EMQ’s with ASHEN REACH

Ashen Reach Logo

EMQ’s with ASHEN REACH

Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Liverpool based Hard Rock band, and also ‘Ever Metal band to watch out for’, Ashen Reach ! Huge thanks to Guitarist Paddy Cummins for taking part!

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I’m Paddy and I play lead guitar, but more importantly, we are Ashen Reach! We sort of bridge the gap between hard rock and metal most of the time. We play intense, heavy hitting rock and metal but there’s definitely a softness that shines through too occasionally. There’s something for everyone really! We’ve changed and evolved a lot from the very first incarnations of the band really, musically and personnel-wise. Jess, our drummer, is the only original member of the first gigging line-up, which was then under a different name. From starting as a very old school classic 70’s rock vibe, the band evolved going through different members who brought different vibes and influences until you eventually arrive at what is before you!

How did you come up with your band name?

Our band name was inspired by a video game called Sea of Thieves that Jess and I play. One of the islands you can visit in the game is called ‘Ashen Reaches’. It’s a volcanic island that regularly spews out lava and giant boulders. It’s also littered with geysers that shoot scalding hot water up into the air. It’s a very dark area of the in-game world and the overall atmosphere is very misty, but with lots of glowing yellow/orange/red areas. ‘Ashen Reach’ sounded cool to our ears, had a bit more effectiveness and was a little slightly different, but also captured the punch and aggression we put into our music.

What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We’re all from around Liverpool in North-West England. The rock and metal scene here isn’t as strong as we’d like it to be. There are lots of great rock and metal bands from around here 100%, but when you tour and play in other parts of the country and see the support for this type of music and how much more it’s pushed by people involved in putting on rock shows, there’s a lot more to be done here I think on a wider scale. But there are bands in these genres coming out of the Liverpool area, so while that is still the case, there is hope!

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)

Our latest release is our brand new single ‘Tear It Down’! It is available on all the usual online streaming services and stores; Spotify, iTunes, Google Play etc. And our music video can be viewed on YouTube or on our Facebook page.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luS1IcgZadc

Who have been your greatest influences?

We have so many influences as individuals, all varying. However, we share a lot of common ground and often enjoy and appreciate the differences we have in what we love. Our greatest influences, those who we’d say have directly affected how we sound include the likes of; Alter Bridge, Killswitch Engage, Black Stone Cherry, Van Halen, Tesseract and Dorje, to name a few. We draw inspiration from everywhere though. Be it dance, classical, techno, blues, 80’s pop, wherever there is melody really.

What first got you into music?

It’s difficult to say really as music is such a big part of life, all over the world for almost everybody. From when you’re born, you’re pretty much surrounded by it. It’s in your car on the radio, it’s in TV, films, video games, shops. I think you pick up on it from a very young age and the power of melody and beats together can have a profound effect on us as people. It can directly affect your mood, take you back to a place in your mind or a time in your life, it can give you goosebumps. These are things that you can’t fake. It’s very special and an amazing thing that we have as people to share.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

That’s tough really, there are so many amazing artists out there. It really depends on the nature of the collaboration. It’d be amazing to have someone like Myles Kennedy or Dan Tomkins sing on a track, or to have somebody like Guthrie Govan or John Petrucci play a solo in one of our songs. Although anything these people can produce, we’d struggle to replicate live for sure!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Personally, I’d have to say Download really. It’s not only a huge festival but having been so many times, seeing so many great bands and having so many amazing memories from being there, being a part of somebody’s festival experience in that way would be unreal. There are lots of other festivals that would be amazing though. Wacken, Hellfest, Rock am Ring, Graspop, Sweden Rock, to name a few.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think we’ve ever really received a gift from a fan, not that I can recall. Maybe someday we’ll have some interesting stories to tell of strange items we’ve taken ownership of, but not at this very moment unfortunately!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you is the biggest thing, for the ongoing support especially in this past year. A year in which we’ve had big ups and downs! It’s really been amazing and please continue to support, share our stuff and show others what we’re bringing to the world. We have a dream to really succeed in this and it won’t be possible without the help and support of people who enjoy what we do and those who believe in us as much as we believe!

If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

It’s hard to pick one really. I think the obvious one is Dio. He had such a huge impact on so many artists and is so universally loved and appreciated for what he did for the genre of heavy metal. Jimi Hendrix as well! What he did for guitar players and that whole world was incredible. Not many people can honestly say they’ve impacted something as much as Jimi did with guitar. Prince is another one, one of the most underrated guitar players ever. An honourable mention would be Tom Searle, founding guitar player and songwriter from Architects. Some of the songs he wrote, especially towards the end concerning his stance on coming to terms with death. It’s very powerful stuff, harrowing and raw.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love bringing ideas to life. We recently recorded ‘Tear It Down’ which we’ve just released, but we also recorded another song called ‘Prey’. The music for that song has been around in one form or another for years, long before the advent of this band. Being in the studio with such an amazing group of people, bringing something from my brain to life and building on it and making it as massive and epic as I ever could’ve hoped! It’s incredibly rewarding. I’ve never really been a lyricist, but I’ve never had to be in the projects I’ve been involved with. My focus and passion has always been on riffs, solos, structures, chord progressions, arrangements and all-round guitar-based stuff. Collaborating and being more involved on the lyric writing front has been very interesting and super fun, alongside the other members. Branching out and using the other members as something to lean on whilst exploring a new area of creativity is brilliant and I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to do so.

There isn’t really anything I hate about being a musician. I suppose hoping that one day, people will hear you and a grander scale and appreciate your art and the time you’ve spent honing your craft can be daunting and almost get you down sometimes. Through fear of it potentially never happening, I guess. I think everybody wants to be appreciated in some regard in life, particularly for something they’ve invested and sacrificed so many countless hours, so much money and effort into. However, we are doing everything we possibly can to make our dreams a reality and we are very hopeful!

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I’m not sure what I’d change really. As with all industries there are many positives and negatives. One thing about the industry that has a positive and a negative side, is the ability to get your music all over the world via the internet. The advent of social media and streaming services mean that it’s easier than it’s ever been to make your music accessible and available to people. Or it should be. The problem, however, is that there are so many bands, so many artists, all doing the same thing. It’s extremely saturated in places like Facebook and Instagram and that makes it a lot harder to stand out. Those sites aren’t necessarily aimed or geared towards musicians or artists either, which means you must find a way to stand out amongst other content too, like clickbait ‘news’ sites, memes or cat videos!

Obviously, the problem with streaming on things like Spotify, is that artist gain fractions of income via listens of Spotify. Of course, as a consumer it’s brilliant! Free, or a £10 monthly subscription for premium, and you can listen to all the music you want by anyone who has music up there, all at your fingertips. Streaming also takes some of the magic away from buying music. Going to the shop, buying a record in a cool enclosure with artwork and info and possibly goodies! Vinyl has made a bit of a comeback recently which is cool, but overall, I think music has less value to people these days, generally. As with anything with such accessibility and surplus, it’s not as intensely sought after. Unless you have a dedicated group of proper fans, people who will defend you and who swear by what you produce, anxiously awaiting new music and tour announcements. There will always be those people who love and appreciate it what goes into it of course, and they are the people who allow bands to do what they do. It does mean however, that artists make most of their income nowadays through things like touring and merch sales. This in turn, means if you’re an up and coming band, recently signed and being pushed by a label, you’re more than likely not going to see much of your home for the better part of 3 or 4 years. Family is the most important thing in the world and being away from them for extended periods is always difficult, but as with anything, to be successful requires some sort of sacrifice in one area or another.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

One of the standouts of all my favourite albums is, “Fortress” by Alter Bridge. I remember being in high school, and being so insanely excited for the release, more so for any other album before. Every song on it, is amazing. Nowhere does it even hint at the idea of filler. Every song is a strong as the last if not stronger and front to back it’s huge, powerful and had all the movement any great album has. “One Day Remains”, “Blackbird” and “ABIII” were all incredible so they had some work to do following all of those. They went above and beyond all my expectation with it to be honest. For me, the songs are still as amazing now, as they were when that album released and for me, it’s still their strongest overall album they have written.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

As a consumer, downloads 100%. You can enjoy the glory of your favourite artist, without moving an inch! It’s still fascinating and amazing thinking about how we’ve harnessed and developed technology and the power of the internet.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I’ll have to insist on 2 and say that easily, the best gigs I’ve played were the 2 Russian dates with Bullet For My Valentine. I mean, to play alongside such giants of the metal genre, in such a wonderful and interesting country. And to a total of over 12,000 people! It was incredible. The fans were unreal. Warm, welcoming, excited to see us even though they had not come specifically for us. They were everything we could’ve wished for and we went down a storm with them. We met tons of them afterwards, took pictures, signed things. It felt so strange having people ask for photos and signing and things like that, but the whole adventure was amazing. From the gigs, to the sightseeing and exploring St Petersburg and Moscow! I will cherish those memories forever. I can only hope we can experience it again in the future.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

In terms of a career, I don’t think I’m old enough or busy enough to know really! I’m only 22 and I’m not making a living as a musician yet unfortunately. I’ve been learning about site engineering for several years now. Basically, working on sites as a chain man under a few different engineers! If I didn’t do it all the time, I ended up forgetting little things as losing my confidence. I haven’t been doing it long enough or consistently enough to engrain the information in my head. I knew a lot about it, enough to do the job, and I certainly didn’t think it was beyond me. The issue was definitely with myself and the confidence/trust I had in myself to get it right. The job is very independent and comes with a lot of responsibilities. There is nobody to check your work, in fact you’re doing a lot of the checking and supervising as well as making sure all your calculations are spot on. The work was never consistent enough really to boost my confidence to where I felt I could make the jump up to doing engineering myself. With the introduction of robot instruments and handheld units to operate them, there is less and less need for a chain man. Between that and band commitments I didn’t really have tons of opportunities to work. I’ve recently started a new job with a bit more consistency and stability so hopefully this works better in the meantime! In terms of hobbies I’d be doing if I’d never picked up a guitar, I’ve always wanted to learn to paint. I love Bob Ross and his style and how he creates such amazing pieces so quickly.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Another tough one really! I think I’d have to invite; Derren Brown, Frankie Boyle, Myles Kennedy, David Attenborough and Elon Musk. All for completely different reasons of course, but I think they would all be equally amazing to talk to and all have interesting stories to tell.

What’s next for the band?

Next for the band is writing for our upcoming album, “Homecoming”. We recently played our single launch show for ‘Tear It Down’, and our first gig back as the new line-up. It was amazing and it felt so good to be back on stage. The crowd were brilliant, and some came from far and wide to see us, which was massively appreciated! Now that is behind us, we’re going to continue writing and preparing for the recording early next year, doing a bit of gigging in the meantime. We are super excited for what’s to come and we hope there are some of you out there as excited as we are!

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Mostly Facebook for us! That is our main area of effect, there and Instagram. We pushed our new music video the most, through Facebook. Mainly because of the fact people don’t have to follow a link. Our society now is so revolving around the premise of instant gratification and we were worried people wouldn’t be bothered with clicking a link, as opposed to the video already being there to view. Additionally, videos usually auto-play on Facebook, so people don’t even have to click at all. The less steps the better really. It worked though and we got up to and above 21,000 views in a little over a week which is utterly amazing, especially for a band at our level! For anyone interested you can find us at:
https://www.facebook.com/ashenreach
https://www.instagram.com/ashenreach
As for our music, that can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFlbbAaHImz5Vuedd6h0EIA
and all big streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes and Google Play etc.

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I think they are definitely more like a cake, than a biscuit. They have a softness and a squishiness that biscuits, such as digestives, just don’t have. Honestly though, they are their own thing altogether really.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you! Thank you for your time and your questions, and to anyone who takes the time to read this. Hopefully I’ve managed to spark some sort of interest in what Ashen Reach are doing and what we’re all about and hopefully we’ll see you soon! \m/

 

Ashen Reach Promo Pic

 

 

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

Ashen Reach – Tear It Down Single/Video

Tear It Down Single Cover

Ashen Reach – Tear It Down Single/Video
Release Date: 18/11/2019
Review by Rick Tilley

So this is a review for a single and…yes…I know we don’t usually do single reviews (so don’t all rush asking for one) but there are a couple of reasons why I wanted to write this. Firstly, Merseyside Hard Rock/Metal band Ashen Reach are going to be the next band added to our ‘Bands We Support/Bands To Look Out For’ page and secondly they’ve been through a very up and down year!

In 2018 they won the Merseyside M2TM competition leading to a slot at Bloodstock Festival. We first saw them gig last December, supporting Twisted Illusion in Manchester at the Academy 3 (which was the last gig under their previous band name Equinox), and we were VERY impressed with them. Then came the name change to Ashen Reach, the release of two new songs at the beginning of 2019 and then the wonderful news that they would be supporting Bullet For My Valentine for two dates in Russia. Those gigs, in April, went down a storm and just as things looked like they were taking off the band announced that vocalist Dan and guitarist Ian were leaving the band for various reasons. That news would have sent many bands spiralling in the wrong direction, and I will admit I was a little concerned for a while, but drummer Jess Stanley, guitarist Paddy Cummings and bassist Mike McCarroll are made of sterner things and begun the arduous task of finding replacements. In June guitarist Joe O’sullivan joined and in August new vocalist Kyle Martyn Stanley was announced. Since then the new line-up have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to get ready for new gigs and ‘Tear It Down’, the first single from their debut album which is due in Spring 2020.

If anyone out there is worried about how Ashen Reach now sound then banish that thought from your head immediately because ‘Tear It Down’ is an absolute barnstormer of a track. Cracking riff, soulful verse, catchy and heavy as thunder chorus, perfect middle eight, wonderful guitar solo, a superb vocal performance and stunning production with everyone clearly heard in the mix. It immediately gets stuck in your head and you’ll find yourself humming it without realising. The accompanying video is a standard performance one but well filmed and it is clear every member of the band put their all into making it!

As far as I’m concerned this is a clear ‘statement of intent’ from Ashen Reach. They’ve learnt from the events of this year and have hit the ground running. 2020 is going to be a huge year for them!

‘Tear it Down’ is released on 18th November and the band are playing a ‘Single Launch Show’ at the Alchemy Bar, Runcorn on 23rd November which I heartily suggest you get to if you can. I’m certainly going!

Event Page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/409446783037642/

Band Links:

Home


https://www.facebook.com/ashenreach/

https://www.instagram.com/ashenreach/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFlbbAaHImz5Vuedd6h0EIA

Enso Music Management:
https://www.facebook.com/ensomanagement/

 

Ashen Reach Promo Pic

 

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of 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.

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/

Twisted Illusion + Midnight Prophecy, Equinox (now Ashen Reach) & John Ainsworth – Manchester Academy 3 – 21/12/2018

Twisted Illusion + Midnight Prophecy, Equinox (now Ashen Reach) & John Ainsworth
Manchester Academy 3
21st December 2018
Review by Beth Jones

The 21st of December is always my favourite day of the year, because it is my birthday! So, you can imagine my joy when I discovered that my band of the year was doing a big gig in Manchester on that very day. We had hotly awaited it for months. It got to within one week of the gig and Twisted Illusion dropped the bombshell that Matt McDade and Mark Wagstaff (the brilliant rhythm section of the band) were calling it a day as they felt they couldn’t give the level of commitment that was needed to fulfil their increasing schedule, and frontman Matt Jones got a bad case of laryngitis. I was beyond mortified. I had visions of the show being cancelled and my new favourite band becoming a memory. But being the consummate professionals they are, they insisted that the show would go on!

So off we set to Manchester. Getting there was….err…..fun! If you have never been to the Academy 3 (like me) it is like finding a needle in a very confusing haystack of bus routes and one-way systems. I may have got a ticket for driving in a bit which was busses and taxis only, and I may have ended up on the wrong side of the road at one point and narrowly missed getting hit by an oncoming bus, but Jesus was it worth it when we finally got there! (Rick here – I’m still shaking!!!)

The evening started with a mesmerising solo performance from a young guitarist by the name of John Ainsworth. He is a very slight and unassuming chap to look at, no different from the next person in a crowd, but put a guitar on him and magic happens! What that guy can do with his old, slightly battered semi acoustic is unreal! It is as if he was born with it strapped to him. He makes it sound like a complete band, and his musical creations are as intricate and complex as they are zany and pleasantly disturbing! This blew my mind and reminded me why I love live music so much. What a stunning way to start off the evening.

01 john ainsworthhttps://www.facebook.com/john12string/

Next up were Equinox. It turns out this was their last gig with that name, as they have now rebranded and become Ashen Reach! By now the room was pretty full, and the crowd were loving the unique, Hard Rock/Melodic Metal sound that was being unleashed from the stage. Their set was full on, lively and fun, and they were all having a ball on stage. Their female drummer, Jess Stanley, was positioned to the front of the stage, which was great to see. Usually it is impossible to get good pictures of drummers from the front, but not here! She was really interesting to watch as she has a very unusual technique, playing open handed a lot and holding the sticks really high up. They were superb! The vocals of Daniel Moran were soaring, but with a great crunchy, growly tone that fitted their style so well. This was a real party. Everyone was smiling and having a great time, all knowing that this was a special night. They brought it down for their last number to say a farewell to their Equinox days in readiness for chapters new, and it was obvious that this was a big thing for the band, with Daniel getting quite emotional. Deservedly so – it was a cracking performance full of heart and spirit. It will be good to see what Ashen Reach now bring to the table!

02 equinox (ashen reach)https://www.facebook.com/EquinoxBandUK/
https://www.facebook.com/ashenreach/

Our main support for the evening was Midnight Prophecy. The best way I can describe these guys is good old bacon and eggs British Heavy Metal. They were basically a brilliant, young, Iron Maiden with lead singer, Craig Cairns, having the sound and power of Bruce Dickinson, but a lot more hair! They were flipping brilliant!! One of their guitarists also looks like a giant Viking and pulls the best guitar faces ever! So much energy, so much stage presence, so much charisma! They have a real connection as a band that is old and wise beyond their years. Their set was fast paced and electrifying, and the audience were bouncing. The evening up until this point had been spectacular and had gone by so quickly that I was almost sad that it would all soon be over.(Rick here again – Based on this performance I’m REALLY looking forward to see Midnight Prophecy again at Amplified Festival in July)

03 midnight prophecyhttps://www.facebook.com/midnightprophecy/

All too quickly came the last performance of the evening, and the reason why most of us were there. Twisted Illusion, with the added extra of a young talent by the name of Saxon Davids (ex Kaine) joining them on guitar, and their ‘roadie on the night’ and occasional extra member, Voodoo Blood’s Chris Norris, joining them on upright bass. We had spoken to Matt Jones earlier in the evening and his voice was still a bit spannered, but he was determined to give us a brilliant show, so called on the services of Craig from Midnight Prophecy to sing some of the songs with them, and he sang harmonies an octave lower. It is scary to try and comprehend the talent of Matt Jones, as him on a bad day was still immense! THIS is what music really is; proper music. I found myself just standing, with my head back and my eyes close, letting the music eat me, with a huge grin on my face. There are a very small number of bands that have this effect on me, notably Queen and Devin Townsend; they are the bands that make me just have to stop and do nothing, just let the music in. Twisted Illusion are now on that list. Every song, new and old was an absolute smasher – ‘Excite The Light’, ‘Hatred Is A Virtue’, ‘Medicated Society’, ‘No Compromise’, the brilliant cover of ‘The Spirit Of Radio’ by Rush (EEEEK it was soooo good), I could go on, but I would end up just listing the whole set list! It has taken me a couple of weeks to be able to organise my thoughts on this gig, because I simply cannot put into words how bloody good Twisted Illusion are. Every single note, every pause, every rhythm change is perfectly placed and there for a reason, and it just makes me so happy to be able to experience it. I can’t even make one of my usual quips about it, because it was too good. Whilst it is extremely sad that Mark Wagstaff and Matt McDade are not continuing in the band, Matt Jones has vowed to carry on in 2019, with a full tour announced, and the release of the remaining parts of the Excite the Light Album Trilogy, and I am super excited for this!

04 twisted illusionhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/

My words do not do these four fabulous performances justice. Seriously if you get even the smallest chance of getting out to see Twisted Illusion, or any of the other bands on this bill, do it – you will not regret it. All that I have left to say is thank you – a massive heartfelt thank you to all the acts, for making my birthday a very special night that I will remember for a very, very long time.

 

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/