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.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 3 – McLeans Pentre – 19/04/2019

00 Heat 3 Poster

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 3
McLeans Pentre – 19/04/2019
Review by Beth Jones & Richard Tilley

Ah, Easter weekend! What better way to celebrate the rebirth of a myth, than with some metalllllll! The venue for M2TM North Wales Heat 3 was the wonderful McLean’s again, but this week’s line-up was set to be heavier than last weeks, and on arrival, the crowd looked up for a good night! Sadly, the headliners couldn’t be there, so we just had the competing bands; Nights Tribunal, Favela, Thrashatouille and Renegades Of Fire. Three of these bands we had seen before, so we had a pretty good idea of what to expect, but Favela were a new name to us.

Nights Tribunal
Kicking us off were three young hopefuls in the shape of Nights Tribunal. They started quite tentatively, which isn’t the way to win over the crowd, but they did get better through their set, as they got a bit more in to it. The bass player was very enthusiastic throughout and looked slightly out of place, as they weren’t as heavy as his playing suggested! Their guitarist/vocalist, Ryan Bond, has a very quiet voice, and I think to progress, he needs to make a decision – if he is going to sing, SING! Or if he isn’t confident enough to do it with some gusto, get a vocalist who can. That being said, they did have one song that grabbed us, Maple Grove, which was a nod to Pink Floyd, and could work quite well with a bit more rehearsal.

01 Nights Tribunalhttps://www.facebook.com/nightstribunal/

Favela
These guys were a step up from the off. They describe themselves as Southern / Post Hardcore / Metal, and were definitely a nod to the nineties in style, with a bit of a rap/metal vibe going on – lots of influences from RATM and Deftones. They were super tight and well-rehearsed, and the drummer, Sam Martin was spot on, and didn’t half hit those bangy things with some force! Rick also loved the use of cowbell. Vocalist Tom Harrison had bags of energy, and brilliant stage presence – he made an instant connection with the good sized audience, which set them off to a great start. As a group, they didn’t take themselves too seriously, which is refreshing to see – if you have fun with it, so does your audience! They had a really cracking sound and moved to the top of my list of ‘ones to watch in 2019’! Every member knew exactly what they were doing, and the additional vocals provided by bassist Ross Cardno, and guitarist Mike Harrison, were very good. We like these guys a lot.

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

Thrashatouille
Having seen these guys at Christmas, we knew that we were going to get a lot of food based craziness from them. They didn’t disappoint. For this performance they had two waiters with them, who stood motionless either side of the stage for a couple of songs, then screamed MOSSSSHHHHHHH, and started a pit! Happy days – perhaps someone might have told them there was a fly in the Ragu, and it made them lose their shit – who knows! Add into the pot an inflatable donut and some very excitable crowd members, and you can see how the atmosphere ramped up a bit! I know these guys are a personal favourite of Powerzone’s Dani Maguire, and he was merrily moshing his face off at the front throughout the set! They also introduced a new song to their set, which went down a treat, and they finished off with a nice bit of baking – with singer Rob Sutton burying his face in a rather lovely looking red velvet cake. You have to hand it to them, they are great fun, and musically they provide a hefty dose of good old fashioned thrash! Well done lads.

03 Thrashatouillehttps://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille/

Renegades Of Fire
Closing the night were a band we have seen a couple of times, including last year’s M2TM heats, and we were hoping to see how they had come on in a year. Thankfully there was a definite improvement. Guitarist Alex Wright and Bassist Connor Ormiston have really come out of their shell since the last time we saw them, and looked much more relaxed, and it was good to see them taking on some vocal duties too. Steven Taylor on drums has improved so much as a drummer this year, it is commendable. Lead vocalist Andy Lewis needs a bit more oomph in his voice to really make it stand out, but musically they are so much tighter now than they were a year ago. They still have some way to go but gigging and practice will bring that. They look like a band now, which was really pleasing, and we hope to see them continue their upward progression. Be confident lads – you definitely have something, just throw away those nerves.

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

And so, again, it was time for the judges to go off and do their deliberating, although again I think we could put a pretty safe bet on the progressing two bands. Again, the public vote went the same as the judges’ thoughts, and it was announced that Favela and Thrashatouille were the victors on the night. All is not lost for the others yet though, as Fozzy does have the job of picking a wild card act, so who knows! The last of the heats is coming up on Saturday 27th April, at the Wrexham Lager Club, and we will be there once again!

Links:
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 Richard Tilley, Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of 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/

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 2 – McLeans Pentre – 12/04/2019

00 M2TM Heat2 Poster Top

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 2
McLeans Pentre – 12/04/2019
Review by Beth Jones & Richard Tilley

Having missed the first heat, due to Rick’s ill health (Sorry – Rick), we were stoked to get back in the game for Heat 2, at our new local, as we seem to have been there more than anywhere else recently, Mcleans Pentre! The line-up on the night had been five competing bands, but one had to pull out at short notice, so we were left with four and special guest headliners, all the way from Northern Ireland, Lock Horns. There will be more about them later, but first on to the competition.

Scarfoot
First, on the night, were the incredibly likeable chaps from Scarfoot. We had seen these guys a couple of times before, so kind of knew what to expect. Their performance was a mixed bag. Enthusiastic, but tentative; bursting with confidence in some songs, but looking a little like a rabbit in the headlights in others. They definitely have potential, however they need to find a way to get over nerves, as I think this holds there performance back – their bass player, especially, looks like he would be more comfortable playing via video link, from a nice cosy room with soft lighting. That being said, they did have a collection of songs that were well though out, catchy, and pretty proggy in places which appeals to us a lot. We want to see them grow because they are such genuinely nice guys, and they do have an interesting sound.

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

STR (Second Time Round)
We saw these guys at NEW Metal Productions ‘The Christmas Carol Mosh’ back in December 2018 and were left slightly unmoved by them. We were hoping that they would have improved for this but sadly that wasn’t the case! Don’t get us wrong, the guitarists/lead vocalists have something. They gel and look right onstage together, although it’s not quite there yet, but we think they are being held back by the drummer, who is a nice enough guy, but can’t really keep time, and the bass player who is adequate, but thinks he’s Steve Harris, and has an uber arrogant attitude towards both the audience and his fellow band mates, which was an instant turn off for both of us (and other people in the audience). Whether it is just nerves, or whether he is actually that arrogant doesn’t really matter – talking over your band mates to slag them, and the audience off, is just unprofessional, and if they think that any big or medium sized festival will look at them twice with that sort of attitude, then they are foolish. There were several occasions when, had we been outside, tumbleweed would have rolled passed the stage! It was kind of embarrassing, especially as Bloodstock’s own, Paul McMonnies, was in attendance that night. Our one ask to bands would be please, when you are starting out, don’t act like you are seasoned pros, who have been touring globally for twenty years, unless you have the musical talent to back that up!

02 Second Time Roundhttps://www.facebook.com/secondTround/

Zanda Stone
Next up was the former frontman of Ragnarok, Zanda Stone, who had decided to go it alone, and try and be ground breaking with heavy acoustic. One thing we will not take away from him is that he stood up on stage, just him and a guitar, in a M2TM heat, and gave us an acoustic set, which is very, very brave. His job was made a lot harder by the fact that some of the STR members (and their mates) decided to talk and laugh, rather loudly, through the entirety of his set, which is just plain rude and another complete no-no at a gig!

We had really quite enjoyed Ragnarok when we had seen them at Central Station in 2018 as part of the ‘Casual Mosh’ Summer Sessions, so had high hopes that Zanda was going to be good as an acoustic act. Sadly, it didn’t quite work. The songs were good, if a little too political and basic in places, but it kind of fell a bit flat without any crunchy band behind it. There were also some tuning issues, which were pretty stark at his party of one on the stage. If Zanda continues down this acoustic route then we wish him all the luck but we both agreed we much preferred seeing him fronting a big, loud and thumping Heavy Rock/Metal band!

03 Zanda Stonehttps://www.facebook.com/zandastonemusic

Cry For Mercy
Having not been wowed by anyone so far, we didn’t have massively high hopes for our final competing act, Cry For Mercy. We gathered at the stage, like a good, obedient audience and waited for them to start. Then there it was, WHAM! From the first note! Proper toe tapping, well performed by understated performers MUSIC!!! Lord be praised (if you like that kind of thing [shit, don’t discuss politics or religion, damn, damn, damn])! Here was a band who knew what they were doing, could play really, really well, and were, more than, solid in their performance, but humble in their delivery. They are not metal, they are good, heavy bluesy rock (think Thunder meets Black Country Communion) and we were instantly back in the game watching them. The night hadn’t really got going until this point, but they reminded the audience why we were there. Bassist/Vocalist Kev Plant had one hell of a voice, and Guitarist/Vocalist Andy Cutty could noodle better than an all you can eat Chinese Banquet! Fair play! With Drummer Steven Taylor keeping things rock solid on the skins, this was what we had been waiting for! Everyone in the audience was with them, and for us there was no question of who should progress to the next stage of the competition!

04 Cry For Mercyhttps://www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial/

After their cracking performance, it was time to vote. Two bands would be progressing to the Semi Finals, one as the judges vote and one as the audience vote. It had been an odd night, that’s for sure, so it was going to be an interesting result! Whilst the judges deliberated and the audience votes were totted up, we were treated to out first proper ‘metal’ performance of the night, from four lads from Northern Ireland, who have already made it to the 2019 Belfast M2TM finals – Lock Horns!

Lock Horns
Wow! Just…Wow! This is what we had been waiting for! They blew the roof off with their performance, which was screamy, fast, proggy, intricate, Djenty, and everything in between. As a pretty below par Bass player myself, the slap and pop skills of Bassist Rhys Fraser positively made me drool and cry simultaneously! Whilst the epic vocal range of Alex Da Costa, from low growls to pitch perfect clean vocals, made everyone smile with pleasure. This was bolstered by the intricate rhythms of drummer Corey Hodges, and some pretty spectacular wizardry from guitarist Junior Afrifa, (who incidentally seemed about 30 foot tall)! We freakin’ loved these guys – so much so that Beth’s trusted ponytail was let down for a little mosh! It was clear to see why they have progressed to the Belfast finals, and we wish them every luck in the world for that, as they thoroughly deserve it. Having chatted to them briefly afterwards, as we bought their album, they seem like thoroughly decent guys too!

05 Guest Headliner Lock Hornshttps://www.facebook.com/LockHornsOfficial/

And so, it was decision time. It came as no surprise that Cry For Mercy were picked to progress to the next round. They were, by a country mile, the best band on the night. Joining them would be Scarfoot and we think this was the right call. They definitely have something, they just need to sort out their performance skills! Onwards and upwards! The Heat 3 review will be coming up shortly and we will be brutally honest about another bunch of hopefuls!

LINKS:
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 Rick Tilley, 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.

UFO ‘Last Orders; 50th Anniversary Tour’ – The Junction, Cambridge – 22/03/2019

Tour Flyer

UFO
‘Last Orders; 50th Anniversary Tour’
The Junction, Cambridge
22/03/2019
Review by Paul Monkhouse & Photo by Daniel Ackerley-Holmes

Very few bands in rock are as legendary as UFO. Since forming in the late 60’s theirs has been a mercurial and notorious history, filled with fights, stellar musicians and peerless songwriting. When last year main man Phil Mogg announced his intention to retire, tickets for this 50th anniversary became some of the most eagerly awaited and sought after and rightly so. The ‘Last Orders Tour’ is a cherry-picked celebration of some of the finest slices of hard rock ever to be committed to tape.

When the lights dimmed and a bar bell rang, one by one the band strolled onto stage and tore into opening number Let It Roll like it was freshly minted. Buoyed by the ecstatic reaction of a packed crowd the band tackled the material with a passion that mixed their seasoned professionalism with a sense of genuinely having an absolute ball onstage.

Mogg in particular was in truly great form, looking fit and lean, cracking jokes between songs and with a voice that arguably sounded the best it ever has. With old friends and foils Andy Parker on the drums and Paul Raymond on keys and guitar it was a joy to see these three on stage providing a masterclass of muscular and melodic music. The two ‘new’ boys Rob De Luca and Vinnie Moore more than held up their ends, De Luca meshing perfectly with Parker to provide a tight rhythm section that pinned down the grooves of the songs with élan and Moore firmly stamping his own identity into tracks previously played by ex UFO alumni and world class six stringer Michael Schenker.

This wasn’t though just an exercise in nostalgia as newer tracks such as Baby Blue, Burn Your House Down and a brilliant Messiah of Love from 2015s ‘A Conspiracy of Stars’ stood shoulder to shoulder with the classics. In fact, along with a outstanding solo on Ain’t No Baby, the acoustic guitarwork on these three were some of the highlights of the evening and showed why Moore was such a great choice to replace the, once more, departing Schenker in 2003. Be it the interplay with the superb keys of Raymond or his own showcase during the extended workout of Rock Bottom Moore truly put his heart into his playing.

All you could wish for and more was played with each song being greeted like an old friend. Lights Out, Only You Can Rock Me and Cherry came in a rush of euphoria and a truly epic Love to Love was enough to make grown men cry, such was its magnificence. With the unbeatable one / two punch of set closers Too Hot to Handle and the aforementioned Rock Bottom there was only one way to come out for the encore. The moment the familiar glistening keyboard started and was joined by the tasteful guitar work, shivers ran down spines as the place erupted. This turned into the out and out adrenaline rush of THAT riff as every single voice in the place sang the titular opening lines “Doctor Doctor please…”. Probably the first song that most people get to hear by UFO, this is still one of the greatest tracks in rock and something that is seen as the bands very own calling card. Following that was nigh on impossible but a triumphant Shoot Shoot rounded off the night perfectly on part of what is potentially going to be the tour of the year. No-one quite knows what the future holds for UFO but even if this is their swan song they couldn’t go out in finer style. Absolutely unmissable.

LINKS:
http://www.ufo-music.info/
https://www.facebook.com/UFOofficial/

DANIEL ACKERLEY-HOLMES PHOTOGRAPHY
https://www.danielackerley.co.uk

 

RockSinsUFO32

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 supplied courtesy of Daniel Ackerley-Holmes