Beth’s Top Ten Releases of 2020

Beth’s Top Ten Releases of 2020
By Beth Jones

Well, what a year, eh? We’ve seen some terrible things happening, and we’ve seen some positives. We’ve also seen some things that are just completely weird and crazy. But through all that has happened in the outside world, terrible, bizarre, or otherwise, one thing has stayed steadfast. The quality of music being released.

In fact, if anything, the standard has taken a massive leap up, and I have been privileged and honoured to hear what is, in my opinion, some of the best music ever laid down. It has been an incredibly difficult job to formulate a list of my favourite, but after some wailing and gnashing of teeth, I’ve got my top ten. So here it is, my ‘crème de la crème’ of this historic year.

10. Vega – Grit Your Teeth (June 2020)

After 3 months of working from home, home schooling, and watching the daily briefings, we all very much needed a feel-good album. Enter classic hard rocker’s, Vega, with their sixth studio album. Riff laden and anthem driven, this upbeat album was the perfect antidote to the Groundhog Day we found ourselves in. I mean, who doesn’t need a bit of classic, 80s/AOR inspired rock in their lives, whatever’s happening outside, right?

9. Helix – Eat, Sleep, Rock (September 2020)

As September dawned, things were starting to look slightly more positive. Mainly because the kids went back to school!! This did however mean that I had to leave Wine O’clock until after the school run! But I didn’t mind so much, because I could listen to “Eat, Sleep, Rock” in the car. My little 7-year-old rocker approved of this greatly, and now knows all the words to the opening track, ‘The Story Of Helix’.

If you’ve never experienced Helix, then you need to. Hi-octane classic rock at its best, with an injection of dry humour, from a band who’ve been kicking it for nearly half a century. If you like AC/DC, Alice Cooper, et al, then you need this album in your life.

8. Tomorrow Is Lost – Therapy (March 2020)

In March, when things were still pretty normal here in the western world, a talented young band from Newcastle, UK, released their debut album, “Therapy”. Their catchy, alt rock/metal sound is masterfully captured on this album. It has thumping beats, memorable riffs, and super vocals a plenty. They’re a combination of Evanescence, Skunk Anansie, and Paramore, and it’s very good. For such a young band, they really display a great deal of musical skill and talent in this album, with well-constructed songs, that gel well, without needing to overstate anything.

7. White Walls – Grandeur (October 2020)

One thing that this year did give use was the truly splendid European Metal Festival Alliance – a virtual festival, which saw some of Europe’s biggest festivals come together to bring the music to us, in the comfort of our own homes! It was a great weekend, which let me discover even more new music! And one of those discoveries was Romanian progressive metal band, White Walls. They were easily my band of the weekend, so discovering their third album was due for release was very exciting.

They mix progressive rhythms, with hard hitting riffs and vocals, and have been compared to the likes of Opeth and Leprous. The album is inspired by the state of the world, exploring the juxtaposition of the grandeur presented by the shiny and glamourous things in life, vs the realities of life. Very fitting for the time we’re living in, and masterfully approached by the band, too.

6. Ensiferum – Thalassic (July 2020)

Nothing says summer better than folk inspired melodic death metal, right? And if you want to fill your boots with grand, orchestrated, all conquering, theatrical metal, then there’s no better way that to do that than with Finnish aficionados, Ensiferum. “Thalassic” is a truly stunning album, centred around the theme of the sea (which they have a fair amount of in Finland, to be honest). It’s full of jiggy, bouncing tunes, epic solos, and catchy melodies, and for me, is the liveliest release of the year. I will wager good money with anyone on the fact that you cannot listen to this album without indulging in a bit of headbanging/dad dancing, even if you’re listening to it through headphones, and everyone around you thinks you’ve finally cracked! Let’s face it, Ensiferum never really make a bad album, but this one has to be one of my favourites.

5. Freddy Spera – Temper (April 2020)

Freddy Spera is an Italian/Brazilian musician, who some may know as the hugely expressive bass player from Liverpool based band, Novacrow. He’s also an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist, and music producer. His first solo EP, “Temper” was definitely my easter treat this year. I didn’t know what to expect with it, but it only took me a few bars to make up my mind that it was absolutely stunning. It’s mellow, proggy, and in places, a touch on the 90’s indie/grunge side of things. Vocally, it reminded me of a lot of Devin Townsend’s recent releases, which pleased me a great deal, as Devin is a god amongst men in my eyes! I loved this EP so much that it was actually the first one to make it on to my list for releases of the year.

4. Kamelot – I Am The Empire: Live From The 013 (August 2020)

Now we’re getting to the business end of proceedings, and this is where deciding on who got the top spot for my releases of the year got a million times tougher. So, here we go with the top four, who are all separated by the smallest of margins.

August saw the release of an epic live album from American Symphonic Metal giants, Kamelot. I’d never really listened to Kamelot before (I know, I’m a fool – you may all point and laugh) but was completely blown away by this release. “I Am The Empire: Live From The 013” is nearly 100 minutes of extravagant, indulgent, perfection. It brought me pure joy, in the shape of stunningly orchestrated compositions, with grand melodies, both new and classic, encompassing intricate harmonies, powerful rhythms, and insatiable instrumentation that fills every beat with drama and beauty. All this is topped off by the spine-tingling vocals of Tommy Karevik. And if that wasn’t enough, there are guest appearances from the likes of Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Lauren Hart (Once Human) and Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Epica and more)!

3. Osyron – Foundations (July 2020)

Canada has a bit of a habit of producing some kick-ass musicians. And Symphonic Metal band, Osyron, are no exception. “Foundations” theme is a view on Canadian history, spanning topics from the country’s colonization, to the mistreatment and recognition of indigenous tribes, and the country’s participation in global warfare. It’s hard-hitting subject matter, tackled superbly, by a very talented band. There was no doubt in my mind when I heard this album that it would make it high up on my top ten of the year.

Musically, it’s symphonic and proggy in all the right places, and if you like bands such as Nightwish, Symphony X, Dream Theater, Kamelot, and Wintersun, you’re going to like this. But the real masterstroke within this release is the lyrics. They’re superb, tackling difficult subject matter with emotional integrity, and displaying real thought and depth, to create something truly awesome.

2. Wilderun – Veil Of Imagination (July 2020)

Disclaimer – this was actually a re-release because they signed to a label. But it was simply too good not to include. Wilderun are a Melodic Death Metal band from Boston, Massachusetts, who chuck more than a hint of prog, folk, and orchestral elements into the mix, in order to create their sound. “Veil Of Imagination”, their third album, took me to places that most music doesn’t reach. It’s got such a musical intelligence about it, that creates something so beautiful it’s difficult to describe.

The dynamic peaks and troughs of this album are on a vast scale, going from full on, in your face, walls of sound, to subtle and tender solitary piano, and lilting vocals, in the blink of an eye. This is less of an album of individual tracks, and more a classical work of art consisting of many movements to make up a full symphony.

I originally listened to this release back in June, to write the review for it, and instantly had it as my album of the year, without question. They even managed to break maths, by scoring 11/10 from me. Simply superb. No other words are necessary.

1. Scardust – Strangers (October 2020)

So, as I said, for a large portion of the year I thought I had my top album pinned down in the shape of Wilderun. But then “Strangers”, the second album from Israeli progressive metal band, Scardust, happened.

This release made the impossible possible, reducing me to tears with its brilliance, and reducing my scoring system to irrelevant nonsense. It is, without question, a complete masterpiece, which my inferior words do not do justice to. It’s punchy riffs, insane vocals, equally insane solos, and orchestration that would have pleased classical renaissance composers, will, for me, remain unrivalled for a very long time. I can’t remember the last time I heard an album so complete, and so perfect. And it’s been added to the very short list of works that really hit me in the feels every time (Mozart’s Requiem, and Queen’s “Made In Heaven” are the other two).  

Music truly is the only universal language. And good music, wherever it sits in terms of genre, is a powerful force for good. And, whatever the future holds, this album will always have a very special place in my heart, because of the way it spoke to me. And, for that reason, it takes my number one spot, by a country mile.

To sum up, in general, this year’s been a crock of shit. But musically, this year has delivered, and then some. And it’s been joyous to have the ability to share my thoughts on this wonderful language with you. To the bands here, and all the others who didn’t make my final cut, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And to anyone reading this, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, take care, stay strong, and let the music play.

To read the original reviews, follow these links:

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.

White Walls – Grandeur

White Walls – Grandeur
Release Date: 23/10/2020
Running Time: 54:01
Review by Beth Jones

Afternoon metalheads! Tis I, MegaBeth!! And it’s time for another review! So, get yourselves comfy with your favourite beverage, and let’s talk tunes! Today’s listening is being brought to me by many bands, of many eclectic styles and genres. And first up on that list is Romanian progressive metal band, White Walls! Namely, their new album, “Grandeur” which is to be released in a couple of weeks’ time.

White Walls formed in 2009, but first came to my attention earlier in the year, when they performed at the European Metal Festival Alliance virtual festival, and were easily my band of the weekend. I am rather ashamed that I’d never been aware of them before, as this is their third album, and they’re bloody good! According to the press release this album is a ‘new sound’ for them, so I must check out the back catalogue to see what they sounded like before!

The album is inspired by the state of the world currently, and explores the juxtaposition of the grandeur presented by the shiny and glamourous things in life, vs the realities of life. The band’s sound has been compared to the likes of Leprous and Opeth, and I concur. So, if those bands cut it for you, then you’ll like White Walls.

The album begins with ‘False Belief’. It starts as a mellow and chilled-out track, with guitar, keys and bass exploring cyclical chords, and Eugen Brudaru’s falsetto vocals sitting atop. This doesn’t hang around for long though, as the track quickly melds into track 2, ‘Eye For An I’. And this is brutal, with crunching guitar riffs, thumping drums, and a tortured vocal roar. It goes through various tempo changes, with Eugen’s clean vocals taking the lead in the slower sections, but it soon picks up the pace and goes back to punching you in the nose with the real world! We carry on in much the same way throughout the album. It’s a very clever mix of clean and harsh, echoing the themes on which the album is based.

Track 5, ‘Velvet’ is one that particularly caught my attention. Full of cross rhythms, dark and heavy, and with some really great bass work by Șerban-Ionuț Georgescu. And even though it’s got lots of changes and complex sections, you can really feel the rhythm, and move to it. If any of my neighbours where watching while I was writing this review, it probably looked like I was having some sort of fit!

Much of the album is in the same minor key, and they regularly use the Persian scale, which gives things a kind of Middle-Eastern ‘droning’ feel. This really works very well, and brings an air of sombre realisation to their sound. In quiet sections, they also use a lot of reverb, which makes those areas sound almost dreamlike. But it always kicks back in to bring you back down to earth.

I think my favourite track is ‘Locked-in Syndrome’. It’s a hellishly complex track rhythmically, and displays a lot of technical prowess from the whole band. Lyrically it’s tortured, and tormented, and it just really appeals to me. I’m a happy soul like that! From this track onwards the album gets even darker in it’s sound, which again pleases me. ‘The Decent’ is a real mixed bag of everything that’s happened so far, and there’s so much going on at one point that you do feel your descending into some sort of madness. There’s a really low bass note in this track at one point, too, which sits as far forward in the mix as they’ve dared, because of its depth, and literally vibrates your brain. Awesome!

The album closes with a monster of a track. Coming in at nearly 9 minutes long, ‘The Slaughter’ starts with some jazz drums, and guitar, all beautifully panned in the mix. A section of guitar and vocals in the middle of the track give the melancholy feel of a battlefield, in the ‘calm before the coming storm’, which kicks back in pretty quickly. This sequence is revisited at the end of the track, where the full band sound fades into just the guitar and vocal, with repetition of the words ‘just go on ahead’. It’s a very sombre end to a very good album.

When it comes to mixing and mastering, the production of “Grandeur” is great, too. It was done by Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Make Them Suffer, Animals as Leaders), and he’s obviously thought carefully about the placement of each instrument, to create a fully immersive sound with great depth. I must also give a quick mention to the album artwork. Created by Radu Damian, its imagery fits superbly with the sound and themes of the album.

All in all, this is a very mature and well though about album by a band who now clearly see their direction. I really enjoyed it and am extremely glad to have now discovered White Walls.


01. False Beliefs
02. Eye For An I
03. Home Is On The Other Side
04. Holy Worse
05. Velvet
06. Speaking in Tongues
07. Starfish Crown
08. Locked-in Syndrome
09. Month’s End
10. The Descent
11. The Slaughter (Marche Funèbre)

Alexandru-Eduard Dascălu (Dasu) – Guitar
Eugen Brudaru – Vocals
Șerban-Ionuț Georgescu – Bass
Theo Scrioșteanu – Drums


📷 Miluta Flueras

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.



Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Constanța, Romania based Prog/Alt Metal band White Walls Huge thanks to them for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Șerban (bass): We are White Walls from Constanța, Romania, we play a blend of progressive and alternative metal, and we’ve been a band since 2009, with only one major line-up change (but it isn’t because we’re assholes, we swear!)

How did you come up with your band name?

Eugen (vocals): I was the last one joining the band back then and they told me how, but I forgot! Help guys! 😊

Dasu (guitars): It’s actually after the name of a song from Between the Buried and Me, we were and still are big fans. We really loved the concept, that we all start with blank, plain white walls and it’s up to us to fill them with meaningful colours.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Șerban: Romania has a pretty diverse and potent rock & metal scene. Having just played at European Metal Festival Alliance 2020, we recently had a chance to listen to exclusive shows by Dirty Shirt and RoadKillSoda, two kickass Romanian bands, that play crossover folkcore metal and stoner rock’n’roll respectively. We have a pretty vibrant underground scene overall, and it’s good to see that people are still being creative and involved with music even in these sad times to be in a band.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Dasu: Going back a bit, our last full album, “Escape Artist”, was released in 2013. We just released our latest single and video, ‘Starfish Crown’, from our upcoming full length, “Grandeur”, which will be released this autumn. So stay tuned!

Starfish Crown (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Șerban: I think we each have to take turns and list our own personal influences, since those are what ultimately shaped our sound the most, as we don’t really try to sound like any other band when we get together to write music. The music that most shaped my musical outlook was, chronologically: Michael Jackson -> Nirvana -> RHCP -> Deftones. And then the floodgates opened… How about you, guys?

Dasu: I started getting into music pretty much around the same time Șerban did, as we know each other since forever, so I’d say RHCP, Linkin Park, Tool, Lamb of God in my teen years. Then, of course, it all went crazy.

Theo: My idols when I was little were Shannon Larkin from Godsmack and Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater.

What first got you into music?

Șerban: My older sister’s cassette collection. She used to fuck with Nirvana and stuff, it was awesome when I eventually ran into those tapes, and I listened to them A LOT. She bumps Jason DeRulo now, btw.

Theo: The video game Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within. In this game, you are the Prince. So, every time his enemy starts to run after him, the guitar riff from Godsmack’s “I Stand Alone” starts to play. The moment when I heard that riff was the moment my mind clicked and boomed. That’s why I have Prince’s face tattooed on my arm.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Theo: I would really love to tour with Gojira. They’re so original and sound incredible live. Also, their drummer Mario is one of the best metal drummers these days so I would love to do some warm ups with him.

Dasu: I would really love for us to hook up with Katatonia. They are really good songwriters and producers and we could learn a thing or two about how they approach music.

Șerban: I think it would be cool to see how someone like Jacob Collier would write parts or arrangements to a prog metal song, so he’d be my choice for a collab. Hit me up Jake, let’s fuck shit up.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Șerban: As of August 11th, 2020? Literally any festival.

Theo: Since I was little, I watched streams from Rock am Ring and dreamed about being there someday.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Șerban: Their time. I mean it really is weird, think about it: life has so much to offer yet there are people who want to spend their time listening to 4 sweaty Dobrujans playing weird-ass metal. We truly appreciate the gift, nonetheless.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Șerban: You know how they say “put one’s money where one’s mouth is”? If you truly care about a cause, get involved. If you really care about the environment, bike to work, start recycling, or give veganism a try. And if you want your favourite artists to thrive, find whatever way to support them you can afford.

Eugen: Support your favourite band! Buy their merch!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Șerban: Jeff Buckley. I feel like he still had so much to give.

Theo: Michael Jackson. I don’t care that he was a pop star and not a rock star, haha!

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Șerban: I love everything except van-butt. Van-butt is what happens when you spend too much time sitting in a van, especially on Romanian roads.

Eugen: Same here. Ten to twelve hours on the road between two gigs is a nightmare.

Dasu: The one beer before the soundcheck holds a special place in my heart.

Theo: Playing on stage and traveling is what I like the most. The less likeable part for me is recording.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Șerban: I’d have more people go to live concerts. Make it mandatory or something.

Theo: Giving musicians more from streaming their music.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Șerban: Just one? Today I’ll say… Agent Fresco – “A Long Time Listening”. Absolutely beautiful Icelandic music that sounds like nothing else you’ve ever heard.

Eugen: Aphrodite’s Child – “666”, Iron Maiden – “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, Dream Theater – “Images And Words”, Jeff Buckley – “Grace”.

Dasu: Burst – “Lazarus Bird”. Really awesome songs and riffs.

Theo: Ghost – “Infestissumam”. So simple and tasty.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Șerban: Lossless downloads for audio quality, vinyl for the ample room for physical artwork.

Eugen: Really worn out cassettes for me!

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Șerban: Release concert for “Escape Artist” back in 2013 was pretty special. Opening for Deftones in 2011 was a dream come true.

Eugen: An old gig when we had two people in the audience!

Șerban: Ah yes, the infamous Mikolow show. Two people in the audience and we still sold 4 CD’s and 3 t-shirts though!

Dasu: Our latest recorded live show, for European Metal Festival Alliance, as we had the chance to see and listen to ourselves “from the audience”.

Theo: Rockstadt Extreme Fest 2017. Big audience.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Șerban: Maybe become a video game developer, or sound engineer, stage manager, videographer, shit, I’m lucky to be someone who likes a lot of stuff and has a lot of hobbies.

Eugen: A bad actor.

Dasu: I am a full-time dentist, so I got that going on.

Theo: Civil Engineer most likely. I’ve always been passionate about infrastructure. I’m also a geographer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Șerban: I’d have my closest friends (and incidentally bandmates) to sit on top of another, one trenchcoat per pair, just to fit more people in the party. Or stack’em even higher if the ones on the ground are fit enough. Damn it, now I have to make a spreadsheet for this…

Eugen: Well, I really like eating dinner alone…

What’s next for the band?

Șerban: We’re gearing up for our upcoming album release. The record is called “GRANDEUR” and it’s coming sometime this autumn.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Șerban: Our Bandcamp is over at, and we try to point people in that direction as often as we can, since that’s pretty much the only way we can make an actual income that we can invest back in the band. But following us on , , or Spotify/Apple Music etc really helps, too!

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Șerban: They are misunderstood biscuits. Anybody who claims otherwise is forever forbidden to step foot at a White Walls gig.

Eugen: I always thought they were like biscuits with cream, but I don’ t care anymore!

Dasu: Neither… and both

Theo: Biscuit cakes.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Dasu: Be kind to yourselves, be kind to others and be kind to all animals.

Theo: Wear masks and wash your hands!

📷 Miluta Flueras ↠

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

European Metal Festival Alliance 2020

European Metal Festival Alliance 2020
Virtual Festival – Live In Your Living Room
7th/8th/9th August 2020
Review by Beth Jones with annoying interjections from Rick Tilley

With the world still in the grips of a global pandemic and the flickering light of the chance of live music happening at all this year steadily dimming, the great and the good of European metal decided that sitting on their laurels and moping was not the way forward. Something needed to be done to feed the metal fans’ lust for a festival. And, as always, the best solutions to problems are found with a little thinking outside the box. In this case, ‘if we can’t bring the fans to the festival, then why not take the festival to them’. Ok it may not be what we truly want. Nothing beats drinking beer in a field with your best friends, amongst other like-minded souls who truly understand how we all fit in to this crazy world, and watching fellow like-minded souls thrashing things out on an awesome stage to bring us all pleasure. But, in the circumstances, it’s a pretty reasonable compromise, you just have to get into the right mindset. You can’t always have what you want, so run with what you can have.

With that in mind, 13 of the best independent Metal festivals from around Europe decided to get together to bring the Metal to us! They were Art Mania (Romania), Bloodstock (England), Brutal Assault (Czech Republic), Dynamo Metalfest (The Netherlands), Alcatraz (Belgium), Into The Grave (The Netherlands), Leyendas DEL Rock (Spain), Metal Days (Slovenia), Midgardsblot (Norway), Motocultor (France), Party.San (Germany), Resurrection (Spain), and Summer Breeze (Germany).

So, here at Ever Metal HQ, we found ourselves cracking open a can at 10:50 am, and logging on to the live stream, to stand in the virtual arena queue for the European Metal Festival Alliance 2020! To be honest, I much prefer this way of queuing! A sofa and a cold beer sure beats sitting on your bag drinking a warm beer! Now usually at this point in a live review, I’d spilt off and do it day by day, band by band, and have accompanying photos. But this year, even though the photo pit (just in front of my TV) was easier to get to, and a lot less crowded than normal, sadly no pictures were taken! So, I’m going to give you a run-down of my highlights for each day. There were some old favourites, some surprises, and also some gems of discovery!


I was still technically working on Friday, but another bonus of attending a virtual festival paired with working from home is that you can multi-task! There were three bands that stood out for me on this first day, Evil invaders, Alien Weaponry and Rotting Christ.

Evil Invaders

Having seen these guys before, I knew they were a great live band, and this performance was no exception. Here we were treated to a special set, filmed with a live audience at a private location in Flanders, Belgium. It was as blistering and crazy as you would expect from these guys, but it was also as tight as a tight thing! Their stagecraft is second to none. If you Like crazy speed thrash with added insanity eyes, these guys have got it covered! They were one of my favourite bands to photograph at Amplified festival back in 2018, because they’re so full of energy and fun, and Frontman Jöe pulls the best faces! If there’s one band that everyone should see live, it’s these guys. They’re invigorating, and are firmly planted in my ‘favourites’. Loved it!

Alien Weaponry

Ever since these guys popped onto the scene, they have excited me. Their fresh brand of metal, many in New Zealand’s native language ‘Te Reo Maori’ is spectacular. It both sickens me and fills me with joy that people so young are filled with this much creative flair. Their performance for this set was again filmed in front of a live audience, and started with an invigorating All Black’s style haka, that set the tone for the whole performance. It was alive and electrifying! These guys are firmly on my bucket list of ‘people to see live’!

Rotting Christ

I’d never really paid much attention to these guys before. The name just made me think that it just wouldn’t be the sort of thing I would be in to. Well, damn! Was I wrong!!! This performance, recorded behind closed doors, was so full of passion and prowess, it was as if it had been created in front of a sell-out crowd. This is no mean feat, considering that the energy coming from the fans is a large part of the driving force behind live performances. Their brand of black metal is steeped in sounds from traditional eastern European music. Their use of droning and harmonic 5ths enhanced their black metal riffs and rhythms to create a very pleasing sound. I feel incredibly stupid for ignoring them for so long, they’ve been around since 1987! A very worthy closing act for Friday!

Rick’s Friday Interjection

Parasite Inc.

Rick here: It would be wrong of me not to pipe up and let you know who my favourite band of the Friday were. Whilst the three bands that Beth has picked were all superb and definitely worthy of mention, German Melodic Death metallers Parasite Inc. knocked it right out of the park as far as I was concerned. Very heavy, but hugely catchy, their playing was exemplary, and they were as tight as a very tight thing. Their mix was also spot on with every instrument sounding huge without overshadowing. If you’ve not checked them out before then ensure you do. It is now my intention to make sure I see them properly live as soon as I can!


After a very comfortable night’s sleep in our camp (aka our bedroom), it was time to get up and do it all again! We were pleasantly surprised to find the toilets still in a usable condition for our morning ablutions! Again, something we’re not accustomed to on the second day of a festival! I could get used to this! Another great day of metal was stacked up ready behind the login gates, so what would be today’s highlights for me?

White Walls

There is something very special about discovering a new band that blow your mind. And that’s made even more special when it’s a ‘first band of the day’ band. The spot traditionally occupied by the lesser known names, some may ignore, but for me, seeing these bands is always my quest! And Romanian Progressive Alt Metal band, White Walls, were my treasure. Vocalist Eugen Brudaru absolutely blew my mind with the versatility of his voice; from metalcore screams, to soaring falsetto, his range was astonishing. And it didn’t stop there. Their blistering riffs, progressive rhythms and technical prowess was masterful. I would go as far as saying, from a technique point of view, the whole thing was perfect. One thing I find is often, when a band gets weighed down with technical performances, they lose some of their soul. But not these guys, and that was a joy to not see! They are a band that I will be checking out further, and following with eagerness! They’re very close to releasing a new album too! I’m already salivating at the prospect! My band of the weekend by a country mile.


Saturday afternoons at a festival are made for one thing, and one thing only – PARTYING! Whether it’s in a field with thousands of other drunkards, or in your own living room, it has to be done. And there is no better accompaniment to said party, than some jaunty Spanish monks delivering what they call ‘Folkoholic Metal’! They describe this as ‘festive folk metal that invites you to drink and dance and that also hides an important message of struggle and self-improvement.’ I was mainly in the drink and dance camp at the time, I have to say! Self-improvement was the last thing on my mind, because at that moment, I was just fine! They put on a great show, and looked like they had a great time doing it, which I love. The joy of music deserves to be as pleasurable for the performer as it is for the listener, so when it looks like a band are having a great time, then I’m much more likely to get on board with it! If you like any sort of Viking/folk/party/drinking metal, check these guys out.


Last time I saw Avatar was at Bloodstock, when they were bumped up to the main stage after another of the band’s plane was delayed. The arena went from ‘Ava…who?’ to ‘FUCKING AVATARRRRRRRRR’ in the space of one song! It was amazing. And from then on, it was obvious that these guys were destined for great things. The show here was a recording of previously unseen footage from their headline set at Alcatraz Festival 2019. My god how I wish I had been at that show! They are an incredibly talented bunch of musicians from Gothenburg, who’s tight as you like heavy metal melds perfectly with the theatrics of a slightly unhinged and freakish circus. I particularly liked the Trombone solo here! It added to the insanity! Sadly, but as is traditional with festivals, a technical hiccup cut the show slightly short, with the feed going down just before the end. But it didn’t detract from their splendid performance, and who are we to argue with tradition, eh?! The fact that the feed got an almighty lag about 10 minutes before it died also actually added to the craziness! The picture was a few seconds behind the sound which made for a bit of a mind-melt moment  – if you were drunk and worrying that you’d maybe over done it, it’s ok, all of us who had drunk ourselves sober by that point saw it too! Anyway, Avatar smashed it, and I can’t wait to see them live again ASAP!

Rick’s Saturday Interjections

Venom Inc.

Me again! I cannot fault Beth’s choices, but I have to make additions. Firstly, Venom Inc. Surprisingly, I’ve never seen Venom Inc. live, in the flesh, although I have seen Venom on quite a few occasions, with various line-ups, over the years…the first time on ‘The Seventh Date Of Hell’ at Hammersmith Odeon in 1984, which was a definite eye opener for a 16yo Rick, but I digress. On this particular Saturday, whilst sitting in my lounge with a bottle of Hobgoblin, Venom Inc. were an excellent, short, sharp shock to the system, racing through their #EMFA set with barely a pause. Wonderful stuff!

Angelus Apatrida

The other band, who are definitely worthy of mention, are Spanish Thrash Metallers Angelus Apatrida, who I’ve been a fan of for a fair while. They played an amazing set of machine gun Thrash, so precise it would probably take your head off at 500 yards! Not only did they play superbly, but it was evident they were having a huge amount of fun doing it. They are another band who I much catch ‘properly live’ at the earliest opportunity.


In the same why that Saturday is party day at a festival, Sunday is ‘nurse the hangover and rue the fact that you’re not as young as you used to be’ day. This calls for bands on earlier in the day to be solid, not too much of an assault on the ears or eyes, and something that will help get that first ‘hair of the dog’ pint down. Also, in traditional festival fashion, we missed the first band because we were still trying to haul our asses out of bed! Oops!


Slovenian Heavy Metallers, Skyeye, were the first band we tuned into, and they were a perfect way to start off our Sunday. If you like classic heavy metal in the vein of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, then these are the guys for you. Their music is littered with the classic riffs of heavy metal from back in the day, and vocalist Jan Leščanec has the perfect set of pipes to complete the sound. Their performance here was full of passion and performed flawlessly, even within the weird circumstances. They were certainly the perfect antidote to an overdone Saturday and made my body feel like it was rejecting itself slightly less. They also helped me get the first Strongbow Dark Fruits of the day down (I actually don’t particularly like that cider, but… traditional for a festival isn’t it!). They were just really easy to listen to. They know exactly what sound they want, and they do it well.

Svart Crown

Now given what I’ve already said about Sundays at festivals this might seem like an unusual pick. And to be honest, given my taste in music, Blackened Death isn’t really the direction I would usual go in. However, French Blackened Death maestros, Svart Crown, caught my attention. It was heavy as hell, not great for my brain, but it was technically absolutely spot on. And it had some really exploratory elements to it, which as some of you may know, I really like. This special performance was filmed in the old theatre of Ramatuelle, which made a wonderful backdrop with its temple like columns, complete with orange glow lighting and dry ice a plenty! Like I say, not usually my bag, but I was very impressed with this performance!

Mass Hysteria

French industrial groove tech metalcore, with a hint of thrash! Or at least that’s my best description of them! Shit many bricks they’ve got a groove! And who knew the lilting poetry of the French language could be shouted with such venom and brutality! Their riff laden chunkiness is like chocolate for the ears, and you can properly move to it! These are another surprise find for me, but now on the list of ‘must see’. Rick also says that they have a sexy drumkit! And they can drop into a bit of thrash without a second thought, too – bonus points for that! Got to love a bit of versatility! A wicked livener for my now fully normalized (hahaha) and raring to go evening brain! ALLEZ!! Spectacle fantastique!!


This year has been a battle for everyone, fighting an invisible enemy. So, what better and more apt a way to close a festival than the ultimate battle metal band, Sabaton. This previously unseen footage was recorded at their headline slot at Bloodstock 2019. Sadly, we weren’t there to witness it live, but I now envy all that were. What a fantastic show!! Rick remembers seeing Sabaton at the Engine Shed  in Lincoln, back in December 2009, supporting Dragonforce, so the fact that they have grown to the point of headlining a festival, the size of Bloodstock, is tantamount to their hard work and dedication, and that shows through brilliantly in their performance here. It’s exciting, its powerful, and it doesn’t half pack a punch, and they carry it all off with the utmost professionalism and musicianship. Powerful vocals, superb harmonies, the thumping pulse of the rhythm section, and solid riffs, make Sabaton a band who most will find something they like in. This is a band who know exactly who they are and where they’re going. Everything you want in a headline band. Another job brilliantly done. What a perfect finish to a weekend that, under the circumstances, was pretty spot on!

Rick’s Sunday Interjection

Kissin’ Dynamite

Yes, okay, I know I’m hijacking Beth’s review again, but I couldn’t not mention Kissin’ Dynamite, who I’ve been a fan of since their first album, and who always put on a blinding show. Their performance at #EMFA was no exception as they galloped through a cracking set of hugely catchy melodic hard rock, with choruses that get stuck in your head for days. Their musicianship was spot on and vocalist Hannes Braun proved, yet again, what a superb voice he’s got. I’ll shut up now and let Beth sum the weekend up!

All in all, for me certainly, European Metal Festival Alliance 2020 has been brilliant. A huge thank you must go to all those involved in creating this experience; Their hard work and dedication has, yet again, proven that it is possible to overcome the odds. Yes, it might be very different to what we’re used to, but just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And, in the future, this sort of festival streaming could be the key to making festivals accessible for people who aren’t in a position, through whatever reason, to actually attend in the flesh. The choice of bands was great, as it gave people a chance to check out some that they might otherwise have ignored in an actual live festival setting. The onsite facilities were pretty top notch too – almost homely (lol).

But, joking aside and above all else, even though all the viewers might have been spread out in little clusters all over the place, the feeling of the mighty metal community spirit was still tangible. The good side of social media meant that we could all comment and converse throughout the event. We were together, even though we were apart. That, to me, is the most important thing about Metal. The community we’re all part of shares a common passion, and while we’re all individual within it, none of us need an explanation as to why others are there. In a world that’s ripping itself apart faster and faster as each day goes by, we have a common ground. Music. So, by whatever means possible, let’s enjoy what we have and let the music play on.

Art Mania (Romania)
Bloodstock (England)
Brutal Assault (Czech Republic)
Dynamo Metalfest (The Netherlands)
Alcatraz (Belgium)
Into The Grave (The Netherlands)
Leyendas DEL Rock (Spain)
Metal Days (Slovenia)
Midgardsblot (Norway)
Motocultor (France)
Party.San (Germany)
Resurrection (Spain)
Summer Breeze (Germany)

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.