M2TM Manchester 2023 – Heat 6
The Rebellion, Manchester
Review by Rob Sutton
So on paper this heat was by far and away the toughest heat and by the sheer number of people that turned up in support also shows that these bands are among the most popular in the competition.
Hitting the stage first was Destroy Planets who have recently promoted their bassist to frontman which has given the band a very different sound vocally than before, although I didn’t manage to watch them previously. Now these guys are very much in the metalcore genre, one which is absolutely flooded with bands these days so personally I’m looking for something a bit different and Destroy Planets do deliver on this. There is a great use of backing tracks and samples within the songs which portray a more dancey side to the genre and this is met with some really interesting rap/screams which to me are insanely cool and performed perfectly. In fact the screams and growls in general are really fucking good, though for some of the lower growls he does cup the mic leading to a bit of feedback. The singing though is lacking a bit, with some parts a little flat and sounding almost forced so this didn’t do anything for me. Musically these guys are tight as fuck and throw that in with lots of movement on stage and a lot of banter they’ve set the bar high for the night – this includes pits straight off the bat. What can I say? This set was really enjoyable and I wanted another song… Oh they had about 4 minutes left of a set… Could have done one more… Never mind at least it wasn’t over their allotted time. I still wanted more!
Technologist return to the competition after making it to the semi finals last year and begin… Well, very nervously and almost unprepared. They have this wonderful intro but while it’s playing they’re all standing around not really doing anything. Guys, why not walk on stage to the intro? Would look so much better than the awkward as fuck start. OK music time! Technologist kick in like they had done in previous events with their incredibly tight take on progressive death metal and the crowd love it, massive cheers after each song and they respond to everything that’s asked of them. I do really love this band, the way they flick from aggression to technical beauty is such a skill that so few bands can pull off and the guitars absolutely make this! Yes the solos may not be as stand out as last week but they’re subtle and slot right into their overall sound perfectly. Vocally as with Destroy Planets, growls are incredible and have an impressive amount of power but some of the singing again is a little flat (although the harmonies do work really well) and the shouts get completely lost in the mix. Before the last song we are introduced to the band, something I get and understand but with the style of music Technologist play this really could have been done during the last song. Oh and again these guys were under by 4 minutes, if they had cut out the chatter before the last song we could have had another and I would have really liked another song as the performance was simply stunning!
Another new band for me was Felicia and I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to expect as we have a frontwoman dressed in a business suit, an 8 string guitar, 4 string bass and a huge kit… then as the set starts we have a strip show? (Don’t worry it wasn’t down to bare skin). This is certainly new for me at one of these. So strip show aside the music is definitely reminiscent of KoRn or Deftones but for me this screams Marilyn Mason! Felicia’s musical style is definitely something that isn’t heard too often these days and again is performed really well, perhaps not as tight as the other bands but for me the focus is definitely more on the performance as opposed to the music so this isn’t a huge deal. Though I will say the drums are absolutely fantastic, the beats are brilliant and the fills are sublime and really are a highlight of this set. The guitars are a little quiet and sometimes muddy, while the riffs are played well they do lack punch for me. Vocally there is a massive mix of styles from rapping, singing to screaming. I love the rappy bits and the screams are also performed with a good amount of power and control but the singing again isn’t the best with a few flat notes and sometimes they too get lost in the mix. Now a few weeks ago there were a lot of technical issues which led to a band falling to pieces. Tonight Felicia also were met with technical difficulties but instead of stopping songs or looking confused they powered through their set like professionals. Even more credit as in a competition this could really knock their confidence but they didn’t let it bother them! I must say I enjoyed this show, it’s different and very entertaining. It’s a performance I would love to catch again!
Last to take the stage was 40,000 Leagues, a band I have seen on many occasions and do usually enjoy. So was tonight any different? No! They hit the stage in fine bouncy fashion, completely owning the stage. The guitar work is absolutely on point with the solos being a real highlight. Although one of the dual solos did have a strange sound, whether this was the wrong pedal hit I’m not sure but it did sound a bit like bagpipes… Still, their crossover from old school metal with the newer feel of metalcore works perfectly with the vocal range being another highlight of this performance. Definitely some of the best clean vocals I’ve heard in this competition. Throughout the set there is plenty of crowd participation and even the trademarked story time with all the crowd sitting down. 40k also ended up being the first band I actually got in a pit to and had a proper mosh and that in itself is a testament to how much I enjoyed their set and I don’t think I need to say more than that!
This heat was seriously good, every band brought their A game and had they not all been in the same heat, should have progressed into the next round. Alas, only 2 can go through and the crowd chose Technologist with the judges choosing 40,000 Leagues. I can’t argue with this as any 2 of the 4 bands would be worthy winners tonight and I have my suspicion that the wild cards could be used on this event. To put it bluntly, this was good enough to have been the final!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.