M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 1 – Zebedy

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 1

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 1
McLean’s Pub, Pentre, Deeside
27/05/22

Review and Photography by Beth Jones

It seems like ages since the last of this year’s M2TM North Wales heats. So, it was nice to have the first semi final come round. Following a venue change due to unforeseen circumstances, we winged our way over to our second home, and the Birthplace of Pentre Fest, McLean’s Pub in Pentre, Deeside. We had five competing bands – Omega Throne, Absolence, Zebedy, Thrashatouille, and Grief. And because it’s getting to the business end of proceedings, we had a guest headliner too – Djinova.

Omega Throne

First up were Omega Throne. They’re a Blackened Death Metal band from Liverpool, and boy do they love a good bit of shouting and heaviness! But it’s got a groove to it, and they’re tight as hell. The lead singer is a giant (to be honest, most people are giants to me), and has a super expressive face, which really lit up their performance here. Musically, Omega Throne are a very pleasing listen. My only criticism is the gaps between songs were too long and too empty. When it goes from a wall of noise to nothing it does seem a little awkward. 

https://www.facebook.com/OmegaThrone-1986460878039288

Absolence

Next, we were in for some Merseyside Progressive Metalcore, in the shape of Absolence. These guys were one of Fozzy’s wildcards, and in fairness they stepped it up a notch for this performance. It’s solid modern Metalcore, that’s incredibly Djenty in places, and that’s fine by me, because I do like a bit of tech metal. They used samples pretty well, and they kept the audience more entertained between songs. But there was still too much time without music. The front man did like to have a bit of banter with the audience though, which was good. But it covered up for the fact that their set, music wise, was short again, and sadly, it went into banter overdrive at one point, which made them overrun.

https://www.facebook.com/Absolence

Zebedy

North Wales based Progressive Rock/Metal band Zebedy were our 3rd competing band. I’m kind of unsure what to say about them to be honest. They’re good. But this performance was a little flat. Something sounded a little out of tune, the balance of sound wasn’t right, and while they do have a heavier edge occasionally, it just felt a little too commercial for Bloodstock, in my humble opinion. It was more of a Reading Festival vibe. I know that it shouldn’t be about ‘are they a Bloodstock band?’, but I’m just not sure it would work on the Newblood stage, sandwiched between the screams and growls of other bands. They do certainly have their place in the genre though, I just don’t think it quite happened for them in this performance. 

https://www.facebook.com/zebedymusic

Thrashatouille

These guys are somewhat old-timers to this competition now, getting to the semi’s a couple of times before. And this experience showed. For performance value and stagecraft, they walked the evening. Self genred “Chef Metal”, they play a blend of Thrash, Death, and Modern Metal, that’s food themed. Every song has an element of comedy thrown into the lyrics, but the ferocity with which the music is delivered shows how seriously they take their sound. The one thing I will say that the intro sample that they use is too long. It runs the risk of losing people before their set has even begun, and they should either ditch it, shorten it, or think of something more engaging to do during it, to make sure the attention is firmly held on them. That is my only criticism. 

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille

Grief

These guys for me were, musically, the tightest on the night, and my favourites. They’re a new Progressive Metal/ Djent band, who have the makings of a really brilliant one. They’re beefy and heavy, and the sound, and songs, are complex but assured. They also have a lot of stage presence, and professionalism for such a new band. However, (and this is a really big HOWEVER, which really, really annoys me because they’re so fecking good) … they need vocals. Their current arrangement is instrumental, which is great, but it is absolutely and sorely missing some shouting. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount, just something to sit on top of the already brilliant music. Add in a bit of growl and the occasional scream, and they would be absolutely first class, and a force to be reckoned with. 

https://www.facebook.com/GRIEFBAND

Djinova

Djinova won M2TM in 2019, so knew exactly how the competing bands felt. They used it as a bit of banter with the crowd who were still left! They play Technical Death Metal / Deathcore that really packs a punch, and it was really bloody good! The frontman used the whole space, on and off the stage, in order to command the audience. And there was some serious bopping an nodding of heads going on throughout the set. 

Now, if there’s one thing that modern bands need to make sure they polish up on to make it to the next level, it’s business acumen! And Djinova have certainly got a sense of that, never wanting to miss an opportunity for a quick sale, even while on stage – the frontman actually sold merch whilst singing! Touché! Never seen that done before! A great show, and a great end to the night.

https://www.facebook.com/djinovaband

So, with that, it was time for the results. Two bands would progress to the final, one on judges votes and one on crowd votes. This was going to be a tough call, especially for us judges. We had a very long conversation, weighing up the pros and cons of each band, but again, for the 5th time this competition, came to a unanimous verdict… The crowd vote went to a very deserving Thrashatouille! Huzzah! And the judges vote went to Omega Throne! Again, deserved! Semi Final 1 was another great night all in all. Bring on the second semi final! 

LINKS:

M2TM North Wales:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

Mclean’s Pentre:

Bloodstock Festival:

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.

Bloodstock M2TM 2022 North Wales – Heat 1: Zebedy

Live shots of North Wales-based Progressive Metal band, Zebedy, at Central Live Music Venue, on 25th March 2022, competing in the 2022 Bloodstock M2TM North Wales heats. Photos by Jason Samuels.

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Jason samuels. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales 2022: Heat 1

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales 2022: Heat 1
Central Live Music Venue, Wrexham
25/03/22
Review and Photography by Jason Samuels


With the world getting back to some form of normality, it’s great to have the chance to get back out to gigs. And it’s that time of year when we bid a very welcome return to the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses competition. Run by the guys at N.E.W Metal Productions, tonight’s gig was the first heat in the North Wales leg of proceedings, and there had originally been four competing bands on the bill. Sadly, the rona struck again, leaving only two bands fighting for a place in the semi-finals.

Leatherback

First up was Leatherback. Well, what can I say? After having a stressful week at work, his set really got rid of a lot of my stress and tension. If you like your metal Industrial, then this guy delivers. Took me back to my younger years listening to Nine Inch Nails. Leatherback’s set was angry, aggressive, and angry. Did I say angry? Well, it was. How his equipment survived is a miracle! He smashes and crashes around the stage with some great guitar playing, and hammers away on his keyboards. I really enjoyed this and any fan of Industrial Metal will do also.

Leatherback. Credit Jason Samuels

https://www.facebook.com/leatherbackworld

Zebedy

Next up were Zebedy. A 4 piece hailing from North Wales.  They have been around for quite a long time and you can tell. They were tight. They had so much energy and their catchy riffs and songs really blew me away. The lead vocalist sounded awesome and was complemented by great backing vocals from the rest of the band.

Zebedy. Credit Jason Samuels

https://www.facebook.com/zebedymusic

Both acts were completely different but both put on a great show. Due to the other bands sadly not being able to compete, it was decided by the judges on the night that both competitors will progress to the semi-finals. I thought this to be the right decision and I look forward to watching them both again on the main stage at this venue.

LINKS:

Central Live Music Venue:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

Bloodstock M2TM:

Bloodstock Festival:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Jason Samuels and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Jason Samuels. 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.

Badgerfest 2021: Day 3 – The Bread Shed, Manchester – Sunday 17th October 2021

Badgerfest 2021: Day 3
The Bread Shed, Manchester
Sunday 17th October 2021
Review By Rob Sutton
Photography by Sheri Bicheno

Day 3 was upon us and, again, I was filled up on Maccies and ready for another day of metal! Somehow, I had no hangover, but I was sure this will change come Monday morning. Sunday’s line up had many bands I was looking forward to so let’s get on with it.

First up, and with a big reputation building behind them, was Manchester based thrash metal trio, Tortured Demon. The first thing I will say is, yes, they are very young. Now that’s out of the way let’s get onto their performance! Things started with an intro which for me was way too similar to that of Trivium’s Ascendency. I noticed this at Bloodstock, too, and I feel they could come up with something a bit different as it did make me cringe a little. Aside from that they hit the stage full of confidence and energy which was quickly picked up by the large crowd that stood before them. Already we had pits and it was only 12:15! While they do a lot of crowd interaction between songs and keep the hype going, for me there is a little bit too much swearing. Now you may call me a prude, and I know every band swears on stage and it does show passion. But it seems like every second word was the f-word… Having said this though these guys really feel like the future of thrash. Its ballsy, heavy, and has plenty to bang your head to. They have a bright future ahead of them!

https://www.facebook.com/t0rtureddem0n

The heavy, in-your-face theme continued over on the second stage next, as Edinburgh based bruisers Iron Altar hit it, guns blazing. They picked up where Tortured Demon left off, and gave the crowd a good old pummelling again! These guys are the very definition of heavy! So many thumping beats to bang your head to or even start a pit, yes pits were still a thing, even this early on. As previously mentioned, the second stage is not the biggest, and Iron Altar’s vocalist came up with an ingenious solution to create more space… don’t be on the stage! This worked as it gave a much more intimate feel to their show, and him fully interacting with the crowd while performing was really a pleasure to watch. These guys were definitely another one of my finds of the weekend!

https://www.facebook.com/IronAltarBand

The Manchester Metalcore scene is booming these days, and each of the bands within it brings their own take on the genre. Clashmute have gone down the Parkway Drive style, and while this isn’t my favourite style of Metalcore, Clashmute came out with yet more energy to add to an already hyperactive early afternoon. I have seen these guys a few times, but they never really hit the spot for me, however today, they did! They are tight and bouncy; all of this led to yet more pits, and a crowd well and truly on their feet. Their whole sound just felt so much more together than I have previously heard and I loved every moment of it. Sometimes the pauses within the songs are a little too long but they were normally followed by a fantastic breakdown. Clashmute have a good name and following behind them and this was the performance I felt like I needed to see to get on board.

Clashmute live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/clashmute

Many years ago, I entered Metal 2 The Masses in Liverpool, and played with some unbelievably good bands. So much so, that I have been following one of them since that day, and even got them on a festival in my hometown. I’m talking about Scare Tactics (or Scary Tic-Tacs as people were calling them). While it seems since that first show they have mellowed out over time, they’re music is so much better now. We heard fantastic dual guitar solos, stunning vocal harmonies, and a humble front man keeping us all entertained. What was fantastic to see was the number of people singing along to these guys, and not only that, but joining in with their chants, too. They felt like the audience’s band of the weekend, fully engaging and everyone participating, I mean who doesn’t want to sing along to ‘Drunk Fuck’? If you want to see musicians show off their brilliant skills, have a sing along, and get a massive smile on your face, Scare Tactics are the band for you.

https://www.facebook.com/scaretacticsuk

Today had already been relentless, in terms of top quality bands, and taking to the main stage next was Tech/Death heavyweights, Beyond Grace. These guys are a band I have never heard or seen before, so this was a complete unknown, but boy was I in for a treat! We were blessed with some beautifully crafted Tech/Death which reminded me of the likes of Virvum and Beyond Creation. Beyond Grace are stunningly tight, and it’s just mesmerising to watch their talent on stage, especially the bass player. It was simply incredible to watch the riffs and styles he was doing. So often the bassist is the forgotten member of a band, but this guy stood out. I’ll be honest, I loved this. While they didn’t have the biggest crowd, reaction, or pits, I walked away with a smile on my face over to their merch table, and to me that’s all that matters.

Beyond Grace live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/wearebeyondgrace

So after Beyond Grace I got collared by Moshville Times to do an interview, thanks to Anthony Timmis. This meant I missed all of Vice. Luckily Anthony did see them and was kind enough to send me his thoughts on them:

For years I had known Vice as a 4 piece, and this was the first time I seen them as a 3 piece, which they have stuck to going forwards. They started off their set with the ‘Wrath’, the first track off their debut album “First Chapter”. This involved plenty of heading banging and hair swirling from guitarist and lead vocalist, Tom Atkinson, and Bassist and backing vocals, Aiden Lord. Even drummer, Conner Summers, gave it some hair swirling like the little mad drummer boy he is. Being a 3 piece really has made no difference to their sound. The vocals where spot on and brutal during the new, and old songs, especially from the Bassist. I Really enjoyed this set and I have really missed this band. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to see them again soon.

Vice live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/Vicemetaluk

There was one more band before the interval, and after a frankly incredible afternoon so far, we were treated to what is possibly going to be one of the big bands to come out of the UK in the next few years; Norfolk based Symphonic Metallers, Ghost of Atlantis. I was lucky enough to catch them at Bloodstock after they were bumped up to the second stage, and really enjoyed them. This time we had the full line up and their sound is massive! The addition of synth in the music was a welcome change to what has been on before, and with the addition of some almost Black Metal style vocals, mixed with some incredible nearly operatic clean singing, it all created a cold atmosphere, which was not a bad thing. While many members were in Devilment before this, and felt like their fame was down to Dani Filth being in the band, Ghost of Atlantis have their own sound, and it’s a unique one at that. I can’t think of any band that sounds like these. There is a hole in the market, and these guys fill it perfectly.

Ghosts Of Atlantis live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/GhostsOfAtlantisofficial

After a well-earned rest, it was time for some Proggy/Alt Metal weirdness from Zebedy. Zebedy are another band I have been gigging with and watching for many years, so I knew what to expect here. We were met with some Dream Theatre style riffs, with Biffy Clyro style voices, which may sound like an odd combination, but it actually works. Zebedy utilise the fact that all 4 members can sing, and thus leave us with some fantastic 4-way vocal harmonies, almost like a mini choir in places. Again, like the first half of the day, Zebedy were packed full of energy and humour. They know how to get the crowd involved, and it paid off. Everyone was singing/shouting along and that, for me, is what Zebedy are about. Fun! One thing though, please get some new cymbals, they look very second hand.

https://www.facebook.com/zebedymusic

If Zebedy were the ‘ease back into the day’ band, then Harbinger were the sledgehammer! More Techy Metal on the mainstage, and it was tighter than a knot on a yacht. Vocally they are very impressive, utilising a number of growls, screams and even a personal favourite of mine, rap screaming. It’s basically quick screaming but it sounded brutally effective with these guys. We were also treated to another one of my favourite things to watched, yet more synchronised headbanging! I am pretty sure Harbinger read the book on ‘what Rob likes in a live show’ and then did it. Harbinger are heavy, tight and look all out professional, this was a fantastic performance!   

Harbinger live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/harbingerriffs

Another band I knew next to nothing about before the festival was Dygora, but I was told they were very heavy. This was true! They were insanely heavy, and pulled influences from many extreme genres, such as Death Metal, Deathcore, and even a bit of Slam. They played with absolute ferocity, and bludgeoned the crowd into submission, with some properly brutal breakdowns, and an insane vocal range. The whole set was an assault, and was absolutely fantastic to watch, my neck, by this point was in pieces!

https://www.facebook.com/DygoraBand

3 bands to go and I wasn’t sure how much more my neck could take after the day so far. My neck needed a rest, and I though I may get it with the next band, Borders… but nope, they brought my neck yet more pain! Borders stood out from this line up, not only with their bright yellow merch, but the fact they drag influences from outside of Metal, in the shape of Rap. It works brilliantly alongside their Techy Metalcore sound, and adds a layer that I’ve only really seen from Hacktivist. I will be honest I prefer Borders. To me it seems unique, while Hacktivist offer dual rapping, Borders offer singing, screaming, growling, and rapping. It’s quite a variety. This performance screamed ‘top tier’ UK bands, as they performed with passion, adrenaline, and enthusiasm. With the crowd bouncing, pitting, and headbanging, Borders had them in the palm of their hands. This truly was one of the best performances of the weekend.

https://www.facebook.com/BordersBandUK

Closing out the second stage was Scottish Prog Metallers, Ramage Inc. They are another band I have seen on numerous occasions, and they never disappoint. Vocally, the lead singer’s voice is exquisite, and today was no exception, I would compare his voice to that of Devin Townsend, it is seriously that good. With them being progressive some of the songs are lengthy, and it can feel like the riffs go on for a little bit too long, but that’s the genre, and these guys play it beautifully. Ramage Inc. felt like the perfect closure for the second stage. Their melodies bring tears to your eyes and make you wish that they would keep playing, much like we wished the festival was continuing on.

https://www.facebook.com/RamageInc

The last band of the weekend need no introduction. It was of course Raging Speedhorn, and it appeared they had come on stage with one mission, to drain what remained of everyone’s energy before normality resumed. Raging Speedhorn have grown such a huge following, which was clear to see by the number of people watching them. That and the number of people throwing themselves at each other for the entire set. Again, both vocalists, and the whole band, had the crowd completely in their hands; what they asked, they got. This set also had the most crowdsurfers of any band at Badgerfest, and that in itself shows how good this performance was. Raging Speedhorn annihilated The Bread Shed, and closed of what had been a truly fantastic weekend.

https://www.facebook.com/ragingspeedhorn

There isn’t much more to say about the festival as a whole. The line up was incredible, and will take some serious beating next year. The bar was suitably stocked, security were on point, there were only a few points where someone was making a fool out of themselves (always expected at a festival), and everything ran smoothly. John Badger and the team behind him have shown just how good a small festival can be, and dare I say it, I enjoyed this weekend more than I did Bloodstock. I will wander home and tell the stories of this insane weekend, and will definitely be returning next year.

Badgerfest Links:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. 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.