Karma’s Puppet W/Severenth, Recall the Remains, Portrayal of Ruinn

Karma's Puppet Poster

Karma’s Puppet
W/Severenth, Recall the Remains, Portrayal of Ruinn
The County Bar Chesterfield
17/9/2022
Review by Rob Sutton

Returning to The County Rock Bar in Chesterfield is something I have wanted to do since their M2TM final, not just for the stunning scenery on the drive there but because this is a cracking venue. This time it was made even better as the prices seemed cheaper (although there was an increase during the night), the venue was even cleaner than last time and the sound tech was spot on for every band! So, this gig had been put together by Bloodstock winners Karma’s Puppet and they had invited other winners from around the country, all bands I have reviewed before making this fairly easy for me.

First up was Manchester’s Deathcore mob Portrayal Of Ruinn a band who have probably had the most reviews from me. This is an odd one for me as I have never seen them open a gig before though I must say they fill this role just as well as they do other slots. Their energy on stage doesn’t lack and there is plenty of headbanging throughout. Calvin (vocals) is pretty spot on with his delivery even showing of a pig squeal which was probably the best I’ve heard from him. In fairness though they did tonight what Portrayal do, engage the crowd, play breakdowns, get everyone involved and have a good time. They did however bring out one of their newer pieces ‘Echo Chamber’, which still keeps their sound but works as a slight evolution of what they already have. Saying that though, I can’t remember hearing a ‘bleugh.’ If there wasn’t one I’m not complaining as it does get a little repetitive during their sets. So, POR as openers, yep it works, they played fantastically, the crowd loved them and I really enjoyed their set. A great start to the show.

https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn/

Recall the Remains begin the Metalcore invasion of the night and straight off these guys mean business! Jacob fully demands the crowd’s attention, as he always does and then keeps them in the palm of his hand. His vocals tonight are again on point with each of his gutturals and his highs sitting perfectly (though I heard him do some disgusting noises during sound check that I didn’t hear during their set… is this on the album?). 

For the second time tonight, we have a band showing off a new song and this one is a belter! The riffs really shine through and their whole sound just feels heavier than usual. I also noticed throughout Recall the Remains set that there were a few more backing tracks within their songs, mainly during the choruses. This really enhanced the power of them and coupled with Jordan’s (bassist) soaring cleans do send tingles down your spine. Again, I’ve seen Recall the Remains numerous times, so I can say their stage show and performance was exactly what I expected. What wasn’t was the change of set list and the addition of a new song. Whether they read my last review or not I don’t know but this new set stunned me and I think it’s fair to say this was the best and most enjoyable set I have seen from them.

https://www.facebook.com/recalltheremains

From one Metalcore band to another, this time it’s the North Wales boys Severenth who for once have actually set up their merch!!! Now as with every band on this bill, I have seen these guys on numerous occasions but tonight they too have mixed their set up. I had no idea which song was next which really kept me engaged and trying to guess which was next. 

Onto their performance, now I have previously commented on their take on Metalcore and heavily taking inspiration from European metal, mainly Germany and it just works so well and tonight is one of the tightest I’ve seen them, with the guitars of both Jack and Adam really shining through on the solos. Pete’s voice is also spot on with his cleans feeling almost effortless and also the addition of more lows is very welcome. As with the previous 2 bands Severenth also have decided to throw in a new song ‘Dance With Me’. I loved this tune! It still sounds like Severenth, which is good as I really don’t want these guys to go down the Modern Metalcore route like every other Metalcore band does. This song does however feel like a rejuvenated Severenth, they looked so into this tune and happy to be showcasing it, loved it! I guess what more can I say, another band putting on a performance which was the best I’ve seen from them, tonight’s really going well!

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth

Finally we have Karma’s Puppet and it was Max (drums) who had asked me if I would review this night, well his exact words were ‘I’m not sure if I will regret this, but…’ well so far Max, you guys have pulled out a beast of a line up! So, can Karma’s Puppet keep the trend going? Of course they can! Last week in Bolton they played an absolute blinder of a set and took the York by the scruff of the neck. Tonight… its the same! 

They always bring energy by the bucket load and treat the crowd to a whole host of singalongs, breakdowns and a wall of death! Yeah, the crowd really lapped these guys up. As I mentioned at the beginning, the sound has been stunning tonight and for Karma’s Puppet they just sound massive, a credit to both the sound tech and the band themselves. Not only do they sound huge, but they are tight yet again and Alex’s voice is stunning again (I may not have liked it at first but it’s grown on me and is now stuck in my head). 

There is also a theme tonight of new songs and for Karma’s Puppet it’s ‘Thorns’. This feels like an instant classic with perfect parts for crowd interaction, catchy choruses and a breakdown, the crowd once again love it. I mean what can I say, Karma’s Puppet have just elevated themselves yet again and keep getting better with every show, watch out world, Metalcore Metallica are on a mission!

https://www.facebook.com/karmaspuppet

I have to say, I was looking forward to this gig, four bands whom I love watching, in a venue that I like and with great friends, I mean what more can I ask for? Every band brought a solid set and each of their new songs have really whetted my appetite for the new releases (looks like recorded reviews might be back on the menu for me). So, in response to Max’s comment… I’m glad you asked me to pop down and considering this is probably the only review I have ever written where I can’t find any negatives… well that speaks for itself!

LINKS:

Promoter:

Venue:

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 – Awakened Hate

Portrayal Of Ruinn Logo

Portrayal of Ruinn – Awakened Hate
Roasted by Rob Sutton

Before we go into this song can I start by saying whichever member of this band came up with the band name clearly got an F in their English GCSE. It’s spelt ‘Ruin….’ or maybe it’s on purpose and they’re trying to be edgy in which case they are clearly appealing to the teenage market. Actually this makes sense considering some of them are parents so I guess having an edgy dad is cool these days, god those kids are going to be embarrassed when their friends ask what daddy’s band is called. 

Right, melodic deathcore they describe themselves as and this song certainly tries to be melodic taking influence from those shitty ballads you hear being sung at karaoke with the same couple of notes being played on repeat matched with a drum beat that is about as interesting as doing the laundry. All is not lost though as they have added a subtle hint of synths in the background! Wow! The creativity with this intro is outstanding, no other band I have ever heard has used synths before… wait. 

Awakened hate then turns straight into your stereotypical deathcore, yes not melodic, just straight up deathcore. Fuck sake someone sort their Facebook page out and learn your metal subgenres! Structuring lyrics is difficult at the best of times and even harder when you’re trying to portray a story but this just seems like they have thrown a load of seasonings onto a steak in the hope that they fit. In reality they’re rushed more than a postman on Christmas Eve. There is quite a nice riff under the barrage of beats from the drums, I say drums loosely as they’re clearly programmed as the drummer couldn’t be bothered getting up to record them properly, not like I can blame him as whoever wrote the drums clearly was having a tantrum about not getting their cookie before bed time and decided to press every button at once. I really feel sorry for the guitarist here as he may have talent but it’s lost in this sea of noise and artificial bullshit that’s being churned out. 

Oh Christ we have an attempt at gutturals… fucking hell my rectum is more understandable after a dirty Doner kebab the night before. The fuck is he saying, oh lyric video… yeah it’s needed. Though, they could have put anything as the lyrics as no fucker can understand him. Oops, he coughed. 

‘You were the worst thing that entered my life.’ This is bullshit. Girls or guys (not judging) are certainly not worse than politicians or for that matter Tesla drivers (fuck them). This is just being over dramatic but its fine as these MySpace era, deathcore wannabe’s clearly know a thing or two about being overly dramatic. Yes boys it’s time to cut the silly emo fringes and grow up. Oops he coughed again.

Ooo another brilliant phrase ‘your hate awakened me’ nah mate its put me back to sleep. I’m pretty sure these guys listened to Carnifex and just copied, it’s not even a good copy. Here is a tip, the Chinese are the masters of the copyright law take a trip there and learn how to copy someone but actually make it bearable for people to listen to. Oops he coughed. 

Why the fuck does he shout for cheese? Anyway back to this melodic metal that’s about as melodic as my voice when I stand on Lego… Oh for fuck sake he coughed! Right, my local Tesco has soothers for about 60p and they’re blackcurrant flavour, bloody love them, recommend them all day, and they taste better than the blood-soaked phlegm that your coughing up so buy some then you won’t have to keep coughing every 10 seconds and ruinning (see what I did there, now I’m edgy) this masterpiece of how not to do melodic metal.

Look if you like your run of the mill middle aged men attempting to relive their youth through ‘music’ then this is the band for you! Alternatively if you are a 14 year old wanting to rebel against mummy and daddy because they didn’t buy you a pony, buy one of their bright pink t-shirts, shout bleugh a few times and they will be so proud!

Shit I forgot to mention the bassist! Never mind.

Disclaimer:

This was written entirely for comedic purposes with the full consent of Portrayal of Ruinn. None of the things I have written represent what I actually think of this song.

Who am I kidding, I just farted and it was way more brutal than this budget Carnifex.

‘Awakened Hate’ Official Video

LINKS:

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 Manchester 2022 – Grand Final

M2TM Manchester 20222 Grand Final Poster

M2TM Manchester 2022 – Grand Final
Rebellion – Manchester
14/5/22
Review by Rob Sutton
Photos by Drew Scott

Guest bands:
Foetal Juice
Footprints in the Custard
The Crawling
Saurr

Competing bands:
I Am The Wreckage
Portrayal of Ruinn
Vlka Fenryka
Asylum City Zoo

We made it to the final! It has been a long journey for Manchester with the sheer volume of bands entering, and the calibre of bands being so high this year it has been a tough one. For the final, the 0161 crew went all out by adding 5 guest bands! First up was Acoustic Beast but with them only playing a handful of covers I didn’t see much point in writing about them (sorry, covers aren’t my thing).


The first guest band was a band I have been itching to catch all year, Saurr. For whatever reason every time I was due to see them, either I got the plague or they did. Thankfully this was not the case this time around and the former M2TM Manchester winners were here in full force. Saurr are one of these bands that mix numerous genres together, there is a lot of Groove, a bit of Sludge, bits of Metalcore, bits of Djent… you get the idea. All these are blended together beautifully to create something that feels so heavy and powerful; the riffs are just phenomenal and backed with thumping drums, these guys instantly get the crowd’s heads bobbing. To break up these incredible riffs, some atmospheric guitar interludes appear, which are stunning to watch, and what makes it even better is that, even though there are backing tracks, the lead guitar is being played live! Honestly, this guitarist is a boss! Vocally as well these guys are strong, the harsh vocals cut through perfectly and really add to the all round heaviness, however while the cleans are being done, over the distorted guitars, they are sometimes a little lost. That being said these guys kicked off the day in fine fashion and set the benchmark for the competing bands that follow.

https://www.facebook.com/SaurrMusic

Speaking of competing bands, I am the Wreckage drew the short straw and were the first on. Straight off the bat, what happened to the sound? Saurr sounded huge, but the power just vanished for these guys, as well as the following 2 bands. This is something that has been noticed in a few heats – the fact the sound is inconsistent for the competing bands, and this is a worry. Also, I will note as well, whoever is doing the lights only seems to put effort in towards the end of the night… C’mon, this is a competition – play fair! Anyway, rant over! I am the Wreckage blasted straight onto the stage and made it theirs from the get go, they commanded the crowd perfectly and boy did they respond! The pits were mega and the circle pits were like fairground rides with the speed they were spinning. Previously I have commented that the guitar tone has been muddy and inaudible, but tonight it was crystal clear and sounded amazing. For that matter they all did; they perfectly encapsulated the essence of Hardcore and brought it forefront here. It’s really hard to find much wrong with this set… I mean there were a few missed notes but they weren’t that noticeable, and the bassist was wearing an I am the Wreckage t-shirt which annoys me. Actually on that point, why do bands do this? This would work if they all had their own t-shirts on, but they didn’t so it looks a bit… full of yourself. These are minor points though in what I thought was an incredibly strong set, which probably made the rest of the competing bands have to use the lavatory.

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheWreckage

The crowd were in their masses for I am the Wreckage, but they thinned dramatically for Asylum City Zoo. This was strange, as these guys are not short on their online following or presence in the Manchester scene, but this might have something to do with their lack of energy. Normally these guys are full of beans however here perhaps the nerves got the better of them. ACZ do have songs which are at a much slower tempo than that of IATW, but this doesn’t mean they’re any better nor worse. In fact the vocal harmonies present are stunning! They really ‘hit you in the feels man.’ Top this with some interesting vocal effects and it’s an all round intriguing watch and an enjoyable one at that. Also something of note as per the previous sound comment, the kick drum was punching right through in the mix for these guys and sounded brilliant. The drummer was on point in timing along with the rest of the band, too – this was a tight set. I also appreciated the give always they do during their set; it’s a nice bit of giving something back to the crowd. Asylum City Zoo did play a very strong set, but their lack of energy and lack of really pumping the crowd let it down. Shame as musically this was tight!

https://www.facebook.com/asylumcityzoo

Time for a raid! Viking shields adorned the stage, fur coats, blue battle paint, axes, swords and horns were all being waved around while the whole crowd began to chant… This can mean only one thing, Vlka Fenryka were next! In their semi-final I really rated these guys, and they completely change the atmosphere of The Rebellion unlike any other band at this event. It felt like they had put that little bit more thought and attention into how they looked on stage and how they presented themselves, and this is something I massively appreciate! The intro with the band chanting and bouncing around the stage was a sight to behold – it’s unlike any other band and I loved it. Musically the guitar tone was significantly better than last time, my ears weren’t bleeding, and in fact, the Melodic Death Metal style riffs were really audible, which was music to my ears, quite literally. The vocals also seem to have stepped up, the growls were slightly deeper than last time, which for me fits this style way better than the high pitched tones. Add these to the once again cracking cleans and you can’t really fault them. Vlka gave the crowd a load of blue glow sticks, which when I asked them ‘why’ they replied, ‘well it’s blue so it fits.’ It didn’t fit, Vikings didn’t have blue glow sticks, and this to me was an afterthought that actually took away from their image. I’m sure there is something else they could have done that would have been better but hey ho. Also there were way too many ‘woahs’ in this set for me. It starts to make the songs all sound the same. Again I am being really fucking picky here as this was a solid set with unbelievable crowd control and crowd engagement, like no other here. Yes, we had seen pits and carnage, but this was a different kind of owning the stage, as well as another belter of a set!

https://www.facebook.com/vlkafenrykaband

The final competing band was Portrayal of Ruinn, and after their semi final set, which was probably the worst I have seen them, they really needed to step it up here. Starting with 3 hi-hat hits then straight into their set, it felt a little lacklustre compared to the previous bands, and immediately I thought ‘here we go again.’ Thankfully I was wrong and they proceeded to dive headfirst into brutality and carnage! Instantly pits were being opened and bodies were being hurled across the room, and this is what Portrayal are about! They again owned the stage and this time what they asked for from the crowd they got! It seems a couple of weeks and a tour have done them some good. It felt like they were playing for the crowd as opposed to playing for themselves and it made a huge difference! The reaction they got was massive. Musically everything sounded a lot more polished, the riffs sounded chunkier, the drums were tighter, and the bass was as crunchy as some honey nut corn flakes. They even threw in some backing vocals which again really worked well; there wasn’t loads of them but enough just to emphasis certain parts… call it tasteful. The lead vocals started off pretty solid, the lows and mid range were spot on, with the ‘brees’ also working nicely, however I think perhaps a bit more vocal warm ups are in order, as towards the end of the set the ‘brees’ were more like whispers and his voice did start to crack. Another point from last time was the clean to distorted on their new song. This felt like an afterthought during the last set, but even though I’m not a huge fan of this, it was much slicker than last time. This set was a million times better than their semi final. Staying on stage REALLY worked well for Portrayal tonight. They looked so much more professional, they were tight and all round really fucking good to watch!

https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn

So, with the competing bands out of the way, we moved on to the final 3 guest bands. First up was Belfast based The Crawling, previous M2TM winners in 2016, who have since got on to play the second stage. These guys wasted no time in bringing their Doomy, depressing metal to the crowd, and honestly, it was gorgeous! The guitars were so pretty they give me butterflies and almost a tear in the eye. The melodies are prettier than you’re wife to be on your wedding day, I just cannot get enough of them. Despite these guys only being a 3 piece the sound is huge and filled the whole room leaving the crowd grinning and nodding in pure appreciation. As for me, well I had the biggest smile on my face in awe of them, just wow! Now there wasn’t just pretty music here. There were also some gnarly vocals to go with it, almost sounding Draconian Esk. There is a right mix of influences, from Slayer to Satyricon, and all were obvious to see throughout. Honestly I could ramble on about how much I enjoyed these guys and I wish there was a bigger crowd for them because my god YES!

https://www.facebook.com/thecrawlingband

From the melancholy to the mental! Yes, it was Manchester/Cheshire’s own Footprints in the Custard (minus the mankini). Footprints are well known for their crude themes and nudity on stage, but tonight was actually an exception for the nudity! It felt like a more mature set; don’t get me wrong it was still entertaining and funny but there wasn’t a real dick to be seen on stage! Although there were plenty of foam dicks in the crowd – pretty sure everyone got a dick to the face at some point! An example of this maturity was in the song ‘A Barren Field Of Fucks’! The riffs were straight out of The Black Dahlia Murders catalogue (RIP Trevor) and it strangely works. I like the way they’re moving to more interesting song writing, within the silly themes. Guitar wise, even though there was only one tonight, it still sounded big, and the solos cut through so cleanly they could be mistaken for a freshly washed dick. Footprints also brought their giant inflatable unicorn, which was instantly thrown into the crowd, with an audience member riding it (sure there is another dick joke in there somewhere); this however nearly caused more damage than it was worth, almost taking out some of the stage lighting and the guitarists lead. So, sadly, the unicorn was put to sleep earlier than perhaps intended. This was a very silly set as usual and an almost emotional one with the speech about Trevor. Very enjoyable, very fun and it gave me the chance to say ‘dick’ as many times as possible in a review! Penis!

https://www.facebook.com/Footprintsinthecustard

Finally tonight we had a bit of brutal Death Metal from Foetal Juice. These guys are relentless in their speed and aggression; some of the faces they pull on stage are frankly intimidating, but that all adds to their aesthetic. The crowd responded to this aggression with drunken chaos, many beer cans being smashed over their heads, necked in one or just thrown around (waste of beer). Even the band joined in by biting some cans in half! Foetal Juice were clearly in the party spirit as they looked noticeably inebriated by this point, yet somehow they managed to remain tight and relatively professional on stage, even with the comment ‘to the competing bands, don’t worry if your shit, look at us.’ In fairness this wasn’t a shit set by any stretch of the imagination. What it was, was, well… pure decimation: plenty of pits, unbelievable fast songs and a set which flew by in the blink of an eye. We even got a cheeky guest appearance from their former vocalist who didn’t seem to have lost any of his abilities, and in fact had a voice that can only be described as ungodly. I really enjoyed these guys as well, and they were the perfect band to close out this very long day of bands.

https://www.facebook.com/FoetalJuice

So with that there was only one thing left… Time to announce the winner, *drum roll*………….. Portrayal of Ruinn! This was rightfully deserved, the amount these guys have improved since there semi final was insane! They will be a welcome addition to Bloodstock.

As for the other 3 bands, well they need to return next year. They were all incredible and would have all been deserved winners. I don’t say that lightly either, as if you have read any of my previous reviews, you will know that I won’t hold back. But tonight each band brought it in their own way and really should be proud of how far they’ve got. 

So that’s Manchester sorted, let’s find some more finals to criticise!

LINKS:

Venue:

Promoter:

Bloodstock:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Drew Scott. 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 2022 – Manchester – Semi-Final 1

M2TM 2022 – Manchester – Semi-Final 1
Asleep at the Helm (Guest Headliner)
Dead Retinas, Technologist, Vlka Fenryka, Portrayal Of Ruinn
Rebellion, Manchester
24/04/22
Live Review by Rob Sutton
Photos by Callum Burgoyne 

Metal to the Masses is a great place to go to find new bands and also watch bands progress through a competition for the ultimate prize, a place on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock. This year I have been following Manchester’s M2TM but felt like it wouldn’t be right to review until we got to the Semi finals. So after 8 heats and 4 quarter finals we arrive at the first semi final and to a massive 250+ turn out!

Taking to the stage first is Deathcore outfit Portrayal of Ruinn, a band I have reviewed on a number of occasions. Going on first at any point in the competition is daunting but these guys don’t mess around kicking right into their set and commanding the pits to be opened. Normally the way these guys control the crowd is unrivalled in the competition, but I think tonight nerves have got the better of them as we are asked for circle pits during a breakdown (doesn’t work so well) and walls of death are formed by the crowd without a leader to say when to charge. It just felt a bit scripted tonight almost like they had all sat down before the gig and said ‘wall of death here’ or ‘jump in the crowd then.’ Portrayal previously feed off the crowd and go with the flow and normally this sets them apart from other bands in the competition, whether it was scripted I don’t know but it seemed like they were over thinking or trying too hard. Another example of this ‘trying too hard’ was when the vocalist fucked off stage and beyond the crowd to the very back of the venue. Why? Fuck knows. He just seemed to stand around a bit then wander back to the stage. This was completely unnecessary and had the whole crowd facing the wrong way leaving the rest of the band playing to basically a photographer. One of the guitarists also tried this trick of going into the crowd but stayed firmly in the pit, this worked better, though because he decided to stop playing for a moment towards the end of the song, the outro lacked oomph so perhaps this wasn’t the wisest of moves. Having said that, when they are all on stage and head banging or bouncing on stage, they are a real pleasure to watch, the synchronised head banging is so nice to see and having the crowd all banging their heads in unison just adds to the feel. One other thing that seemed slightly off was the guitars, there are twangs in the final song which for some reason were just pained tonight but they weren’t the only band with this issue so this maybe sound related. However the transitions between clean and distorted guitars felt like an afterthought, I feel more of a build up with the drums or the other guitar feeding in would have made this change much smoother. This review really sounds like I am ripping Portrayal and I kind of am. Their performance in the quarter final was by far the best performance of any band this competition but this one felt try-hard and messy. I genuinely love Portrayal and so did the crowd but I know they can do better so, I would take what they did in the quarter final and play that if they progress to the final.

https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn

With the stage now littered with Viking shields this can only mean one thing, Vlka Fenryka are next up. Starting off with a Viking chant without a backing track is something a bit different, adding the addition of a few horns (couldn’t hear them, gutted as this would have been cool) and a bit of dancing, yeah this is different! Their whole get up is fantastic and seems to whip the crowd in the Viking party atmosphere. We also have a nice mix of vocal styles as well, from the shouting/chanting to screaming to singing. The singing being a personal highlight as I felt his voice was spot on, not too much on the power metal side to be cheesy and not proggy enough to drone on. The screams I wasn’t so keen on, while the style of screams are done well, I don’t feel they were aggressive enough for the whole Viking style. Without sounding cliché, I would have liked growls instead. This would move them closer to the Amon Amarth style but with the addition of the cleans, I feel they would have enough of a unique selling point to make them stand out. As I said though there wasn’t actually anything wrong with the screams. This being my first time watching Vlka Fenryka I didn’t really know fully what to expect but being a Viking band I felt there would have been a crowd rowboat… there wasn’t. Maybe they are trying to make sure they don’t fall into the trap of copying others and seemed quite happy to stick with the horns in the sky or the chants and I don’t mind that. Very metal! Also harking back to the first set, a couple of the guitar solos here were also a bit everywhere. So much so, in one part I am pretty sure each member was playing a different song; I did wince as it was just so messy I couldn’t find the beat or tell what was going on. For that matter the tone of the guitar really didn’t fit the solos in general, they ended up cutting through and almost piercing the ear drums of the crowd. It was actually painful. Again this could have been a sound issue. Besides all of this Vlka Fenryka were great fun to watch, the whole set up completely changed the feel of the stage and the night. This was a very strong set. Skol guys!

https://www.facebook.com/vlkafenrykaband

Again with the sound issues but this time a monumental issue where the intro track doesn’t play and there are no vocals whatsoever! Never the less, Technologist start their set but in honesty this was completely pointless as they only got a tiny way through their first song before giving up. I don’t blame them either, nothing was working properly. While this was being sorted they did treat us to a nice jazz interlude so not all was lost. Once their set did start most of the issues were resolved but honestly the sound really fucked these guys both musically and with their confidence. And that unfortunately sets the tone for the rest of their set as they were fighting a losing battle. For me their confidence had been well and truly shaken and while they still showed their usual smiles with the hint of arrogance about their playing ability, you can tell they were not on form. The first half of their set did sound messy and uncoordinated. It was a real shame as throughout the entire competition these guys have been stunning to watch. Don’t get me wrong though, the second half of their 4 song set list was tight and their technical ability did shine through here but the addition of a new song into the set this close to the final was a very brave move. Having seen Technologist the Tuesday prior to this gig and they absolutely smashed it then, I am complete baffled as to why they decided now of all times to add a new song? Yes it was a good song but it didn’t feel like it had the mileage the other songs had already got and it really showed. Luckily they did keep a personal favourite of mine in the set and closed with ‘Reborn’ but even here, vocal queues were missed and it was noticeable with the drummer reminding the vocalist to come in. again this is a band I absolutely love and really wanted this set to be as good as all their others but everyone has off nights and they picked the wrong night to do so and, for me, has cost them going through. 

https://www.facebook.com/Technologistband

Another band I watched last Tuesday, and frankly they pissed me right off at that gig by openly admitting that they were performing at 80%. This means that I have come to this gig expecting to be blown away and with a bit of a cloud over my head. So Dead Retinas at 100% then… Musically again their blend of Punk and Hardcore is just brilliant, I really love the mash up of these 2 genres and tonight is no exception. They are playing with full ferocity and sound amazing. Vocally again he sounds on point, with the punk shouts and metal growls sounding pretty damn good. Not only do these guys sound on point tonight but they also have the energy on stage. Much like Portrayal earlier there is a lot of head banging, a lot of movement and a great deal of crowd engagement. This includes a number of pits which are again present throughout their set. From this point these guys seem to be taking this competition by the balls and making it theirs. As with the previous bands having a few niggles or things that just didn’t work for me, Dead Retinas also have a few. I will start with the lack of a wireless microphone. The vocalist also makes a habit of spending more time in the crowd than on stage, again this doesn’t always work and with a wired mic less so. Because of this he has to have half the crowd holding the cable in the air so anyone moshing doesn’t trip over. I could make a joke about health and safety but in all seriousness just get a wireless and make everyone’s lives a little easier. Also climbing all around the venue is all fun and games but this is just overkill. As I have said before, there is a balance between being on stage and in the crowd and while they have found the balance in the music, they haven’t with this. Also, mentioning the voting tokens for me is a massive no, especially when it’s to vote for your own band, it makes you look arrogant in a bad way. Dead Retinas played a solid set but were again let down by little things/comments and it really is a shame.

https://www.facebook.com/DeadRetinas

Finally onto our guest headliners Asleep at the Helm, now if you have read any of my reviews of these guys before you will know how much I rave about them. Tonight was no exception, they were absolutely on it and that is even without a bassist! (Though the sound was a bit thin but this couldn’t be helped). Their whole set felt like they had made this specifically for me with a good mix of old and new songs, each of which having been played on my spotify countless times. AATH boast a mix of screamed and clean vocals and are performed by multiple members as well, each of the screams and growls are nailed to perfection and the clean vocal harmonies just tug at your heartstrings. Drums are absolutely on point as well, pretty sure there wasn’t a beat missed here which is impressive! AATH seemed to do away with the wandering around off stage and instead let their music and on stage performance do the talking and it works so well. Couple this with a charismatic front man and an engaging guitarist shouting at the crowd, they have the audience in the palm of their hands. It goes to show you don’t need to be constantly in the crowd to engage with the crowd. Everything these guys played tonight was just head and shoulders above the other bands and just shows that AATH are on a different level in terms of quality and professionalism by comparison. For me this was by far one of my favourite sets of the year, I just wish the promoter had let them finish with their cover of ‘Lady.’

https://www.facebook.com/AsleepAtTheHelmOfficial

So before I go into the results I would actually like to say that I am being overly critical on the bands but this is the semi final of M2TM so really these bands should be on top form. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy each set but this being a semi final for Bloodstock and the final being only a matter of weeks away, I felt a lot of the bands needed to step their game up from the previous rounds and that just didn’t happen tonight. It really shows when the guest band completely owns the competing bands as they were on another level. Also the crowd voting system really showed its flaws that night; everyone who paid was given a token to vote. This meant people were walking in 1 song from the end and voting for a band that had already played! How is that remotely fair? I would love to see this voting system changed for next year where you get a token if you turn up before the first band starts and then open the voting when the last band finishes. This would stop people only turning up for the band they want and at least watching the other bands before making a decision. I’ll be honest the vote felt like a mockery of the system and extremely unfair to all bands. 

Anyway going through was Vlka Fenryka and Portrayal of Ruinn, Vlka certainly deserved to go through and I would say so did Portrayal if I forget about this set and remember their quarter final set. Commiserations to Dead Retinas and Technologist, again I have seen both bands play a lot better than tonight but there is always next time. 

On another note I will be back next week with the second semi final where hopefully I can be a bit more positive.

LINKS:

Rebellion:

Bloodstock M2TM Manchester:

Callum Burgoyne Photography:

Drew Scott Photographic:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Callum Burgoyne. 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.

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

00 Poster

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.