M2TM Manchester 2023, Heat 2 – Divinitas, The Machinist, Visitor and Archetype
The Rebellion, Manchester
Live Review by Rob Sutton
After the incredibly tough Heat 1, I was excited to see what Heat 2 had to offer, especially as 3 of the 4 bands were new to me. So I am not going to blabber on and I’ll dive straight into it.
First up was newcomers Divinitas who I had tried to research beforehand but drew a blank. I then found out that these guys actually don’t have a Facebook so my efforts were pointless. In fact, this was only their second gig and from the awkward start to their set where it felt like they had no idea who was taking the lead to kick things off and a very long intro, it felt like their second gig. But, as the set went on things really did start to pick up, the riffs really did shine and then the lead sections cut through beautifully adding a fantastic layer to their metalcore sound. Heck, they even threw in a breakdown or 2 which absolutely hit the spot. Everything became tight and well oiled after the first song and was an absolute pleasure to watch. Now with these guys being instrumental there was minimal crowd engagement from them which to me didn’t matter, I would have cut it out completely and let the music shine through. This is where the question lies, do Divinitas need a vocalist? Well yes and no, yes as it will really work in the metalcore scene but you would need a really stunning vocalist to match them, and they would risk becoming ‘yet another metalcore band’ and no because they actually work really well as an instrumental group. To summarise, this was an impressive set once it kicked in and it’s well worth keeping an eye on these guys!
Things take a darker turn as industrial black/death outfit The Machinist hit the stage and right off these guys kick in with their Anaal Nathrakh style. Now straight off these guys don’t have a drummer but this actually doesn’t matter too much as the style does lean towards a more electric sound and fits perfectly. The only issue is that the drum track doesn’t seem to be of the best quality, most notably when it came to the snare rolls which just sounded messy and distorted. The backing tracks in general didn’t seem to have been mixed very well on the night and thus lost a lot of their impact and it did kill their ambience. Luckily the guitars are where The Machinist shine as the lead tremolo picking is absolutely sublime and the sheer speed these guys are playing at is just mesmerising. There is also a lot of energy on stage with plenty of movement from both the vocalists. I do love the styles used by both vocalists but I’m not sure the sound they’re going for needs 2 vocalists as they were very similar in style. The fact the band went seamlessly from one song to another really did keep the energy throughout the set, but for me was let down by trying to engage with the crowd. In this case I think less is more when it comes to engagement. Now, I was really looking forward to these guys as they are a unique sound in the underground scene right now but with the sound issues and the meh backing track it actually fell a bit flat.
For the first time tonight we have a full band in the shape of Visitor, straight away you can tell these guys have brought a crowd and whip them into a thrashy craze. Their presence on stage is something that is unmatched this evening and they really do dominate the stage. I really dig the thrashy parts in their set, the shouts work, the pacing is brilliant and the drums are blistering. There are also some cheeky breakdowns thrown in the mix which are perfect for waking up the next day with whiplash. Now sadly when the thrash side stops we get a metalcore side with lots of clean singing… Now, I have to be honest, the singing really isn’t great. Yes, it’s cool that it’s the drummer using a Britney Spears mic but God it’s flat, lacks power and is just whiney. Saying that the frontman’s singing isn’t much better and suffers with similar issues. Being honest because of the singing I couldn’t enjoy this set as much as I wanted to, saying that I’m 100% loving the thrashy breakdowns and the stage show they did put on.
Finally we go back to an instrumental band in the shape of Archetype, who I had actually seen the night before in Rhyl, so I had a good idea what to expect. What can you expect from Archetype? Well tonight’s set was fairly tight but still had the odd missed note or two but I wouldn’t say it was anything too alarming and they did utilise the whole stage really well. Archetype are showmen and this shows tonight as their professionalism really shines through. Honestly their music is very interesting and chops and changes throughout the show, though I did ask myself, is this just trying to be clever for clever sake or is this actually something I would enjoy? Erm for me this is maybe just a bit clever and show offish which kind of works, but I can’t help but feel that this is just Zebedy without vocals. That’s no bad thing as I enjoy Zebedy a lot, and I sort of enjoy Archetype too and this set was good and did tick all the boxes so in terms of this competition and this was probably the strongest on the night.
So last week I mentioned the lighting and despite my previous review not being published before the event the lighting was better tonight on the whole. Though it didn’t quite work for the Machinist. So, in terms of the results, this was a slightly weaker heat than the last one in my opinion but Visitor went through on crowd and Archetype on the judges. Both were good enough to go through in my opinion but Divinitas have certainly made a new fan tonight!
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.