M2TM Manchester 2023 – Heat 5
Live Review by Rob Sutton
I’ve done enough of these now to bother with an intro so let’s just go straight into the first competing band, Wailing Banshee. These guys have recently acquired a new vocalist which I would love to compare to the last one but I’ve never seen them before. Either way these guys (and girl) kicked off in fine fashion, pouncing straight into the first song after some immediate crowd pumping – exactly what you would expect from a heavy metal/heavy rock band. Their style leans towards that of Iron Maiden crossed with Judas Priest in my eyes, with the guitar work particularly fitting of this style providing some very nice riffs and soaring solos to match. Couple that with some pounding drums and brilliant bass lines and you get an idea what’s going on here. On stage there was a lot of movement from all members, (even the drummer!) as well as plenty of crowd interaction. The stage presence here was so much better than the previous 2 events and honestly I breathed a sigh of relief. Now vocally is also where these guys shine. For the most part she hit all her notes and had a good amount of power, even doing a raw scream on the final number which just shows her brilliant control and emotion while she performed. Honestly this was a fantastic performance and one on paper I wasn’t that hyped about but live, blew me away!
I Am The Wreckage are a band I have reviewed a number of times and I have come to know exactly what to expect from them. The banners on stage really did give a professional look to them and the addition of an intro track also meant they walked on stage to thunderous cheers before bouncing straight into 2 brand new songs. A risk but one that was worth taking. The rest of the set followed this great start with tons of energy on stage, mainly the bassist doing his usual parkour around the stage and the guitarist having a wander into the crowd. Their engagement was again spot on, hyping the crowd and encouraging pits, which they get throughout their set. From a performance side, everything was pretty good too, with only a couple of missed notes and beats but this is hardcore so being clinical didn’t matter to me. Where I felt a little meh was the new songs as they didn’t really sound like anything new for them. Still I guess don’t fix something that isn’t broken so I can’t take that as a mark down when the performance was this good.
Two bands in and already I was in a good mood as it seems this heat had a lot more going for it than some of the others, which left third band The Feral Kings with their work cut out. Straight off their take on heavy rock worked well and was performed to another very high standard. Their set is tight, with some really good riffs and solos again as well as some chunky bass lines. Drums were also really strong keeping the whole set very head-bangable (think I just made up a word). The thing that was lacking over the previous two bands was the stage show, while there was some crowd interaction the actual stage presence was minimal to non-existent with most members just stood playing, leaving only the singer’s minimal movements and the lead guitarist’s slight showing off during the solos. In my opinion this got a little boring and I did find myself zoning out multiple times during the set. That’s not me saying they performed badly, in fact quite the opposite as vocally as well, there were some lovely notes hit and some great harmonies in the backings but I could have just listened to a recording.
With such a strong night so far that left Chrysalid with even more work to do. Again these guys were another unknown to me and with a very nice played intro featuring a fair few drum rolls before the vocalist takes to the stage to greet the crowd they kick into the first song with… wait for it… more drum rolls… There were more drum rolls at the beginning of this set than a marching band (had to put that in)! After that though we were treated to some good old heavy metal with a vocal range reminiscent of Merciful Fate and it’s marvellous! The notes this guy hits does send shivers down your spine and then we get more stunning solos and over the top fills throughout the set. This did tick all the boxes when it comes to a good heavy metal show including their crowd engagement, thus getting pits and also introducing the band individually, which was a nice touch. A slight thing that bugged me was when the sound tech nearly played the wrong intro to a song the singer was a bit snappy with him which didn’t look good, however I will say that this should have been sorted during the 30 minute changeovers we had or even do it yourself rather than relying on the sound tech. Aside from this, Chrysalid played a blinder of a set as well and are definitely a band that any heavy metal fan should get on!
So after all that we finally had a really strong heat, something which I was waiting for over the last few weeks and all the bands really stepped it up. So on crowd vote was I Am The Wreckage which was no surprise and the judges’ was The Feral Kings? Ey? Don’t get me wrong, they did play well but there wasn’t a stage show and to me Wailing Banshee and Chrysalid brought the music and the stage show. I must be missing something here…
Commiserations to both Chrysalid and Wailing Banshee as I personally believe both bands were worthy of going through. I hope to see them both again.
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.