Rebecca Downes – The Met Lounge, Peterborough – 29/03/2019

01 Rebecca Downes

Rebecca Downes
The Met Lounge, Peterborough
29/03/2019
Review by Paul Monkhouse

Many bands have turned to acoustic sets in the past but very few as well as the Quireboys, a band with the charisma and material to make it really work for them. When this is perfectly teamed with an opening slot by the brilliant Rebecca Downes it proves to be an evening when all you can do is be swept away by the music.

Having toured regularly up and down the length and breadth of the country with her full band playing support to bands such as Magnum, tonight sees her shorn of her full band but joined by partner in crime guitarist and vocalist Steve Birkett. The duo fill the sound with ease and you can’t help but warm instantly to Downes, her great humour and down to earth personality shine, displaying not a shred of over inflated ego. ‘Take Me Higher’ is an excellent showcase for her soulful vocals and really got the attention of all there. As has been proven many times before, huge talent isn’t always enough but needs to be matched with great quality material to really highlight the artist. The songwriting team of Downes and Birkett have that by the bucketload. Next song ‘It’s Not Easy’ is a prime example of this as it twists and turns in unexpected directions whilst the stripped-down acoustic arrangement really lets the vocals shine.

Refreshingly, Birkett doesn’t just play second fiddle to the singer as the two are evenly matched in musical chops and it comes over as a perfect partnership. There is a genuine warmth exuding from them and when showcased in such great fare as the sparkling ‘Waving Goodbye’ it’s pretty unbeatable. The richness of the voices glides perfectly over a hooky chorus, as the track has a classic, almost pop, soulful tone. It would have been difficult to follow that gem but the Radio 2 playlisted ‘Sailing on a Pool of Tears’ ups the ante even more. A big, spellbinding ballad, it contains elements of chilled flamenco and is both instantly catchy and heartrending.

The pace changes with ‘1000 Years’, an upbeat blues number with a truly cocky strut that easily dispels the narrow view that the blues is solely downbeat tales of suffering. The short set finishes with the title track from last album ‘Believe’, another forceful wake up call that is both defiant and life affirming. Featuring an acoustic breakdown, its sense of dynamics proving it was the perfect number to finish on. Returning later for an incendiary duet with Spike for the Quireboys encore, Downes was the ideal choice as touring companion for these dates and was clearly having a ball on the road with a band she’s long been an admirer of. With her expressive Midlands accent she doesn’t sound like one of the Windsors in conversation but, make no mistake, when she sings Rebecca Downes is UK Blues royalty. If you want to know the roots of hard rock and metal, get yourself into the blues. You really can’t go wrong with the lethal combination that this partnership offers of filthy barroom rock ‘n’ roll and soul. Catch them when you can.

LINKS:
https://www.rebeccadownes.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaDownes/

https://www.instagram.com/rebeccadownesuk/

 

02 Poster 2019

 

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

 

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 1 – Mcleans Pentre – 17/05/2019

00 Event Poster

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 1
Mcleans Pentre – 17/05/2019
Review by Beth Jones

It doesn’t seem like two minutes since the first heat of this year’s M2TM North Wales competition, and yet all of a sudden, here we are at the business end of proceedings!

The first semi-final promised a definite step up in standards, and we were very much looking forward to it. Sadly, again, one competing band, Mindriot 15, had to pull out due to a family emergency, so we were left with four really good bands to battle for just two places in the final; Favela, Lullaby For A Unicorn, Bad Earth and Scarfoot.

When we arrived at Mcleans, it was great to see a really good turnout, despite road closures and all sorts of other things happening that weekend. The running order was drawn live, and Favela were picked to go on first.

Favela
After seeing these guys in the heat, we knew what they were all about. They are heavy, 90’s inspired, shouty and tight. They certainly put on a performance here, with front man Tom Harrison covering every inch of available stage space in a performance full of energy and vigour. This might make me unpopular, but I actually think I preferred their performance in their initial heat. I don’t even know why! I think maybe they were almost trying too hard here, and it didn’t feel as real as in the heat. Rick however totally disagrees with me! He thought they were really good. Maybe I was just in a bad mood! Hard day at work and all that!!

01 Favelahttps://www.facebook.com/FavelaUK/

Lullaby For A Unicorn
I don’t need to say much about these guys, apart from it is always a pleasure to be in their company and watch them play, and they were on fire for this performance. Even though it was shorter than their usual craziness, they still managed to make a huge mess! Guitarist Dan Alexander also looked like a man possessed. Usually very reserved whilst playing, he was jumping round like a complete nutter and really going for it with his presence and witty banter, which was great to see. They were super good, as always, and super tight. I have a real soft spot for these guys. Luckily, I’m not a judge, so it doesn’t matter if I am biased!

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

Bad Earth
Here is a band who have been through the mill a bit recently, but they have had good news, just this week, with the appointment of new bass player, Tim Nicholls. Having not heard him play before and knowing that he had had just 5 days to learn the set, we were nervous for them, but we needn’t have been. Oh my word, what a show! Big, big kudos to Tim, who did an outstanding job, and seems to have just slotted right in to the band perfectly. Drummer Ren Stefan and Guitarist/Vocalist Stephen Coxon looked so much more relaxed on stage, and their performance was spot on. I spoke to Stephen afterwards and he said that was the best he has felt on stage for a while – that it felt comfortable. We could really tell from out front! A great performance. And, just for Stephen’s benefit, I would like to point out that the lighting was perfect, and they all had the correct number of clothes on 😉.

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

Scarfoot
They were definitely up for this performance and put on a pretty good show on the whole. They are very passionate and are great lads, but for me they were lacking in something here, and I can never quite put my finger on what it is. Don’t get me wrong, they have come on a long way from when we first saw them, but I think that they still have more locked up potential that they need to find the key for. Their songs are creative, quite proggy in places, and they perform them well, but it just doesn’t gel quite right sometimes. That being said, they did work their socks off and the crowd were appreciative. They are really lovely guys too.

04 Scarfoothttps://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband/

That was the final competing band, and after a swift round of voting, and a trip to the bar, and while the judges went off to deliberate on their choice, we had the pleasure of discovering an interesting bunch from South Wales!

Apathy Avenue
On their Facebook page, these guys say they are Alternative/Hard Rock. The lead singer certainly had a hefty does of alternative flare, a bit like if Dr Who went to Glastonbury stoned out of his tree! They were very tight and well-rehearsed, and had a quirky style. Sections of rap peppered their songs, along with clean vocals and some nice guitar work. Whilst they were not what I was expecting, they were good, and I quite liked them. They weren’t particularly heavy, and I think some of the crowd were in need of something a bit more growly, but the ones that did stay to watch them seemed to enjoy it too.

05 Guest Headliner Apathy Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/Apathyavenue/

And so, the results were in. It was going to be a really hard one to call, as every band had upped their game. I knew who I thought it should be, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Progressing to the final were (drum roll please)…………. Bad Earth and Lullaby For A Unicorn! I was very happy with this. It was, in my humble opinion, the right choice. Favela missed out by the narrowest of margins, but it is all about what happens on the night, and Lullaby and Bad Earth just had that edge. Well done to all the competing bands for getting this far, and we shall look forward to seeing all of you, in some capacity, very soon.

Thanks again to all the bands for a great night, and of course to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Paul Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North for their constant hard work and dedication to the scene here in North Wales. See you at Semi Final 2, which is going to be even tougher than this one!

LINKS:
Semi-Final 2 Event Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/2350996518296726/
Grand Final Event Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/172760083629491/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

 

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

Know Your Enemy Debut Album Release Show – Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ – 27/04/2019

00 Know Your Enemy Gig Poster

Know Your Enemy
Debut Album Release Show!
Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ
27/04/2019
Review and Photos by Stephen J. Moss

Know Your Enemy is a New Jersey band who just celebrated the release of their very first full length album! Andy Jansons had the opportunity to interview the band after the show. I highly recommend you check it out by going to;

Interview with Know Your Enemy

Prior to this show, I had no knowledge of this band so I didn’t know what to expect from them. After seeing them perform live however, I’m definitely a fan! Not only do these guys make incredible music, they also know how to throw a kick ass album release party.

Let me give you an idea of how the night went:

The venue is called Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse in Dunellen, NJ. The atmosphere is like an old circus. There are pictures of sword swallowing artists, they have skeletons wearing pink wings, Greek mythology characters, and other side show pictures on the wall. It’s a really fun and funky place to hold a show.

Vivi Noir
Before the show started and in between each band they had a performance by the beautiful Vivi Noir who is an award winning burlesque dancer in the New Jersey / New York City area

Not only is Vivi beautiful she’s also daring. She had one act where she lay on broken bottles while a man stood on her! Don’t worry, she was unharmed!!

Vivi had multiple acts that night and each time, she killed it. After seeing her live, it’s easy to see why she is one of New Jersey’s favourite burlesque dancers.

01 Vivi Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/missvivinoir/

Acid Cactus
The first band to hit the stage was Acid Cactus. They are a young New Jersey band that is a cross between Street Punk and Hardcore Punk. To date, the band only has an EP that can be found on Band Camp by clicking here (https://acidcactus.bandcamp.com/releases). It’s your typical loud, obnoxious, fast, and obscenity filled street punk. If you like bands like “The Casualties” then you should check out Acid Cactus. The song I loved was called ‘Left Lane Drivers’ because here in New Jersey, it’s illegal to drive in the left lane unless you’re passing another car. Sadly, many out of state drivers can’t read the road signs and will drive slowly in the left lane and it drives native New Jerseyans bat shit crazy! You can find out more from visiting Acid Cactus’ Facebook Page

02 Acid Cactushttps://www.facebook.com/acidcactus/

Fear The Masses
The Second band to hit the stage was called Fear The Masses. They are from New Haven, Connecticut. Fear the Masses does a fantastic job of balancing post-hardcore metal with hip hop influences. They are in a similar boat to bands like One Minute Silence, Rage Against the Machine, and (hed) p.e. Their lyrics are politically and socially driven and they came out and instantly took control of the stage. They had tons of energy and really gave 100% on the night interacting with the fans and even giving a drumstick to one lucky girl.

My favourite song from their set-list was called ‘Make Me Your Leader’. This song is going to be on my top played playlist!

03 Fear The Masseshttps://www.facebook.com/Fearthemassesband/

Know Your Enemy
Next was the main event, Know Your Enemy. They hit the stage with a massive roar from the crowd! This New Jersey band is one you absolutely have to check out! I got a strong “Sevendust” feeling when I was listening to them although, I never felt that Know Your Enemy were simply trying to sound like any certain band. They utilise a blend of metal and hip hop and even though that isn’t anything new, Know Your Enemy do a nice job in taking a blend of music many people are already familiar with and adding their own flair to it!

Know Your Enemy played their debut album “Root Of All Evil” in its entirety. Not only did they kill it playing their original songs, they also did some incredible cover songs taking on Tool’s ‘Hooker With A Penis” along with two Rage Against the Machine tracks.

The energy was top notch! This was their night and they owned it! Despite being a relatively new band, Know Your Enemy acted like they have played a thousand sold out football arenas in the past, they were calm, cool and collected.

This was a very special night for them in more than one way. Not only was this their debut album release party, it was also a night when the band came together with its original bass player, Robert McCann. Due to unforeseen and challenging life circumstances, Robert had to quit the band and move out of state. While Robert was dealing with his challenges, he wrote a song entitled ‘Me Instead’. This song was extremely personal and full of meaning; a very deep song not only to Robert but when Singer Fonz Rodriguez heard the song it also touched a massive nerve with him as well. ‘Me Instead’ reminded Fonz of a time when he and his wife were dealing with their own intense issues. When Know Your Enemy joined Robert on stage the band decided to play Robert’s song.

This was an extremely emotional moment for the band because it was a revisit to one of the most painful times of Fonz and Robert’s life. It was also the last time playing with Robert on stage. Before singing ‘Me Instead’, Fonz stated they would never sing this song again on tour. This was truly a special moment for all in attendance. Somehow, Fonz was able to keep himself composed and made it through the song despite its heavy meaning. He delivered it in an incredibly impressive way. I have mad respect for someone who can put themselves out there in such a vulnerable position. This shows you just how devoted Know Your Enemy is to their fans and to their music. When it comes to their songs and their stage performances, they give it all.

At the end, the band had intended to end the show with a metal cover of “Lose Yourself,” an Eminem song. The crowd, however, had other plans. When Lose Yourself was over and the band went away, the crowd erupted with chants of, “One more song!” Know Your Enemy seemed a bit surprised because when they came back on stage for an encore, lead singer Fonz Rodriguez made the comment that he thought he would end with the cover but they were so good live that people just wanted more! For the encore, they band played homage to their beginnings with some old material.

This, for sure, will be a night to remember for Know Your Enemy, as well as their fans. I personally feel honoured because this was my first time seeing them. I’m glad I was able to be part of such a special night. Currently they are unsigned. After seeing them live and hearing their album, however, I know it won’t be too long before people take notice of them in a big way. So to the band I say, remember Jersey when you’re big and famous hahahah!

04 Know Your Enemy Pic

My top six songs are:
01. Me Instead
02. Bound
03. Fooling Ourselves
04. Sway
05. New Energy
06. Victim

https://www.facebook.com/enemybandnj/
Roxy and Dukes Roadhouse!
https://www.facebook.com/RoxyandDukesRoadhouse/

 

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

All photographs reproduced here with kind permission from Stephen Moss

Samantha Fish – The Junction, Cambridge – 13/05/2019

00 Samantha Fish Poster

Samantha Fish
The Junction, Cambridge
13/05/2019
Review by Paul Monkhouse
Photo by Laurence Harvey

Let’s just start by saying this: Samantha Fish is one of THE BEST guitarists you will ever see. Currently touring Europe, she has both the musical chops and the material to put on a real masterclass with her unique brand of country infused blues rock that is, by turns, seductive and eviscerating. Backed by a formidably tight three-piece band, she blew away the packed audience in a display of ferocious virtuosity showing that not only is Blues alive but just as vibrant and relevant today as it ever has been.

‘American Dream’ opens the set with a real swagger and kicks things off supremely, a template for the thrills to come. This was no warming gently into the show but a full-blooded leap into her world, the delightfully twisting rhythm of the song and fantastic vocal intonation of the chorus immediately drawing the crowd in. Whilst the band propel the groove, Fish is full of effortless cool and unleashes the first of many slide solos that highlight her deft touch and feel. Never someone to get complacent, there is a real shift in style to next number, the title track from the 2017 album ‘Chills and Fever’. With a delightful retro sound, it’s a much more jazzy/soul number that has a swing and style more akin musically and vocally to the late Amy Winehouse. With its terrific keys solo by Phil Breen, the song shows how Fish isn’t afraid to grow naturally and infuse her material with some of the best elements of 20th and 21st century music. In fact, it’s lazy to label her as ‘just a Blues artist’ because she is so much more than that and shows a really unique blend of different styles whilst at the same time very much having her own unique identity.

‘Wild Heart’ adds another twist with its galloping and insistent riff, the song rocking along as the passionate vocals power over the top of it. Fish looks utterly consumed by the music as a curl of blonde hair falls over her eyes whilst she rips into her guitar, her whole body lost in the glorious sound. ‘You Can’t Go’ wasn’t so much an instruction as an impossibility, transfixed as the audience were by the four musicians onstage and featured yet another outstanding solo whilst the more mellow ‘Hello Stranger’ cooled the pace once more with its soulfulness. ‘Cow Town’ was introduced with the tongue in cheek “for all you Hillbillies out there” and featured a much more ‘country’ twang to the vocals. Breen was again given the platform to shine as individual solos by both keys and guitar took the spotlight and highlighted the superior calibre of musicianship, each member of the band a master of their craft.

The first of two newly released singles, ‘Watch It Die’ is an incredibly catchy taster from forthcoming album ‘Kill or Be Kind’, propelled along by a pedal to the floor riff that is unpinned by bass player Chris Alexander and drummer Scotty Graves who lock in to provide a rock-solid base whilst adding their own style and panache. Coming over like a heavier version of prime late 70’s Fleetwood Mac, it transported the Monday night Cambridge crowd to the widescreen vistas of desert highways of Mid-West America, speeding along in an open top Pontiac GTO, a testament to the songwriting flair and an evocation of Fish’s Kansas roots. Further capturing the spirit of America, ‘Little Baby’ was an exercise in joyful rockabilly that saw the band having as much of a ball as the audience, it’s lyrics of longing and regret juxtaposed with the upbeat bounce of the music. Once more, the rhythm section of Alexander and Graves shone as they drove the beat along, the live version ramping up the fire of the original recording.

The slow, soulful country blues of ‘Go Home’ provided a much-needed breather and showed how Fish could shine equally as well with an acoustic guitar as electric, delicately plucking at the strings as her plaintive voice soared. A truly beautiful number, the vocal harmonies lifted it even further into the realms of the angelic and there was a hushed awe as if the slightest noise could break the spell. Following that with another tender number would have proven impossible so ‘Gone For Good’ was a rocking, raging storm of bottleneck slide guitar masterstroke, sandwiched as it was between the ballad and the second of the new releases ‘Love Letters’. Again, it can’t be overstated that Samantha Fish is not only an incredible player but a superb songwriter too and the track is both slinky and seductive whilst being instantly memorable therefore making it a perfect single to release.

A phenomenal ‘Somebody’s Always Trying’ is an exercise of swing that strips the sound to a pulsating, mellow soundscape, its breakdown building to an extended solo that really is a highlight of the night as the guitar sighs and screams before heading back into the chorus to finish the song. Rounding off the set, ‘Shake Em On Down’ was a perfect slice of down and dirty blues, the four-string cigar box guitar adding exactly the right level of authenticity and grit as the song slides along with the smoothness and slightly rough edge of a good bourbon. Of course, the crowd weren’t going to let the band just go without an encore and their chants and claps were rewarded as, to a huge roar, the four musicians strolled back on stage. Ripping into the heavy-duty rocker ‘Bitch On The Run’, it’s snotty, snarling attitude and irresistible chorus squeezed ever last drop of energy out of the audience and left them empty before saying a final goodnight. A barnstorming showstopper in every sense of the word, it was the perfect end to a perfect evening and one that those lucky enough to be there will be talking about for years to come.

Absolutely incredible.

LINKS:

Samantha Fish


https://www.facebook.com/samanthafishmusic/

https://www.instagram.com/samanthafishmusic/

 

01 Samantha Fish by Laurence Harvey

 

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

Photo reproduced here with kind permission of Laurence Harvey

 

Twisted Illusion & Friends Excite The Light Tour 2019 – The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool – 12/05/2019

00 Twisted Illusion Excite The Light Tour Flyer

Twisted Illusion & Friends
Excite The Light Tour 2019
The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool
12/05/2019
Review By Beth Jones with nonsensical ramblings by Rick Tilley

It is a little under 5 months since we saw Twisted Illusion last, and it is safe to say a lot has happened to the band in that time, from the shock announcement of two of its three members departure, to Matt, the life blood of TI, soul searching and wondering if it was all worth it, to being on the road touring and recording the second part of the ‘Excite The Light’ Trilogy, and now, as of last Friday, becoming a band again, after the confirmation that the line up of musicians guesting on the tour have now decided that it worked so well straight away, that TI (version 2.1.1) has been born, and that this is the new line-up! We couldn’t wait to see how they were doing as a group, given the short space of time that they have been working together.

Now to start, but as a bit of an aside, I will say that I liked driving in Liverpool far more than I liked driving in Manchester, and I managed to navigate without any bus lane infringements, so already this was good! We arrived at the venue a little after the first band started, but still with enough time to get a good feel for them. A quick look around the venue let me know that it was going to be a down to earth place. It was a good old, no bells and whistles, grass roots venue, which to me is the perfect way to enjoy music. You don’t need fancy bollocks when the tunes are top quality! Anyway, enough of this – to the music!

Riptide Messiah
Although we only caught two-thirds of these guys’ set, what we heard was pretty good; Gruff, chunky, and in places fairly intricate. They are quite melodic too, which I like. I am going to call it Melodic Prog Stoner Doom! They were a good way to start the night, but my only criticism is there was too long between songs. I’m nit picking, but this is one of my bug bears. I know you have to tune and stuff, but you need to fill that time or people’s attention wanders! Musically though, they know what they are doing and what sound they want to achieve.

01 Riptide Messiahhttps://www.facebook.com/RiptideMessiah/

Ashen Reach
Fresh from their amazing gigs in Russia, supporting Bullet For My Valentine, these guys were stoked for a good show. Having seen them support Twisted Illusion at Christmas last year (when they were called Equinox), we knew what they were about, and that we liked it! They didn’t disappoint! They are so full of youthful exuberance, of which we are very jealous, and they hammered straight into a full-on set, with powerful vocals, fast paced melodies, and chunky rhythms. They are a good, solid, classic hard rock band, and they make you happy. Lead singer, Dan Moran, has such a presence on stage plus pulls some spectacular faces and drummer Jess Stanley is a whirlwind of arms behind the kit! We were chatting to them afterwards and they are such awesome and humble people, and we wish them every success moving forwards.

02 Ashen Reachhttps://www.facebook.com/ashenreach/

Scare Tactics
These guys are a name who, up until three weeks ago, I hadn’t come across (Rick is familiar with the name but hadn’t seen them live before). Having now seen them twice in the space of a month we would like to report that they are blisteringly good! If Dream Theater and Linkin Park joined forces, this is what they would sound like. Incredibly intricate rhythms, modern rasping vocals, mixed with clean harmonies, and stunning solos. They do remind me a bit of Killswitch Engage, who I also love. Why these guys aren’t bigger is beyond me. And again, they are thoroughly nice chaps too – Rick very much enjoyed having a chat and sharing a fig roll with lead singer Andy Barker, after they had come off stage! I was jealous. I love fig rolls. Damn you gluten intolerance!!

03 Scare Tactics UKhttps://www.facebook.com/scaretacticsuk/

Prognosis
After seeing these guys at Badgerfest last year, I knew they were heavy. I had found them a little too heavy for me on that occasion, but I think it might have been because it was later in the day, and I was knackered, and the sound wasn’t great. Here, I enjoyed them a lot more, and had more time to concentrate on what they were doing, which was very heavy prog metal done very well. Lead singer, Danny Daemon, is an absolute unit, who looks incredibly menacing in the mood lighting on stage! He makes guitarist Christian Hickson (also of Frozen In Shadows) look much small, which is quite an achievement! Musically though they are very, very tight and look completely at ease performing. A very good main support.

04 Prognosishttps://www.facebook.com/Prognosis1/

Twisted Illusion
In what seemed like no time at all, we were at the pièce de résistance, and what we had all been waiting for – the new look, five-piece, Twisted Illusion. Straight away, before they even started playing, there was an air about them. They looked comfortable, relaxed, and ready to put on a show! And Christ is that what they did, right from the first note! Now, we all know that Matt Jones is a formidable front man, and that Saxon Davids can play a bit of guitar, but not having seen the newly added Cici Powell – Melkonian, Chris Jenkins and Andy Gotteri before, our mind were blown within about 30 seconds by how good they all were as individuals, but also how amazing they sounded together as a collective. This was not the sound of a band that had only had a few weeks rehearsal time, this was the sound of a band who were seasoned pros, who had lived in each other’s pockets for years, and who had more experience than any of these baby faced cherubs kicking it on the stage! This should not be possible – but yet here it was, with a sound so massive and together, it can only be described as pure raw talent, combined with a deep love and understanding of live performance, and with a bit of help from fate, to make a Utopian level musical experience. They were a bit good!!! Matt’s songs came alive with the addition of Andy’s keyboards, and Cici looked like she had been born with a bass in her hand – her skills absolutely blew us away, and her constant smile is infectious. Add to that the masterful percussion of Chris, executing the demanding rhythms to perfection, and of course the immense noodling abilities of Saxon and huge vocals of Matt, and you have the perfect recipe for putting me into a euphoric trance. I was welling up by the end of their set and was so ridiculously happy that it sounded this amazing. Better than I could ever have expected. It was like witnessing the birth of something truly special. Quite simply stunning! Rick, who felt the same, spoke to Matt afterwards, to tell him that, as a live experience, what he had just seen was, for him, right up there with the live performances of early Queensryche (circa “Operation Mindcrime”) and Rush! These guys should not be playing small venues like this, they should be touring arenas. They are that talented. The world now needs to know who Twisted Illusion are. Always remember that every huge band started in a back-street pub. The sky is the limit now guys.

05 Twisted Illusionhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/

That was a very, very special night and is going to take some topping! Currently, festivals aside, we have nothing on our radar that we can see coming close, until we go and witness Devin Townsend at Manchester Royal Albert Hall in December!

 

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

All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/

Morbidfest – Coventry Empire – 01/05/2019

00 Morbidfest Poster

Morbidfest
Coventry Empire
01/05/2019
Review by Mark Pritchard
Photos by Daniel Stapleton

Contrary to what the name suggests, this wasn’t a festival, but a date on the EU and UK tour of four death metal stalwarts; Sadist, Atrocity, Vital Remains, and I Am Morbid. All four bands had prepared special sets for the show, and I was really looking forward to seeing what they could do!

My first impression of the venue was that the stage was a really good size. It meant that all the bands would have plenty of space to perform and it wouldn’t look too cramped, which is an issue with some venues.

There was a small, but excited audience gathered, and the atmosphere was already electric, and when the bands were playing, it notched up to awesome!

Sadist
Italian progressive death metallers, Sadist, were first on the bill, presenting their recently released album, “Spellbound”. Straight away they set the tone for the evening firmly to ‘brutal’, with lead singer Trevor Sadist coming out on to the stage brandishing a chainsaw menacingly in the air! The set was heavy and intense from start to finish, and considering they were the opening act, they really set the place on fire! Stunning guitar solos where backed up by a combination of solid rhythms, chunky bass, haunting keyboards and powerful screaming and growling vocals. I really enjoyed their set – what a great way to start!

01 Sadisthttps://www.facebook.com/Sadist-466835156803523/

Atrocity
Next up were German outfit, Atrocity. They were going to have to put on one hell of a performance to follow what we had just seen though! They were also performing their most recent release, “Okkult”, which is the first album in a trilogy that they will be releasing. They started off their set at a fast pace, with some really good solos early on, which got the crowd going. Again, they were heavy as hell! The vocals were dark and growling, but for me they were far too low in the mix and you weren’t able to hear much of them, which was a shame. They were still really good, but, like I said, we had all been spoilt by the brilliant Sadist set, and they didn’t quite reach that height for me.

02 Atrocityhttps://www.facebook.com/AtrocityOfficial/

Vital Remains
Our penultimate act of the night were American death metal veterans, Vital Remains, who were performing a special 30th Anniversary set for this tour. They were awesome, from start to finish. Musically so tight, showing their experience brilliantly, and the huge screams of Brian Werner sent the audience wild. They interacted so well with the crowd too and Brian Werner even did a bit of crowd surfing which was epic and not something I have seen before, so it was great fun! This has to be one of the best live sets I have had the pleasure of witnessing, and I really hope I get the chance to see them again soon.

03 Vital Remainshttps://www.facebook.com/vital.remains.official/

I Am Morbid
Started by front man David Vincent, and Guitarist Tim Yeung, both former members of Death Metal legends Morbid Angel, I Am Morbid played a set of classic material from Morbid Angel’s “Altars Of Madness”, “Blessed Are The Sick”, “Covenant”, and “Domination” albums. David Vincent is regarded as one of the godfathers of Death Metal, so it was guaranteed to go down well. It was intense from the first note, with guaranteed headbanging all round! The crowd lapped it up, and chanted MORBID, MORBID, MORBID, and the band interacted well with the crowd, which made for a great atmosphere. However, their set was marred with technical issues. They had to restart one song after a problem with the mic, and then in another they had an issue with one of the guitars, meaning that the guitarist had to switch to the back up. However, we did get treated to a pretty fine guitar solo from the other guitarist whilst this was happening – it went on for about 5 minutes! It is a shame that they had the technical issues really, because the rest of the set was spot on.

04 I am Morbidhttps://www.facebook.com/IAMMORBIDBand/

All in all, I had a really great night, with the highlights being Vital Remains, and the blistering opening set from Sadist. I really hope I get the chance to see these bands again soon, as they were all top quality, and I recommend anyone who likes their metal firmly on the Death Metal side of things to go and check them all out.

 

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

All Images by Daniel Stapleton of Overtone Music
www.overtonemag.com
A huge thank you to Daniel for the wonderful photographs.

Witch Tripper, Lullaby For A Unicorn and Bad Earth – Live At G21, The Saddle Bar, Chester – 13/04/2019

00 Poster

Witch Tripper, Lullaby For A Unicorn and Bad Earth
Live At G21
The Saddle Bar, Chester
13/04/2019
Review by Beth Jones

After an interesting heat of M2TM 24 hours previous, we were in the mood for a good dose of proper metal to knock away the lingering winter chill that was in the air and reset our minds! We headed over the border to Chester, and The Saddle Bar, for NEW Metal Productions latest gathering of banging bands. I remember this bar from many years ago, when it used to be one of my haunts in my mis-spent youth, but back then it was called the Chester Bells, and was a bit spit and sawdust, so it was interesting to see what the new owners had done with it. All the reports we had heard had been positive. Tonight, the Saddle was hosting two gigs, a UFO tribute act in the main bar, and our destination, Bad Earth, Lullaby For A Unicorn and Witch Tripper in the old stables out the back, which is now lovingly called the G21 bar!

It was an interesting little space! It looked a bit like the dungeon of Madame Elektra, with red walls, black ceilings and drapes, and elaborate chandeliers! It just needed some whips and a gimp mask for the full effect! The floor was a little uneven, which made it a bit tricky for Rick, but it was still a nice sized space, and full of friendly faces. We have seen all three of these bands on many occasions now, and have got to know them all, and love them all, so we knew it was going to be a good night.

Bad Earth
First on the bill was Bad Earth, now thankfully back to a full quota of members, which was really great to see – they work so well together as a three piece and we are so happy that bassist Rob has managed to come back to the fold. As predicted, they smashed it. The sound was brilliant, and their performance was tight. My only woe was the lighting, in so much as there pretty much wasn’t any! Red walls and no lighting do not make a happy photographer! Considering how red everything was, the air around me was very, very blue I can tell you!!!!

IMPORTANT EDIT – For one reason and another this review is slightly late in being posted to our website and yesterday, 6th May, there was an announcement on the Bad Earth Facebook page that bassist Rob has again parted ways with the rest of the band. We wish them all the best in finding a replacement soon! – Rick

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

Lullaby For A Unicorn
Ah, my boys, my boys. What can I say? Yet again a splendid performance, full of chunky riffs, crazy vocals, and mess! Silly string, party poppers and party cannons aplenty were released over the crowd and it really kick started the party atmosphere, as there were at least four notable people in the room celebrating their birthdays that night. These guys are so much fun, and I love them, both as a band, and now as new found friends. They really are my kind of people!

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

Witch Tripper
The North’s hardest working band of the moment gave us another energy packed, full on groove fest! It was by this point incredibly warm in the room and Rick and I had to decamp half way through as he was hurting, and I was getting a touch wobbly, but luckily, we could still hear them from out in the beer garden! They are so good, so groovy, so tight, and their new drummer is amazing, and has brought a new dimension to them as a group. He also has lovely hair!

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

We decided not so stay for the UFO tribute act, as the main bar was so packed, which was great to see in the sense of people coming out to see live music, but not so great in the sense of being a small person and trying not to get squished to death! Also, there is an old law in Chester that has never (if tales are to be believed) been revoked – if a Welshman is found within the city walls after midnight, they can be shot through the head with a crossbow! I wasn’t up for taking any chances, and having an arrow through my brain would be somewhat of an inconvenient hinderance to my writing and photography! We had had a really fun night and were glad that we had experienced this new venue.

Plusses for me were the fact that the G21 is separate from the main pub, as we didn’t have to do too much fighting through crowds, and also the sound yet again was superb – thanks to Fozzy for this. Minuses with the venue are the flooring, and lack of lighting, but these are both easily rectifiable. A great night was had by all!

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/Thesaddleinnchester/
https://www.facebook.com/Grosvenor21/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/

 

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

All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/

Can’t Swim – House of Independents, Asbury Park, NJ – 23/03/2019

00 Gig Poster Top

Can’t Swim
House of Independents, Asbury Park, NJ
23/03/2019
Reviewed by Stephen Moss

This has been the first Headlining Tour for Can’t Swim. They ended the tour at home just a few miles from where it all began. They played at House of Independents in Asbury Park, NJ and this was their last show in the States before they embarked on their very first overseas tour playing the UK and Europe.

The atmosphere at the venue was incredible! I spoke to kids who had driven from other US States just to see this show!

This show was also Can’t Swim’s album release party. They played their brand new album “This Too Won’t Pass” in its entirety. During the very last song they brought out hundreds of big red balloons and dumped them all over the crowd.

After all the tracks on the new album had been played, the crowd still wanted more and kept chanting “One More Song!!!” Then Can’t Swim returned and played not one but three more songs and finished the show with their biggest hit ‘Stranger’.

01 Can_t Swim Middle

I can’t stress enough how awesome this band is! All the members are so humble and down to earth. Before and after their set you could find them in the crowd interacting with their fans!

I asked Can’t Swim for a band photo and they one upped me. They had every band come out on stage and I had the privilege of taking a tour photo! Please check out the accompanying photos of the show. You will see that whether it’s the first song or the last Can’t Swim play with the same intense energy and excitement. They give everything they have for each show and fans have taken note. Selling out venues is becoming common place for Can’t Swim!

This was my fourth Can’t Swim gig and each time I find myself saying, “No, this time was my favourite show.” It’s always refreshing to see a show where the band is so genuine and really connects to their fans.

LINKS:
https://www.cantswimmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cantswim/

https://www.instagram.com/cantswim_/
https://cantswimmusic.tumblr.com/

 

02 Can_t Swim Tour Photo Bottom

 

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

All photographs reproduced with the kind permission of Stephen Moss.

 

 

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 4 – Wrexham Lager Club – 27/04/2019

00 Heat 4 Poster

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 4
Wrexham Lager Club – 27/04/2019
Review by Beth Jones

Unbelievably, the end of April loomed, meaning only one thing – the last heat of this year’s Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses North Wales was upon us! We only had three competing bands to look forward to on the night, as both Krank and Gods Of The Apocalypse had to withdraw at the last minute.

So, battling for the last two places, and also potentially one of Fozzy’s two ‘Wildcard’ spots, were The Perfect Escape, Scars Of Remembrance, and Mindriot 15. The night was to be guest headlined by Scare Tactics, who we had not heard before, but had heard great things about, so we were really looking forward to seeing them. I’m only going to write a short paragraph about each competing band this time, as they were all so close, and it was really hard to pick a winner between them!

The Perfect Escape
What a great way to start the evening. These guys were packed full of energy and quirky. It was very current, in a 90’s kind of way! They were a Metal/Hard Rock crossover with a healthy dose of Pop-Punk, and instantly recognisable influences from Green Day, Sum 41 and Blink 182. It kind of took me back to my formative years, but in the now! Kerrang would love them! They performed confidently and got the crowd into things very quickly, and they all looked like they were having a blast! Josh, the second guitarist, who also provided backing vocals, was a real livewire!

01 The Perfect Escaspehttps://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectEscapeUK/

Scars Of Remembrance
These guys have been on our radar for about a year, and how they have come on in that time, which is really pleasing to see. Their current line-up definitely works really, really well. Again, they draw a lot of influences from bands of the 90s/2000s, which I love – that was my era! This is definitely the best we have seen them, and the most relaxed we have seen them. Harris and Dawson, the guitarists, have now started adding a lot more vocals too and it really works, being clean vocals which are in total contrast to Mike’s screams!

02 Scars Of Remembrancehttps://www.facebook.com/scarsofremembrance/

Mindriot 15
Another crackingly good band, with again a very 90s/2000s vibe – this evenings selection of bands was really ticking all the boxes for me! They were good solid metal with a rap element in a similar style to RATM, which again worked really well. They were enthusiastic and got the crowd really bouncing! They were tight and well-rehearsed and brought everything they had to the competition, which was really nice to see! I really enjoyed their set, but they did play two covers, not the wisest choice in a M2TM heat, even though they were crowd pleasers!

03 Mind Riot 15https://www.facebook.com/mindriot15/

For the first time this year, this was going to be one hell of a tough call, as all three competing bands were completely worthy of a semi-final place!
While the judges deliberated, we were treated to a very special performance from a band who previously were victorious in M2TM in Liverpool, Scare Tactics.

Scare Tactics
Bloody hell! That’s all I can say! These guys are so stupidly good, its just not fair! They have a beautiful sound that balances Prog and Djent with Nu Metal in perfect harmony. With heavy influences from Dream Theater (and a good bit of Devin), their intricate cross rhythms and precision tempo changes delighted the gathered crowd, and totally blew our socks off. Everything was brilliant, and nothing overdone. The combinations of crystal-clear vocals, and harsh metal vocals worked so well with their melodies and riffs. It was obvious to see why they had been victorious in this competition in the past, and we would really recommend everyone check them out if you haven’t heard them before. We bought their album and have had it on in the car since!

04 Scare Tacticshttps://www.facebook.com/scaretacticsuk/

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, their set was over, and it was results time – it was too close to call and we really didn’t have a clue who would progress – the air was filled with nervous excitement! Seemingly the judges had as tough a time as us calling the result, and had to come down to small details, and for that reason, the two bands chosen to progress, by judges vote and he audience vote, were The Perfect Escape and Scars Of Remembrance. After speaking to the judges later, this decision was mainly reached because of the use of two covers in the Mindriot 15 set.

However, Fozzy did still have two wildcard winners to put through to the semi-finals, and I think the popular consensus was that Mindriot 15 should receive one of those wildcards.

We now know that indeed Fozzy did pick them, along with Navnlos, to progress to the next stage – no covers in the semis lads eh?

So, the bands for the semis are now confirmed as: Bad Earth, Lullaby For A Unicorn, Scarfoot, Cry For Mercy, Favela, Thrashatouille, The Perfect Escape, Scars Of Remembrance, Navnlos and Mindriot 15. This is where the shit gets real and the judging gets much harder – I wouldn’t like to have to call this now, as these bands are all great!

See you all at the semis!

Links
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/events/2134681543280772/ (Semi-Final 1 Event Page)
https://www.facebook.com/events/2350996518296726/ (Semi-Final 2 Event Page)
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/The-Wrexham-Lager-Club-965182906991705/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

 

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

Anaal Nathrakh/Akercocke/Khost – The Asylum, Birmingham – 05/04/2019

Gig Poster

Anaal Nathrakh
Akercocke
Khost
The Asylum, Birmingham – 05/04/2019
Review and Pictures by Sheri Bicheno

Having just had my chat with Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh – myself, Jim Beerman and Dave Wilkins headed into The Asylum to get our metal on.

The Asylum downstairs main stage is dark, big and already starting to get full and down the front at the barrier, a crowd of people eager to get a similar amount of metal on is starting to take shape.

Khost
First band Khost are from Birmingham and if you like your doom, these are the guys to check out. They appear on the stage as a two man act with guitars, synths and raw, deep vocals, chanting and satanic growls, like something you’d expect from a horror movie ritual. Their track played live ‘Subliminal Chloroform Violation’ is a clear example of this. Stage presence is kept dark and smoky with an air of mystery about them. The drawn out, deep and bassy strings deliver an intoxicating feeling with the growling and backdrop of chants and cymbals. I really enjoyed watching these guys perform and liked that the doom and elements of black metal were not compromised.

01 Khosthttps://www.facebook.com/khostband/

Akercocke
Whilst waiting, Jason Mendonca goes along the front line and addresses everyone to ask if they are “READY FOR SOME METAL”. Behind me, the room has filled right up, jam packed to the very back – moving to another spot would be a challenging option here… and the hype is getting more and more intense as the stage fills with red lights and smoke, a red mist effect, and…

Akercocke take to the stage, Sam Loynes smashes right into the long drone of the keyboard synths and then the guitars and bass are let loose on the low and melodic intro to ‘Horns of Baphomet’. Immediately, Jason’s vocals are delivered to us at their full pelt, it is almost majestic. We get a combination of high growls & beautiful whale song type vocals through lyrics “I can hear you calling” to low & deep growling plus the emotion of the wailing for horrifying effect.

David Gray’s drums are masterful, the backbone of what holds Akercocke in place – everything just fits perfectly with the tempo and pace of vocals, strings and synths. How Akercocke can cram so many elements of their style into each song, from one extreme to the other and make it not sound like it’s thrown together is mind blowing.

We are then taken into the song ‘Verdelet’, it is fast paced and energetic. The pit behind me is already going crazy and the crowd surfers have begun. Everyone is having an utterly wicked time. As the set goes on, we get a proper journey through what Akercocke are about, performance wise. How they blend through tones that are hard, fast, energetic walloping into some gentle, progressive and beautifully paced moments to creating devastating emotion, are displayed throughout.

02 Akercockehttps://www.facebook.com/akercockeofficial/

ANAAL NATHRAKH
They enter through a dark mist and the UTTER DESPAIR begins straight off the bat. Behind me, a sea of people are going absolutely mental – this is Anaal Nathrakh’s first home town show for a while and they are welcomed back with so much passion from their viewers. It’s bloody beautiful.

Upon entering the stage, the presence of these guys is something to behold. The utter energy that radiates off the stage… strings and beats just bounce off each other, the pace is ever changing and brings a new vibe around every corner. Dave Hunt’s vocals demonstrate demonic low growls and high pitched wails to a beautifully balanced range… all at once! The concepts that come out in the lyrics are of utter relevance, addressing the global issues of poverty, warfare and depravity.

The live track that stood out for me is ‘Forward’, taken from their most recent album “A New Kind Of Horror”.

Lyrics:
“Forward!
Forget your fear, the guns at your back scream
Forward!
Who gives a fuck if your enemy’s starving?
Forward!
No place for cowards, up and over
Forward!
Your country needs you, so start killing”.

Throughout their set, bodies are floating amongst the crowd and pints are flying from every direction. There’s a guy next to me that tries his hand at sitting on the barriers and getting his friends to catch him as he falls – which hilariously and epically fails but, unscathed, he emerges back to thrashing around in the room sized pit behind me… cue where Jim Beerman’s famous “Nathrakhccident” happened… but it’s ok, he found a new tooth. 🙂

If you’re not familiar with Anaal Nathrakh, now is a good time to get your ears into these guys. – mixing elements of progressive, death, black and extreme metal, they are a force to be reckoned with!

03 Anaal Nathrakhhttps://www.facebook.com/Anaalnathrakhofficial/

Rick Here;
Thanks Sheri, sounds like everyone had a fabulous night! If you haven’t then you definitely need to check out all three bands!

 

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