M2TM North Wales 2022 Grand Final

M2TM North Wales 2022 Grand Final
Penny Black, Wrexham
01/07/2022
Review and Photography by Beth Jones

Metal 2 The Masses is always a marathon event, which draws you in and makes you really start feeling something for the local bands who go through the stages of the competition, all vying for that coveted prize, a spot on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock Festival. And, as ever, when you do reach that final lap, nerves are frayed, and everything is left in the lap of the gods. Or at least, God of the New Blood stage, Simon Hall. 

This year would be the first year Simon had attended in person to judge the competition, and it was set to be a great night. Last year’s winners, Severenth were opening the show, then the 4 competing bands, Omega Throne, Apollyon, Bad Earth, and Thrashatouille would take to the stage. And to top off the whole party, Nottinghamshire Pirate Metallers Red Rum where set to headline.

Penny Black’s is a venue that North East Wales Metal Productions have used before, and it’s an interesting place. Laser lights feature heavily, and the bar is over-priced, but that’s the norm these days. I remember when you could go out with a tenner in your pocket, get comfortably wasted, and get a bag of chips, and still have change… Ah the good old days… Anyway, I digress! For this gig, the venue was rammed to the rafters, and we were hit by a wall of sauna – like heat as we made our way into the main room. My little, gothic, and slightly bizarre body does not like heat one bit! But it was great to see such a large crowd. It proves there is still a passion for Metal in our (newly endowed) city.  

So, to the bands! Severenth are one of my favourite local bands and have been since their comeback gig a few years ago. They deservedly won M2TM last year, but sadly lead singer Peet came down with the Rona the day before Bloodstock, so never got a chance to strut his stuff on the New Blood stage, although the rest of the band pushed on without him. Here, they really brought the show to the already sizable audience, and I loved it. The sound was great, with every instrument crystal clear, and Peet’s screams and cleans cutting through everything brilliantly. It got the night off to a flying start and raised the temperature of the room another few degrees! 

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth

Omega Throne had drawn the opening slot at their heat, the quarters, the semis, and the final. So far it seemed to have been a lucky slot for them, as they had made it all the way to the last leg. But would tonight be the same? Only time would tell. The Liverpool based band look the part, and really like to give it some welly when they’re on stage, with the frontman, guitarist, and bassist all pulling a myriad of ‘let’s fuck some shit up and melt some faces’ expressions. I do love a good expressive face! And their music is powerful and chunky enough to go along with the expressions, with huge vocals, crunching riffs, and some kick-ass bass work. They put in another impressive performance here, but I think the heat in the room sadly dwindled the audience numbers a little. Me being one of them. I took my photos, then had to remove myself from the room for a bit so that I didn’t end up in a heap on the floor. What I did see of their set though was on point. 

https://www.facebook.com/OmegaThrone-1986460878039288

Now, I’m going to start this section with a disclaimer. I don’t like Classic Thrash. I’ve said this before, I know, but I thought it was worth saying again. It just does nothing for me, regardless of how well it’s played. 

Apollyon are a Classic Thrash band from Wrexham. In my review of the Semi-final, I said they’re good at what they do, if you like that sort of thing, and I will stick by that. In fact, they are extremely good at what they do, and the sound here was better than it was at the semis. The crowd was also a lot more pumped, which helped lift their performance even more. They gave a very confident, assured, and professional performance, which really did show them off at their best, a fact that I think was noted by Simon Hall. It was slick, tight, and punchy. I just don’t like Classic Thrash! 

https://www.facebook.com/apollyonsteel

Bad Earth are, for me, the most improved and most exciting local band I have witnessed round here for a long time. They make me do a lot of smiling with their high-powered, heavy as fuck ‘Rockcore’. And here they had pits and slams breaking out all over the place. Frontman, Jordie, had a bit of a mare at the beginning of the set, with a dodgy plug socket, and I think this threw him off a bit, in an already tense and nervous situation. But he was back in full swing by the end of the first song and was up and down on his flight box like a man possessed! Bassist Karl was also throwing some immense shapes around the stage, and drummer, Ben, was clouting hell out of his kit in true Animal fashion (he wins my drummer of the year award – he’s insanely good). The crowd were lapping it up, and for me, musically, this set was my favourite of the evening, and I could have gone on listening to them all night. They make everything feel alive and lively, and I really do hope that they break into the bigtime, because they truly deserve it for the sheer energy and gusto they put into every performance. 

https://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH

Our final competing band of the evening were Thrashatouille – Chef Metallers from Northwich, with our very own roving reporter, Rob Sutton, at the helm. These guys are always great fun, with their food based observational comedy style Modern Death/Thrash/everything but the kitchen sink Metal. Sounds random, and like it shouldn’t work. But, like cheese and jam toasties, it actually does, and should be on your ‘must try’ list. Here, they were really fired up, and had the audience pitting and throwing around enough inflatable ice-creams to lift the roof off the venue. Rob did have a bit of a nightmare at the beginning though, too. His microphone decided it didn’t want to play ball. Cue a slightly panicked expression, and a quick grab of a spare mic, and all was back on track though. Again, another fantastic performance, filled with energy and fun. BUT… and I am going to say it again and keep saying it again and again… the intro eats into their set time, and is only funny for people that actually know what it says, who know the band, and have followed their history. For fresh faces, who don’t know who they are, or what they’re about, it falls flat. 

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille

With the competing bands over, our headliners Red Rum, took to the stage. Now, there’s quite a lot of them, and the stage isn’t that big. So, the ensuing Pirate party was a little cramped. But these swashbuckling seafarers weren’t deterred from bringing their rum-fuel shenanigans to the slightly tiddled audience who were still ready to party! I do love a bit of yo-ho-ho in my Folk Metal, and these guys bring it by the bucket load, complete with Pirate attire, sunglasses, bare chests, and more twiddly-diddly riffs than you can shake a skull and crossbones at. Had I not been dying of heat exhaustion and ridiculously sober, I would have been in the merry mosh-up at the front, linking arms and chugging ales with the rest of them. But my aching body was about to give out, so I chose a comfy chair at the back, and a bit of head bobbing as the preferable option. Honestly, getting old has nothing going for it! This was a very fun set, and a great way to close the night. Although next time I see these guys I intend to be spaffed out of my head on Rum cocktails!

https://www.facebook.com/redrummetal

And so, with the merry madness over, it was time for the result. Unfortunately, Simon had had to duck out early, due to an ongoing back issue that’s been blighting him throughout this epic run of finals that he’s had to attend. I feel your pain Simon and wish you a speedy recovery. But he had left the result with our master of ceremonies, Beany. And without further ado, he announced that the band taking the spot on the New Blood stage would beeeeee…… APOLLYON. To be honest, I had a feeling this was the way it would go. While I’m not a fan of their music, they were the most professional band on the night, with the slickest changeovers and the most prepared and polished performance. Gutted for the other bands. It’s always a hard end, because all the bands become special to you. But it is what it is. It’s been a great competition, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

LINKS:

N.E.W Metal Productions

M2TM North Wales

Penny Black

Bloodstock Festival

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. Photography by 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 – Omega Throne

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

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 1
McLean’s Pub, Pentre, Deeside
27/05/22

Review and Photography by Beth Jones

It seems like ages since the last of this year’s M2TM North Wales heats. So, it was nice to have the first semi final come round. Following a venue change due to unforeseen circumstances, we winged our way over to our second home, and the Birthplace of Pentre Fest, McLean’s Pub in Pentre, Deeside. We had five competing bands – Omega Throne, Absolence, Zebedy, Thrashatouille, and Grief. And because it’s getting to the business end of proceedings, we had a guest headliner too – Djinova.

Omega Throne

First up were Omega Throne. They’re a Blackened Death Metal band from Liverpool, and boy do they love a good bit of shouting and heaviness! But it’s got a groove to it, and they’re tight as hell. The lead singer is a giant (to be honest, most people are giants to me), and has a super expressive face, which really lit up their performance here. Musically, Omega Throne are a very pleasing listen. My only criticism is the gaps between songs were too long and too empty. When it goes from a wall of noise to nothing it does seem a little awkward. 

https://www.facebook.com/OmegaThrone-1986460878039288

Absolence

Next, we were in for some Merseyside Progressive Metalcore, in the shape of Absolence. These guys were one of Fozzy’s wildcards, and in fairness they stepped it up a notch for this performance. It’s solid modern Metalcore, that’s incredibly Djenty in places, and that’s fine by me, because I do like a bit of tech metal. They used samples pretty well, and they kept the audience more entertained between songs. But there was still too much time without music. The front man did like to have a bit of banter with the audience though, which was good. But it covered up for the fact that their set, music wise, was short again, and sadly, it went into banter overdrive at one point, which made them overrun.

https://www.facebook.com/Absolence

Zebedy

North Wales based Progressive Rock/Metal band Zebedy were our 3rd competing band. I’m kind of unsure what to say about them to be honest. They’re good. But this performance was a little flat. Something sounded a little out of tune, the balance of sound wasn’t right, and while they do have a heavier edge occasionally, it just felt a little too commercial for Bloodstock, in my humble opinion. It was more of a Reading Festival vibe. I know that it shouldn’t be about ‘are they a Bloodstock band?’, but I’m just not sure it would work on the Newblood stage, sandwiched between the screams and growls of other bands. They do certainly have their place in the genre though, I just don’t think it quite happened for them in this performance. 

https://www.facebook.com/zebedymusic

Thrashatouille

These guys are somewhat old-timers to this competition now, getting to the semi’s a couple of times before. And this experience showed. For performance value and stagecraft, they walked the evening. Self genred “Chef Metal”, they play a blend of Thrash, Death, and Modern Metal, that’s food themed. Every song has an element of comedy thrown into the lyrics, but the ferocity with which the music is delivered shows how seriously they take their sound. The one thing I will say that the intro sample that they use is too long. It runs the risk of losing people before their set has even begun, and they should either ditch it, shorten it, or think of something more engaging to do during it, to make sure the attention is firmly held on them. That is my only criticism. 

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille

Grief

These guys for me were, musically, the tightest on the night, and my favourites. They’re a new Progressive Metal/ Djent band, who have the makings of a really brilliant one. They’re beefy and heavy, and the sound, and songs, are complex but assured. They also have a lot of stage presence, and professionalism for such a new band. However, (and this is a really big HOWEVER, which really, really annoys me because they’re so fecking good) … they need vocals. Their current arrangement is instrumental, which is great, but it is absolutely and sorely missing some shouting. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount, just something to sit on top of the already brilliant music. Add in a bit of growl and the occasional scream, and they would be absolutely first class, and a force to be reckoned with. 

https://www.facebook.com/GRIEFBAND

Djinova

Djinova won M2TM in 2019, so knew exactly how the competing bands felt. They used it as a bit of banter with the crowd who were still left! They play Technical Death Metal / Deathcore that really packs a punch, and it was really bloody good! The frontman used the whole space, on and off the stage, in order to command the audience. And there was some serious bopping an nodding of heads going on throughout the set. 

Now, if there’s one thing that modern bands need to make sure they polish up on to make it to the next level, it’s business acumen! And Djinova have certainly got a sense of that, never wanting to miss an opportunity for a quick sale, even while on stage – the frontman actually sold merch whilst singing! Touché! Never seen that done before! A great show, and a great end to the night.

https://www.facebook.com/djinovaband

So, with that, it was time for the results. Two bands would progress to the final, one on judges votes and one on crowd votes. This was going to be a tough call, especially for us judges. We had a very long conversation, weighing up the pros and cons of each band, but again, for the 5th time this competition, came to a unanimous verdict… The crowd vote went to a very deserving Thrashatouille! Huzzah! And the judges vote went to Omega Throne! Again, deserved! Semi Final 1 was another great night all in all. Bring on the second semi final! 

LINKS:

M2TM North Wales:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

Mclean’s Pentre:

Bloodstock Festival:

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.

North Wales Metal 2 The Masses Heat 2 – McLean’s Pentre, 01/04/2022

M2TM North Wales Heat 2 Poster

North Wales Metal 2 The Masses Heat 2
McLean’s Pentre
01/04/2022
Live Review by Anthony Timmis

Another trip to one of my favourite venues in North Wales McLean’s Pentre. Tonight was Heat 2 of the North Wales Metal to the Masses. It’s a strange little venue in the middle of a quiet village, but it does have a big stage room. Also only just walking in and immediately finding out I will not just be reviewing but also judging tonight was unexpected!

Omega Throne

First up was Blackened Death Metal from Liverpool’s Omega Throne. At the start of the set, the vocalist brought a combination of the gut wrenching lows and the all too familiar Black Metal shriek, which put a little smile to my face. As a guitarist, I love his dark riffs and those solos…ooft. Not only was he phenomenal to watch, but between songs he was shouting at the crowd. His passion was fantastic! I just wish I can say the same of the bassist, who didn’t seem as engaged with the music. Having said that, she have a good crunchy bass tone which really drove their sound, along with the drummer’s ability to move seamlessly between tempos – an absolute pleasure! As I really enjoyed these guys, the only two criticisms I have were that during the first few songs, the vocalist was interacting with the crowd in between songs then after it was just seemed to give this up. The second was they went a bit over their set time. On the up-side I really enjoyed these guys, and even bought a T-shirt!

https://www.facebook.com/OmegaThrone-1986460878039288

Atanamir

Next up was Sludge Metal from Liverpool’s Atanamir, and boy do they hit hard. These guys are all about the riffs and they drive their sound so much, as well as those soaring solos. Each member was fully engaged with their music, furiously head banging throughout – which in turn was replicated by a few members of the crowd. My eyes were immediately drawn to the bassist, not only for his riffs but also the lack of a head on the bass. It looks weird, but kind of cool at the same time. Vocally, their style sort of works but did sound a little strained. For me their whole set was faultless, everything fitted together well, even if a little short. Saying that these guys just weren’t to my taste, they are fantastic at what they do but it just isn’t for me.

https://www.facebook.com/Atanamir.uk

Apollyon 

Apollyon have been around a fair few years now, which immediately begs the question – do they need to be competing for a slot at Bloodstock? The guys brought it tonight, throwing their Thrash right at the crowd with full aggression. The speed Apollyon play is mind blowing reminiscent of Kreator and other old school Thrash bands. They look ultra professional while playing; pumping the crowd during songs, “Let me see those horns”. The only thing that slightly let their performance down a little was the amount of time it took to tune between songs. This is difficult being only a 3 piece band and not having a standalone vocalist, but I felt there could have been a more cleaner way of doing this. Never the less Apollyon ticked all the boxes when it came to Thrash, fast guitars, rapid drums, stunning solos and the gritty voice that accompanies. Loved it!

https://www.facebook.com/apollyonsteel

Navnlos

Being the only nearly Welsh band on the bill, there was a certain level of expectation on their shoulders. Not only this but, having reached the final of this competition in 2018, this added extra pressure. Since then however, they have undergone many line-up changes – which in some ways have worked for them, such as their solos and also the individual bass lines. Sadly this was about all that worked tonight as the drummer seemed out of time, which threw the other two off. For me, this completely killed their set. There were attempts at crowd interaction but these seemed to fall on deaf ears. I feel as if a lot of practice is required and a bit more confidence is needed when on stage. The potential is there and I have seen these guys play brilliantly, but tonight was not one of those nights.

https://www.facebook.com/Navnlosband

In Depths

Who are In Depths? It’s not like I haven’t seen these guys before… (last week to be precise). They brought their “A” game then, so I was expecting much of the same tonight. In Depths Brought the most Modern Metal sound to the night, mixing Deathcore with elements of Slam and just about every other genre. It is hard to place them but it works beautifully. They are heavier than a hippo at fat fighters. Vocally his voice is on point, mixing lows and highs in a typical Deathcore manner, as well as ending up off the stage more than he was on it (this didn’t matter to me as it fits the style they’re going for). The one issue with having one guitarist is that when something goes wrong it massively affects the rest of the show. This happened at the beginning of the set, where it seemed to take way too long to fix the issue before they started. Aside from this, I thoroughly enjoyed this set, my head was well and truly banging!

https://www.facebook.com/InDepths

Results time and for me this was a tricky one, as 4 of the bands deserved to progress. Each band brought something slightly different to the stage, but sadly only two bands could progress. The crowd chose Apollyon and the judges had a fight and then ended up choosing Omega Throne. Both deserved to go through and I hope if there is a wild card vote Atanamir and In Depths should seriously be considered.

LINKS:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

M2TM North Wales:

Bloodstock Festival:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Anthony Timmis 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.