South Wales Metal to the Masses Final

SW M2TM Grand Final Poster

South Wales Metal to the Masses Final
Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff
Live Review and Photography by Paul Hutchings

Another pulsating afternoon and evening saw the climax of 2022’s road to the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock Open Air. A full house made for a fabulous atmosphere and despite the intense heat in the venue, the ability to nip out to the beer garden between bands provided enough respite for those who had purchased tickets to return for each of the six competing bands plus the two guest headliners.

I’ve written enough about each of the bands in my reviews of the quarter and semi-finals so delivering another blow-by-blow account seems a little bit of overkill. Instead, let’s just say that the South Wales metal community was the big winner. For me, the introduction to bands like I Fight Bears, Torchbearer, NASH and Karmen Field as well as the huge improvements of State of Deceit and Eulogy (probably the most improved band of the entire series for me) was the best bonus of the whole event. 

Kudos to the crowd, who supported each band in turn, pitted hard and fist pumped and sang with a gusto sadly sometimes lacking. It really was a first-class advert for this music we love and there are bands who will be back next year even hungrier. It’s also worth a nod to those who didn’t make it to the final, for there are some fine outfits impatiently waiting for another chance. A big hand to the musicians from Collapse the Void and Excursia who were there in numbers to support their peers. Chwarae teg, that was immense support. 

And of course, huge gratitude to James Millar for his amazing sound desk work and to organisers Alyn Hunter and Tim Hill who made the final run as smoothly as I’ve ever seen. Good work all!

On the night I think it’s reasonable to say that the favourites lived up to their billing with I Fight Bears triumphant. They impressed Bloodstock’s own Simon Hall who overcame a blindingly painful bought of sciatica (possibly with the help of a medicinal glass or two) to announce their victory to a huge roar. 

It would be remiss not to acknowledge two blistering sets from New Blood Alumni Blind Divide and Pearler. The former won the 2019 competition and were robbed of their headline set in 2020 for obvious reasons. They’ve returned looking hungry, angry, and hopefully ready to push on again. 2021’s winners Pearler took a video vote to get to Catton Hall last year. A band well loved in this part of the world; Pearler wowed the audience with another riff fest which was excellent.  Keep an eye out for both these bands. They deserve it. 

With a wildcard slot still very much a possibility, we may yet get to see either Torchbearer or Karmen Field grace the sacred halls. Neither would look out of place. But for now, it’s time to plan for Friday 12th August and I Fight Bears set on the New Blood Stage. Be there. 


I Fight Bears

Karmen Field 


State of Deceit


Blind Divide



Fuel Cardiff:

South Wales M2TM:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. Photography by Paul Hutchings. 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.

Bloodstock Metal to the Masses South Wales Quarter Finals 3 & 4 – Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff 17 & 18/06/2022

Bloodstock Metal to the Masses South Wales Quarter Finals 3 & 4
Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff 
17 & 18/06/2022
Live Review by Paul Hutchings

Quarter Final Three

If the previous week had shown the more challenging side of this competition, Quarter Final three proved that the Metal community in South Wales can do it properly. This was a night to savour, with big, enthusiastic crowds who supported all the bands from start to finish. The bands themselves stuck out the searing heat in the venue on the hottest day of the year, resisting the urge to get some cool air on perspiring skin. Despite what some may have seen as a counter attraction with the Stereophonics and Tom Jones playing across the road to a sea of pink cowboy hats and fruity ciders, all the bands competing had pulled their support along with them, thanks to some concerted efforts on their social media accounts. One thing the judges do consider is the promotion ahead of the event, and in this QF all boxes had been ticked in that area. 

Taking the judges vote in their heat, newcomers on the scene Zac and the New Men are rapidly making a name for themselves in the South Wales scene. It’s not hard to see why. This performance took things up a couple of notches from their heat, and it was another confident, assured and energetic performance that got everyone moving early in the evening. Gloriously decked in their psychedelic shirts, they once more belied their youthful ages and cranked up their splendid blend of Hard Rock with a classic twist. Their energy was enough to make an old man weep, their ability to bounce in unison on their last song and then emerge without a sweat mark anywhere merely provoked incredulity. These guys are the real deal and I’ll buy you a pint if they are not playing Steelhouse Festival by 2024. 

Zac and The New Men 

Having seen off the permafrost challenge of Cardiff’s Black Metallers Black Pyre in their heat with a solid fan vote, Karmen Field were back and in boisterous mood. Backed by the biggest numbers of the night, the four-piece were on fire from the start, demonstrating a determination and experience that their six-years together has brought them. “We’re Karmen Field, and we want to play at Bloodstock” roared vocalist Molly McBreen. They certainly played as if they were on that New Blood stage, with their combination of 90’s Grunge, Progressive passages and bone crunching riffing launching temperatures still higher. Fiercely active on stage, the band are also blessed with some fabulous musicians to support McBreen. It all added up to a fine performance for another band who are rightly creating waves. Another fine set. 

Karmen Field 

Catalysts had taken the fan vote in their heat and having spent the first ninety minutes of the evening stoically sweating amongst the crowd, proceeded to shed even more liquid with a competent and vibrant performance. Five musicians on Fuel’s stage aren’t ideal but as happened in the heat, Catalysts grabbed the event by the balls and simply swung it around their collective heads. Their music isn’t something I’d usually select by choice, but when this band get into full flow, genres don’t get a look in. Engaging with the audience at a level that not even Karmen Field had managed, front man David Challenger’s clean vocals impressed once more whilst his interaction with the crowd was typically Welsh. It’s impossible not to smile when Catalysts play, such is their sheer enthusiasm. Another band to keep an eye on. 


The warmest people in the venue must have been State of Deceit, whose dedication to watching their fellow competitors didn’t go unnoticed. With the doors open to let air into the room, several non-voting punters slipped in to watch possibly the most explosive set of the competition. State of Deceit were fully charged, bringing a light box and smoke machine, earning extra marks from the judges. Frontman Pete Scammell is always an entertaining watch and this bear of a man prowls the front of the stage, inciting the first real pits of the evening, which at times were ferocious with at least one casualty later claiming a bit of rib damage (been there brother – hope you’ve escaped too much damage). This was the first time I’d seen the band as a five-piece, with Davide Santini on bass bringing a new dimension to the band. These guys could fill the space on that New Blood stage with ease, and their Groove-based pummelling saw the walls shake, such was the power they delivered. 

State of Deceit

Breaking to vote, the dance floor area resembled a swimming pool, such was the sweat being shed. A brief pause in the proceedings was concluded with the results. It was a massive shame that these four bands couldn’t all go through, for this would have been a semi-final to be proud of. Unfortunately, only two could progress and it was Karmen Field who gained a gargantuan fan vote, whilst State of Deceit’s professionalism and increased effort impressed the judges the most. It’s a cliché of mammoth proportions, but the real winner on this night was heavy music and even writing this the morning after leaves a warm glow.

Quarter Final Four

This event is proving to be the mother of all challenges. We’ve had just about everything thrown at it. After the heat of QF4, the weather gods decided it was time to cool things down with an evening of heavy rain. With the Stereophonics in the Stadium for the second night, it was unsurprising that the attendance was smaller than might be expected. And we still had drama to come later!

With Sons of Thunder sadly having to pull out due to injury, a three-band quarter final saw Sounds of Insane Music draw the opening slot. For those that don’t know, SOIM is a solo project of Elliot Cadmore, a massively talented musician. SOIM’s show consists of backing music with Elliot shredding his nuts off. Highly technical and impressive, the challenge for any solo artist is to capture the audience’s attention and hold it. Despite a few timing issues, nerves, and material which at times is inaccessible to many, SOIM made a real fist of it, with the small but enthusiastic crowd giving huge support. After his set, Elliot announced a hiatus from solo live shows to focus on new material and forming a true band. We wish him well and look forward with anticipation to the next stages of his musical journey. 

Sounds Of Insane Music 

Following SOIM, the Groove-core of Collapse the Void produced a solid crowd reaction with some small but perfectly formed pits kicking into action. The Newport quintet make a fine noise, with bearded frontman Eli possessing a huge bear-like roar. The band’s sound is aggressive but refined with some sweet dual guitar work giving their songs a unique flavour. My one minor criticism is that the band use Eli and both guitarists Mike and Joel for vocals, which at times can be a little overpowering. Apart from that, there was little to dislike as Collapse the Void produced the set of the evening for me. Considering they only formed just before lockdown, this is a band that could seriously go places in the coming years. 

Collapse The Void 

It was left to Excursia to give the fans and the judges a headache as the final band. The band are veterans of the competition, having entered twice before and making the final of the Bristol competition in the past.  A few line-up changes have seen the band change their sound from the earlier Thrash-based style to a more Extreme and varied format. Full of energy and pumped up as always, Excurisa launched into their set with a frantic pace, which went down well with their support at the front of the stage. As the heat increased, frontman A’Dan Shide shed his shirt and switched from rhythm guitar to focus on his angry, raging vocal delivery. The band have come a long way since their formation in 2016 and are now showing real signs of progression. 


Alas, two thirds of the way into their set, the sound was pulled as it was revealed that a medical emergency was happening in the main room. Confusion set in, which was quickly addressed by the organisers with clear announcements providing enough information to ensure everyone behaved. Thankfully the ill customer was well enough to leave the venue with assistance sometime later. A sensible decision saw the voting take place whilst there was a lull, with Collapse the Void grabbing the fan vote and Excursia securing the second spot via the judges’ decision. 

Another bizarre evening in this weird and wonderful journey to BOA 2022 concluded. We return for the semi-finals on 24th & 25th June. Who knows what will happen then! Whatever happens, we’ll bring it to you here at Ever Metal. 


Fuel Cardiff

M2TM South Wales:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings 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.

N.E.W Metal Productions’ Merry Christmosh – Mclean’s Pentre – 11/12/21 

Merry Christmosh Poster

N.E.W Metal Productions’ Merry Christmosh 
Mclean’s, Pentre, 11/12/21 
Review by Beth Jones

Photography by Beth Jones

The year is drawing to a close (thank god, let’s be honest, because it’s not been the best) and what better way is there to mark the festive season than with some proper Metal, and good friends! And that’s exactly what I did at Mclean’s, Pentre for N.E.W Metal Productions Merry Christmosh Christmas gig, featuring a host of heavy hitting bands for our listening pleasure. But what sort of a night was it? Well, let’s find out! 

We were supposed to start the day with everyone’s favourite busker, Edd Case, but typically the bloody ‘Rona caught up with him the day before the gig, so he couldn’t perform. We missed him lots.

So instead, starting proceedings was one-man Industrial Noise machine, Leatherback. Now last time I saw him I wasn’t keen. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I was clearly having some sort of moment. My age, the fact I’m a woman, or the fact that the strobe lighting made photography hard may have been the reason behind my narkiness. I want it noting for the record that I was wrong. Today’s performance was outstandingly tight, and heavy as fuck!! There’s something very mysterious about Leatherback’s stage show, possibly enhanced by the strobe lighting or the fact he doesn’t talk at all, giving it a hypnotic quality. He also has a very expressive face, which is full of energy and rage. A great performance, and wonderful way to start. 


Next up were the Lullaby boys. If you’ve not heard me talk about them before, where have you been?! You know you’re always going to have a great time when Lullaby play, and today was no exception. There was much toilet roll, many party poppers, and even a new song – ‘Pre Cum Face’… This performance was one of the tightest I’ve seen them give, and it’s great when they perform like this – they were relaxed and it showed, the party was in a very messy full swing, and everyone was having a ball… Apart from the poor souls who had to clear up the mess!! 

Lullaby For A Unicorn

Following the standard Lullaby big clean up, Scarfoot graced the stage. This is a band that I’ve seen grow and develop over the last few years, and bloody hell have they come a long way. And they meant business here tonight… with guitarist/vocalist Oliver starting the set with no top on!! They have now become one hell of a good stoner band. It’s sludgy, and grimy, and dirty, and it’s got an awesome groove to it. It makes you pull a face like you’ve just smelt something potent and satisfying! Really so chuffed to see how far these guys have progressed, and keep progressing. LOVED IT!

Some Modern Thrash/Groove was racked up next for us, in the shape of State Of Deceit! These young South Waleians haven’t been here before, so it was the first time we’d seen them. They’re a lively bunch! Their sound is full of a bit of all sorts – Thrash predominantly, but with modern twist, and some Speed and Groove, and growl vocals just for the sheer fucking hell of it!! They were giving it their all despite a couple of technical hitches early on, and the vocalist even ended up in the crowd at one point. Can’t beat a bit of audience interaction I say! Great set! I was impressed, and took a trip to the merch stand to purchase me a CD – got to love a physical copy! 

State Of Deceit

Terrible Claw sounds like a villain from Scooby Doo. Turns out they are in fact a Death Metal band, and they were next on the bill here! Now I’m not the world’s biggest Death Metal fan, but these guys are groovy with it, and the lead guitarist has some vicious soloing skills! The vocalist also has an impressive growl! They had some technical issues – to be specific, a noise of unknown origin between songs! But I actually think this made them perform with more ferocity, and it was very enjoyable, in a sort of ‘slash you face up with the shreds’ kind of way! Maybe that’s where the name comes from?!… Another really great set. 

Terrible Claw

The penultimate band of the night were Merseyside Death Metallers Exhumation. I knew we were in for heavy purely going off the band logo! And I wasn’t wrong. Crunching riffs, heavy as you like bass, guttural roars and growls, and blast beats a plenty. These guys are super technical and extremely good at what they do, although their songs do all seem to have unexpected endings! Again, not my cup of tea, but I appreciate skill, and they certainly have it. I want to also give a special shout out to the drummer, who is insanely good at hitting things quickly!! My middle daughter is learning drums, and she would have been in awe of his skills, which he made look effortless.  


Headlining the night were Nottingham based Thrash band, Incinery. I don’t know why but there’s something about Nottingham that just seems to create brilliant metal bands. Maybe something in the water. Who knows. But these guys are certainly no exception to the rule. From the very first chord it was obvious that the bar had been raised and we were in for a show of an extremely high calibre. Thunderous rhythms, crushing riffs, and epic vocals, alongside bass lines that punished every sinew, and made you want to move, which made for a blistering headline set from, in my humble opinion, one of the finest UK Thrash bands. I’m fussy when it comes to Thrash. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. I frikkin loved these guys!!! A brilliant way to end a perfect day. 


And that was that! Absolutely fabulous gig, with fabulous people, in our very own little secret slice of heaven that is McLean’s Pentre. Massive thank you, as always, to Beany and Fozzy for putting together this show, and making sure that the night was a success. And now I was fully in the Christmas spirit, all that remained for me to do was get tucking into the Christmas spirits! Mine’s a gin! Merry Christmas everyone. 



Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.