…And Heavy Metal For Wigan January Showcase: The Boulevard – Wigan 15/01/2022

And Heavy Metal For Wigan January 2022 Showcase Poster

…And Heavy Metal For Wigan
January Showcase: The Boulevard – Wigan
15/01/2022
Review by Rob Sutton

The boulevard, Wigan, is a venue I’ve been to, and spoken about, in previous reviews so I am not going to waste your time by saying it all again, I’ll just say it’s a great venue! And even though this January showcase clashed with a lot of other gigs in the North West, there was a fairly good turnout, and this was down to the promoter and the fact that the line up was fantastic!

This was my first gig of 2022 and the first band had a lot of unknown pressure on them because of this! 2021 was incredible for me in terms of gigs and finding new bands and this first band were not only new to me, but also new to the stage, playing their first ever show! Judging by the way the first song went, there were a lot of nerves, thus it was a little ropey. However, once they heard the cheers after the first song their confidence sky-rocketed and they presented the crowd with a fantastic mix of Prog/Tech Death and Djent. Throughout the set the riffs were on another level, with a clear mix of heavy and technical. Throw in with this some powerful growls and some good cleans, and it really hit the spot. Having said this, their presence onstage was far from confident, but I think with time this will definitely improve, as these guys seriously have talent. That imposing nature which goes with this genre will come. Technologist also made a note to introduce ‘Reborn’ and I am glad they did! This was by far the strongest song of their set, and showcased their ability to blend both brutality and melody to perfection. For the first band of 2022 this was a surprise and a welcome one. By far and away the best debut show I have ever seen!

https://www.facebook.com/Technologistband/

A very late addition to the gig was Karma’s Puppet, who I did review late last year in Macclesfield. At that gig I commented on the clean vocals not quite being my cup of tea, but this time they seemed a little more refined – somehow they seemed to have upped their game in a month! There was a very Alter Bridge feel to the cleans and it worked. Add these to the Linkin Park style screams and you have a Groovy/Hard Metal style, coupled with old school mid 00’s Metalcore, and almost Bullet for my Valentine style music, and it creates catchy, nostalgic brilliance. Karma’s Puppet brought an atmosphere of professionalism (when they remembered the song order!) that feels like they should be playing bigger stages. They probably should have been higher on this bill, but again they were a last minute addition. To pick a little bit at this set, Simon (Mayo) needs to get closer to the mic when providing backing vocals, as most of the time we couldn’t hear him at all. Also a few of the breakdowns did end up sounding a little samey, but Karma’s Puppet packed so much energy into this set and made their 30 minutes fly by that quickly, that I actually wanted so much more, this was such a huge improvement on the first time I saw them, and they even threw in an absolute belter of a new song. Honestly watch these guys! This was amazing!

https://www.facebook.com/karmaspuppet/

Dive South were next up – again another band I have not seen before. Looking at the logo I was expecting their set to be very heavy – Deathcore or heavier. What I was met with was strangely, Metalcore? Now I am a huge fan of Metalcore, most of the gigs I went to last year were Metalcore. However, the addition of clean vocals here did nothing for me. In some cases they were flat and dare I say, sounded like karaoke. Their second song was a prime example of this. Although, as a complete contrast to this, their heavier, more growly side was exceptional, their breakdowns and low vocals really reminded me of old school Parkway Drive and this got my head moving. Dive South also suffered with a few technical difficulties and while the vocalist did his best to try and cover up the issues, these were still blatantly obvious to the audience. At no point am I saying that Dive South are a bad band but this set didn’t show what I believe is their hidden true potential. The pieces are most certainly here but I feel they need to play to their strengths and not what the rest of the genre does.

https://www.facebook.com/Divesouthofficial/

If you have read any of my reviews before then you have probably heard the name Asleep At The Helm. I have previously raved about these guys and even put their live set in Blackpool in my top 10 of 2021. I will be straight up and honest first off, this wasn’t as good as that set. But that is by no means saying this was a bad set; in fact it was far from it. Despite being down a bassist, you could not tell, as the low end on both guitars covered this beautifully, meaning the sound was as full as ever. I always love a cheeky use of backing tracks and yet again these guys used them sparingly but effectively. This was also one of their first gigs showcasing their new album, “Keepsake” (absolute gem of an album which they need to send for review). The new songs they played from this sounded fantastic. They have so much oomph live and they had the crowd completely in their hands when they threw in a couple of oldies. Their set saw the only pits of the night, including spin kicking and leaving me with a very sore back, neck, and life for the next 3 days! If you can’t tell, I love this band, they are the new age of Metalcore, which I cannot get enough of. There were a couple of slip ups and mistakes but all in all, this was another fantastic set from them. I seriously cannot recommend these guys enough!

https://www.facebook.com/AsleepAtTheHelmOfficial

The Boulevard is an amazing venue and while I hear people say that the line ups on here get a bit samey, I can’t see it! This was a night where 2 bands I have seen before stepped it up and 2 bands that I haven’t seen before made me want to see them again. Oli at …And Heavy Metal For Wigan smashed it yet again and I will be back again as much as I can!

One more shout out for tonight. Sadly 40,000 Leagues couldn’t play due to the dreaded virus and I was looking forward to watching them again but despite this 2 of the members did turn up to the gig and this was incredible to see. I’ve already reviewed them and if you haven’t heard them, go check them!

…And Heavy Metal For Wigan 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.

Internal Conflict w/ Hounds, Odysseus, and Unbroken – The Boulevard, Wigan 09/10/2021

Internal Conflict And Heavy Metal For Wigan Poster

Internal Conflict w/ Hounds, Odysseus, and Unbroken
The Boulevard, Wigan 09/10/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

Back in Wigan again, and it seems the bad weather of the North resides here, as yet again it is raining! As I’ve already commented on this fantastic venue before, I’m not going to do so in this review. What I will say though, is that the issue last time with the paint not being dry wasn’t actually the case. It was due to flooding in the area before hand. Luckily tonight there were no such problems, and the full floor space is able to be utilised.

A few years ago, when I played in Wigan, we played with a lovely groove metal outfit called Unbroken, and it was nice to see these guys back on a line-up so I could have the pleasure of watching them again. Tonight’s gig was their first back after lockdown, and while you could tell there were some nerves to begin with, they soon settled into their rhythm. Straight out of the gates was a song which stood out from all the others; A nostalgic trip back to the early 00’s, where the groove/nu metal trend was in full swing, and we even got some Slipknot style rappy vocals from G-Bar (vocals)! This was nicely backed up with Andy (Bass/Vocals) and Dave (Guitar/Vocals) adding more vocal layers. Honestly, this was a very strong opener, and set the scene for the rest of the show. While their music isn’t anything new, it is a nice blast from the past and is done very well. They’re a ‘smile on your face’, feel good kind of band, who provided a solid benchmark for the night, and while they were sometimes a little static on stage, they more than made up for it with banter and shed loads of character.

https://pages.facebook.com/unbrokenmetal/


Second up, and fresh from Bloodstock’s New Blood Stage, were Preston based Tech/Deathcore outfit Odysseus. I did manage to catch these at Bloodstock, but the sound really didn’t do them justice there. Tonight however, the sound was much better, and allowed them all to really show just how technically talented they are. The riffs provided by both Dylan (Guitars) and possibly the only guitarist able to smile for an entire set, Kev, were crisp and tight, and all held together beautifully by Tom (Bass), and Sam (Drums). Rach (Vocals) voice was solid through the set, and fitted the genre nicely, though I would have maybe liked a bit more range, especially when the breakdowns come in. For me, the thing that let these guys down the most was between the songs, the songs themselves are solid but all the energy is lost with huge gaps of silence. This led to the set feeling a lot longer than it was. Perhaps if they gave a mic to another member, it may take the pressure off Rach, or throw some samples between songs to keep the high energy that the actual songs set. Odysseus have a solid foundation to build on, though. This was massively apparent when they unleashed a new song second from the end; It was by far and away my favourite of the set, and I look forward to seeing what else is up their sleeves.

https://pages.facebook.com/odysseusuk

The first review I did for Ever Metal was back in July in Bolton, and sadly I missed a band when I was there. This time there were no distractions, so I finally got to watch Isle of White based Hardcore bruisers, Hounds. These boys really stepped up the night! They are ‘balls to the wall’ hardcore, and it’s done exactly how it should be. Maximum aggression, maximum engagement, and full on in your face! The speed these guys play really gets the adrenaline pumping and makes you want to jump in the pit. There was a pit, but for some reason a lot of the crowd had thinned drastically?! Maybe these guys were too energetic? Their influences are clear to see in each song, with Hatebreed and Terror springing straight to mind. Hounds just released their cover of Terror’s ‘Stick Tight’, and they performed it well here, but personally I wouldn’t have had this as their last song. While they weren’t the tightest band here, and Ash (Vocals) either lost his breath or forgot some of the lyrics, they provided the evening with a fast paced aggression that not many bands can deliver on, even ending on the very punk note of smashing a few instruments. Quality set, great fun.

https://www.facebook.com/houndsuk/


Headlining this show was a band from back in my old Synapse days, so I was very excited to see how far they’d come since then. Internal Conflict, from Leicester, are a metalcore band with a huge reputation behind them. They have now played Bloodstock a staggering 4 times, and from tonight’s performance, I can see why they keep getting asked back. First off, the stage was decked out with their logos and the band filled the stage. Each song was performed with pin-point precision, layered with beautiful solos, harmonic singing, and blistering drums. Adam (Vocals) pointed out that a reviewer of their latest album didn’t like his voice; personally I think it fits with this genre. While the music and clean singing remind me of As I Lay Dying, his voice has a more hardcore sound to it. It works and gives a good contrast between aggression and depression. On the subject of the new album, there were many songs from it played at this gig, and they sounded so good live! (Yes I did buy the album, and so should you). Internal Conflict is a band I could listen to over and over again, live or on recording. Tonight’s set flew by and I was left wanting a lot, lot more. They have been the most professional, tight and musically brilliant band I have seen so far this year. You guys have a new fan!

https://www.facebook.com/internalconflict

Tonight was another cracking gig, Oli at …And Heavy Metal For Wigan has knocked it out the park again, great bands, great sound, great turn out and nice beer. What more could you want? Oh, a few more people in the pit!

…And Heavy Metal For Wigan 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.

And Heavy Metal For Wigan XXIII: Redemption

And Heavy Metal For Wigan, The Boulevard, Wigan 07-08-2021 Poster

And Heavy Metal For Wigan XXIII: Redemption
Defied w/ Solarshift, Shrike and Bloodmores
The Boulevard, Wigan, England
07/08/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

Another week, another gig and this time it’s off to Wigan. Did you know Wigan sent a pie to space? Anyway, The Boulevard is a venue I have not been to before and has also had a recent refurb. It’s a lovely venue with fantastic facilities and good beer (driving this time meant I didn’t have a chance to fully explore what the bar had to offer).

BLOODMORES

So, the terrible weather that had descended on the North had set the scene beautifully for tonight’s opening band Bloodmores. Now I have seen these boys many times and really think they don’t get the recognition they deserve and tonight proved this. This set was tight, insanely tight. Every song felt thoroughly rehearsed and it provided a very early assault on my ears. The absolute powerhouse behind the kit was not only brutally fast but incredibly technical with the beats and fills which was mesmerising! The sheer speed his legs were moving became just a blur. Guitar-wise the lead role was switched not only between songs but in some cases during. This really highlighted the immense talent that these guys had. Sadly, the vocals did get lost during a few songs but this was more of a sound issue as opposed to a band issue. When they could be heard they were that lovely meaty death metal growl, they really complimented the music. I did feel, that while the bassist was also very strong, he did feel distant from the rest of the band, this was most apparent when a breakdown would kick in and the whole band was in sync but he would just slightly bob. Saying this I did appreciate, during one breakdown, where he came off stage and just went crazy. More of that please! Now Bloodmores have been working hard as they are already on album number 2 and the tracks they played from this were on another level, I would have just liked something in the background while they changed guitars. Complete silence really lost a lot of energy. Having said all this, they were fantastic and if you’re a death metal fan I would highly recommend them!

https://www.facebook.com/Bloodmores

Now, as stated earlier, the venue had recently been refurbished. This meant that the floor in front of the stage still had wet paint. Because of this, barriers were put up in front of the stage which left almost no room for pits or even headbanging…hmmm not well planned here.

SHRIKE

Anyway, enough of me ranting as next up was Shrike, a band I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with many times and with their new single ‘Martyrs’, was looking forward to seeing a new Shrike. ‘Martyrs’ was the opening number and this is a belter of a song! I love the tone of the guitars the brutality of the drums, everything about this tune. Sadly, after that I felt the energy drop; the clean singing didn’t work for me and personally I feel a lot of practice is needed to fully polish the style they are going for. The ‘oohs’ were out of tune and there were a few longer gaps between songs which let the energy drop further. Having said this they still maintained the heavy which I loved and the last song ‘In Pursuit Of The Wych’ feels like an old classic. Shrike have a lot of talent and a lot of quality songs. Their stage presence during the set is insane; they really use all their wireless instruments to their advantage and dominate the stage but, for me, this wasn’t the best I’ve seen them , but I know next time will be better.

https://www.facebook.com/shrikeofficial

SOLARSHIFT

As I am from near Manchester I feel like I have seen most Manchester based bands on multiple occasions. However, Solarshift I have somehow never witnessed before. Why have I not seen them before?! Holy cheese balls these guys are good! The fantastic blend of KoRn style Nu Metal with the new age Metalcore is mix I never thought I’d like. Honestly the stagemanship of vocalist Ben is so engaging you can’t help but focus on him. This is not to say the rest of the band aren’t good, they really are. The drums, sound simple, but work beautifully in every song and provide the beat to bounce to. (There are a lot of bouncy beats, it’s like a workout). With the bass and guitars providing added meat, it makes this set feel like it should be on a large stage with a sea of people bouncing away. I had the same feeling watching these as I did watching Parkway Drive. Bounce, jump, spin, love life! Now I have to comment on the use of samples, for Beth, who will read this first. They are fantastic and add an extra layer to what is an already phenomenal sound. Also, bass drops! So, I have to bounce back to the front man, he has one of the best voices in the underground scene. Not only can he growl but he can shout and sing. All of these flow from each other seamlessly with such control and power. My only criticism with this set is I wanted more! Please check these guys out, you will not be disappointed.

https://www.facebook.com/solarshiftmusic

DEIFIED

This leads us to the final band of the evening. A band who are really gaining momentum in the UK metal scene, Deified. From the first beat this band oozes with professionalism and charisma. Is it any wonder they are playing the SOPHIE stage at Bloodstock? Now I will comment that they are the only band tonight who didn’t use in-ear monitors and this did mean that their set didn’t feel quite as tight as the previous three bands. However, they made up for this with fantastic melodies echoing that of At the Gates (love Melodeath) and utilising numerous guitar styles such as tapping and sweeping to make each song feel fresh, keep you engaged and guessing what they are going to do next. I love the humour front man Jamie has, he is a natural entertainer although, I don’t think, banging his head on the ceiling during the first song was in the script. Deified are a no B.S straight up metal band who always provide a good show, always look like they are having the time of their lives, no matter how big or small the crowd is, and because of this have become one of the most enjoyable live acts in the scene to watch.

https://www.facebook.com/deified

Tonight, was a real showcase of what metal in the Northwest has to offer. The calibre and professionalism of all the bands made this one of the best ‘local’ gigs I have ever been to. I would recommend checking all four of the bands out. I would recommend checking the Boulevard out as it is a fantastic venue and lastly I would recommend highly, going to one of And Heavy Metal For Wigan’s gigs as Oli has an ear for putting together incredible line ups!

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/andheavymetalforwigan
https://www.facebook.com/boulevardwigan
https://www.facebook.com/wiganart

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.