Scars of Remembrance Wrexfest, Atomic, Wrexham, 28/07/2018

01 Scars Of Remembrance

Scars of Remembrance

Wrexfest, Atomic, Wrexham 28/07/2018

Review by Beth Jones

Having been the original founder of Wrexfest in 2013, then passing the baton to Brendan a few years back due to all sorts of personal garbage, it seemed only fair that we at least caught some of it this year. The festival has grown steadily year on year, and has now spread out to a few venues, so when Brendan said that the Saturday night at Atomic was going to be metal, we swore to drag our broken asses out of the house, mainly to watch one of our stand out bands of the year, CALLUS, but also to check out some local names that we hadn’t seen before.

When we arrived we found that, due to various issues, two of the proposed line up were not able to make it, which was a shame, however it did mean that we had two bands with extended sets to watch before the very diverse headliners, Glove. CALLUS, and a new name to us, local band Scars Of Remembrance.

After buying a drink and mingling for a few minutes, a familiar face – Karl Ditcher, a long-time friend of my brother’s, came up to me and asked if we were coming up to watch his band play. Now I didn’t even know he played, let alone that he was in a band, so this made the prospect all the more interesting! On arriving upstairs, I was met by another familiar face, local super sound man, Mike Edwards (one of the only people I know who can get the sound spot on in Central Station), only this time he wasn’t behind the sound desk, he was sound checking with the band – double whammie surprise!! After a quick chat, we discovered that it was Mike’s first gig with the band, and that he had only been their vocalist for a couple of months!

So, without further ado, to their set. Their Facebook page has their genre as ‘Metal’ – not much to go on there – and knowing that the bill for that night had appeared to be somewhat diverse, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised! For a band that haven’t done much gigging together in this guise, they were extremely tight and extremely talented, and Mike did an excellent job, especially as it was his first gig.

They have a quite hardcore sound – solid, punchy drums from Ben Burke, and treble heavy, overdriven, crunchy rhythm guitar and intricate lead from Mark Harris and Daniel Dawson, enhanced by Mike’s raw scream vocals and some big fat full on bass licks from Karl (who I now know can play a damn fine bit of bass!), but also riff sections that wouldn’t be out of place in any modern thrash outfit; a nicely blended mix of styles, which was good to see. I feel the same about hardcore as I do about thrash – sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it and there is no in between, so for them to turn my head is quite an achievement, and with a bit more practice and gig time with this line-up, I really think they are on to something good here.

Having now watched some video clips of older performances, it is plain to see that they certainly have a lot more energy and confidence on stage now – or they certainly did in this performance anyway, and that Mike has definitely brought a new aspect to the band. It is very pleasing to see a new, or at least new look metal band from Wrexham pop up, because the metal cup has been quite dry round here in recent years. It is even more pleasing to see that they have a really good idea of who they are as a band and seem to be eager to progress with it now. When we spoke with them after the gig, we suggested that they should try and get on the bill for the M2TM heats next year, as I think they would enhance any bill, and have the added bonus of being local!

I will certainly be putting them on the list of bands to follow and am eager to see how they grow and will also definitely be making a concerted effort to go and see them live again as soon as possible, and recommend that everyone else does so too, not only to check out their music, but also to support the local underground scene, which I am hoping is having a rebirth around here. Well done guys – you have a new fan.

 
LINKS
https://www.facebook.com/scarsofremembrance/

https://www.instagram.com/scarsofremembrance/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZTUQ87ynUw92fJ34Z29bhQ

02 Scars Of Remembrance

 

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 all parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

Pentrefest Summer Session 2018 McLeans Venue – Pentre, North Wales, July 14th 2018

00 Pentrefest Summer Session Poster

Pentrefest Summer Session 2018

McLeans Venue – Pentre, North Wales

July 14th 2018

By Beth Jones

 

It had been a few days since our return from Amplified, and a serious case of post festival blues had hit the Jones-Tilley household. The washing was nearly done, the ironing mountain was ever growing, and anything and everything was royally getting on my tits. So, when Fozzy sent us a Facebook invite to the ‘Pentrefest Summer Session – A Day Of Casual Mosh’, we could think of no better way to spend our Saturday and hoped it would be the antidote to the crushing withdrawal from live music and alcohol that we had been suffering, cold turkey, for what felt like an eternity!

Mcleans Pentre is a very unique venue; the space is fantastic, and the acoustics are great, but it seems that its location has a tendency to pull out a serious case of the ‘can’t be arsed’s’ in a lot of local music fans, which is a real shame. We arrived just after lunch, ready to watch a lovely collection of music ranging from local talent, to Italian metal heads Slave Steel.

Our first performance of the day was an acoustic set by Mike West. Based locally, he delivered a great set of southern style blues rock, which was perfect for a sunny afternoon. It was the sort of thing you would expect to hear being played from a porch on a ranch in Texas in a Levi’s advert, and I liked it a lot. There is something very appealing about that style of music for me, and Mike’s gravelly voice worked perfectly. I could quite happily have listened to it all day to be honest – it was just chilled and relaxing and very well executed.

01 Mike Westhttps://www.facebook.com/mikewest333/

Next up was another local act in the shape of Edd Case, again performing acoustically. He was more edgy than Mike, and delivered a great set, including one song which had, what I shall term as, rhythmic talking sections and a sung chorus. Now usually this sort of thing winds me up, but this particular song was a masterpiece – emotive and powerful, based on the experiences of his friend in the forces, and written as a letter home to family. It got me in the feels big time, to the point that I had to pretend I had something in my eye! I was emotionally teetering before this, due to the aforementioned festi-blues, so had to do a certain amount of internal pulling myself together before heading off to the smoking area for a break before the next act!

02 Edd Casehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZXLlhJSn5g32dafnT6mCCA/videos

Things got a bit noisier next, as the acoustic acts were done, and we got our first full band of the day; a new band to the local scene, Renegades Of Fire. We had seen these guys at the Metal 2 The Masses heats in Wrexham, so kind of knew what to expect. They have only been around since November 2017, and I think need a little more time before we will see the best of them. They have a good sound but look a little tentative on stage at times. As individuals, they are all good musicians, but they need to settle in together and become more of a whole in order to really make their sound gel more and have fun with it; it is a skill in itself to be able to look confident even if you are shitting bricks, but it is things like this that will come with time. I am looking forward to watching their performance techniques grow.

03 Renegades Of Firehttps://www.facebook.com/Renegades-of-Fire-1929979253889558/

From the nervous to the uber confident next, with Bad Earth. These guys had buckets full of dirty grooves and banging bass riffs, and some pretty fine rhythms to boot! Frontman Steve Coxon’s vocals were great, with a scratchy rugged tone, and excellent rock range, and he cuts an awesome figure on the stage too, he is a giant amongst men, or he certainly looks it from my 5’0” perspective! Both him and bass player Rob Murray performed topless too! I will let them off because it was very warm in that room, but they didn’t really need to – their music spoke for itself without needing to enhance it with sweaty torsos!! They led us through a rip-roaring set, which wouldn’t have been out of place on a bigger stage, and certainly deserved a bigger crowd than those of us interested enough in the local scene who had turned out on the day. They are a must see for anyone who likes bands such as Witch Tripper, Orange Goblin or Clutch.

04 Bad Earthhttps://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH/

The standard so far today had been excellent, and up next were one of our most favourite discoveries from Metal 2 The Masses – Lullaby For A Unicorn. A psychedelic bunch of chaps who like to harness their inner nutter and splurge it out for all to see!! When is a Unicorn not a Unicorn? When it’s a large man in a onesie strapped to a light up bass guitar! They are certainly an interesting sight to behold, but when they start playing you realise that their music is not as mental as their appearance – well maybe lyrically it is, but on an actual composition level, they are an extremely tight, solid and well-rehearsed band of talented players, and their timing both musically and comedically is spot on. It is always nice to see their seagull mascot, Steven, swinging above the stage, and they perform a very lovely song in his honour towards the end of their set, which is always a crowd pleaser and actively encourages audience participation. Very good, very funny and well worth a watch!

05 Lullaby For A Unicornhttps://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

After a good dose of psychedelic craziness, it was time for a bit of instrumental prog just to focus the mind – pass the mushrooms will you! Again, we had seen Archetype as one of the guest acts at the Metal 2 The Masses final and had really enjoyed them. They are pretty unique in the sense that there isn’t a lot of completely instrumental bands around currently, and they do serve up a hefty heap of prog for starters, followed by prog, with prog and prog, and a nice glass of prog on the side! But flipping heck they do it well! Intricate chord sequences, tapping, cross rhythms and perfectly timed pauses are enhanced by sections of pure indulgent groove that fill you up – if this set had a calorie count I would be checking in at my local Weightwatchers to shift the added pounds right now! However, in the same way as I would be with a very rich pudding, I can only handle a certain amount of these guys in one go; my brain gets into a bit of an overstimulated mush and can’t cope! But they are superb – go see them!

06 Archetypehttps://www.facebook.com/wearethearchetypeUK/

Our penultimate band of the day were I Assassin, a four-piece hard rock outfit from Shrewsbury. They had great energy on stage and a brilliant sound, and vocalist Adrian Turner’s voice was superb, with a real metal core twang. However, as a band, they were a mix of lots of styles and I wouldn’t like to try and genre them – they certainly weren’t metalcore, but they were heavier than the hard rock we had seen during the rest of the day. They were full of energy and gave everything in their performance, creating a massive sound that was mightily impressive. I love it when a band puts everything into a performance – it grabs hold of you, and I couldn’t resist a bit of a boogie! They were very, very good, and we will definitely be checking them out again.

07 I, Assassinhttps://www.facebook.com/iassassinband/

Bringing proceedings to a close were a band originally from Rome but now based in London – Slave Steel. One word. WOW! Heavy, loud, intricate, fast, growly, energetic and polished, and if that wasn’t enough, they were four guys with Pantene hair and smouldering Italian looks too! I’m sold!! As with Bad Earth earlier, these guys wouldn’t have looked out of place on a much larger stage and would have had the same impact on a much larger crowd. The energy they brought, especially the bass player and vocalist, was superb, and pretty amazing considering it was now heading quickly towards midnight. There was so much movement and vibrance in their performance that it was difficult not to move along with them, and thankfully the select gathering took the opportunity to rock out before bed! I was pretty much on my knees by this point so retreated to old farts corner to nod along approvingly and watch the young uns lose their shit down the front!! (Disclaimer – yes I know I am only 39 but I’ve had a hard life, leave me be!) It was a cracking way to finish! We will definitely be look them up again soon.

08 Slave Steelhttps://www.facebook.com/slavesteel/

After a hard day’s rocking out, it was time to make the short 20 minute drive home again and digest the varied talent we had seen today. We are so lucky to have bands, venues and promoters willing to put on gigs that are, essentially, on our doorstep. Long may it continue! It is a tough time for smaller venues and local music at the moment, with apathy for anything that involves getting off the sofa seemingly at an all-time high. But I am sure that, with persistence, the local scene round here, and elsewhere in the country will thrive again, and I for one will be at the front of the queue with a smile on my face ready and waiting for the next band. With that in mind, I would like to say a huge thanks to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North for their hard work, dedication and persistence putting on these shows. They do an amazing job. GET OFF YOUR SOFAS PEOPLE AND COME AND FIND OUT WHAT YOU ARE MISSING!!!
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/

09 Logo

 

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 all parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

Amplified Festival 2018, Gloucestershire, July 7th 2018, Day Two

00 Day2 Lineup

Amplified Festival 2018

Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire

July 7th 2018, Day Two

Review by Rick Tilley with help from Beth Jones

Photographs by Beth Jones

10/10

It was still very early when I woke up on the Saturday morning, 5:30am to be precise, but it was even hotter than it had been on the Friday and much too stuffy to be in the tent so I quietly got myself ready and went outside. I alluded to it in my Friday review, but it’s worth repeating, that Amplified is set in some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. My Sister lives very close to the site and my Mum is only ten minutes further away so I know the Cotswolds quite well. Sitting in those surroundings, when there is literally silence, apart from the birds and farmyard animals in the distance, whilst watching the sun rise above the trees really was a wonderful feeling and totally at odds with what would be happening about five hours into the future!

Welcome to Ever Metal’s review of Amplified Festival 2018, Day Two!

As people started to wake up, and you really took a good look around, it was blindingly obvious there were a heck of a lot more people attending than in 2017. People had continued to arrive during the course of the previous day and it wasn’t long before more cars and Camper Vans started to come through the gates. Rather than the washed out, wet, tired, bedraggled and hollow looks on faces of the previous year, with many already packed and gone, this year everyone was smiling, there was happiness and laughter and plenty of sore heads, not just from one drink too many but also because of the sun. Yes, the weather was partly the reason for the joviality, but listening to conversations, it was very clear that people were talking about the site, the bands performances from the previous day and how relaxed, friendly and open everyone was being and that there was very definitely a special atmosphere.

We did find out later that day that there had been a security breach during the night, on the other side of the site, which slightly marred the weekend and needs to be addressed for next year, but, that aside, 99% of people seemed to be in seventh heaven!

Opening Day Two proceedings, on the Very Metal Art stage, with a thunderous bang were Stafford based band Obzidian. It was a great turn out for them so early in the morning and they punched us all repeatedly with precision fistfuls of heavy thrash. They were a bit too heavy for Beth, on the wrong side of her marmite gauge, but I’ve seen these guys a few times before and love them! They certainly aren’t your standard Thrash band incorporating chunks of Progressive and Death Metal, but they do it with a huge amount of catchiness and are incredibly tight! As I was watching them I thought back to just a few hours earlier, when I had been sitting peacefully, listening to the birds, and smiled…festivals are a funny thing aren’t they? Anyway, Obzidian had the crowd bouncing like loons and definitely set the pace for the day. If you were still asleep when they hit the stage, I’m positive you wouldn’t have been by the end of their set!

01 Obzidian Day2https://www.facebook.com/ObzidianBand/

Even though it was still morning the sun was beating down without mercy, so with bottles of water (and a nice pint) in hand we headed over to the Red Stripe Main Stage to watch Yorkshire’s Aggressive Pop Rockers, As Sirens Fall. I have received quite a bit of press about these guys and they certainly seem to be gaining a fairly substantial fan-base, but, as you can tell from the above description of their sound, they are a much more mainstream sounding band that very much appeal to the Kerrang/Rock Sound readership and they fell a little flat for my liking. Their songs are indeed very catchy and they certainly have plenty of energy but it all felt a bit polished and staged and they look like they are being moulded into something they don’t quite feel comfortable with. I’d also like to say that their Manager/Photographer was quite annoying, wandering around the stage, taking photos and generally just getting in the way (even though she had been asked not to). A professional photographer will be almost invisible, she most definitely wasn’t! As a 50 year old man I’m obviously not As Sirens Fall’s target audience but I wish them all the luck in the world!

02 As Sirens Fall Day2https://www.facebook.com/assirensfall/

We were straight back to the Very Metal Art Stage next for a band I was hugely looking forward to seeing, Nottingham based Hard Rockers Fahran. I’m ashamed to say, that even though I love their music, I had always missed them when they’ve gigged near to me in the past and this performance proved why I should have gotten off my arse a bit sooner. Fahran have passion oozing out of them by the bucket-load and even though they play Classic Hard Rock, it’s done with so much bite, energy and skill that they appeal to a very wide audience, certainly judging by the variety of t-shirts on display in the crowd! They gave us a set of tight and intelligent tracks that you could REALLY bang your head to, with melodies to die for, and in Matt Black, a vocalist with killer range and emotion. Put that together with the crystal clear sound courtesy, yet again, of the brilliant engineers and you were on to an absolute winner. Drummer, Josh Fahran (who the band is named after) should take a huge bow. If they are gigging near you, don’t do what I did, make sure you go and see them because you’ll love every minute!

03 Fahran Day2https://www.facebook.com/Fahranmusic/

Carrying on in the Hard Rock genre, but with a little more Audrey Horne and Down in their sound, were King Creature who were next up on the Red Stripe Main Stage and damn they were good! It was now midday and the arena was ridiculously hot but these four guys from Cornwall were in serious contention to match and surpass that heat. I want to know, with all the music I listen to, why I had never seen or heard much about King Creature before, but you can be guaranteed that will now change. They put on a blistering performance of huge crunchy riffs and massive rhythms and Vocalist/Bassist Dave Kellaway has a colossal set of pipes. This was Rock N Roll excellence and it’s clear to see why they’ve been picked up by Marshall Records. We were only on the fourth band of the day and I was starting to get overwhelmed with just how well everyone was playing. I don’t know what it is, but there is something about Amplified Festival that seems to bring the best out in everybody!

04 King Creature Day2https://www.facebook.com/KingCreature/

For those of you who have met or seen Beth you’ll be used to seeing a big swathe of black hair, but underneath the colour she is actually a bit of a ginger, so by this point she was literally melting into the grass and went to seek shade at the Corrosive Merch and Goblin Dreams stands, run by the awesome and lovely Marc Cleave (Torqued) and Nici Chapman which, this year, were situated next to the Very Metal Art Stage and I went to watch evil Death Metal titans, from Bristol, Seprevation! I’ve seen these guys live before and whilst they might be on the brutally heavy side, they kick serious arse. If you’re a fan of bands like Possessed, Sadus, Pestilence, Death or Sadistic Intent then Seprevation will get you wet in places you didn’t know could get wet and this performance proved how good they are. You perhaps wouldn’t expect their brand of Metal to come across so well in a field, in the Cotswolds and in broad daylight but they pummelled the assembled crowd into submission and then some. I, sometimes, find them quite difficult to listen to on CD but live they have so much power and precision that it’s a different prospect entirely, for this Rick at least.

05 Seprevation Day2https://www.facebook.com/Seprevation/

With Beth now somewhat refreshed, having tipped a few gallons of water over herself, we set off on the short journey back to the Main Stage to watch one of the 2017 Amplified bands that had been invited back again, the intriguing Rival Bones. I only vaguely remember watching them at the Festival last year, not because they were bad…far from it, but because the horrendous weather coupled with my back problems had me craving for more painkillers and hoping that Captain Nemo would appear in the Nautilus to submarine us all to safety!

How Rival Bones manage to make the sound they do, with just the two of them, is extremely impressive! It’s always great to see a drummer brought forward much nearer the front of the stage and Chris Thomason engages the eye with his style. Then you have Guitarist/Vocalist James Whitehouse basically doing everything else and it’s a bit like watching a game of tennis, your head constantly moving from left to right to try and work out how they do it. It’s not style over substance though, their music rocks, the tunes incredibly catchy and James has a superb voice. It was great to see them asked back to play again this year, especially as their music worked incredibly well in the sunshine and I look forward to seeing them again.

06 Rival Bones Day2https://www.facebook.com/rivalbones/

With a quick stop off for food/more water we headed straight back over to the Very Metal Art Stage for a dose of Classic Thrash mixed with a pinch of Crossover, done the Irish way, courtesy of Animator. They are another band I hadn’t heard an awful lot about but Beth and I both absolutely loved them. It seems to me that there are loads of fabulous bands coming out of Ireland at the moment and it’s great to see. Animator absolutely nailed their performance and were hugely upbeat. They managed to make themselves sound classic and modern all at the same time and are great musicians with excellent material. They also drew a very good crowd considering the field was now the temperature of a smelting furnace and that crowd, including Michael Randall AKA Tigger (Lead Vocalist/Bassist from the band Mad Spanner) who has the energy of a Duracell bunny, bounced their way through the entire set. It was certainly a sight to see. I shall be checking out Animator’s back catalogue and cannot wait to see them live again! You should definitely be checking them out too!

07 Animator Day2https://www.facebook.com/Animatorireland/

At this point it was my turn to reluctantly take to the shade of the Corrosive Merch & Goblin Dreams stands. Heat doesn’t usually bother me, too much, but even I was starting to wilt. However, I also suffer with spondylitis and spondylolisthesis of the spine and in my enjoyment of the proceedings, so far that day, had forgotten to take my medication. It was very silly of me and because of it I had to miss Sinnergod who I was looking forward to so I apologise to them. The beauty of the arena set-up, however, meant I could still hear them pretty well and what I heard sounded very good. Beth also went to take some photos and said that they were impressive!

08 Sinnergod Day2https://www.facebook.com/sinnergod/

After resting for an hour we headed over to the Red Stripe Main Stage to watch a band who many were waiting for with baited breath. It was actually touch and go as to whether Jinjer would be able to play, as they had been stuck in the Ukraine having issues with their travel visas and had missed a Festival the day before. Luckily they made it, much to the relief of Gary and the Amplified team and their performance could now be billed as a UK Festival Exclusive!

There was a huge crowd of, mainly men, waiting for them to start and you could tell why when lead singer Tatiana Shmailyuk took to the stage. Imagine one of the Cheeky Girls possessed by the demon Pazuzu from The Exorcist and you would be somewhere close. They are all incredibly talented and technical musicians, bassist Eugene Kostyuk and drummer Vladislav Ulasevish seem to have an almost telekinetic bond with one another, and they gave a hell of a performance…many said it was their performance of the weekend…BUT, personally, I had a little trouble engaging with their material. I’m definitely going to give them another go, I may just need more time, but if songs don’t emotionally connect with me, then all the talent in the world won’t change that, however popular they seem to be with everyone else!

09 Jinjer Day2https://www.facebook.com/JinjerOfficial/

Unfortunately, we only got to see a little of the next two acts Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics and Warrior Soul because we wanted to go and watch the ‘EvilStick’ interview (see below) but what we did witness was very positive on both counts. What I need is to be able to clone myself so I can be in two places at once!

https://www.facebook.com/TheCultClassics/

https://www.facebook.com/warriorsoulofficial/

So, what was the ‘EvilStick’ interview? Well, it was certainly one of the more surreal parts of Amplified 2018 and you, sort of, had to be there but I’m going to try and explain briefly!

A group of bright sparks, including John Matthews (Totally Tankered) decided that it would be really fun to do a combined interview with Evil Scarecrow and Psychostick and call it…EvilStick. Bearing in mind the humour levels of both bands is somewhere in the region of Monty Python meets Naked Gun then it was always going to be a challenge to control them and a challenge it most certainly was, albeit a hilarious one! What was due to take place in The Motley Brew ended up in the woods and it was 20-30 minutes of insanity involving, amongst other things, a trip/race by two band members to get ice cream which ended up becoming a trip to get beer, scones with cream and jam, a box with a question mark written on it backwards, lots of quick-fire questions (not one of which was answered in a sane manner) and Evil Scarecrow hijacking the interviewers chair, all watched over by a slightly bemused Gary Paterson. It sort of reminded me of a human version of ‘The Clangers’. It was recorded but we aren’t sure if it’s been seen by anyone. Very very funny but also very very mad!!

10 EvilStick Interview Day2

After a chat with our mates from the band Lullaby For A Unicorn, who were there for the weekend soaking up the atmosphere (please check them out, they are brilliant), we headed back to the Very Metal Art stage to get back into music mode with the brilliant Bull-Riff Stampede. This was only their second gig of 2018, as guitarist Jay Walsh has been busy with his other band Xentrix, but you really wouldn’t have believed it. They deliver their brand of Thrash/Death Metal with devastating clarity, are all seasoned professionals and very gifted musicians. All four of them gel so well and front man Dave Garnett has a voice almost as loud as his toxic green Jackson guitars. Bull-Riff Stampede never fail to put on a fantastic show, they thrashed out a loud and loaded set and the whole crowd really got into the groove with them!

11 Bull-Riff Stampede Day2https://www.facebook.com/bullriffstampedebandpage/

We headed back to the Red Stripe Main Stage with huge smiles on our faces and everybody else around seemed to be smiling too. Whether people were in the bar, Merch tent, eating, sitting with a beer soaking up the sun or in The Motley Brew with a cuppa…the feeling of happiness, friendship, enjoyment and belonging was huge and it increased even more after watching Welshman Jayce Lewis and his band. I’m going to let Beth tell you about this because I couldn’t say it any better!

“This was one of my performances of the weekend. The masterstroke of dual bass guitars set Jayce Lewis apart from anyone else over the three days. It made the band totally different, insanely heavy and industrial. It was music that you could physically feel throughout your body, with the low frequencies of the basses rattling every sinew. This was a performance that highlighted the epic insanity of genius, as well as the incredible writing talent that is Jayce Lewis. His music is all about rhythm and it made me feel alive in its sparseness. The whole thing – the music, the look, the tone, the staging, all made for a stunning show which I am immensely happy that I saw. A new fan was very definitely born in me that day”.

All I will add, apart from agreeing with Beth’s sentiments, is that it’s clear to see why Jayce has toured with and is friends with Gary Numan as he is hugely influenced by him. This was a fantastic performance, almost hypnotic, and both of us are really looking forward to seeing him live again!

12 Jayce Lewis Day2https://www.facebook.com/jaycelewisofficial/

One of the reasons I had been looking forward to Amplified so much this year was the inclusion of Psychostick on the bill. I have been a big fan of these guys for about six years now and, when I find myself at a low ebb in life, one of my go-to places is the P section of the cavernous CD collection I own because they always make the corners of my mouth turn upwards into something resembling a smile. Giving Psychostick headline status on the Very Metal Art stage was a genius way to finish that part of the day and WOW, did they deliver! They are completely the real deal. Natural Talent + Zany Humour + Impeccable Timing + Hard Work & Dedication = Psychostick! Hilariously funny and incredibly talented to start with, they have also managed to put together a show that is a piece of live art. Clever, witty and lovable they take everyday annoyances and events that we already groan and smile about and turn them into a, laugh a second, collection of perfectly timed musical gags, peppered with sound effects, kazoos, great vocals, wonderful riffs and lots of hats. Audience participation is paramount, especially in ‘Sombrero Prophecy’ Psychostick were utterly brilliant from start to finish and, easily, one of my performances of the weekend!

13 Pshycostick VMA Headliners Day2https://www.facebook.com/Psychostick/

If Psychostick had been the band to finish off Day Two proceedings then I think, just about, everybody present would have been more than satisfied but we still had the best band in the world ever…to write a song about a robot to headline the Red Stripe Main Stage, yes I’m talking about the mystical beings that are Evil Scarecrow!

Before we talk about this year’s performance, we need to mention that last year at Amplified, Evil Scarecrow were the band that grabbed everyone, that had stuck it out, by the soggy proverbials and dragged us all to the place called happiness! Their performance was the lift everybody needed so it was an absolute no-brainer to get them back to do it again.

We had heard that they had a new character to add to the arsenal of characters that already join them on stage, that they would be playing a new song and also that their performance would involve lots of pyro! We were stoked and with very good reason. Apart from wondering whether it was wise for ‘Brother Pain’ to be anywhere near pyro, Evil Scarecrow were magnificent. There is something very invigorating about watching performers faces when pyro goes off and flames leap into the air at the best of times but, when it happens at an Evil Scarecrow show, the glint of maniacally laughing demons escaping from every band members eyes when they lit up set the tone for this performance.

They threw in all the old favourites and had the crowd waltzing, scuttling and drawing robot squares in unison, and the stage show was as madcap and colourful as we have now come to expect from the Nottingham nutters…and then came the new song and new character; ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. However, this Red Riding Hood was far from little, she was ten foot tall and absolutely terrifying! The song was as dark as the character, and the swathe of red light that filled the stage made the performance the stuff of nightmares, not least for the photographers who pretty much all hate red light! With Dr. Hell announcing that a new Evil Scarecrow album was in the works and that it would be available sometime before 2025 everyone, in the sizeable crowd, looked like they were floating with joy. As the band left the stage we cried for more, and even after an encore, we still cried for more. By the time the cheering had quietened the stage lights were on and a good amount of equipment had been dismantled.

14 Evil Scarecrow, Main Stage Headliners Day2https://www.facebook.com/Evil.Scarecrow/

If you fancied it, and had the energy, the party then continued at the G’s Bar Stage with the madness of Electric Eel Shock but I was absolutely exhausted and after a lovely cuppa, and the obligatory chat with people, I retired to the tent safe in the knowledge that I had experienced my best day at a Festival ever…yes EVER! Beth wasn’t quite as tired though and stayed at The Motley Brew with a motley crew of our lovable buddies playing the best game ever ‘Cards Against Humanity’!

I’ll be back soon to tell you if Amplified Festival 2018, Day Three was the icing on the cake!
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/amplifiedfestivalUK/

https://www.instagram.com/amplifiedrocks/

15 Amplified Logo

 

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

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

Callus, Live at Wrexfest, Atomic, Wrexham 28/07/2018

01

Callus

Wrexfest, Atomic, Wrexham 28/07/2018

Review by Beth Jones

I love it when an idea goes to plan! When Brendan (head honcho at Wrexfest) contacted me and said they wanted to do a metal night at Wrexfest this year and who would I suggest to try and get for the line-up, one band immediately came to mind – CALLUS!

After seeing these guys at Hammerfest earlier this year and being totally blown away by them, and subsequently following them through social media and in the flesh as they progressed through the heats at Mammothfest, Battle Of The Bands, Chester, it was a complete no brainer that our favourite three piece from the North should be part of it. When we found out that they were on the bill, we were a touch happy!

The evening had a diverse billing, ranging from slightly softer rock, to Metalcore, to …erm… a band called Glove who I am not sure how to classify! But we are all for diverse here at Ever Metal! It is what keeps music alive.

Wrexfest is an event which has been plagued by the weather and other factors since it started in 2013, but it battles on. This year, due to various issues, two of the bands on the Atomic bill had pulled out by the time we arrived, however this did mean that CALLUS got a longer set time – two thumbs good in our book!!

After conducting a very funny interview with the boys down a side alley two minutes from the venue, we headed back to watch them do their thing. They had told us that, because of their extended set time, they were able to chuck in some new stuff and we were super pumped to hear it! They did not disappoint!

The dictionary definition of CALLUS currently reads: ‘A thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue, especially in an area that has been subjected to friction’. This however will soon have the addendum…’subjected to friction from epic moshing to an amazing three piece who take you to a new level of awesome’.

O.M.G… I seriously cannot put into words how good CALLUS are! They are a weird mix of Thrash, Stoner, Doom, Progressive and Classic Metal, that should never work, but somehow it does, and brilliantly at that! They have a mix of chunky riffs, down tuned grooves, growly, shouty vocals, and insane drumming that gives you no choice but to move!

When they started their set the room was semi full, and it isn’t a big room, but as they played, the crowd grew and grew until it was packed to the rafters with people drawn to their sound. It was awesome!

I have stages of mosh – level 0 – ‘yeah they are ok – I will nod my head a bit’, level 1 – ‘I will take my hair out of my pony tail, because even though it is weird and wispy, I may want the hair effect as I nod my head to show that I am really in to this’, then level 2 – I will also now remove my glasses for I can feel my body going and I have no control over it, and if I don’t remove them they will end up in someone’s pint’! I was at level 2 mosh by the second song! I haven’t done that since my Tivoli days in the late nineties (and my body still knows it today!) but I seriously could not help myself!

These guys are so slick, so professional, so tight that you would swear they were a huge band of seasoned professionals, not a widely unknown one in the infancy of their career. I guarantee that they will not be unknown for long – they are too good not to get noticed! They kept the crowd thoroughly entertained throughout the 45 minute set and didn’t at any point lose anyone’s interest. Every single song was a smasher, and they performed the new stuff like it had been part of a great set for years. The audience were in the palm of their hands, even the breaks between songs, where guitarist/vocalist Louis Clarke switched guitars or retuned, were covered by an interesting sound effect which lead beautifully into the next song. Their set was not only jam packed with catchy, riffy grooviness, but was cleverly thought out and meticulously planned to keep the pace and momentum going from start to finish. We had not heard much of bassist/vocalist Ben Wormwell on vocals before now, but tonight we got to hear his vicious growl in some of the new material and it was growly and excellent! All of this brilliance was kept in check and time, and backed up by some of the most intricate tub-thumping I have ever seen, from drummer (and ego) Ryan Ormerod – the speed at which he moves his feet on the pedals, without triggers, is astounding!

I literally do not have enough superlatives in my vocabulary to describe how good these guys are, how they have completely won us over and have our utmost support here at Ever Metal, not only for the absolute amazing talent they all have, both individually and as a group, but also because they are three great, down to earth, genuine guys who deserve to be truly recognised for their hard work and dedication to their art. We are nearly old enough to be their parents, but I genuinely don’t think I could have been prouder of their performance here, if they were my own kids. #proud.

I implore anyone who has not heard them or seen them yet, to check them out and go and see them, you will not be disappointed. We eagerly await their debut album and will be first in the queue to buy our copy. A huge well done and a massive thank you to you guys for ripping it up in our little town!
CALLUS LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/Callus.band/
https://www.instagram.com/callus_uk/
https://callus117.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZOSaYdZBmL8DhLMPjLWggQ

 

02

 

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 all parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

Amplified Festival 2018, Gloucestershire July 6th 2018, Day One

Amplified Day1 Poster

Amplified Festival 2018
Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire
July 6th 2018, Day One
Review by Rick Tilley with help from Beth Jones
Photographs by Beth Jones
10/10

If you attended the first Amplified Festival in 2017 you’ll know that there were some logistical and organisational issues and that these were highlighted, even more, by the biblical storm that hit the Festival on the Friday which nearly caused its closure before it had really got started. There were also a lot of negative comments on social media, mainly from people who weren’t there. However, by the Sunday, the weather had cleared up somewhat and the people that had decided to stay had a great time, we certainly did. Organiser Gary Paterson vowed to address the problems and come back fighting in 2018 and boy has he done that BIG TIME!!

Welcome to Ever Metal’s review of Amplified Festival 2018, Day One!

This year we arrived on the Thursday evening so that we were completely up and running for the start on Friday morning and immediately we noticed how much better organised things were. With photographer Will Tudor in place as Accreditation and Media Relations Manager (a position, this weekend showed, he was born to do) everything had a place, everybody knew where to go and what to do and everyone was in good spirits.

With the weather forecast this year promising temperatures matching the inside of an active volcano we slowly unpacked the car and put the tent up. Even though I had made the conscious decision not to go as official press this year because the line-up was so strong and I wanted to watch bands, we were still in the media area as my step-daughter had won the Amplified Photography Competition (more on that later) and it was noticeable that there were more tents set up and people about than there had been on the Friday last year, a great sign, and once we had rung out a couple of buckets of sweat we headed off to check out the arena and catch up with friends at the only place you can ever meet up at a Rock Festival ‘The Motley Brew’!

The arena this year was more compact, the Red Stripe and Very Metal Art stages had been turned in the opposite direction and there wasn’t a huge separate area, through the trees, with further stages and stalls to spread everyone out. Camping areas were more sensibly thought about, on what is an extremely beautiful site, and even though things looked different it felt familiar and complete! With no clashes between bands on the two bigger stages and virtually none on the G’s Bar Stage you could pretty much watch every band over the three days if you wanted to. With smiles on our faces and beer/tea in hand we settled down for a good old chat with people in anticipation of what would happen on the Friday.

By 7am on the Friday it was so hot it was impossible to stay in the tent, it had turned into a portable sauna, so we got up and plastered ourselves in sun-cream, ready to stay hydrated, watch some great music and soak up the atmosphere!

First up on the Red Stripe main stage were British Thrash outfit, Eradikator. This was a really great, upbeat way to kick off the festival, no messing, just straight in with a precision wallop. It was immediately obvious to see/hear that, like last year, the sound engineers had got this completely right, the sound was more than superb, and for that to happen for the first song of the first band on the first day is not something that many manage. It was also pleasing to see quite a few people turn out for the band even though it was still early and most were still arriving or yet to arrive. Eradikator could easily have played much higher up the bill, such was their quality, you definitely need to check them out and their performance put a huge smile on our faces. From that moment on there was something in the air that told me this was going to be a special weekend.

01 Eradikatorhttps://www.facebook.com/eradikatoruk/

As the arena was set up much more thoughtfully this year, and with the aforementioned ‘no clashes’, it was easy for us to walk over to the Very Metal Art stage to see Impavidus. They had been one of our standout bands at the Bloodstock M2TM heats in Wrexham, and although they didn’t win, we knew they were more than capable, so we were eager to see them and what an amazing performance this was. Vocalist Michelle Adamson can do such amazing things with her voice, we have no idea how such a brutal growl comes out of such a small person but she has a huge stage presence (and is also one of the sweetest people you could want to meet). In fact when she sings, I’m reminded of the legend that is Sabina Classen (Holy Moses vocalist)! Every band member has fabulous energy, they are really strong both as individual musicians and as a group (think Arch Enemy meets The Agonist) and the crowd obviously felt this and really reacted to them. Their material is of a very high standard and they were hugely impressive – A ‘Must See’ band!

02 Impavidushttps://www.facebook.com/impavidusuk/

It was back over to the Red Stripe stage next for the mighty Torqued!! We have known vocalist/bassist Marc Cleave for a while now, and have been watching, with growing excitement, the build up to the release of the Torqued EP “RESURGENCE” (out now), and the band in general, so again we were looking forward to this performance. We had seen them play a short set at McCleans, Pentre late last year but it was great to finally see these guys live on a big stage, especially as they should have played Amplified last year but couldn’t because of the weather conditions. Guitarist Rimmy Sinclair is an immense talent and made intricate shredding look easy, with his ginger locks flying in all directions. There is great chemistry between the guys on stage and they do definitely live up to the hype; they had a good, solid sound, again enhanced by the skills of the sound engineers. It is very chunky and bass driven, courtesy of Marc’s awesome playing (and his fabulous facial expressions) plus his connection with drummer Kurt Johnson, but nothing was overdone, and less is definitely more in this case. Torqued really don’t sound like anyone else; the best I can come up with is VoiVod playing Groove Doom. They also had a great connection with the audience who lapped up every note! #wearetorqued

03 Torquedhttps://www.facebook.com/Torquedband/

At this point there was a break in the performances on the Red Stripe/VMA stages because it was time to kick-start the G’s Bar Stage into gear! In 2017, because of the horrendous weather, a stage was hastily set up in the bar tent to accommodate some of the bands unable to play their designated slots elsewhere and it was also a place where the punters could keep sort of dry… and it was a huge success, with people braving the rain and wind, with a typically British stiff upper lip, to have a beer and watch some great music which took their mind off whether their tent would still be standing when they returned. Therefore it was a no brainer to bring it back properly in 2018, and the first band on was Gloucestershire based Metalcore band Proteus. Now I’ve got to be honest, when I walked into the tent the heat hit me like a thunderbolt, the meds I take for my spine play havoc with my body temperature, and it was just too hot for me so I couldn’t stay in there for long but what I saw of Proteus was extremely positive. They were catchy; very tight; incredibly heavy and owned the stage impressively. They also had a very good crowd in there watching them and once again the sound guys had worked their magic so what could have sounded like a wall of noise was crystal clear. Not my preferred genre but I’ll definitely be checking them out more!

https://www.facebook.com/ProteusUK/

With the temperature rising we made a quick pit-stop to get a slushy from one of the many good and reasonably priced refreshment vendors on site before heading over to the VMA stage again, this time for Midlands Dark Death metallers Ashen Crown. We had seen lead vocalist Kieran Scott before, guesting with Mad Spanner, but not the full band. This kind of metal is not usually Beth’s cup of tea but she actually really enjoyed them and I have to agree that Ashen Crown played an excellent set. Yes, the vocals are very growly, but Kieran varies his delivery and they are never too shouty or irritating. He is also backed up by a very tight band and their material is very catchy. With more people arriving (all with huge grins on their faces) there was an awesome reaction to the band, which was really good to see. Everyone was having a great time and the smiles between people, whether you knew them or not, proved that the special atmosphere Amplified was creating was growing with each band!

04 Ashen Crownhttps://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk/

After the musically thunderous and heavy start to the day, it was time to head back to the Red Stripe Stage for something completely different. Templeton Pek are a three piece Punk Rock band from Birmingham and they were great for the latish lunchtime slot they had been given! Amplified hadn’t just booked lots of bands and thrown them on stage, instead, every occupied slot felt like it had been thought about and that each band had been listened to carefully and given a slot that complemented their genre/style. Even though Templeton Pek have been around a few years I’m sorry to say I hadn’t come across them before, which slightly hampered my enjoyment of their set, but they were extremely good musicians and very tight as a band. Their performance certainly warranted me checking them out on my return home and latest album “Watching The World Come Undone” is a very good listen!

05 Templeton Pekhttps://www.facebook.com/templetonpek/

After the Punk Rock of TP, it was time to head back to the Very Metal Art stage which was lit up again with the very metal Manchester band Vice and there are only two words to describe them…’fucking awesome’! We had missed them at Hammerfest earlier in the year because of our interview schedule, but it was so worth waiting for! At Hammerfest they had given us a copy of their debut album “The First Chapter” which is a massively good slab of heaviness, if you’re looking for a comparison band then I suppose Primitai would be a good start, and we were REALLY impressed by their performance here. They have great energy and presence even though they are only a three piece and filled the stage both physically and audibly with their music sounding just as good live as it does on their album. Vocalist/Guitarist Tom Atkinson, whom I’ve known since his days in Absolva, has a cracking voice and shreds like a demon! Beth also thought he had very lovely Pantene style hair but I couldn’t possibly comment!! Check them out!

06 Vicehttps://www.facebook.com/Vicemetaluk/

Up until this point, every band had blown us away with how good they were, and how good the sound was, but we weren’t quite as bowled over by all female, London based, ‘Basement Rock’ act The Kut, who were next on the Red Stripe stage. I know they’ve been getting a lot of good press lately and they have a growing fan-base who adore them but their L7, Courtney Love brand of alternative rock didn’t sit comfortably in my ears live, although I do quite like their debut album “Valley Of Thorns”. Maybe it was because it was so hot, or that we needed a recharge but they just left us feeling a bit meh and they looked a bit swamped on the main stage. I think they would certainly come across better in a more intimate club setting!

07 The Kuthttps://www.facebook.com/thekut/

We made our way back over to the Very Metal Art stage because the next band on were most definitely going to wake us up big time and do it with a huge cheesy grin. None other than our favourite Mancunian lunatics, Footprints In The Custard were ready to Mankini things up to 11! Hilarious; Sharp; Crazy; Adorable and Sexy! These are just some of the words that come to mind when describing Footprints In The Custard live. They had borrowed Ward XVI guitarist David Stott, to stand in for Ross, who had very inconsiderately decided to get married…I mean, come on, that’s a terrible excuse for not playing!!! Fair play to David though, he really got into character, and I think secretly enjoyed wearing his Mankini, plenty of females in the crowd seemed to enjoy David wearing his Mankini too! Seriously, if you have never seen these guys play then you need too, they are comedy genius! From kicking off with the Thomas The Tank Engine theme tune to their closing rendition of The Weathergirls ‘It’s Raining Men’ there is laughter, groaning and head-banging in abundance They always look like they are having so much fun up on stage, their humour is so off the wall you can’t help but smile and we absolutely love them!

08 Footprints In The Custardhttps://www.facebook.com/Footprintsinthecustard/

At this point we popped back into the sweltering G’s Bar tent stage because Leeds based Rock/Metal band Chasing Dragons had just started their set and both Beth and I had heard some of their material and earmarked them as a must see. What hit us were the amazing vocals coming through the microphone. Lead singer ‘Tank’ has a powerful and hugely captivating voice, which she can bring down incredibly wonderfully to ballad level. At one point she moved from the stage to sit on the bar and sang the most beautifully emotional song, which actually brought Beth to tears and my eyes misted up as well! You know a song is good when it tugs at your emotions like that and looking around, it was clear to see that we weren’t the only people moved! It was an incredibly special moment and one neither of us will forget. Chasing Dragons were absolutely fantastic and are another of those rare breed of bands who don’t sound like anyone else. Their forthcoming debut album “Faction” will be a must have. Ignore them at your peril!

09 Chasing Dragonshttps://www.facebook.com/chasingdragonsuk/

After more slushies (which we have decided are the holy grail of hot weather) we headed back over to the Red Stripe stage to catch Irish Modern Metal outfit, Dead Label. Their name derives from not wanting to be pigeon-holed into a particular genre so I’m not going to try. We already love these guys and had a great time interviewing them for Ever Metal back in March. It was fabulous to see them on this stage, even though it did look quite big with only the three of them, however their huge, groove laden, sound matched the stage size. Claire Percival is tiny but she is an absolute powerhouse on the drums and bassist/vocalist Dan O’Grady and guitarist Danny Hall had plenty of space to do their thing and they did it with consummate ease! If you haven’t seen Dead Label before then you seriously have to check them out (a perfect chance will be at this year’s Bloodstock where they play the Sophie stage on Saturday 11th August). They are heavy but really melodic and very dark. They have something special and gave Amplified an excellent performance!

10 Dead Labelhttps://www.facebook.com/DeadLabel/

Usually, in this sort of heat I’d want to find some shade but the Amplified ‘special vibe’ was really starting to take hold on everyone and the smiles, laughter and happiness from all corners of the arena was palpable. With that in mind, there was absolutely no way we weren’t going to go and watch the next band on the Very Metal Art stage. After seeing Witch Tripper a few times now, we knew what they were going to give us…energy and effort by the bucket load, along with top-notch musicianship and great songs. They never disappoint and this performance was no different. Their style is pure good, groovy, sludgy old school heavy rock/metal. I love the bounce in their rhythms and the catchy hooks that they seem to write effortlessly. Witch Tripper really know how to rock and engage an audience. They also work their nuts off to make sure everyone gets a good show, and that is really commendable in this day and age. They tour incessantly, so if you haven’t already, go and watch them. You’re guaranteed to have a sore neck the next day!

11 Witch Tripperhttps://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

Both Beth and I are huge Power Metal freaks, I’ve been there since Helloween first appeared, and my favourite Power Metal band is Gamma Ray, so we were hugely looking forward to seeing Southampton based Power Quest on the Red Stripe stage. If you don’t know, Power Quest were formed by ex Dragonforce keyboard player Steve Williams back in 2001. Sadly, this was to be guitarist Andy Kopczyk’s last gig with the band so it was a special evening. I know classic Power Metal isn’t a huge pull in the UK but Power Quest were absolutely amazing and more. By that point in the day Beth had lost the ability to express energy and excitement physically with the heat and I had to sit for much of their set but inside, our heads were going bananas with excitement!! I was absolutely blown away by the vocals of Ashley Edison (Dendera) as well as the technical skills of every musician. It was such a great atmosphere in the crowd too, with everyone having a great time and losing their shit in a good way to some full on, swashbuckling metal! I think this is why we both love power metal so much, it’s bouncy, uplifting, awesome and well…powerful and Power Quest absolutely epitomise what the genre is all about!

12 Power Questhttps://www.facebook.com/powerquestofficial/

Even with the best will in the world we had to take a break at this point so we headed for the oasis that was the Motley Brew for a cuppa (honestly Phil and his team are absolute saints) and then to some shade in the media area where we were able to just chill out with others and discuss what had been, up to then, one of the best days of live music I had ever experienced in 35 years of Festival attendance. Once our energy levels had replenished and we had poured water over ourselves it was back to the Red Stripe stage to witness the lightning bolt that was German Thrash band Dust Bolt! Holy thundercrackers where do these guys get their energy from? They supplied Classic Thrash, German and Bay Area styles with aplomb, so Destruction, Exodus, Kreator and Testament fans were all catered for. They had immense energy and connection with each other and the audience. I love my Thrash, but Beth is pretty picky, in the same way that people are with marmite, she either really loves it, or really hates it. For her Dust Bolt were definitely in the ‘really love’ pile! It was so good that literally the only thing that annoyed her was that the corner of their banner, at the back of the stage had come unhooked, and it looked untidy on the photos she was trying to take! We really hope we get a chance to see them again, believe me they are absolutely phenomenal!

13 Dust Bolthttps://www.facebook.com/dustbolt/

Trying to conserve some energy, but not succeeding, Beth nipped over to the Very Metal Art stage again to catch South Wales based Alternative Pop Rockers The Dirty Youth, who were filling the headline slot and these are her thoughts. “They were a little heavier than I was expecting, after watching their YouTube videos, but they were still a lot lighter than most of the bands throughout the day, which was actually kind of nice to wind down to. However, they were a bit too modern and ‘Kerrang Style’ for my liking. I’m getting older now and much of this more modern stuff just sounds the same! That said you couldn’t fault their musicianship, vocalist Danni Monroe had a cracking set of pipes and the sound was still impeccable!”

https://www.facebook.com/thedirtyyouth/

All that was left then, at least for us, were Red Stripe Main stage headliners SOiL! I had never been a huge fan of the band (at the time the 90’s were a bit of a lost cause for me music wise), but Beth loves them and never thought she would see them live, so she was like a chuffed fangirl waiting for them to get onstage. I have to admit I thought they were excellent and we spent the duration of their set jumping. The first half of their performance was really great, incorporating loads of classic tunes which got the, now much larger, crowd bouncing, and meant that Beth could squawk along with her rapidly disappearing voice. They did have some technical issues with wireless systems on both the bass and guitar, which lead to a bit of a delay and they somewhat lost the plot after that and had a weird game of sing a bit of a song and see if you can work out how to play it on the spot! Then it all went a bit more random when vocalist Ryan McCombs decided it would be fun to dive into the audience just for shits and giggles! I did get a big hug from him on the way back to the stage, and that, along with the fact that he had spoken to me, directly from the stage, earlier in the gig, made my night! It was definitely one of Beth’s favourite performances of the weekend, despite its randomness, and in me, they have found a new fan…even if I am about twenty years late to the party.

14 Soilhttps://www.facebook.com/SOiLmusic/

After that, we left the youngsters to go and party at the G’s Bar Stage with Voodoo Blood closing the night, whilst we made the huge walk of about ten yards to the Motley Brew, for the best mug of coffee I had tasted in years, a good chat with loads of mates about the performances that day plus the absolutely amazing atmosphere and then it was back to the tent for a damn good sleep before starting again for Day Two. Stay tuned for that…!

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/amplifiedfestivalUK/

https://www.instagram.com/amplifiedrocks/
https://open.spotify.com/user/1122837427/playlist/0czFgKJ1GgPHJjwG4s7DKR

15 Amplified Logo

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

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

 

Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Final Central Station, Wrexham 15/06/2018

00 M2TM North Wales Logo

Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Final

Central Station, Wrexham 15/06/2018

Review by Beth Jones with pointless bits from Rick Tilley!

 

After what seemed a very long time, Friday 15th June was the night – The Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses North Wales Final! It was the culmination of months of hard work by both the bands and the organisers, and was set to be a great show, combining competition bands and showcase bands for an evening extravaganza! We, at Ever Metal HQ, were really excited for the event, not least because it was a chance to have a catch up with old friends, but more so because we had been at most of the heats, and the semis, and were excited to see which band would be rewarded for their efforts with the ultimate prize – a spot on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock 2018.

Following the packed nature of the heats, it was good to see a move of venue for the final, from the ‘cosy and bijou’ Atomic, to the much more substantial Central Station Venue. This allowed NEW Metal Productions to have two stages and alternate them – a brave decision, but did it work? We will come to that later!

First up on the main stage, to get us all in the mood, were instrumental trio, Archetype. This was our first experience of them. One word – Proggywoggydoodahh! I don’t think I need to explain any further than that. It was quite funny trying to watch the audience bang their heads to the rhythm, only to be fooled by a random bar of 13/8 instead of a good old 4/4 beat. Watching reasonably sober metal heads collectively trying to look cool when someone steals their solid rhythm is quite amusing! Aside from that, Archetype were clearly very talented musicians and clearly know how to write a good prog tune, but I have to say, after a short while, I found it quite difficult to listen to. It was too much for my brain to take sober, Rick, on the other hand, loved them!

01 Archetypehttps://www.facebook.com/wearethearchetypeUK/

A quick hop over to the second stage followed to catch Pelugion. We love these guys and it is easy to see why they have had success this year in the M2TM final in Coventry – if their performance that evening was half as good as their performance as guests here, then they were very worthy winners. They make one hell of a sound with just the three of them, and their connection is really strong, which gives their performance a confidence beyond their years. They provide you with classic heavy metal, quite Sabbath like in places, and give everything 100% welly! Love them.

02 Pelugionhttps://www.facebook.com/pelugion/

Next was the first of the competition bands on the main stage, Impavidus. In my last review, I called them ‘female fronted’ and got a bit of stick for it, so this time I shall refer to them as Michelle and her all male backing band!! Joking aside, these guys are all properly talented musicians, and Michelle’s vocal versatility is astounding. We had been massively impressed with them at the Semi Final and felt certain that they would walk it in the final. Sadly, the sound let them down. Central Station is a notorious venue for problematic acoustics, and Impavidus were not helped by this one little bit. I think that the bad sound quality gave them a bit of a knock, and the spark and chemistry we saw in the semis just wasn’t quite there, which in turn affected their overall performance. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was the size of the venue, maybe it was the low – level lighting or the way it sounded on stage, who knows. We were truly gutted for them, but I think it was probably a worthwhile experience – things like that tend to focus your mind on areas that you can improve on.

03 Impavidushttps://www.facebook.com/impavidusuk/

Moving back to the second stage, we were greeted by local band, IN DEPTHS. Again, another first time for us, but with them hailing from just over the border and having had success recently in the Mammothfest Best Band competition, we were intrigued to check them out. The first thing that caught my attention was the bright white floor lights that they were using on stage. This totally changed the mood of the performance in a very clever way. The effect of it was almost like a bad dream – strange shadows creating distortions in features, which fitted well with their musical style. It was much harsher than I was expecting and quite intricate and complex, a bit Djent, and quite animated. Whilst I’m not a massive fan of the genre, it was really good to see them thinking about the overall look and staging and it was nice to see a bass player, on a six – string bass, actually utilising all the strings – kudos for that!

04 In Depthshttps://www.facebook.com/InDepths/

Returning once again to the main stage, we were ready and waiting for our next competition band, Cadence Noir. Again, we had really enjoyed these guys from their heat and semi and had high hopes for them. They were very different to everything that had been on so far, with much more of a party feel to them. They were lively, rocky, well-rehearsed, and had the best sound of the evening so far. They too had thought about their image, and the fact that they have a violin player and the bass player switches between standard electric bass and upright semi acoustic double bass gave them more of an edge. They gave a great performance and had the whole crowd bouncing and dancing and really partying. It was certainly a hard act to follow and I was pretty confident that we had just seen a winning performance, although the band themselves where not of the same opinion when we had a chat with them in the smoking area afterwards, during what was a well needed break from proceedings.

05 Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

Following the short interval, the next competition band, Redwood Avenue, took to the main stage. As you all know by now, my opinion of these guys has changed a lot from when I first saw them, however I think this is because they have grown in confidence and finesse, and their performance here was no exception to this rule. They always have a good following too, which helps drive their performance along. Front man Aled is very animated, and the skills of the drummer keep everything very tight throughout their complex songs. With their Djent, Modern Metal sound, it was a huge contrast to the previous two bands we had seen in the competition this evening, which was great – variety is the spice of life, and they do what they do well. I sometimes wish their guitarists would be a little more animated though. I think this is made more noticeable by the fact that the bass player and drummer, along with Aled, are animated, so it sticks out like a sore thumb. To coin a phrase I used in my first review about them, they are only young; it will come with time and experience!

06 Redwood Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/redwoodavenue2014/

Once more back over to the second stage we headed, for the last band of the night on that stage, the fantastic Welsh nutcases, Lifer! Although I have listened to plenty of their music, this was a first time for me seeing them live. What a diamond bunch of lads they are, and what a chemistry they create on stage. They are thrashy, doomy, and heavy, and generally awesome. Scriv has a great presence as a front man and knows how to hold a tune and an audience in the palm of his hand. I really enjoyed their set and will endeavour to see them again soon. It was nice to have them in the mix with all the young bands that we had seen so far, as they are like the voice of experience for them – the ones who have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and are still loving it and showing us that they are loving it!

07 Liferhttps://www.facebook.com/lifermetal/

The final Competition band was up next – OMV. Hold on to your hats folks, things are about to get a lot more sweary. One thing is for certain – Richie OMV certainly has a lot of fucks to give! Call me a prude, but there was a bit too much fuckery for my liking if I’m honest, which is a shame, as I really like their music, but the over use of our favourite expletive, as well as a few other choice words, was a big turn off for me. That said, they did put on a good show and it was, as ever, tight and well-rehearsed. I love the fact also that they had more than one generation of their family there to support them – as they have had at each of their performances in the M2TM competition. That was really nice and they did do their family proud with their performance – just please lay off the expletives a little – it doesn’t do you any favours!

08 OMVhttps://www.facebook.com/omvmetalband/

And that was it for competition bands. Whilst Rob Bannister deliberated on, what was most definitely, a very tough decision, we were treated to some good solid thrash metal in the form of Solitary. They were our guest headliners and they certainly filled that spot brilliantly, even if quite a few of the audience hadn’t got the stamina to stay until the end…lightweights! The people who did stay were treated to a fantastic performance from them, with huge energy and passion and groove laden tunes back to back throughout their set.

09 Solitaryhttps://www.facebook.com/Official.Solitary/

So, to the decision – Rob took to the stage, the room divided into four definite parties! Who would win? I had a feeling I knew but was intrigued to see if Rob would go that way. ‘The winner of this year’s Metal 2 The Masses North Wales Final is ………… CADENCE NOIR!!!!’ Whilst there was obvious disappointment in the room from the fans of the other bands, the general consensus was that it was the correct decision on the night – apart from the Cadence Noir guys, who were completely shocked and thought Redwood Avenue should have won! After obligatory congrats / commiserations / photos, the crowd drifted off, all knowing they had just witnessed a super night of music with a competition of four bands, completely diverse in style, but all equally talented at what they do. It really was anyone’s game. We had an absolute blast, as we have had throughout the competition, and came home happy and content that a good night had most definitely been had. My only criticism was that the night seemed to take a long time to get to the decision. I think the second stage was good, but possibly dragged things out a little too much, however all the bands on there were fantastic. The sound on there was better than the sound on the main stage, which kind of irritated me a bit, but the room which the second stage was in is much easier to set sound in – that is more a fault with the building though – believe me I saw Soulfly in there a good while ago and it was a wall of noise, so even the big bands struggle.

Myself and Rick feel very privileged to have been at all these gigs and would like to express our thanks for the hard work and dedication of all involved, not only the bands, But Fozzy and Beany for having the determination to pull off the events, all of which ran like absolute clockwork. Also, thanks to Rob Bannister for coming all the way to little old Wrexham to judge it, as well as Dani Maguire from ‘Powerzone’ on Calon FM and John Matthews from ‘Totally Tankered’, who cast the judges votes in the heats and semis. Not only have we had a great time at each show, but we have met and become friends with some wonderful people along the way, and that is what music is all about – the universal language that brings people together. It would be lovely to see this as the springboard for more of the same in this town.

10 Winners

Huge congratulations to Cadence Noir – have fun at BOA 2018. LONG LIVE METAL!

SOCIAL MEDIA

North East Wales Metal Productions:

https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/

The Powerzone Radio Show:

https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/

Metal 2 The Masses Official Public Group Page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/

Bloodstock Festival:

https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/

Central Station, Wrexham:

https://www.facebook.com/centralstationvenue/

 

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 do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Semi Final 2, Atomic, Wrexham 25/05/2018

05 M2TM North Wales Logo

Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses North Wales Semi Final 2 – Atomic, Wrexham – 25/05/2018

Review by Beth Jones

As the light evenings get longer and summer doesn’t look quite so much like something that happened in the old days, the North Wales M2TM competition is nearing its climax, and the penultimate gig saw us return to our new favourite little venue, Atomic in Wrexham. The night was set to be a good one, with a strong bill of four bands all vying for the prize, and awesome special guest headliners in the shape of the mighty Witch Tripper. Unfortunately, one of the four competition bands, Cobolt Collision, had been forced to pull out earlier in the day, due to illness – we were gutted, but I can guarantee we weren’t as gutted as them. Hopefully they will get another chance at the competition sometime in the future. But these things unfortunately can’t be helped. And so, the stage was set, the atmosphere was great and the nervous tension palpable, as we entered what I shall lovingly call ‘the Snug’!

First up were Redwood Avenue, a band that we had seen originally at Hammerfest earlier in the year and were a little non-plus about. I wrote in our review of that… “They were good, but for me the music needs more of a hook; it felt a little disjointed in places, but the guys are only young, so this will hopefully come with time”… Now this doesn’t happen very often, but…… OK I ADMIT IT – I WAS REALLY WRONG!!! We have now seen them three more times, and they have been better each time – it’s funny how first impressions can be so wrong. I’m not saying never listen to me because I am clearly an idiot, but NEVER LISTEN TO ME BECAUSE I AM CLEARLY AN IDIOT!! They were tight, they were catchy, they were riffy and their mix was crisp. They got the place instantly bouncing, and gave the audience a great show to start the night. They are more modern metal, but they properly know what they are doing, and I am ashamed that I passed it off after our first encounter. My humblest apologies guys! This performance was by far the best we had seen them. Cracking!

01 Redwood Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/redwoodavenue2014/

After a quick vape/bar/comfort break, it was back up to the Snug for band number two – the utterly loopy Mad Spanner. These guys are just hilarious – they are the Monty Python of metal, combining off the wall observational comedy with chaotic thrash / punk! Lead singer Michael has one of the most expressive faces I have ever seen, and his height and huge amount of hair add to the overall manic-ness of their performance. They humoured us with tracks such as, ‘Get Off Your Bastard Phone (You Antisocial Dickhead)’ and ‘We Are No Longer Forced To Use A Shitty Drum Machine’, and everyone had a great time throwing people round the pit and laughing manically as they did it. Absolutely hilarious, wild, manic, fun. So much so that I even took my hair out of a ponytail and had a little mosh! Whilst, musically, they may not be the tightest band in the world, for the sheer fun factor, they are two thumbs good in my book!!

02 Mad Spannerhttps://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner/

The final competition band were Cadence Noir. When we saw these guys in the heats, bassist Tom was somewhat incapacitated, on crutches, so had to sit down to play, but by the Semi he was up on two feet again and it did make a difference to their performance. Again, their sound was great, and you could tell that they were really up for the competition. They say that their style is ‘Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll’, which is right up my street – I would possibly call them Pirate Metal, because that is what it makes me think of! I love the fact that their music does have folky roots, and the roll played by Fiddle player, Emma, is integral to their music. For this show, Tom was also interchanging between his standard electric Bass and a mighty sexy electric double bass, which added another dimension again. Their upbeat, bouncy, rum drinking tracks had the whole room moving again, and my personal favourite is their jaunty little ditty, ‘Fuck, Fuck, Boom, Boom’! Loved it!

03 Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

And that was the last of the competition bands – this was going to be the toughest decision yet for the judges – all three deserved a place in the final in my opinion. So, whilst the judges deliberated, and after another quick vape/bar/etc break, the special guest headliners, the mighty Witch Tripper, took to the stage. Beany, our Master Of Ceremonies, had announced them as ‘the hardest working band in the UK at the moment’, and I have to say that, with the exception of Absolva, I completely agree. Their passion and complete dedication is conveyed superbly by their musicianship and performance technique and I love them! They fill the stage even though there are only three of them and produce song after song after song of solid, groove laden, proper hard heavy rock. They are the genre’s equivalent to a top quality 8oz fillet steak (or vegetarian equivalent!) and deserved to be savoured and enjoyed! Seriously if you have not heard these guys, you really need to check them out. We are hugely looking forward to seeing them at Amplified in a couple of months’ time.

04 Witch Tripperhttps://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

After the sheer brilliance of Witch Tripper, it was time for the big reveal. It was too close to call, and Beany milked this for as long as humanly possible, and then a bit longer! After truly putting the whole audience on tenterhooks, the bands announced to progress to the final were…… Redwood Avenue and Cadence Noir! It was such a shame that one had to go, and that one had to be Mad Spanner, but that is the unfortunate nature of competition. Regardless, the night was brilliant, the bands superb, and the atmosphere warm, friendly and jovial throughout. I was in my happy place. Bring on the final, because if it is half as good as the semi, it will be a cracking show.

For those who can get there, I thoroughly recommend making sure you do – there is a move of venues, to Central Station, and the addition of a second stage, meaning the night will be even more jam packed with great music. I think I should probably book the Saturday off work!!

SOCIAL MEDIA

M2TM North Wales FINAL – Central Station Wrexham – 15/06/2018 Event Page

https://www.facebook.com/events/562274997482339/

Bloodstock M2TM Official Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/about/

North East Wales Metal Productions

https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/

Powerzone Radio Show

https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/

Atomic, Wrexham

https://www.facebook.com/atomicbarwxm/

Bloodstock Festival

https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/

 

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 do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages