like the rawness of it in a musical sense – if it had been too polished, it wouldn’t have been right.

All in all, this is a pretty fine debut album – let’s not leave it another 8 years for the follow up eh, guys?!

I have based this review on the download version sent over by the band but we shall definitely be buying the CD because…if you purchase the physical copy of “Physical Copy” (It’s an awesome title for an album) you not only get an extra track in the shape of live favourite #FFBB (Fuck Fuck Boom Boom), you also get a DVD of Cadence Noir’s full set from Bloodstock 2018 plus some other DVD extras! Value for money indeed!

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Traveller
02. Remoaner
03. Demon’s Lament
04. Church
05. Voyages
06. A Truth Held Dear
07. Homage
08. Hold Me Down
09. A Dove Amongst Eagles
10. #FFBB (CD Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Adrien Perrie – Guitar/Vox
Emma Bennett – Violin
Tom Smith – Bass/Double Bass
David Budge – Drums/Percussion
Nick Chamberlain – Guitars
Martin Jackson – Guitar/Vox (Hold Me Down)

LINKS:

promo pic1 (photo credit robert balmer photography)
Robert Balmer Photography

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.

Beth’s Top Ten Live Acts Of 2018

Beth’s Top Ten Live Acts Of 2018

Hi all, Rick here. As we reach Day One of 2019 here is a last thank you and final top ten list of 2018. Beth is not only turning into a great photographer (she has only been doing it for about 20 months) and has also written some excellent live and album reviews she is also, for her sins, my other half and I really couldn’t put as much time and effort as I do into Ever Metal if it wasn’t for her help, understanding and belief in me so a huge thanks goes out to her.

So, without further ado here are Beth’s top ten live bands/acts of 2018!

This year has been a pretty fine vintage, gig wise, for us. Here is a rundown of my favourite acts of the year.

01 No.10 Scars Of Remembrance

10. Scars Of Remembrance.

Local to Wrexham, and new to the scene in their current line up, they really impressed me in the summer with their performance at the New Metal All Dayer at the Live Rooms, Wrexham. It was amazing to see how far they had come in such a short space of time and I can’t wait to see where they take their heavy, Metalcore sound to next.

https://www.facebook.com/scarsofremembrance/


02 No.09 Evil Invaders

9.Evil Invaders.

Belgian Thrash at its very best. Their performance at this year’s Amplified festival was superb. I’m not usually big into thrash, but these guys really know how to put on a show. Frontman Joe has a majorly expressive face and a great voice, and the whole performance was buzzing with excitement, and much dry ice!

https://www.facebook.com/evilinvaders/


03 No.08 God Shaped Devil

8. God Shaped Devil.

I happened upon this band almost by accident! I was doing photography at Badgerfest and looking forward to a good few of the bands on the line – up but had overlooked these guys. I won’t be making this mistake again! Their performance was electric and their stage presence huge. They all looked like they were having such an awesome time on stage, and their playing skills were totally on point.

https://www.facebook.com/godshapeddevil/


04 No.07 Psychostick

7. Psychostick.

I love music. I love clever comedy. I love madcap, slapstick performances. Psychostick have all this, and they entertained us no end at Amplified in the summer. They would have appeared higher in my top ten, but for the sombrero incident, which kind of distracted me as I was worried I might die! But they are so worth a watch if you get the chance. It is like watching the Pythons with guitars!

https://www.facebook.com/Psychostick/


05 No.06 Cadence Noir

6. Cadence Noir.

Who knew Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll was a genre. I certainly didn’t until I saw Cadence Noir going through the heats for Bloodstock M2TM, and then winning a thoroughly deserved spot on the Bloodstock New Blood stage. Their meld of folk fiddle, upright bass, and some really heavy riffs is fantastically nuts and works so well. I am soon to review their long-awaited album “Physical Copy” which was released on 22nd December, and I can’t wait to see them perform again at Pentrefest in February 2019.

https://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/


06 No.05 Lullaby For a Unicorn

5. Lullaby For A Unicorn.

If you want to party, these are your guys. Again, we have seen them a few times this year, but my personal favourite performance was on 22nd December at Mclean’s Pentre. They turned the fun up a notch, and had the whole place bouncing in Santa hats, covered in party poppers and toilet roll! They are four seasoned musicians who don’t like to take life too seriously, and this comes across so well in their music and their stage presence. Bass player, Anthony, plays in a unicorn onesie, which is hilarious in itself. Guitarist Dan has light up shoes, lead singer, Justin, has a slightly unhinged glint in his eye, and drummer Rageth, well, who knows – each performance is a surprise – for this one he was green and wearing lovely shorts with braces! They certainly have the funny factor!

https://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/


07 No.04 Novacrow

4. Novacrow.

These guys made me smile so much at Rockwich this year. They are crazy and funny, but also create some pretty awesome sounds. Their brand of sleazy, horror-inspired hard rock is quite unique, and they have something very special about them! Lead singer Kitty has one awesome set of pipes. They are quirky and interesting to watch live, and love a bit of interaction with the audience, breaking down the fourth wall on more than one occasion with trips out into the crowd which really draws you in to their world, and I will be seeking them out again in 2019.

https://www.facebook.com/novacrowofficial/


08 No.03 StOp sToP

3. StOp sToP.

Glam rock is alive and well and lives wherever these guys are. There was makeup, there was spandex, there were tassels, there was big hair, and there was soooo much dry ice and shiny lighting! On performance skills these guys absolutely nail it, and musically they aren’t too shabby either! Their fast paced, pumped up performance at Rockwich was one of my highlights of the year! Anyone who watches them and doesn’t smile has a heart of stone! I so hope I get to see them again very soon. Nothing makes me happier than watching a band completely loving who they are and what they do, and this sums up the StOp sToP boys.

https://www.facebook.com/stopstopofficial/


09 No.02 Callus

2. Callus.

It seems unbelievable to me that we only met these guys at Hammerfest in March 2018. We have now become great friends, and it seems like we have known them a lot longer. In the 9 months since we saw them originally, we have seen them again another 3 or 4 times, and they just keep getting better. This is a young band who really know how to work an audience and create a good show, and they are all brilliant musicians to boot. Their debut album is out in about a month and I highly recommend that everyone checks it and them out and gets to see them live at the earliest opportunity, as they do not disappoint.

https://www.facebook.com/Callus.band/


10 No.01 Twisted Illusion

1. Twisted Illusion.

Just WOW! I TOTALLY LOVE THEM! I first saw these guys at Amplified and they knocked me off my feet with their brilliant prog metal style. We recently attended their Christmas gig in the Manchester Academy 3. It was an emotional night, as Bass player Mark, and Drummer Matt M had decided that they were stepping down from the band, and frontman Matt J had been plagued with a bad throat for the week before the gig, but despite this they were utterly, utterly stunning. I am still trying to write a review of it, but I can’t put my thoughts into a coherent piece, such was the brilliance of their performance. Not many bands make me want to just stand and let the music consume me, but Twisted Illusion are on that elite list. I am so glad that we found them, and I cannot wait to see them again as often as humanly possible.

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband


This has been a mighty hard list to compile as I have seen so many great artists this year. A few that were very close to making my top ten were, Witch Tripper, Evil Scarecrow, Mason Hill, Jayce Lewis, Impavidus, Footprints In The Custard, Resin, Fahran and Frozen In Shadows, who all deserve a mention for their cracking performances this year.

Writing this has made me realise how lucky we are to have so many great bands floating around at the moment, many of them only small, unsigned and relatively unknown in the grand scheme of things. Music truly is the most wonderful, universal language and I am so thankful that in enriches my life daily. If next year is as good as this year for live music, it’s gonna be awesome!

Thanks for reading and a very happy new year to you all xx

Disclaimer: All photos are the property of Beth Jones, Photograbee 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.

N.E.W Metal Productions All Dayer – 20/10/2018

N.E.W. Metal Productions All-Dayer
The Live Rooms, Wrexham
20/10/2018
Review by Beth Jones

If there is one thing that I will say about Wrexham, it is that it has always had a good live music scene, however, in recent years that has been heavily dominated by the Indie scene, and whilst there is nothing wrong with that, it just isn’t quite metal enough for me! In recent months however, Ian ‘Beany’ North and Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester have been trying to change that, by putting on as many gigs as possible in genre, via their promotion company, N.E.W. Metal Productions, the ‘N.E.W.’ being North East Wales. We were super pleased when they told us that they were taking it one step further and proposing to put on a metal all dayer, not only because this is what has been missing round here, but also because it meant we got to check out the newly refurbished Central Station, which is now called The Live Rooms Wrexham. To add to our excitement, we also had a visitor with us – none other than Rick’s partner in crime on the website, Dawn, who had managed to navigate the rail network from London to get up and see us!

We arrived at the venue a little before kick-off, so that we could check out the adjustments. First impressions were good. The rooms which before had been open plan, were now split, and a small ‘green room’ had been added – and it was quite literally green, complete with astro turf flooring and a woodland scene on the wall! The main stage area was essentially the same and the roof still, in my opinion, requires lagging to get the most out of the acoustics, but it certainly had a more thought out feel about it. In the second area, there was a huge, table shaped, elephant in the room. Now, a table is always a good idea in a venue where it is pretty much all standing, as you need somewhere to put your drinks, but when said table takes up almost a third of the available space, and is pretty much un-movable, it becomes less of a useful thing and more of a thing of mind-blowing annoyance! However, a team of 15 strong gents managed to push it 3 feet to the side, so at least there was a little more room for watching the bands!

So, without further ado, to the bands! Opening the day for us were a new to the scene local band, Scarfoot. They were a good way to start the day, and it was a refreshing change to see a drummer taking on lead vocals too. They are a little bit proggy and a little bit whacky, and a small crowd had already gathered to watch them, which is never a given for all day gigs at the moment! They certainly had a good sound, but for me the songs sounded a little samey. I wanted them to take it a little further and explore a bit more. This will come though I am sure, as they get more experience under their belt. On occasion some of the harmonies were not quite there, and the rhythms were a little shaky, but with more practice and live experiences like this, they will develop that sixth sense that you get from spending a lot of time with the same people!

01 Scarfoot

https://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband/

Next, over on the second stage, Bad Earth were ready to do their thing. Last time we saw them was at the Pentrefest Summer Sessions. Thankfully this time, they had a lot more clothes on than they did that day!! They are damn good! They are three guys who really know how to make a song groove. The power of Stephen Coxon’s vocals is excellent, and the sound on the day made them crystal clear. They always put on a brilliant show too, with the whole band being totally in to it. They are just great, solid, ‘meat and two veg’ hard rock, and had the whole room grooving with them. Enough said.

02 Bad Earth

https://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH/

We went back to the main stage next, to be in the presence of the aptly named Mad Spanner. In a total contrast to Bad Earth, these guys serve up a huge does of crazy! Their fast paced, heavy as hell, schizophrenic songs are all full of humour and observations on life which completely endeared them to the gathered crowd. They really do look like they have been plugged into the mains, especially front man Michael Randall, who has more energy than all the Duracell bunnies! Ok, they might not be the most technically rehearsed musicians you will ever see, but they are fun, they are mad, and they are a great bunch of guys, who make you feel happy, and I love this.

03 Mad Spanner

https://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner/

Scars Of Remembrance where our fourth act up. We saw these guys the first time at Wrexfest in July. We thought they were ok then, they all looked a bit nervous, especially their new front man Mike Edwards, as that was his first gig. Well, what a difference a few months makes! They were tight and all looked a lot more relaxed and gig ready, and Mike was on fire!!! He was up on the big table; he was bouncing about in front of the monitors, and on the stage itself, and looked like a man on a mission! It was definitely mission accomplished by the end of their set. It is so great to see a Wrexham based Metal / Metalcore band and I can’t wait to see them grow and progress further. Nice work lads!

04 Scars Of Remembrance

https://www.facebook.com/scarsofremembrance/

Carrying on with the heavy theme over on the main stage were Abominate. They really do hit you in the face with heavy. Lead singer, Dave Ballantyne, looked like he was baying for blood! They didn’t seem quite ‘on point’ on the night, although talking to Dave afterwards, I think a heavy few days may have contributed to this. That said, they were still really good and they do what they do really solidly. Their drummer also pulls some quality drum faces!!

05 Abominate

https://www.facebook.com/AbominateMetal/

Next up were a band that we hadn’t seen before, Ragnarok. They are a good, old fashioned, dirty hard rock band and they are now definitely on our ‘must see again’ list. Their set was laden with powerful riffs and good solid numbers that everyone was moving too. Guitarist Matthew Foulkes did it all with a very cheeky glint in his eye, and they all have an obvious passion for music. If you like bands such as Witch Tripper or The Senton Bombs, you would love these guys. They left us with a political number which was pretty raw and hard hitting given the current climate, and I was very impressed by them, both in their live performance and their song writing skills.

06 Ragnarok

https://www.facebook.com/ragnarokUK/

The day so far had been superb, and we were now heading into the final three bands, with main stage support, All Consumed, up next and ready to take the heavy up another notch! Blooming heck they are heavy! They are a mix of death and thrash, but with the odd hint of prog – a random combination – a bit like a cheese and jam sandwich! But they are so tight and so well – rehearsed that everything slots together brilliantly. Their drummer, Dave Kenyon, is also insanely good, pulling off some amazingly fast and powerful beats. They had a good group of crazy moshers going hell for leather down the front too! They were perfect main support material.

07 All Consumed

https://www.facebook.com/AllConsumed/

The second stage headliners were M2TM North Wales winners, Gothic Folk ‘n’ Rollers, and all – round top people, Cadence Noir. What can we say about these guys that hasn’t already be said! They had a bit of a shaky start, when the electrics blew and they lost all power for a few minutes. But this only made for a brief pause, and didn’t knock them off their stride one little bit. They are totally different and that is why I love them so much. They have a bag of folk elements in there, with Emma Bennett’s violin, but they are still heavy, groovy and super lively, making for a proper party atmosphere. This was sustained throughout their whole set. The atmosphere was absolutely on fire by the time they got to their last song, where they stepped it up one final gear to give us an amazing cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘Fear Of The Dark’! WOW! Superb! A couple of clowns in the crowd got a little over excited during this and became a little vigorous for mine, and a fair few others’ liking. There’s always one isn’t there! Hey ho, that aside, what a set this was. It just reaffirmed that they were totally deserving of their M2TM win, and that I, and Rick, will never get bored of watching them perform!

08 Cadence Noir

https://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

And so, the end was nigh, and we had reached the final mosh pit! Our headliners for what had been an awesome day were seasoned pros, Hecate Enthroned. I was excited to see these guys for two reasons. Firstly, who can say no to a bit of banshee like screaming backed up by some awesome blackened death metal riffs; and secondly because my old college buddy and fellow member of ‘The Phreax Table’ gang, Pete White, plays keys for them! If you like your death on the Cradle Of Filth side of things, these are the band for you. Powerful rhythms and pumping bass below manic and technical guitars, with a symphonic element of strings and ethereal choirs provided by the keys and the immense screams of lead vocalist Joe Stamps. Now in their 25th year, Hecate have built up a worldwide following, and it is easy to see why. They have the knowledge and professionalism that matures with age, like a fine wine, and it was an absolute privilege for me to be able to see them playing a hometown gig. For Rick and Dawn, there were a little too many blast beats, for me it was brilliant! When you can feel the beat in your ribcage, and you think your ears may bleed, you know you are having a good time!

09 Hecate Enthroned

https://www.facebook.com/HecateEnthroned/

What a day! All the acts were great, and the passion that every one of them played with was tangible. It is, by far, the best day of metal that has happened in Wrexham for a long time, and it is fabulous to see things starting to happen here again on the metal side. This is down, largely, to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North, who have dedicated their time, experience and their own passion of the music to relaunch the scene. Huge thanks must go to them for doing this, and also for the bands who entertained us superbly. Long may it continue! The metal scene in Wrexham is, once again, open for business!

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