The Bunny, The Bear, w/Cabin Boy Jumped Ship, Rosen Bridge, In Depths, Aleya

The Bunny the Bear Poster

The Bunny, The Bear, w/Cabin Boy Jumped Ship, Rosen Bridge, In Depths, Aleya
Penny Black, Wrexham
16/9/2022
Review by Rob Sutton

Wrexham really is starting to feel like a home away from home, so when a gig with bands I used to listen to in college and bands from the local scene I’ve been following for a few years are all on the same bill then its a no brainer! Now The Penny Black has had a good makeover recently and actually feels and looks like a proper venue, but it falls short on a few things, firstly, the toilets are horrific! No locks, no seats, no bog roll and look like they haven’t seen a mop in years. Also, the beer prices are ridiculous, £4.50 for a bottle of beer and the taps being turned off again is frankly daylight robbery! Though if you’re sober like I was then the prices aren’t a huge issue but still… wow!

So first up was Chester / North Wales based Aleya, a band I have put on at gigs before and probably will again. Judging by the amount of fans with their merch on, they also have a good following in Wrexham, this is impressive as they have a fairly sizeable crowd despite being the openers. Now Metalcore is something I seem to come across at nearly every gig I go to, and it can get a bit samey, but Aleya seem to have a bit of a spark about them. Firstly they are stupidly catchy, ‘Losing Sleep’ being one that is still stuck in my head, and secondly because they don’t sound like they’re aiming for the new age Architects style of Metalcore. The riffs are sounding much more melodic and tonight are played fantastically, not to mention both clean and screamed vocals being on point for the most part. Though towards the end of the set the cleans really started to suffer and there were a lot of missed notes and he did sound out of breath. Saying that, their energy tonight was stunning, they were a fantastic opener and hopefully should get a fair few more gigs with performances like this. Oh, I would recommend a wireless mic as he does like to wander.

https://www.facebook.com/aleyaofficial

In Depths are a band I don’t think I have reviewed before, though I have seen and played with these guys many times. First up these guys do stand out on this bill, with the focus being on Metalcore and Electronic In Depths bring pure brutality by the bucket load! Their cross between Beat Down and Deathcore is quite a mix and leads to a sound that is so ungodly heavy it makes thunder sound like a knock on the door. Now the last few times I have seen them, technical issues have really let them down but there is nothing of the sort tonight apart from the odd bit of feedback, instead the crowd are met with a well-oiled machine that just flicks from one song to another effortlessly, the use of backing tracks really work a treat for this! Honestly, I have never seen these guys perform to such a high standard, the aggression and precision is just to die for and the whole set I’m just stood in awe! Honestly this was brutal on another level!

https://www.facebook.com/InDepths

Third up on this monster bill is another one of my personal favourites Rosen Bridge and after the onslaught before them it was back to the Metalcore theme of the night but with a bit more of a Djenty twist. Now I can bang on about how much I love what these guys do and the fact that I was singing along to a good half the set probably is a big giveaway to how much I enjoyed them. Though I’ll try and put my biased aside, to start the vocals were a little quiet, which really hampers these guys as they are a massive focal point of the band but by the second track the levels are much better. 

As with In Depths, Rosen Bridge performed absolutely on point, tight as a drum, tons of energy and fantastic crowd engagement. This time I find myself more drawn to the drums, they are absolutely ballistic tonight, so much power and speed all in the right places, he is honestly top of his game tonight! Now it also wouldn’t be a Rosen Bridge review without a comment on the singer Alex’s dance moves, if you haven’t seen them, they are quite a sight during a Metal performance. All in all Rosen Bridge did what they always do, put a massive smile on my face so nothing else matters. Oh and extra points for dedicating ‘Watchers’ to me and giving a shout out to Thrashatouille! That’s one way to butter up a reviewer!

https://www.facebook.com/RosenBridgeUK/

Filling the roll of main support this evening is Cabin Boy Jumped ship, a band that have been around a fair while now and before this tour hadn’t gigs prior to the world ending. Their sound had initially started out as proper Electronic Metalcore, but has evolved to a slightly more modern sound while still retaining their roots. This I am a fan of as I have said prior, I’ve seen a lot of Metalcore bands recently and this means CBJS stand out to me. 

These guys hit the stage and unleash carnage on the crowd of Wrexham and truly raise the standard to a new level. The whole performance is slick, tight and just a pleasure to watch! Now normally I would say there is way too much reliance on the backing tracks during the set as a lot of vocals and guitars are also thrown in as well as the Dance beat, but in this rare circumstance, it works and that is primarily down to the genre they play. It is supposed to sound over mixed and the fact the whole band remain beautifully in time throughout makes this all the better. Again, I find myself drawn to the drummer as this time he is the one providing the clean backing vocals and does so perfectly. The fact that CBJS blend so many genres, from Metal to Rap to Dance truly sets these guys apart and dare I say this… this was one of my top performances of the year so far so naturally, that’s another T-shirt to my collection!

https://www.facebook.com/CabinBoyJumpedShip

Back in the good old days a very young Rob stumbled across a band called The Bunny, The Bear and immediately fell in love with their unique crossover sound and catchy choruses. So, when he found out they were playing Wrexham he instantly messaged the main lady of Ever Metal asking if he could review this (thank you Beth). So, as you can tell I was excited! Starting off TBTB let their backing band showcase their normal music which was a really nice touch, albeit a tad off-genre for the night but still I like this! 

What I wasn’t much of a fan of was the bassist wandering around asking everyone if they could hear him, mate, speak to the sound tech! Though this would have been pointless as I shall explain later. Kicking off TBTB set was my personal favourite ‘Aisle’ this song really took me back and the voices matched exactly what I envisioned them to sound like live so, of course I was singing along. After this though is where, and there is no other way of putting this, it all goes to shit! That bassist I mentioned decided again to spend his time in the crowd and thus hit the deck and broke his bass leaving us with no bass for the rest of the set. I later find out that he had twisted his ankle at a previous show and had spent most of the evening downstairs getting drunk. Honestly, I hope they weren’t paying him as this frankly was the single least professional thing I have ever seen from a band especially a touring one of this calibre. 

Sadly, from there the rest of the set just ended up messy and all over the place, nothing seemed to fit together properly, no one looked like they wanted to perform on the night and most of the crowd had buggered off. It just looked so amateur, like a group of mates had got together, never practiced and decided to do a gig. Don’t get me wrong the sound was far from ideal for them and they did have numerous issues with the mics but this does not hide the fact that this was an absolute joke of a set. I really like this band and will still listen to them online but I can’t justify spending money to watch people prat around on stage and be too pissed to even play. No thanks!

https://www.facebook.com/thebunnythebear

Aside from my disappointment with the headliners, this was a really good show, the rest of the bands brought their ‘A’ game and I truly loved all of them, the venue does need work and also a centre monitor (many vocalists mentioned this) but that is a small issue in what can only be described as a fantastic evening!

LINKS:

Venue:

Promoter:

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.

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.