Rob’s Review of 2021

Rob’s Review of 2021
By Rob Sutton

Beth here! Our newest addition to the team, Rob, has been a busy beaver for his highlights review of 2021! Not only has he done top ten albums, but he’s also done top ten EPs, and top ten live performances, too! Check out his comprehensive review of the year that live music sort of got back on track, just about! 

2021 has been a strange year, the first half was spent sitting in doors, and then suddenly we were all allowed to do what we wanted! We have had everything from online festivals to sit down gigs and then back to normality. One thing that has remained fairly normal has been the constant stream of new albums and EPs, though. So, without further ado, up first is my personal top 10 albums.

10 – Bullet for my Valentine – “Bullet for my Valentine”

Bullet For My Valentine came out of the blocks with “The Poison” back in 2005 and it was a stunning album. Since then for me they never quite got back to the quality that album had. Until now, BFMV have come back with a bang, and without the gimmicks. For me this is their first proper Metal album, and has some cracking riffs and even some breakdowns. Matt has also gone back to using more growls than screams, which personally appeals to me greatly. 

Bullet For My Valentine Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/BulletForMyValentine

9 – Our Hollow, Our Home – “Burn in the Flood”

Our Hollow, Our Home has been a band I have followed since watching them on 2019’s Never Say Die Tour and I absolutely fell in love with their sound. Their combination of Pop Punk style beats and choruses mixed with true Metalcore breakdowns and growls is something very different from the rest of the genre. This album perfectly encapsulates their sound and the addition of Rio from Crystal Lake on ‘Remember Me’ is simply brilliant.

Burn In The Flood Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/ourhollowourhome

8 – Dreamshade – “A Pale Blue Dot”

These guys are a band that randomly came on my spotify playlists while working, and since then I have not stopped listening to this album. It is so darn catchy! Their guitar work is reminiscent of the Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal scene. Throw this in with some Hardcore style vocals and you have something that is unlike anything else. My personal favourites from this album have to be ‘Shanghai Nights’ and ‘Stone Cold Digital’, again so freaking catchy!

A Pale Blue Dot Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/dreamshadeband

7 – Imminence – “Heaven in Hiding”

The Architects style Metalcore is something that has been replicated and imitated by many bands in this day and age and while MetalHammer put this down as almost plagiarism, I wholeheartedly disagree! There are so many more layers in this album, the addition of a violin is just spine tinglingly pretty. There’s also a much more melancholy feel to each song, as opposed to being upbeat, which is actually welcomed. They aren’t as catchy as some of my other picks here but Imminence offer something a little different from your standard Metalcore.

Heaven In Hiding Album Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/imminenceswe

6 – Architects – “For Those That Wish To Exist”

I’m sure by now you can tell I like my Metalcore, so it was probably obvious that Architects would be one here. “For Those That Wish To Exist” was a slight change to their usual style, the Nu-Metal influences were clear in songs such as ‘Animals’. Architects have been a blueprint for many bands recently, so for them to evolve away from the norm was refreshing.

For Those That Wish To Exist Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/architectsuk

5 – Ex Deo – “The Thirteen Years Of Nero”

Ex Deo, a band consisting of members of Kataklysm, who said at Metaldays they don’t deal with gimmicks, have a side project that is just that. Aside from the roman theme, the Death Metal on offer here is in your face heavy. The additions of keys make this really feel like it would have been composed by a Roman. I love the concept, I love the music, and this album is how quirky bands should be – more about the music with the theme on top!

The Thirteen Years Of Nero Album Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/exdeo

4 – Vola – “Witness”

Straight up I have to point out that there isn’t a scream or growl in sight on this album and “Witness” is the only one on my list like that. Vocally, Vola are incredible. Riffs, Vola are jaw dropping, and the technicality in the music is just phenomenal. I have had this album on repeat so many times in my car, singing along to ‘Head Mounted Sideways’.

Witness Album Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/volaband/

3 – Arcaeon – “Cascadence”

A late addition to my list, as I only discovered these at November’s Techabilitation, but my god this album is good! Vocally, there are notes I didn’t even think a singer could hit – just listen to ‘Origin of Dreams’ or ‘Ezekiel’s Wheel’! Musically, this is up there with the likes of Periphery. The whole album is just a massive show off of talent and pure Progressive/Djent perfection. Every time I listen to this album I get goose bumps and not many albums do that.

Cascadence Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/arcaeonuk/

2 – Spiritbox – “Eternal Blue”

Again, probably predictable on this list, but that is for good reason. This album has taken the Metal world by storm. Before 2021, no-one knew who Spiritbox were, now they are almost a household name. This album was greatly anticipated after songs like ‘Holy Roller’ were released. They did not disappoint! Eternal Blue is simply stunning from start to finish.

Eternal Blue Album Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/Spiritboxofficial

1 – Annisokay – “Aurora”

For anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for metalcore, this list has made that obvious. This year produced Aurora, probably one of my most played albums of all time now. It is again stupidly catchy and vocally beautiful. Songs such as STFU highlight the bands ability to be straight up heavy while others like Bonfire of the Millennial add a much slower feel to them. This album comes with recommendations from Within Temptation after Sharon worked with the guitarist for a song. These guys aren’t very well known and seriously deserve a lot more recognition, this album is the soundtrack to my 2021!

Aurora Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/annisokay/info

Rob’s Review of 2021 – Part 2: EPs

2021 also produced some stunning EPs, so I thought a quick ‘top 5’ were worth a mention.

5 – Attack! Attack! – “Long Time No Sea”

Yes I know they are a meme band from the MySpace era and we all used to joke about their constant use of crabcore. These guys did inspire an entire genre and then disappeared off the face of the earth. Strangely I was happy when I saw this was coming out as, despite all their faults, I did really enjoy them. “Long Time No Sea” shows they have grown up a little. Gone are the overly auto tuned cleans, and we are left with a solid singing voice that is quality on its own merit. The EP felt stripped back from the early days without losing too much of what made Attack! Attack! Legends.

Long Time No Sea EP Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/attackattackus

4 – Insomnium – “Argent Moon”

I love my pretty Melodic Death Metal, and for me Insomnium are among the best at it. Each release never fails to send me to a state of pure relaxation. “Argent Moon” isn’t anything new for them, but for me a slight evolution on “Heart Like a Grave”. Trying to fix something that isn’t broken springs to mind with this EP. “Argent Moon” is simply beautiful.

Argent Moon EP Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/insomniumofficial/

3 – Orbit Culture – “Shaman”

If I was making a list last year these guys would have had album of the year, alas all I can add on here is “Shaman”. This is a small addition to “Nija”, and just feels like they have added 5 more songs to the album. They haven’t changed much in a year, but that’s fine; their cross between Metallica and Gojira is just sublime. I think Orbit Culture have the most headbangable riffs in Metal at the moment.

Shaman Ep Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/OrbitCulture

2 – Impending Doom – “Hellbent”

Deathcore feels like a dying genre, but there are still a few gems hiding out there. Impending Doom are one of them. This EP is heavy and relentless, 20 minutes of some delicious breakdowns, bleughs, and blast beats. I wish they had made an album as it has been so many years since new material, and this made me want to walk outside and throw something. AHHHH ANGER!

Hellbent EP Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/impendingdoom/

1 – Lorna Shore – “…And I Return to Nothingness”

Lorna Shore had the misfortune of having to replace a vocalist; this can be make or break for a band. In this case it has made the band into one of the biggest in the scene. Their mix of Synths and Black Metal elements may be some that are used with other bands, but they are simply terrifying here. Throw in some face melting breakdowns and you have proper Deathcore. Okay, this is all good but the real reason these guys have hit the big time is that voice! There is nothing in the Metal genre that comes close. If you haven’t listened to ‘To The Hellfire’, then do so. You will see why this is number 1.

And I Return To Nothingness EP Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/LornaShore

Rob’s Review of 2021 – Part 3: Live sets

Seeing as I have managed to go to so many live gigs this year I thought it was only right to make a top 10. Now obviously, I have seen hundreds of bands this year, and each one was quality on their own merit. This was by far and away the hardest list to make.

10 – Recall the Remains – Grand Central

Grand Central this year has put on some fantastic shows, but for me the set performed by Recall the Remains was head and shoulders above the rest. The sheer power in the voices and cracking stage presence was just stunning. This for me was better than their set at Badgerfest, which many had down as one of the sets of the festival!

https://www.facebook.com/recalltheremains


9 – Asleep at the Helm – The Waterloo

Asleep at the Helm were utterly brilliant at this gig, and being the first band on, they set the bar incredibly high for the rest of the night. Vocally, they are almost unmatched in the underground Metalcore scene, and the crowd here were bouncing and singing along to almost every song.

https://www.facebook.com/AsleepAtTheHelmOfficial


8 – Blood Church – The Gifford Arms

If you want to witness a stupidly heavy band, then Blood Church are for you! This set was filled with Black Metal ambience and insanely heavy breakdowns, not to mention one of the best pig squeals I have heard all year. They not only destroyed the venue but for me were the best band on the bill.

https://www.facebook.com/BloodChurchBand/

7 – Harbinger – Techabillitation

I couldn’t have a live list without this set. Harbingers entire set was spent with me pitting, spin kicking, or on someone’s back. I absolutely broke myself to these guys and was one of the few times this year I fully got involved when at a show. Pure aggression and brilliant stage presence!

https://en-gb.facebook.com/harbingerriffs/

6 – Solar Shift – Techabillitation

Another one from Techabillitation. SolarShift I have reviewed on a number of occasions this year, and their set in Oldham was a little lacklustre, but here everything came together beautifully. As a last minute addition to the bill they were very much welcomed. This set was exactly what SolarShift are all about, great fun and of course… BOUNCE!

https://www.facebook.com/solarshiftmusic

5 – Grief Ritual – Badgerfest

Grief Ritual are probably one of my finds of the year, their Black Metal/ Hardcore crossover is simply brilliant, and they were the band that really kicked off Badgerfest for me. Not only that, but they also gave me a sore neck, which I had to endure for the rest of the weekend. This whole set was heavy and aggressive and I simply loved it.

https://www.facebook.com/griefritual/

4 – Dreameater – Breadshed

This was a last minute gig for me, and I honestly hadn’t heard of Dreameater before, but their ability to flick between genres during a set, all while keeping their sound was stunning. They were brutal and I have been listening to them non-stop since. Their new album, “Cold”, is also worth checking out!

https://www.facebook.com/dreameaterukband/

3 – Necronautical – Bloodstock

Surprisingly the only Bloodstock band on here! This wasn’t to say the bands weren’t good at Bloodstock, more that there were so many quality gigs as well. Necronautical were my stand out band at BOA though. Their take on Symphonic Black Metal with the assistance of 2 opera singers (male and female) was gorgeous. The entire set was spine tinglingly good, and will forever be ingrained in my memory.

https://en-gb.facebook.com/Necronautical/

2 – Arcaeon – Techabillitation

As I have mentioned with my album list, these guys are incredibly talented and this translated fantastically on stage. Although down a guitarist, this didn’t feel thin or light, but was just jaw droppingly good. Not to mention the entire band had massive smiles on their face the whole way through the set, and the vocalist must be one of the happiest vocalists I have seen. The whole set was just perfection and I highly recommend checking these guys if you get a chance.

https://www.facebook.com/arcaeonuk/

1 – Countless Skies – Rebellion

A very late addition to this list as I had already started writing it before I went to this gig! However, I simply could not ignore this set. Countless Skies performed an utterly beautiful set that was littered with stunning guitar work and a magnificent voice to accompany. I was left completely speechless afterwards and in a state of awe. I may have seen Countless Skies countless times but each time they amaze me, and for me this was the most enjoyable set of the year.

https://en-gb.facebook.com/CountlessSkies

Honourable mentions:

Just a few other things that impressed me or I thought deserved a mention.

Badgerfest – As a whole this was by far and away the best run of the 3 festivals I have been to this year.
https://www.facebook.com/badgerfestival/

Portrayal of Ruinn – For smashing their headline set in Eccles https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn/

0161 MUMC/And Heavy Metal for Wigan – For consistently putting on top quality gigs all year
https://www.facebook.com/0161MUMC/
https://www.facebook.com/andheavymetalforwigan

The Cartographer/From Her Ashes – for being lovely to an unknown drunk northerner at Techabillitation. (Me) 
https://www.facebook.com/TheCartographerUK
https://www.facebook.com/fromherashes

Ever Metal – for giving me a platform to write about the music I so dearly love!

Thrashatouille – for being the best band in the world, ever, and who need signing to every record label so they can take over the world one pizza slice at a time! (I joke this is my band).
https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille/

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.

Portrayal Of Ruinn w/ Cast In Tephra, I Am The Wreckage, and Biomech Wangies, Eccles – 13/11/2021

Portrayal Of Ruinn at Wangies Poster

Portrayal Of Ruinn
w/ Cast In Tephra, I Am The Wreckage, and Biomech
Wangies, Eccles – 13/11/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

Tonight was the first time I had ventured to Eccles for a gig! And on first observation, before I start talking about the bands, I have to say Wangies is a cracking little venue, filled with character and some of the loveliest bar staff around. The whole place has a lovely homely local venue feel about it. That made the prospect of live music even more great!

First up was a band I knew nothing about. I hadn’t listened to them before hand or heard the name until this gig, though there was a familiar face behind the kit in Aaron, who I have seen in many of his previous bands. Biomech are a mix of Tech Death, with elements of Deathcore, and their influences are clear to see. The tone of the solitary guitar has a delicious crunchy sound to it, and gives their overall sound a meaty fee. This is coupled with some blistering drumming, and some of the fastest double bass, I have heard in a long time. The drums really are solid and jaw dropping to watch. Biomech also utilise backing tracks to create some added ambience to their music, and this includes the lead guitars. While this is all well and good, I honestly would have preferred the leads to be played live with the backing tracks being the rhythm guitars. I do like to see bands show off, and Biomech missed a trick here. This set felt a little rough around the edges, but with a bit more practice these guys have the potential to go far, as they all clearly have a lot of talent.

https://www.facebook.com/biomechband/

Second up was a band I have been following since my first post lockdown gig. I Am The Wreckage seem to have built a name for themselves by, well, wrecking venues. This set was no exception; they were full of beans and leaping around like a bunch of scared gazelles. The bassist could be seen standing on amps, spinning around, or lying down on the stage. It’s hard to keep your eyes off him, but it wasn’t just limited to bass! The guitarist seems to be making a habit of starting the carnage by merely strolling into the crowd and knocking a few people around. It worked, as pits continue from here for the rest of their set. Musically, this did not seem as well polished as last time I saw them – the muddy tone of the guitar drowned out everything else, and left each song sounding rather messy and rushed. Saying that, there were a few moments where a very tasty riff would shine through, and everything came together neatly. This was by no means their best set, but it was packed with energy, and was an incredible amount of fun to watch and to join in.

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheWreckage/

Cast in Tephra travelled a long way to play this show. All the way from Newcastle to be exact. With them, they brought a new level of heavy to proceedings, mixing Slam and Deathcore together to create something that was ungodly heavy. Vocally, there is a cracking mix of styles, including some disgusting pig squeals. (I say disgusting as a good thing). There was plenty to headbang to here, and pit to, and they were again present throughout the set, and much more brutal than before. People were yet again getting thrown out the door, or falling into the bar, although that’s not a bad thing as you can just get another beer while you’re there! The use of samples for the intros was nicely done, and didn’t take away from their overall sound, in fact it was a fantastic addition. We were also treated to a few covers in this set, firstly for all the old school Deathcore fans, ‘Recreant’ by Chelsea Grin, which was performed beautifully and allowed me to sing along, much to the confusion of a few around me, as it seemed no one had got which song this was. Then, as the final song of the set, we were treated to ‘Roots’ by Sepultura, a classic! And this cover was probably one of the best I have heard a band play. My main criticism with this though is that they had a half hour set, and playing 2 covers felt like a waste, when their own material was of such a high quality. This actually left me really disappointed, as I felt like this could have been one of the best sets of the year, had I heard more of them, and not other peoples work. Saying this, they were enjoyable and were so close to playing an absolute blinder of set, hopefully next time one less cover will elevate the set higher.

https://www.facebook.com/CastInTephra/

Tonight was all about one band – a band I have reviewed on a number of occasions -but tonight was Portrayal of Ruinn’s first headline set. They continued exactly where Cast in Tephra left off. Pure, in your face brutality, and plenty of pits ahoy. Although the crowd may have thinned a little they show no signs of relenting. Portrayal played a mix of old and new songs throughout the set, and you could hear the crowd joining in on the more well known songs. They also began the set with an intro sample which thankfully this time didn’t continue playing through the first song. Apart from this there were no other samples in the set, and this was no bad thing as it gave Calvin (vocals) plenty of chance to pump the crowd. Portrayal have had critics in the past for not moving much on stage, tonight however, they were bouncing, moshing and generally getting in with the crowd. Doing this however caused an unusual issue, with a guitar getting tangled in the netting on the roof. This took a lot of time to untangle, but was hilarious to watch! This wasn’t the only problem they had with the netting, as while throwing some free t-shirts out, one managed to land perfectly in the netting as well. Portrayal also treated the crowd to a new song which I felt did need a little bit of work as it ended rather abruptly, and they didn’t look as confident playing it as their others. But this was a good time to try something different. They also brought a guest on for their latest single ‘Lifeless Life’, however I cannot comment on this song as the guest was me!! Portrayal of Ruinn have really grown in the last few months, a lot of gigs and hard work definitely seem to be paying off, as they dragged a huge crowd to this show. I can see 2022 being a very good year for these guys with this rate of progression.

https://pages.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn/

Portrayal and the 0161 have pulled another blinder of a gig; they really are showing that the Manchester scene is alive and kicking. This is a fantastic destination for any band in the underground scene.

LINKS:
0161 MUMC:

Wangies:

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.

This Is Turin w/Human Hell and Portrayal Of Ruinn The Salty Dog, Northwich, Cheshire 10/09/2021

This Is Turin poster

This Is Turin
w/Human Hell and Portrayal Of Ruinn
The Salty Dog, Northwich, Cheshire
10/09/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

It feels like forever since I’ve been to a home town gig and it has many advantages. Firstly, I can walk to it, so no driving and secondly I can drink. I did have quite a few at this gig because it has been far too long since I had last been to a gig here. The Venue itself has had quite a makeover during lockdown; we now have a quality beer garden and seating out the front. Also, with local laws in Northwich now allowing drinking outside the front of a pub, means I’m not leaving my drink unattended. Tonight, is the first metal gig in a long time and we have a local headliner, a familiar opening band and a new second band, all of which were on the much heavier side of metal meaning no clean singing…oh no, the horror!

First up and this will now be the second time I have reviewed these guys, were Manchester’s Portrayal Of Ruinn. Last time I saw them I was saying how I wanted to see them on a bigger stage, alas it’s a smaller stage than last time. Nevertheless, their stage presence has vastly improved. All members seem to be banging their heads throughout and even Tom (guitarist) was off stage bouncing around and getting in people’s faces. This really works with their genre, they are deathcore and deathcore is in your face heavy. The fact that the sound here was so clear allowed for the crowd to really hear the way Tom (bass, yes I know two Tom’s is confusing), Tom (guitars) and Sean (guitars) all work in harmony to bring the riffs and breakdowns right to the forefront. This is helped by Chris (drums) providing the driving force behind them all. Calvin (vocals) has also much improved since last time; his range seems to get better with each gig. Sadly, with the sound being so clear, it was obvious when the intro track, which was played on a phone, ended up playing a completely different song in the background. I would isolate the intro so this doesn’t happen. This was a much stronger set than in July and is really showing how these guys are finding their sound and the stage show to match. I was gutted they didn’t get the reaction they deserved.

https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn

Next up was a new band for me, Human Hell from London. These boys really bring the aggression, there is no mercy from the breakdowns and Dillinger Escape Plan style beat from the drums. The complete set is unrelenting and fantastic. I even ended up having a mosh and I wasn’t even that drunk. Much like Portrayal Of Ruinn before them, their guitarist found it a challenge to stay on stage, wandering off to start pits with onlookers and then deciding to go for some fresh air outside…The joys of a wireless set up. I wonder what the drunken revellers on the streets of Northwich thought of this? There was a strange style of vocals over this heavy hardcore music, it reminded me almost of a black metal style shriek, I’m not complaining as it works wonderfully and compliments the down tuned guitars brilliantly. These boys are a strange mix of many styles which all combine into a ferocious blend of metal. If you are one for heavy aggression, check these guys out but if you are not a fan of band members being up close and personal, I would stand well back. Actually, they’ll still find you.

https://www.facebook.com/HumanHellUk

Headlining tonight are Cheshire heavyweights, This is Turin. This is a band I have followed since their previous incarnation, FallOut when I was about 14. They have progressed massively since those early days and have become a Blackened Tech Metal machine destroying any venue in their wake. This is apparent tonight as every song sees a sea of banging heads, flailing arms and probably a bit of blood for good measure. It is so clear to see from tonight’s performance why these guys have gotten as big as they have recently, with the new tunes from the latest EP “T.U.R.I.N” getting the crowd in a frenzy all under the control of Daz (vocals). This is not to say Hayden (guitars), Davey (guitars) and Splinter (bass) aren’t doing the same, quite the opposite. While Splinter can be seen also off stage intimidating the crowd (he is bloody tall), Hayden and Davey will be banging away shredding every riff with immense precision. Now, I couldn’t go any further without mentioning Ben (drums), he is rapidly becoming known for being one of the fastest drummers in the scene right now (please watch Forlorn World’s performance from Bloodstock). Tonight, is another example of his sheer speed and brutality, he is incredible! This is Turin owned this night, like they do most gigs they play, 50 minutes flew by in what was a stunning set. There is a lot more to come from these guys yet. Keep watching!

https://www.facebook.com/thisisturin

By the end of the night, I was a drunken mess as usual, but it was amazing to see so many people from the North West in my home town, it puts a massive smile on my face. I’m really hoping more gigs can happen in Northwich and we get the turn out like we had on the night. Good friends, good beer, excellent music. What more could you ask for on a Friday night?

LINK:
https://www.facebook.com/saltydogpub

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.

0161 Day Of Destruction – The York, Bolton 24/07/2021

0161 Day Of Destruction poster

0161 Day Of Destruction
The York, Bolton
24/07/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

After a short shift at work, and with BoJo now finally giving us our freedom back, gigs are back on the menu (couldn’t help a food reference).

This was my third gig of the year (second as a punter) and the first all originals as well. So off I ascended to the York, in Bolton, a venue I have never been to before. I was pleasantly surprised as the last venue I visited in Bolton was a bit of a dive. Most notably the terrible toilet facilities. Firstly, I am pleased to say the toilets were actually useable, there was a lock, bog roll and a door! Also, I have to add the whole place felt clean and with a lovely outdoor area. But most importantly for me, Newcastle Brown at the bar. We are onto a winner.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to catch Crowfire, a hard rock/metal band from Manchester. I guess I will have to wait for next time. Sadface emoticon.

https://www.facebook.com/crowfireofficial

The first band for me was I Am The Wreckage, a metallic hardcore band with masses of stage presence. Both Guitarist and Bassist used their wireless systems to their advantage by getting right up in the crowd’s face. Very fitting for the genre and engaging, so much so I found myself having a good ol’ mosh to band one, along with many of the other onlookers. This led to a few pits even at that early point in the day. If I have to pick at the set I would say try and ride through any technical difficulties. But all being said the whole sound these guys have is incredible, I would strongly recommend anyone to check them out!

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheWreckage

Next up were newcomers Ecstasy Engraved, and I only found out on the night that this was their first ever live gig! It was brutal! The songs were well structured, and while they were in the groove of the songs looked to be having the time of their lives, as did the crowd as yet more pits began. However, between songs felt a bit awkward, this I would put down to nerves as it was their first gig. The vocalist had a fantastic voice, and the set flew by, making me want to hear more, especially when they complete their line-up. (No Bassist L)

https://www.facebook.com/Ecstasy-Engraved-324221248279053

Chimp In A Box was a band that, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get when doing a listen before the gig, and in fairness I don’t get the joke? But all that aside, my god do these guys have groove! I loved it and could listen to those riffs for days. Maybe missing the joke stopped me enjoying these as much as I should have. or maybe adding a bassist will thicken the sound up more for me. But a solid set nonetheless and another band to see again.

https://www.facebook.com/ChimpInABoxBand

From three bands I have not seen before it’s onto the only band I had, and many times at that. Portrayal of Ruinn is a band I have gigged with often, and since their latest EP dropped it seems they are starting to gain the buzz they deserve. This gig was proof of that; they were the first band with the audience actually singing along to their songs, no mean feat, considering most people can’t understand metal vocals! This is a true testament to the traction these guys are building. The set was tight, brutal and immensely enjoyable. Pits were present throughout the whole show, with a sea of Portrayal t-shirts bouncing around. This was one of the best shows I have seen them play, and it would be nice to see them on a bigger stage, so they can really show off how they can dominate the stage.

https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn

Sadly, I ended up missing Hounds, and again I am hoping to catch them when they are next in the area, as what I heard I liked!

https://www.facebook.com/houndsuk

The night closed with a band I have been following for a long time, Asleep At The Helm. These guys were mega! Full on new age of metalcore. This is exactly the genre I love, and they did not disappoint. The whole set was like listening to a pre-recorded album, with added energy and oomph. The mix of clean and growled vocals really added something extra here, as I hadn’t heard much actual singing (not complaining). When I say they were worthy headliners, I mean it, and I can see why they are getting picked up to support bands such as Our Hollow, Our Home. These are seriously a band to watch as I can see them going far!

https://www.facebook.com/AsleepAtTheHelmOfficial

So, gigs are back, and this was a belter! My only downfall was the Newcastle Brown which cost me a band. But aside from that, this venue is a fantastic new home for 0161 in Bolton, and I am looking forward to appearing at the next event!

0161 LINK:

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.

The Alma Inn July Showcase 2019 – The Alma Inn, Bolton – 20/07/2019

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The Alma Inn July Showcase 2019
The Alma Inn, Bolton
20/07/2019
Review by Beth Jones

What is the best way to drown your sorrows about not being sat in a field listening to great bands with the best people? That’s easy – go and sit in a pub and listen to great bands with the best people instead! And that is exactly what we did on Saturday 20th July, by making a trek up to Bolton, to the Alma Inn for the Badgerfest Promotions / Alma Inn Presents July Showcase. It promised a cracking day of music, with some familiar names, and some that were new to us, and it didn’t disappoint!
We had never been to the much talked about Alma Inn before, so weren’t entirely sure what to expect. What we found was this: It is a cosy little venue, and really has the feel of a classic metal pub from the 80’s / 90’s, with some spectacular graffiti art in the beer garden, and interesting toilets! But the atmosphere was instantly warm, and the girl behind the bar, whose name I didn’t catch, was great!
Ninety Nine Mercies
First on the bill, and a new name to us, Ninety Nine Mercies kicked off the proceedings. Being the first band up is always a tough job, and their set was delayed by, and then hampered by a range of technical difficulties and sound issues that were beyond their control, so it was difficult really to get a good judgement of them. They were pretty solid, but had a few timing issues in places, but again this may be because they couldn’t really hear properly what each member was doing. I think I need to see them again to make a better judgement of them. They certainly gave it their all, which is always good to see at that time on a Saturday!

01 Ninety Nine Mercieshttps://www.facebook.com/NinetyNineMercies/

Severenth
Fresh from their comeback show after a 6 year hiatus, the Severenth guys put on yet another stonking show here, and gained a whole pub full of new fans in the process! They are exciting to watch and musically they are spot on. Peet Bailey, as a front man, is brilliant. He can scream and do clean vocals with ease, and has a very expressive face, which makes the performance hypnotising to watch. The rest of the band are also not afraid of showing their spirit, and don’t hide in the background. Bass player, Ben Jones, provides some mighty powerful backing vocals, and this, combined with the heavy rhythms of Dave Roberts on drums, and some really technical guitar work from Adam Sidor and Jack Somers make for an all-round package that would not look out of place much higher up on a bill. I cannot wait to see these guys again very soon and would love to see them back on the festival circuit next year.

02 Severenthhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth/

Black Sheets Of Rain
This band had actually recently done an EMQ’s for us, so it was nice to put faces to names and see what they were about. They were very different from what we had seen already today, in so much as they were more a classic hard rock band, so a lot lighter in style. They were very tight, and very good, but my one ask would be that they didn’t look quite so nervous on stage. They all looked slightly terrified, possibly because they were having to follow the Severenth performance we had just seen, but they had no reason to be, as they were very good, and we certainly enjoyed their set!

03 Black Sheets Of Rainhttps://www.facebook.com/blacksheetsofrain/

Lost In Lavender Town
In a showcase, you always like to see a bit of variety, and what better way to do that could there be than to chuck in an instrumental prog band, with three guitarists?! These guys were a bunch of insanely talented musicians who clearly live for noodling! They were like Pink Floyd after a marijuana binge, and it was incredibly relaxing! It was certainly music to chill out too!! I was however disappointed, as they had a brilliant ambient keyboard sound running through each track, but sadly no real life keyboard player, instead opting to use a backing track. Call me an old fuddy duddy if you like, but I do like live music to be 100% live, and if you are going to have keys as an integral part of your music, please use a real keyboard player!

04 Lost In Lavender Townhttps://www.facebook.com/lostinlavendertown/

Portrayal Of Ruinn
So, now we were all nicely mellow, it was time to get the shit beaten out of us, in a metal sense, by the insanely heavy Portrayal Of Ruinn. There are times when being a gig photographer can make you realise why the sofa and a nice cup of tea are so comforting – this was one of those times! Trying to take pictures when lots of big gents are erupting into pits in a space not much bigger than my living room is, err, interesting shall we say!! That aside, Portrayal Of Ruinn really know how to put on a great show, and delivered a punchy brand of melodic deathcore to the delighted crowd. Frontman Calvin Fayle has a terrifically manic look in his eyes when performing, and this captured the audience. Whilst vocally they are a little heavy for me, I really enjoyed their performance, and I didn’t die, so that’s a win in my book!

05 Portrayal Of Ruinnhttps://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn/

Daybreaker
I saw Daybreaker opening last year’s Badgerfest, and was impressed, so I was looking forward to seeing them again today and was glad that Rick also got a chance to see them. Again, they put in a great performance, which produced another lively reaction from the crowd. Bass player Lynden Garrad has a hugely expressive face and looked like he was having a ball on stage, whilst front man Sam Higgins paced the performance area like a man possessed, delivering some hellish hardcore vocals that bang you right in the gut. They are fun to watch. I like them.

06 Daybreakerhttps://www.facebook.com/daybreakerUK/

Kringer And The Battle Katz
Well! This performance was an experience. I want you to imagine The Sex Pistols, but with more musical skill, and heavier, having a crazed party following a month-long binge of mayhem and debauchery, and that kind of explains this performance! They describe themselves as Idiotcore, and are a mixture of punk, groove and deathcore, which bizarrely works pretty well! Even if you didn’t really like the music, it is impossible not to smile and get drawn in by their madcap insanity. They were perfect for this point in the day when us oldies are starting to flag a little – it peps you up and gives you a second wind! Bonkers. That is all!

07 Kringer And The Battle Katzhttps://www.facebook.com/Kringerandthebattlekatz/

Witch Tripper
We have seen these guys almost as many times as we have seen Lullaby For A Unicorn (and that is quite a few!!), but we never get tired of them. They are pure funky groove metal, and playing music is their life – this comes across in every show, and this one was no exception. It was hot, it was sweaty, but it was so much fun. Their all-round performance is always exceptionally tight, and the now packed out venue lapped it up. Their new drummer, Gary-Eric Evans, has really added a further depth to their music, that has enhanced an already superb product, which is brilliant. Add to this the fact that they are all truly lovely chaps, and it is easy to see how they have endeared themselves to so many audiences around the country and further afield.

08 Witch Tripperhttps://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

Vice
Finishing off a great day of metal were Vice, a gang of three young and aspirational local lads, who you can’t help but love. Again, we have seen them a few times now, and absolutely loved their first album, “The First Chapter”, and are eagerly awaiting their second. They are superbly polished, and each show is measured and well thought out. They delivered a sterling performance again here, and it was great to see them getting such a warm reception from the crowd. We had to duck out a little before the end again, because we have no staying power! But we left a venue full of very happy people behind us, with big smiles on our faces.

09 Vicehttps://www.facebook.com/Vicemetaluk/

Again, this was another brilliant day created by the seemingly unstoppable John Badger! There had been a few technical and sound issues towards the beginning of the day, which delayed things a little, but the people didn’t care, and it didn’t take away from the day at all in the end. It was great to see so many familiar and friendly faces, and to make some new acquaintances along the way. The metal scene in Manchester is alive and well and totally thriving, thanks to a host of brilliant underground bands, and the tireless work of people like John Badger, and James and Jayne at 0161 Manchester Underground Metal Community, and it really is a joy to be close enough, location wise, to be part of it.
LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/Badgerfestpromotions/
https://www.facebook.com/alma.inn/
https://www.facebook.com/0161MUMC/
 
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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.