Beermageddon 2021 Day One

Bermageddon 2021 Poster

Beermageddon 2021 Day One
Stoke Prior Sports & Country Club
Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove
27/08/2021
Review by Beth Jones and Rick Tilley

Rick Here,

Before I hand you over to Beth for the Day One review of Beermageddon I would like to say that I did have notes written to add my thoughts but she has done such a good job of not only describing the evening, but also echoing my sentiments, that I’ve just left it alone. I will just say that this was our first Beermageddon, as it had always managed to clash with something else, but we are well and truly converted and will return for, hopefully, many years to come!

Gig, gig, gig, gig, yay, friends, field, music, argh, panic! That’s essentially the best description I can give you of the lead up to our first time venturing out into the world properly since, what I shall lovingly describe as, the Clusterfuck Armageddon that was the last 18 months. So many things, none of them good, but let’s not dwell on that eh? Instead let me tell you about the positively lovely way to make our return from the hermit hole back into a semi functional society that was Beermageddon Festival. A small and close-knit family festival where a whole lot of love happened.

After only making the final decision that I was confident enough to leave the comfort of my sofa the day before the festival, I wasn’t my usual organized self. But, armed with some beer, a brand new and entirely free tent (long story) and negative lateral flow tests, Rick and I, and our willing apprentice (well 14-year-old, but I figured that was a nicer description than ‘moody cow’) set off for our destination El Paradiso…sunny Bromsgrove!

The journey was annoying, but as soon as we arrived at the campsite, it felt like we had come home. Seeing the smiling faces of old friends, and people who would become new friends, was a very welcomed tonic to the numb depressive melancholy. Putting up the tent however was not! Turns out the best coping strategies for erecting your canvas are swearing, sweating, and cider. This is a fact I already knew but had somehow forgotten since it’s been a while. Anyway, now that I looked like a bedraggled swamp thing, it was time for some bands! To ease everyone back in to existing in the same 2-meter space as someone else, without freaking out, there were only 4 bands on the Friday night.

First up, and hailing from Scotland, Cuttin’ Edge provided some great rock to get the party started for the small and slightly terrified looking crowd that had decided it was in for a penny, in for a pound, and taken the plunge to venture indoors! Hi-Octane, dirty riffs and rugged grizzly vocals where the name of the game for these guys. A sort of Motorhead meets ZZ Top feel which blew away some cobwebs and had everyone tapping along as they stood at the bar (yes a real bar, with real life human people, serving real pints – amazeballs), or nodding along down at the front. This was a brilliant way to kick things off. A real tempo setter, that let everyone know that a very good weekend was in store.

Cuttin' Edge

https://www.facebook.com/cuttinedge2018

Midlands Hard rockers, Shackled, took to the stage next, fresh from a performance on the Jager stage at Bloodstock 10 days or so previously. They kept the pace and crunch going, and had a real groove. Driven by chunky riffs and rumbling bass, and some sumptuous soloing, they continued to remind the gathered crowd, who now looked slightly less petrified, of the joy of actually seeing a band live. And by the looks on their faces, they were having equally as much fun as we were. God it’s so good to be back!

Shackled

https://www.facebook.com/ShackledRock

Control The Storm were a late addition to the bill, due to good old ‘Rona striking. Hey, I love CTS but hadn’t yet seen them live, so I was fine with that, and their live performance lived up to their recorded material. Epic melodic metal with more than a hint of synth, they gave us a heavy and full sound that was tight as anything, and exciting. The symphonic strings and vocal harmonies are what make it for me. But the technicality of the guitar riffs and solos are also impressive. And, by that point, everyone had thrown off their woes, and found their groove again. The party was in full swing, and the ale was flowing almost as gleefully as the music.

Control The Storm

https://www.facebook.com/ControlTheStorm

Putting us to bed were the finest bunch of upstanding gents you’re likely to meet in a field, in Bromsgrove, in August – Wired THC. After winning the public vote in 2019, they returned to headline the Friday this year, and if we thought we’d been partied already that night, they had a thing or two to teach us. A superb Hardcore/Thrash crossover, Wired ripped the entire leafy village of Stoke Prior a new one with this set. The room was bouncing, and full of magical energy for the entire set. Audience participation was the name of the game, and the performance came complete with a couple of guests visiting the stage, including Wired superfan, Jag’s bestie, and one of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life, the legend that is John Matthews! What a way to finish the day.

Wired THC

https://www.facebook.com/WIREDTHC

Rick and the teen had already admitted defeat before Wired had finished, but I stayed to the death, and then wandered back to camp Ever Metal. I was, ironically, far too wired to even think about attempting to crawl into the tent, so I sat in my car for a bit, watching the last of the revellers mingling in the area outside the hall where this wonderful evening had taken place.

And here’s where I take things from larking around, to heartfelt and philosophical. I felt a warmth and comfort that I hadn’t felt for some time sitting there in my car, even though the night air was beginning to chill. The breeze was carrying a sound to my resting place, that brought me a lot of peace. That was the sound of joyful laughter. Of friends catching up after too long apart. Of new friendships being formed after an isolation that no-one had ever had to contemplate or comprehend before. Something special had just taken place and I was so thankful to be part of it. And tomorrow would be another day, and we were looking forward to that immensely…

LINKS:
www.beermageddon.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/beermageddonfestival
www.facebook.com/groups/247287828724525

Beermageddon 2022 Event Page
www.facebook.com/events/247818157211596

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Rick 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.

And Heavy Metal For Wigan XXIII: Redemption

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

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

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

BLOODMORES

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

https://www.facebook.com/Bloodmores

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

SHRIKE

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

https://www.facebook.com/shrikeofficial

SOLARSHIFT

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

https://www.facebook.com/solarshiftmusic

DEIFIED

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

https://www.facebook.com/deified

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

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

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

0161 Day Of Destruction – The York, Bolton 24/07/2021

0161 Day Of Destruction poster

0161 Day Of Destruction
The York, Bolton
24/07/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

After a short shift at work, and with BoJo now finally giving us our freedom back, gigs are back on the menu (couldn’t help a food reference).

This was my third gig of the year (second as a punter) and the first all originals as well. So off I ascended to the York, in Bolton, a venue I have never been to before. I was pleasantly surprised as the last venue I visited in Bolton was a bit of a dive. Most notably the terrible toilet facilities. Firstly, I am pleased to say the toilets were actually useable, there was a lock, bog roll and a door! Also, I have to add the whole place felt clean and with a lovely outdoor area. But most importantly for me, Newcastle Brown at the bar. We are onto a winner.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to catch Crowfire, a hard rock/metal band from Manchester. I guess I will have to wait for next time. Sadface emoticon.

https://www.facebook.com/crowfireofficial

The first band for me was I Am The Wreckage, a metallic hardcore band with masses of stage presence. Both Guitarist and Bassist used their wireless systems to their advantage by getting right up in the crowd’s face. Very fitting for the genre and engaging, so much so I found myself having a good ol’ mosh to band one, along with many of the other onlookers. This led to a few pits even at that early point in the day. If I have to pick at the set I would say try and ride through any technical difficulties. But all being said the whole sound these guys have is incredible, I would strongly recommend anyone to check them out!

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheWreckage

Next up were newcomers Ecstasy Engraved, and I only found out on the night that this was their first ever live gig! It was brutal! The songs were well structured, and while they were in the groove of the songs looked to be having the time of their lives, as did the crowd as yet more pits began. However, between songs felt a bit awkward, this I would put down to nerves as it was their first gig. The vocalist had a fantastic voice, and the set flew by, making me want to hear more, especially when they complete their line-up. (No Bassist L)

https://www.facebook.com/Ecstasy-Engraved-324221248279053

Chimp In A Box was a band that, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get when doing a listen before the gig, and in fairness I don’t get the joke? But all that aside, my god do these guys have groove! I loved it and could listen to those riffs for days. Maybe missing the joke stopped me enjoying these as much as I should have. or maybe adding a bassist will thicken the sound up more for me. But a solid set nonetheless and another band to see again.

https://www.facebook.com/ChimpInABoxBand

From three bands I have not seen before it’s onto the only band I had, and many times at that. Portrayal of Ruinn is a band I have gigged with often, and since their latest EP dropped it seems they are starting to gain the buzz they deserve. This gig was proof of that; they were the first band with the audience actually singing along to their songs, no mean feat, considering most people can’t understand metal vocals! This is a true testament to the traction these guys are building. The set was tight, brutal and immensely enjoyable. Pits were present throughout the whole show, with a sea of Portrayal t-shirts bouncing around. This was one of the best shows I have seen them play, and it would be nice to see them on a bigger stage, so they can really show off how they can dominate the stage.

https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn

Sadly, I ended up missing Hounds, and again I am hoping to catch them when they are next in the area, as what I heard I liked!

https://www.facebook.com/houndsuk

The night closed with a band I have been following for a long time, Asleep At The Helm. These guys were mega! Full on new age of metalcore. This is exactly the genre I love, and they did not disappoint. The whole set was like listening to a pre-recorded album, with added energy and oomph. The mix of clean and growled vocals really added something extra here, as I hadn’t heard much actual singing (not complaining). When I say they were worthy headliners, I mean it, and I can see why they are getting picked up to support bands such as Our Hollow, Our Home. These are seriously a band to watch as I can see them going far!

https://www.facebook.com/AsleepAtTheHelmOfficial

So, gigs are back, and this was a belter! My only downfall was the Newcastle Brown which cost me a band. But aside from that, this venue is a fantastic new home for 0161 in Bolton, and I am looking forward to appearing at the next event!

0161 LINK:

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

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Grand Final 2020 (!) Central Station, Wrexham 03/07/2021

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Grand Final 2020 (!)
Central Station, Wrexham
03/07/2021
Review by Beth Jones, with interjections from Rick Tilley
Pics by Beth Jones

You know that feeling you get when something you’ve been waiting for, for so long, finally happens? It’s a kind of warm nervousness, that consumes you and you literally can’t think about anything else. Well, that was me, leading up to this gig – the first since the dizzy days of early 2020, when no-one was ill, masks were something you wore at Halloween, and Covid was that new bug that people, thousands of miles away from us, were getting sick with. To say I was a little nervous was an understatement. A lot has happened since March 2020, and very few of us are the same people that we were back then. The thought of being in a room full of people was terrifying. The thought of having the responsibility of taking photographs after barely even looking at my camera for 15 months filled me with fear and trepidation. But the thought of seeing dearly missed friends again, and getting to watch live music as well, filled me with a kind of euphoria that’s actually impossible to explain, but equally doesn’t need any explaining at all.

The fact that this gig was the long-awaited Final of the Bloodstock M2TM North Wales 2020 competition made it all the more special, because one of the 6 brilliant competing bands would finally get the chance to grace the New Blood stage at, what is without question, one of the most loved festivals on the metal calendar. As an extra treat, Thrash metal legends, Virus were headlining. With the current restrictions, this gig had to be seated, and socially distant, with table service, masks, and hand sanitizer aplenty, so it was a little weird, but damn were we in for a treat with the music. So, here’s my rundown.

Thrashatouille

Thrashatouille have become a household name around these parts, with their comedic culinary Thrash Metal anthems that are guaranteed to cook up a storm. This would, in normal times, be accompanied by a lot of people violently hurling around inflatable food and generally losing their collective shit in a good old fashioned mosh pit – remember them?… Despite this not being able to happen, these crazy chefs still pulled off an awesome show. Given the fact everyone’s been out of the game for so long, it was amazing to see how tight and polished their sound still was. They supplied everyone with cake too, which was nice (although I couldn’t eat them because I’m allergic to pretty much everything)! They took us on a rip-roaring tour of their classics, finishing, as they do, with ‘Red Velvet Romance’. And what a joy it was to witness frontman Rob Sutton smashing a freshly primed red velvet cake into his face again. I’ve missed that.

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille

Krank

Next up were Krank, those crazy kids from up the North Wales coast, whose show is guaranteed to be a little weird, if nothing else. Before they started, they distributed squeaky rubber chickens to the gathered crowd, and before long the venue sounded like a battery farm. I mean, the inner child in us all just can’t resist a squeaky toy, right? Now, it’s fair to say, in the past I’ve never really ‘got’ Krank. Their madcap zaniness was too much even for me. But this time it was different. They had a coherent story running through their show and were even joined on stage by some lizard people, and a sugarplum fairy fly! It was still zany and madcap, but it had a structure that I thought definitely improved the show, and certainly my enjoyment of it. Again, musically they were tight.

https://www.facebook.com/krankislife

Cry For Mercy

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. These guys deserve to go a very long way. Their brand of Southern Blues Rock always makes for sweet listening, and they are thoroughly nice guys to boot. Over lockdown, they released their second EP “Automatic Breakdown” and debut album “Resist”, which I was lucky enough to review, and we got to hear some tracks off both, alongside some of their older tunes. Lead singer Kev Plant has a stunning voice and guitarist Andy Cutty knows exactly how to make his guitar sing the blues. But much as it pains me to say, I don’t think Bloodstock’s New Blood Stage would be right for them, although they would be superb playing a set on the Jager stage. However, I’d love to see them at some of the bigger Rock festivals as, at those, they would go down an absolute storm. (Call Of The Wild and Ramblin’ Man Fair please take note – Rick)

https://www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial

Scarfoot

Scarfoot are a 3 piece that have intrigued us from their inception. And this performance was by far the best performance Rick and I have ever seen them give. Newish bass player, Rhys Jones, has really settled in now and what a difference he has made. Prior to him joining, they were good, but something wasn’t quite right. It was a je ne sais quoi that was missing from what they did, which always irritated us, because we could see the potential for them to be great. This performance answered our question of ‘have they got it right now?’ with a resounding ‘HELL YES’! They were by far the most improved band on the night, and they have grown their sound into a kind of dark Progressive Stoner/Sludge/Doom-esque thriller. Scarfoot are not easy to pigeonhole and that is to their benefit. Seeing as they’re still fairly young as a band, if they can keep this level of progression going then their future is pretty damn exciting.

https://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband

Severenth

Since their comeback gig in 2019, Severenth have been firmly planted on our radar. Their Modern Metal vibe and incredible stagecraft give me a little warm feeling – joy, I think! They are just so bloody good at what they do. They also have an incredible frontman in Peet Bailey. Not only is he super talented, but his stage presence and expressiveness are mesmeric, and exudes the passion that the whole band put into their performance. He’s also a photographer’s dream because he’s incredibly photogenic! Everything about their performance, for me, was next level, and I’m excited for their future as a band.

Rick Here – I agree with everything Beth has said but, as a former drummer, I have to also mention Severenth sticksman Dave Roberts, who is absolutely thunderous behind the kit. There were several occasions during their performance when I actually thought he and the drums were going to launch into orbit, such was his ferocity and precision.

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth

Mad Spanner

This gig was probably the last time we’ll ever see Mad Spanner as, very sadly, they decided to call it a day last year, due to different personal issues and other commitments. But they came back for this gig to give us what we wanted – the madcap trio of Extreme Metal and comedy that they are. Unfortunately, drummer, Ben, had to pull out the day before, as Track and Trace identified him as a close contact of someone who was Covid positive. Bloody Covid! This didn’t deter Michael Randall and Dan Ashley however and they, bravely, cobbled together a show of Stand-Up comedy from Michael (something else he is annoyingly good at – Rick), some instrumental versions of their favourite Mad Spanner tracks, with Michael on Drums (yes, he is good on those too – Rick) instead of Bass, and Dan downtuned to make up for the lack of low-end sounds, and a guest appearance from Ashen Crown’s Kieran Scott to dep on vocals for several ‘classics’. It was still fun, it was still mad cap, but it was a real shame that their swan song wasn’t with all three of them together. They will be successful at whatever they, individually, choose to do next!

https://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner

Virus

With all the competing bands done, it was time for the headline act. Thrashers Virus, with Venom Inc. frontman, Tony Dolan subbing on Bass. I couldn’t help but have a little titter at the irony of a headline band named Virus in the middle of a pandemic…

Rick is a huge Virus fan, and a huge Venom Inc. fan, so was a little bit pleased about this choice of headliner. He was also really chuffed that he would get to see Tony again for the first time in 30 years. So, it’s probably best if I let him tell you about them…

Hi Everyone, It’s Rick. I never got to see Virus play back in the dim and distant prehistoric past of the 1980’s, and with the band splitting up in 1990, I thought my chance had passed. However, in recent years they have been active again and in 2019, released their stunning fourth album “Evolution Apocalypse”. When they were announced as special guest headliners for this I was overjoyed. To then find out that Tony ‘Demolition Man’ Dolan was standing in on bass nearly sent me over the edge! I last met Tony in 1990 after seeing him play with Venom and I was also a big Atomkraft fan so, as you can imagine, this was turning into something of a ‘bucket list’, must see, gig for me.

Did they deliver…HELL YES, THEY DID! The inimitable Coke Finlay was firing on all cylinders and the band were as tight as a tight thing. Tony hadn’t even had a chance to rehearse with them in person and had learnt everything, by ear, remotely. He was note perfect for the whole performance, highlighting what great musicians these guys are, he also throws some of the best shapes and bass faces in the business. This performance was pure joy for me and I hope I get to see Virus (and Venom Inc.) again soon!

Meeting and chatting to Coke, before they played and catching up with Tony, for the first time in three decades, afterwards, also proved what absolute gentlemen they both are. Honestly, after being stuck in the house for nearly 18 months, thanks to Covid, I really couldn’t have wished for anything better. There was definitely a tear in my eye as they came offstage!

https://www.facebook.com/virusthrash

Now I’m going to hand you back to Beth for the conclusion…

Just as Virus were heading onstage, we had the tough job of coming to a decision about who the winner of this North Wales M2TM Grand Final should be. Usually this would be decided by Bloodstock’s Rob Bannister, but again, due to the damn virus (not the band), this job was left up to the organisers, Fozzy and Beany, and a judging panel consisting of Rick and I representing the Ever Metal posse, and Powerzone’s Dani Maguire. For us, it was a pretty clear-cut decision, and after a short deliberation, it was decided. Severenth had played a blinder and were the fully deserving winners on the night. We hope they have a thoroughly amazing time at Bloodstock Festival.

And with that, some quick elbow bumps, a few more photos, Rick catching up with Tony Dolan and a few waves, the night was over. What a fantastic way to start getting back to some sort of normality. A huge thanks to Stew Bassett and the team at Central Station for ensuring that everything on the day was as safe as possible in these weird times. And of course, to North East Wales Metal Productions’ Fozzy and Beany, who never gave up hope, and were determined to put on a great show, come hell or highwater.

But the special thanks from the day must go to all the bands who turned up and played their hearts out to remind us why we’re all in this community. The love and binding power of music, especially live music, is what makes it a pleasure for me to be involved with our metal family, in however small a capacity. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that has never been truer. Friendship, as well as the music, make all of us tick. And damn did it feel good to be ticking along with friends again!

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingrocks/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

Disclaimer: This review, and photographs, are solely the property of Beth Jones, Rick 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.

The Wildhearts By Request

The Wildhearts Livestream Poster

The Wildhearts By Request
Livestream Presented by Crosstown Concerts
17/04/2021
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, Livestream events (whether they are truly live or not) are all we’ve had to keep us sane over the last year and a half. They are also about the only revenue stream currently available to musicians right now and have become something of a lifeline to many bands. Even though The Wildhearts have a bunch of real dates planned for later in the year, the reality of this actually happening is by no means certain, so doing something like this makes a huge amount of sense. I also personally think these types of events are going to continue to be a part of the furniture moving forward. More on this later however…

This band have had their fair share of ups and downs over the years and the line-up has been something of a revolving door around Ginger, but for many the golden years were that seminal line up of Ginger, CJ, Danny McCormack and Ritch Battersby, so I was delighted to find that that’s what we’ve got for this show. This group of four really are the essence of the act and even though we know in our hearts that this may not always stay stable forever, or that the four of them may not always be “in” The Wildhearts at any given time, but that none of them are ever never truly “out” either…

This event opened with ‘Dislocated’ from the 2019’s ‘Renaissance Man’ album, but being a fan requested show the vast majority of the set list was not going to come as much of a surprise to most. In some ways that’s a shame, as that recent album has some great material on it and is a massive return to form, but thanks to the joy that is Covid it’s not had time to worm its way into the fan consciousness live yet, but I am glad they opened with this song. You get the sense from Ginger’s sometimes caustic comments on the subject during the show that they were hoping for some more obscure requests for material that doesn’t get played live too often, but no, after eighteen months of lockdown, the fans wanted what they knew and love. Ginger refers to the debut “Earth Versus The Wildhearts” record as “The best of the Wildhearts” and that album certainly gets plenty of airplay in this set list with six of the thirteen songs coming from this disc (although with thirty years of hindsight “East West Versus The Wildhearts” would have been a more appropriate title for it). This included what might just have been the final performance of ‘Greetings From Shitsville’, as Ginger made it abundantly clear that he dislikes this one intensely – it’s his nemesis apparently and it’s officially got retired tonight by mutual band agreement, although personally having lived in the ridiculous overpriced squalor that was digs in London around the time this was written I can completely empathise with the subject matter.

The atmosphere of the performance is pure Wildhearts – no large hanger size sounds stages here, or fancy camera work and tableaux, no technical effects or staged gimmickry – this looks and feels like it’s coming from a small rehearsal space. The musicians are all pretty much facing each other rather than assuming stage positions with cameras crammed into the space between in the middle, so the overall feeling is that we’ve been allowed into their private and intimate home. The lighting is bare bones too – a few white par cans with the odd bit of flashing in time with the music, but absolutely nothing fancy at all. A brilliant decision and one that closes the gap of impersonality and distance that is the curse of streamed performances, creating intimacy and immediacy.

It does feel raw and live with no obvious recording gaps, so the banter, occasional instrument retuning and mistakes are as real as they would be in a live venue. The sound is perfect for the effect they are creating – crisp and clear; fat and rich, although the guitars are a bit back in the mix compared to the rhythm section. The filming is of the handheld in your face variety, which captures the atmosphere these guys work best in – a sweaty club with the tangible risk of dripping condensation causing an electrical fire. Now the reality is these events are not truly live, but importantly this one feels ‘as live’, without obvious edits and plenty of shots of tuning fun, inter-song banter and rehydration and all the other stuff you would get if you were in the room with them.

At the end we also get a guest vocal appearance from band friend and Million Dead frontman Frank Turner as Ginger gets his wish for a lead singer on the final two tracks, giving the chance for a cracking layered vocal harmony that would be a challenge otherwise live. Turner also acts as the interviewer for the numerous extras that are available in the deluxe package and his love of their music is tangible. Given that Ginger has moaned a lot over the years about having to be the main vocalist all the time I wonder if we may not see more of his input in the future, as his vocal tone fits a treat with the Wildhearts sound.

At an hour and fifteen minutes run time it was a little on the short side, but short is sweet here and otherwise spot on, although for those with access to the bonus package there was also the chance to hear a new track ‘Splitter’ as a plug for the upcoming album “21st Century Love Songs”. This is now available on pre-order, and the track is a bit more frenetic with time changes aplenty and a lovely slide guitar break from Ginger. It whets the appetite nicely, as indeed would anything recorded by this line up of the band, who are on an absolute creative roll right now.

This is the closest any of us can get to a gig now and frankly I don’t care about whether it’s pre-recorded or not. And neither should you, as these things are currently the only real revenue stream bands currently have and without labels, streaming platforms, promoters, venues and all the other assorted fleas and ticks of Rock’n’roll taking their cut, actually can be a financial life line for the artists, as they are relatively cheap to produce and the band should be getting a much larger slice of the revenue.

That’s why I think they are here to stay – not least from the fact that this pandemic is far from over, but that its impacts are only just getting started, with Brexit and all the woes and costs it adds to touring providing the icing to a shit cake of epic proportions in the UK live scene in particular. Many venues aren’t going to survive this; it’s going to be a while until the touring machine gets going again and in the meantime the bands need to eat. If someone’s ill, physically unable to tour or it’s not simply cost effective then bands are going to realise this delivery method is another trick in their arsenal, and one for which they see a lot more of a slice of the income. It also gives bands a chance to do something different (as Avatar did recently with a four show tour of almost their entire recorded catalogue) and that might not work commercially on tour but works perfectly for the streamed format.

Add to this the deluxe packages on sale can be worth the extra money. In this instance this got fans an event T-Shirt, the new sneak preview from the new album and an hour or so worth of interviews including a very frank and open discussion from Danny about his battles with mental health and drugs (and yes, I may just try CJ’s chicken curry recipe), because let’s face it, live streams are as cheap as chips for us as punters compared to the cost of going to a gig so why the hell would you not spend that extra couple of quid and keep the bands alive?

LINKS:

Wildhearts Live Stream

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

ColdHarbour UK – Live Stream Review

ColdHarbour UK
The Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft
Live Stream Presented by Centrepin T.V
26/09/2020
Review by Tammy Lomax

Screw you Coronavirus!!

With all the cancellations it might feel like you’ll never watch your favourite band onstage again, however, we have to adapt to this pandemic, whether we like it or not. So, the next best thing? Live streams baby!! Yeah!!

It’s surely better than nothing right? Be grateful for what we can do virtually, the love of our technology, our saviour but yet our own worst enemy at times.

Beer at hand? Good, now let’s crack on.

On Saturday 26/09/2020 at 8pm I was prepared and ready, sat on my sofa waiting for the live stream performance from ColdHarbour UK. It is a bit odd that I have my fluffy socks on, it’s a very sad affair that my ‘kock out boots’ are collecting dust. Up until now, I have been a Twitch virgin and I must say that it appears to be an excellent platform for occasions like these.

ColdHarbour UK are a three-piece Grunge/Prog/Metal band from Norwich. Tonight, they have a decent 1 hour set and It’s doubly special for us listeners/watchers because they are playing 5 new songs! The stage and setup are really cool. There is enough space between the three members, and they are all facing inwards, ready to open their set! ColdHarbour UK were born ready! I feel some nervousness for them, after all this is still a very new way of presenting a live performance, but that’s exactly what the buzz is about!

By the time fourth track ‘Sonorous’ kicked in, there were a fair few people tuning in to the stream and the fellas were getting some positive feedback on the live chat, this was definitely adding to their performance. At this point, they were all settled in, they sounded tight, the hard work and commitments with rehearsal’s having paid off. More and more energy was coming from all of them, the riffs were flying out hard and the sound of the bass was like a dribbling monster. No lie, one day I want a bass like that. It was a chunky funky BAD ASS!

So, we get to just over half way through and I frantically manage to squeeze a few questions in on the live chat

Tammy: “These times at the moment are absolutely bonkers right?! So, how have you prepared yourselves for tonight’s live stream?”

ColdHarbour UK: “A big shout out to Earth Studio’s, Pete has been fantastic. He has been flexible following social distancing rules and allowed us to use the studio for rehearsal, preparing ourselves for tonight”.

Tammy: “You are playing a lot of new tracks tonight, can you tell us the process of writing these tracks, and what are the inspirations behind your magic?”

ColdHarbour UK: “We build ideas as a group, Alex and Tom work on the main melodies and then we collaborate”. “Our inspirations are varied! Tom and Alex like Prog and Metal and Ian likes Grunge and Metal”.

Tammy: “When Covid-19 is over and some normality resumes, what are your plans and hopes for the future as a unit?”

ColdHarbour UK: “We plan to record and release our stuff, so we can be heard, this does take some time and money though”.

Now, with the questions out of the way, I really need to point out my favourite track from the performance. ‘Silence Is Deafening’ was projected and performed with precision. It was one of the new tracks, but I heard no misfires or awkward notes. Vocals were clean and clear and the bass didn’t overshadow either it was just a perfect mix.

Wow, by this point they were absolutely pumped up. There were positive interactions and even more feedback coming from the crowd. I felt I was attending an actual gig in my FLUFFY SOCKS!!

The rest of the performance was mainly instrumental although there were some vocals and you could really hear their talent. They have a great concoction of ideas and the three of them work together perfectly.

ColdHarbour UK are definitely committed and I personally have a soft spot for these fellas! Regardless of Covid-19, they are still pushing themselves and are full of creativity and new ideas, I really see a bright future for these guys.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hour Of The Wolf
02. State Of Mind
03. Dorje’s Wish
04. Sonorous*
05. Subterfuge*
06. Blackest Days
07. Silence Is Deafening*
08. 13 & Four*
09. Somewhere To Call Your Own
10. Fall Away
11. Roots*
12. Battlestar Spactacular

*New Tracks.

LINE UP:
Tom Brown – Vocals and Guitars.
Alex Taylor – Bass
Ian Arnold – Drums

LINKS:
You can watch the full performance here…
www.facebook.com/1306612549359805/posts/3462156187138753/

www.facebook.com/ColdHarbourUK/
www.instagram.com/coldharbour_band_uk/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/2GLXhpPmCxJc9BIwm1sQ9s
www.youtube.com/channel/UCtBnBwCFdSEJR1nrybWDnsA

www.facebook.com/CentrepinTV/
www.facebook.com/seagulltheatre/
www.facebook.com/WendyHouseRecordingStudio/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tammy Lomax 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.

European Metal Festival Alliance 2020

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

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

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

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

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

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

Evil Invaders

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

www.facebook.com/evilinvaders/

Alien Weaponry

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

www.facebook.com/AlienWeaponry

Rotting Christ

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

www.facebook.com/rottingchristofficial

Rick’s Friday Interjection

Parasite Inc.

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

www.facebook.com/ParasiteInc/

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS

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

White Walls

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

www.facebook.com/whitewallsofficial

Lepoka

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

www.facebook.com/lepokafolk

Avatar

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

www.facebook.com/avatarmetal

Rick’s Saturday Interjections

Venom Inc.

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

Angelus Apatrida

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

www.facebook.com/angelusapatrida/

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS

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

Skyeye

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

www.facebook.com/SkyEyeBand/

Svart Crown

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

www.facebook.com/SVARTCROWN

Mass Hysteria

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

www.facebook.com/masshysteriaofficiel/

Sabaton

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

www.facebook.com/sabaton

Rick’s Sunday Interjection

Kissin’ Dynamite

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

www.facebook.com/Kissindynamiterocks/

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

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

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

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.

Matt Jones/Twisted Illusion – Live From The Flat

Matt Jones/Twisted Illusion – Live From The Flat
Somewhere in Manchester
20/03/2020
Review By Beth Jones

So… Its been a week since ‘THE EVENT’ really took hold in the UK. We are listening to Mitchell & Webb’s advice of ‘REMAIN INDOORS’ (if you’re not up on British comedy, google it). The kids are now off school indefinitely, and the only way to stop cabin fever setting in is going to be alcohol and live streams! The first of our live streams was to be the heart, soul, and lifeblood of Twisted Illusion; main man, Matt Jones. As with any other muso at this time, shit is difficult. Gigs cancelled, festivals postponed, merch sales unlikely, the future uncertain, livelihoods in the balance, and the ability to do what musos live for – performing live to a room full of people – curtailed for god knows how long. Times are bleak, but our community is two things – caring and resourceful. And to that end, we’ll pull together and get involved, right? It was also Matt’s birthday, so all the more reason to tune in and show our support.

If anybody has experienced Matt Jones and Twisted Illusion before, you’ll know that he is one talented guy, but this is unchartered waters for all of us. This is up close and personal, with nowhere to hide, just Matt, in his flat, with a guitar, a mic, and the lovely Hannah reading out the comments and requests from the gathered ‘watchers’ on Facebook. To that end, I have to commend Matt on his absolute stalwart tenacity to bring music to the people, by whatever means. This was his soul, right here on our tablets, or smart phones or TV, and it was a great and, if I’m honest, an emotional thing to witness. Yes, it was rough around the edges, yes it wasn’t the same as watching it in a bar or venue, yes it’s all a bit weird for everyone, but adopt, adapt and improve, right? (thanks for the quote John Cleese).

Matt has produced some amazing covers recently, which have been posted on Youtube, and he was taking requests for this performance! My favourite of his covers so far has been Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’. He performed it at my birthday back in December, and obviously I requested it again for this gig. And again, he delivered the goods, and choked me up in the process. It’s been a fairly emotional couple of weeks for everyone to be fair, but this really hit me in the feels. He also covered Ace of Spades superbly and hit us with a bit of the Tenacious D classic, ‘Tribute’, too, which is always a crowd pleaser!

The covers were interspersed with some TI songs too, which really is what Matt does best. His song-writing imagination is huge, and he has come up with some masterpieces that deserve more recognition than they get. I would recommend everybody check them out. If you like proggy hard rock/classic metal sounds, or anything Devin Townsend has ever done, you’ll like Twisted Illusion.

This show was definitely an experiment and ‘dipping toes in the water’ for Matt, yes he’s done live noodling before, but not a live streamed show of any formality. There wasn’t a set list, there was a lot of half songs and banter, it wasn’t the professional production that we’d see from a ‘bigger band’, but that made it endearing and real.

Whilst it wasn’t perfect, it was a great start in this new field of bringing music to the people. He started to look more comfortable as it went along, and this was definitely the biggest crowd he has pulled and sustained in a live stream to date. Who knows how long this way of delivering live music will be for, but I sincerely hope that Matt and Twisted Illusion are a big part of that. You can catch the next live stream from him on Friday 27th March 2020 by clicking on this event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/614868202435132/ Be sure to tune in!

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/
www.twitter.com/officialtiband
www.twistedillusion.bigcartel.com/
www.twistedillusion.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCK0IxAnfXG7ibOx4HUyOHQQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/2ieaLzCnFgOvKhImBVWp0P

Disclaimer: This review and photograph 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.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales, Heat 2
Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020
Review & Pictures by Beth Jones

We were still dusting ourselves down from the first heat of this year’s Metal 2 The Masses North Wales, when suddenly, quicker than you could say ‘get me on the New Blood stage’, it was time for heat 2! Originally this heat was going to be taking place in Bangor, on the North West Wales coast, but sadly the venue is now an ex-venue. However, because this is North Wales, and the NEW Metal Productions team can handle pretty much anything, it was reorganised to our regular haunt, Mcleans, Pentre!

Five bands were set to take to the stage in this heat, and there were rumblings that this was going to be the toughest heat we had ever seen. Our very own Rick Tilley was asked to stand in as a judge on this heat, as one of the regulars, Phoenix Rising’s John Matthews, was unable to attend. It was pretty certain the judges were going to have a hard task. The ‘order of service’, drawn before we arrived, was Winter Hotel, Thrashatouille, Lullaby For A Unicorn, Krank, and Leatherback. This was going to be fun!

Winter Hotel

Hailing from Bangor, these guys play a hard hitting, modern alternative metal style with a pretty hefty punch. They haven’t been round that long and were using a stand-in bass player. While they had done a fair bit of prep for this, bringing with them printed lyric sheets for the judges, their relative infancy showed in their stage craft, which this year is one of the main things the judges are looking at. Musically they were great, and the charisma of front man, Warren Porter, did shine through. But, in my opinion, they weren’t quite ready, performance wise. However, this is something that will come with practice, and more gigging. They definitely have something exciting to give; they just need to work out how to present it.

https://www.facebook.com/WinterHotelband/

Thrashatouille

We’ve seen these guys a good few times now, including last year’s M2TM North Wales, where they narrowly missed getting a spot in the final. Not to be downtrodden, they decided to return this year to give it another go. It was instantly noticeable that they had a new toy on stage – front man Rob Sutton had a synth that goes boom (not a technical term, but good enough to describe it – I’m old and all this synth trickery goes over my head)! I love the effect that you get out of them, so was looking forward to seeing how he used it, and to seeing how they’d come on since last year. I was not disappointed! From the first chord, to the final boooom, they were bloody brilliant! By far the best we have ever seen them perform. Their madcap food-based death/thrash metal, complete with inflatables, energetic movement on and off the stage from Rob, and a healthy dose of booooooom, was totally something I could imagine going down a storm on the New Blood stage. Epic performance!

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille/

Lullaby For A Unicorn

After being within touching distance of the New Blood stage, as one of last years’ runners-up in the M2TM North Wales final, it was no surprise to see these guys coming to give it another go. I’ve lost count how many times we’ve watched them play but was still as eager to see them again. They are quirky and have an endearing band personality that makes you feel happy, despite the manic and slightly psychotic look in front man Justin Williams’ eyes! They seem to have a bit of a curse on them in this competition though, and they do have a nasty habit of over thinking it. In this performance, a gremlin had got into the sound, and they were plagued with feedback, which I feel threw them off their game a bit. There was none of the usual party popper madness either, which was possibly like taking away their comfort blanket. I still really enjoyed their set though, as I always do, and I was very hopeful that the audience would see past the gremlins, because I know what their ‘A game’ is like.

https://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Krank

We last saw Krank in the M2TM heats two years ago, and back then they just weren’t ready, so I was interested to see how they’d come on. Musically they have definitely come a long way, and they make a very good sound together. Carrying on the theme of the evening, it was quirky, humorous, and heavy. They’d obviously spent a bit of time thinking about their stage show, as they had a projector playing a random video in the background, and they also had a large ‘Doomsday clock’ displayed on a laptop for the audience, and the front man to see, as apparently they have a tendency to run over time! They’d brought a lot of fans with them, so they went down well with the crowd. They threw a load of miniature squeaky rubber chickens in to crowd at the start of the set too, which caused a bit of a gigglesome fracas. Unfortunately, even though I think they’re really good musically, something about the front man’s over the top, bullishness really irks me. I find it irritating. Yes, I’m a grumpy old woman, but I just think he needs to tone it down a bit. Let the music do some of the talking, and please, for the love of god, put your tits away! Oh, and another thing – my daughter has now stolen the squeaky rubber chicken we brought home and will not stop squeaking it! Goddamn you!!

https://www.facebook.com/krankislife/

Leatherback

The final performance of the evening was a one-man techno/industrial/metal crossover. My first thought was, ‘I hope they’re going to put the stage lights back on, because the photos won’t be much good otherwise!’ I asked the all-knowing Fozzy, and his response was ‘Just wait and see’. Hmmm, I’m not good with surprises! When the performance started, it became clear what Fozzy meant! Strobe… Lots and lots of strobe! It was like being in a 90s rave! Musically, there were samples, synths and pedals being controlled like clockwork by Matt, aka Leatherback. At the same time, he was playing some pretty tight rhythm guitar. Combined with the strobing and colour changing lights, also controlled by the music, it made for a pretty hallucinogenic experience! I had issues with this performance though, both as a lover of old-school, and as a photographer. He does what he does very well, and with a lot of skill, however what he does, and what I like musically are two very different things. My second issue was the lights. I spent so long looking directly at a strobe, trying to actually capture some useable photos, that my eye and the side of my face went completely numb. That was my cue to leave. I’m going to leave it at that. Clever, but not my cup of tea! It did get the audience going, but on a performance level, I don’t think that it would transpose to a big stage like the New Blood.

https://www.facebook.com/leatherbackworld/

So, with all the bands done, it was time to vote. For me, there was one clear winner, who stood head and shoulders above the rest – Thrashatouille. After a short break, for the judges to deliberate and the audience to cast their votes, master of ceremonies, Beany, returned to the stage to announce the results. I totally couldn’t call it, so can imagine how tough it was for the judges.

First to be announced, and winners of the public vote were Krank, which is a good bit of statistical evidence that other bands should take notice of – the more people you bring with you to your heat, the more likely it is that you’ll win the public vote (unless you really suck and all the people you brought secretly hate you!). The band taking the judges vote, because of their musical ability, professionalism, stage craft and preparation (and rightfully so, if you ask me) were Thrashatouille!

This heat had definitely been a tough one, and it was sad that there had to be winners and losers, but, by definition, that’s what competition is. Onwards and upwards my friends, onwards and upwards! Next up! Heat 3, which takes place on 4th April

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingrocks/

Disclaimer: This review and photographs are 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.

In Which It Burns w/ Scarfoot and SICK The Hideout, Wrexham, North Wales 06/03/2020

In Which It Burns
w/ Scarfoot and SICK
The Hideout, Wrexham, North Wales
06/03/2020
Review and Photography by Beth Jones

After a few quiet months on the gig front, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a bit of a flurry of local gigs, which is great! Friday 6th March saw us heading into Wrexham, (a brave move some might say) to check out a few bands performing at yet another show put on by our maestros of metal, North East Wales Metal Productions. The venue, previously called Atomic, has now had a name change and somewhat of a rebrand and refurb, especially upstairs, where the gig was taking place. It’s a cosy little space, but now has a small bar, and has had a wall removed to create a little more standing room. It’s not perfect, as because of it’s shape, some parts of the stage can’t be seen properly from the back, but hey ho – it’s a venue, and we have some awesome bands coming there, so who am I to complain!

For this occasion, we were set to be serenaded by, firstly, Liverpool speed rock band Sick, followed by one of our local favourites, Scarfoot, and then South West Wales lads, In Which It Burns.

SICK

These guys haven’t been together very long and play ‘Speed Rock’. This description raised a few eyebrows here at Ever Metal HQ, because it was essentially just Punk. Their relative infancy is telling in their performance. It’s messy. A lot of the songs sound the same, and the drummer, who is also the singer, seems to have a bit of an issue with drumming and singing at the same time. At one point in the set, they announced that they were going to play ‘a slow one’, and the guitars came in at quite a slowed down pace, but then had to speed up to keep up with the drummer, who came in with the same beat that he had done for every song. They were very enthusiastic though, and if you like messy 70’s Punk, then these guys are for you, but personally I think they need to focus on listening to each other more, in order to tighten up their live performance. The bassist stood out for me, as he was a good player and knew how to perform!

https://www.facebook.com/SickBandOfficial/

Scarfoot

We’ve seen these guys so many times in the last couple of years it almost feels like we’re related! To say they’ve progressed recently, after a notable change in line-up, would be understating their improvement. Last time we saw them, there was a new magic that hadn’t been present before.

They’d been on a bit of a shopping trip since we last saw them, adding some lights and a smoke machine to their stage set-up, and we were excited to see what new wizardry they were going to give us. Two words: LEVEL UP!!!!!! Holy hell! It was like seeing a whole new band! It was obvious they’ve really been putting in the practice, and thinking deeper about how they present, as every element of their show is massively improved. Grooves were heavier, riffs and stops where tighter, the energy was on full power, and the addition of the lights and smoke machine really put the pretty smoky blue icing on the rather fine Scarfoot stage show cake! This was by far the best we have ever seen them, and a perfect example of what hard work paying off looks like! If they can do it like that in their upcoming Metal 2 The Masses heat, they will blow the audience’s mind!

https://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband/

In Which It Burns

I saw these guys late last year over in Chester at the G21 bar in The Saddle. Rick was laid up that night, so hadn’t been able to come with me, therefore, when this venture to Wrexham was announced, I made certain that we would both get down, because I knew they would be right up Rick’s street!

Hailing from Pembrokeshire, they play a real meld of metal styles in a very tight and exciting way and I absolutely bloody love them! They are all very talented musicians, and down to earth guys to boot, and the little snippets of dark humour that front man Wayne Mayhew injects between songs go down very well. They really deserve to be a much bigger name on the scene than they are.

As predicted, Rick was also suitably impressed with them, and had a long chat with Wayne after their set to tell him that! Seriously, if they are coming to a town near you soon, get out and see them – you will not be disappointed. We are mega happy that they’re coming back up here in a few weeks, playing with Ashen Crown and Incinery at the one and only Mclean’s, Pentre! They also impressed Fozzy and Beany so much that, at the end of their set, Beany announced that they were being adding to the bill for next year’s Pentre Fest, which was met with much cheering!

And, as if that wasn’t enough, I was given an In Which It Burns beany hat, and it is the first hat ever that doesn’t make me look a complete dick!! Happy Beth!!!

https://www.facebook.com/InWhichItBurns/

And with that, we slunk off quietly through the streets of Wrexham which, believe me, are not pretty at that time on a Friday, and headed home to go to bed, because we’re old, and needed our beauty sleep before our next gig adventure, M2TM North Wales – Heat 2, the following day!

LINKS:

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

Disclaimer: This review and photographs are 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.