Badgerfest 2021: Day 2 – The Bread Shed, Manchester – Saturday 16th October 2021

Badgerfest 2021 Poster

Badgerfest 2021: Day 2
The Bread Shed, Manchester
Saturday 16th October 2021
Review By Rob Sutton
Photography by Sheri Bicheno

Day 2 was here and it was time to head back to the Bread Shed, filled up with Maccies, to try and relieve the fuzzy head from the night before! Day 2, was the first day proper, where things really kicked off – 14 bands over 2 stages, and I decided that today would definitely require stamina!

Aside from a Maccies, a great way to get rid of a hangover is Telford based Metalcore heavyweights, Recall the Remains. These guys kicked the day off in perfect fashion with some old school metalcore. They use a fantastic blend of brutality and melody, not only in the guitars, but also vocally. The clean vocals provided by the guitarist are beautiful and look effortless as he sings and riffs simultaneously, backed by the familiar growls and screams from the lead vocalist. These guys have the genre covered to a tee, adding breakdowns which aren’t just chugs, and are refreshing from the majority of metalcore out these days. They had energy in abundance and a fantastic chemistry between the members on stage, this all led to them being marked as one of the bands of the festival and setting the benchmark for everyone else exceptionally high!

Over to the second stage, and I will point out that it isn’t the biggest of stages and has a massive pillar in the middle, so probably isn’t the easiest stage to perform on. Opening this stage were Manchester based Metal/Rock band, Ashen Reach. These guys I have heard of before, but never actually had the chance to watch them. They don’t disappoint, as again they’re full of energy, and cleared up what was left of the hangover. Ashen Reach also utilise multiple vocalists, but using a singing style, as opposed to growls (although there were a couple of cheeky screams here and there). The harmonies were impressive and make your hairs stand on end, there was a lot of the rock influenced ‘oos’ which I think were perhaps a little overused within the set, but don’t let that take away from their phenomenal performance. Not only are they musically very engaging, but they really pump the crowd up and get them all singing along. A great way to open the second stage but I was left confused as to why the vocalist disappeared off stage for a whole section of a song?

From the upbeat of the second stage, to the eerie and horror themed antics of The Injester. These guys certainly brought something different to the festival, all wearing masks, covered in blood and with some creepy sounding keys in the background. Sadly this didn’t work for me, there was a lot less punch compared to the previous 2 bands, and it felt a little bit cobbled together and all over the place. This maybe the style they are going for, but it didn’t do anything for me, although it was an interesting watch.

The Injester live at Badgerfest 2021

Callus is another band that I have heard a lot about but never actually seen. They brought their Stoner Metal to the second stage, with some absolutely belting riffs which got not only mine, but many heads in the crowd nodding. It’s much slower pace than the previous bands, but this is a welcomed change to the day. They performed a tight solid set, and I would certainly recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre.

Today seemed to be a lot slower pace than Friday’s brutality. And to this end, back on the main stage were Netherhall. They brought a much calmer performance to the day, and while the crowd look to struggle to fully engage with their take on Progressive Metal, I personally enjoyed it. I loved the weird beats and the tone these guys have, not to mention the almost Tesseract style voice that overlays. While metal is mainly headbanging and mosh pits, I found myself closing my eyes and losing myself completely in the music. There was minimal crowd interaction here which is possibly why they didn’t seem to get much engagement back, I think the set is just about the music and it is simply gorgeous to listen to!

Sadly, with only 5 minutes between bands, there was always going to be the odd band I missed. From what I very briefly heard from Everest Queen, they sounded solid, but I can’t say much more, as I missed a lot of their set.

A few weeks ago, I travelled up to Wolverhampton to watch Black Tongue, and supporting them was our next band, Ashen Crown. At that gig they didn’t quite fit the theme of the night, so didn’t end up with the reaction they deserved. No such problems for them this afternoon, as they drew the biggest crowd of the whole weekend, honestly you could barely move or even get in! This is what Ashen Crown is about, fast music, lots of pits, and heads banging! This set was crushing and even with some sound issues at the beginning, they pressed on with absolute precision and professionalism. They may have played the Sophie stage at Bloodstock this year, but after such domination of a stage, they are well on track to be headlining festivals like this, and easily becoming top of their genre! This was simply incredible and by far the best I’ve seen them play!

Ashen Crown live at Badgerfest 2021

Throughout the last few months, we have gotten used to band members having to miss gigs, but what has been fantastic to see is they way bands have adapted to the unusual circumstances. Ascaris were a drummer down, and using, as they described, the most expensive drummer – a laptop. I will say their drummer was beautifully in time! In fairness the remaining 2 were also both extremely tight. They bring a brutal mix of Black and Death Metal, without using the cheesy corpse paint or hail Satan phrase. These guys play fast, and their hands are blurs on the fret boards. It was a solid performance. If you like your Blackened Death Metal fast, relentless and incredibly polite, Ascaris have you covered!

Askaris live at Badgerfest 2021

Back for some more Stoner Metal next. As I’ve said, it isn’t my genre of choice, but King Goat brought another brilliant performance, all while allowing the smell of incense to fill the room. It was slow, great riffs, all performed fantastically. Again, I would recommend checking them out if this is your style.

Next, and from across the border, was Godeater! I first heard about these guys when I saw them announced for Bloodstock. They were heavy then, and they were even heavier here! These Glaswegians have so much energy I’m not sure how they got through the set. Not one of them stopped moving for the full half hour, apart from the drummer because well… drummer! There is so much weight to their take on Deathcore, and they were by far the heaviest band of the day so far, and the pits show that! They were in full swing and mighty at that. 

Their tasteful use of samples adds just a little bit more to their overall sound and made them sound huge! It’s always a risk as a vocalist to go into a pit, more so if the mic is wired, but here he did (someone give this guy a wireless mic, as I’m pretty sure a few people tripped up). What impressed me about this was even though he was in the pit, he continued to deliver flawless vocals and this is all while being bashed from pillar to post! The only thing that let them down was the slightly flat cleans, but they did again add another layer, and along with the samples, really stand these guys out in the Deathcore scene. Honestly, these guys are a band to watch in the future, they’re brutally heavy, full of energy and perform to an exceptionally high standard. Godeater are the full package!

Continuing the theme of heavy were Blood Oath, and with their blood-soaked attire, I was expecting a strong Black Metal influence here. But I was wrong. What we were met with was a concoction of many extreme genres, predominantly Death Metal, and yes there was plenty to headbang to here. I don’t think there was a single head still in the crowd for these guys, as they drew one of the bigger crowds for the second stage. We were also blessed with some new material and boy does it sound HUGE. I really am excited to go and watch this when it’s released. Blood Oath are insanely tight, have some soaring riffs and solos, with some machine gun-esque drums, all with vocal styles from a catalogue of genres, did I hear a bree? These guys were fantastic, and for me my favourite of the second stage, and my find of the day!

Blood Oath live at Badgergest 2021

For many years my friends have been banging on about Red Method and how I really need to see them, well, now I have! All dressed in red, rather appropriately, they bring a mix of Nu-Metal and Djent, with a sound resembling that of old school Slipknot, albeit on ironing boards (8 string guitars). They performed with sheer aggression and passion; they are in your face heavy! I loved the addition of the keys and samples all played live, and not on backing tracks, though I was amazed the keyboard remained in one piece after seeing what AVD (keys) did to them when he was in The Defiled. One thing I love about watching heavy bands do breakdowns is all the members headbanging in sync, Red Method pulled this off fantastically and got the whole room bowing! While the cleans aren’t the best in the world, they were clear enough to get half the crowd singing along, and this was the first time I’d properly seen this crowd sing. Red Method sound so heavy that no amount of gym time would be able to pick them up, they have a new fan, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Red Method live at Badgerfest 2021

More Sludgy music from the second stage was next, with King Witch. This Stoner band is fronted by a lady, and her voice is beautiful, almost like a Siren soaring over the down tuned heaviness provided by the guitars and bass. Again, it’s not my genre of choice, and does mean I can’t say too much on them, but they felt a bit different and they were enjoyable.

So, onto our headliners and they come with a serious reputation behind them. They have opened the main stage at Bloodstock a few years ago where a very, very hungover Rob attempted to stand and watch them but instead fell into a heap on the floor. Luckily, no such issues today though I am kicking myself for not watching them fully at Bloodstock… Krysthla destroyed it here! They are filled with incredible riffs that had me windmilling away, and pretending I had the faintest idea how to play guitar. Added to that were some incredibly consistent growls, and some nice cleans in the mix, too! They remind me of Divine Heresy, a band I used to absolutely love! There were blast beats, rapid guitars; just everything about this set was on point and tight. I’m not normally a person who ends up raving about a headliner but in this case they are by far one of the best headliners I have seen at a festival. I was left in awe, is there anything these guys don’t have? Massive pits? Check. Crowd surfing? Check. Taking Rob’s money as he heads to the merch table? Check. What a band, what a show and what a way to end day 2!

Krysthla live at Badgerfest 2021

I learnt a few things today, I can smoke a cigarette in less than 5 minutes, the quality of the bands at this festival is insane, and that I either needed to have taken someone who knows about Stoner bands, or learn more about the genre myself! Nevertheless day 2 was insane! 

Badgerfest Links:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. 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.

Sheri’s Top Ten Releases Of 2020

Sheri’s Top Ten Releases Of 2020
By Sheri Bicheno

Hello everyone,

Welcome to Sheri’s top ten releases of 2020. Sheri is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. Apart from being hugely passionate about our scene and music, she is so friendly, caring and always there for her friends, even though she’s had a tough year herself. It doesn’t matter how down you are; Sheri always makes you smile. Her lovely nature means she is excellent at interviews and she has become my interview guru, always managing to get the best out of people, in a year where the nearest we have been able to get to most bands, is on Zoom. We can look forward to many more of those. I am incredibly lucky that she is a part of Ever Metal and my friend. Thanks Sheri.

10. Ashen Reach – Homecoming (November 2020)

‘Tear It Down’ (Official Video)

9. Kataklysm – Unconquered (September 2020)

‘The Killshot’ (Official Video)

8. Deified – Anthrobscene (May 2020)

‘Apotheosis/Rebirth’ (Lyric Video)

7. Grimorte – Esoteric Ascendence EP (October 2020)

‘Esoteric Ascendance’ (Full EP Stream)

6. Draconian – Under a Godless Veil (October 2020)

‘Sleepwalkers’ (Official Video)

5. Ward XVI – Metamorphosis (September 2020)

‘Shadows’ (Official Video)

4. My Dying Bride – The Ghost of Orion (March 2020)

‘To Outlive The Gods’ (Official Video)

3. Lamb of God – Lamb of God (June 2020)

‘Memento Mori’ (Official Video)

2. Ensiferum – Thalassic (July 2020)

‘Andromeda’ (Official Video)

1. Paradise Lost – Obsidian (May 2020)

‘Fall From Grace’ (Official Video)

To read the original reviews, where available, follow these links:

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.

Ashen Reach – Homecoming

Ashen Reach – Homecoming
Release Date: 16/11/2020
Running Time: 56:17
Review by Beth Jones

Liverpool based Ashen Reach have been a firm favourite with us here at ever metal since discovering them in their previous guise at a Twisted Illusion gig in Manchester. Recently, they’ve had some ups and downs. The dizzy heights of playing to vast audiences in Russia, to the disruption of a line-up change. Considering their young age, they’ve shown a lot of balls to stand up to the challenge, and now they’re a solid 5 piece again, the time has come to unleash their debut album, “Homecoming” into the world of hard rock. This has pleased us a lot here at EMHQ, because they’re a super talented bunch of musicians who have been working their asses off for the last couple of years.

“Homecoming” is an album that explores many current themes, from mental health and domestic abuse, to love and determination. Their unique sound does this in a way that sets each song apart from the next, and explores mood through the dynamics of music.

The album kicks off with ‘Fighting For My Life’ – a riff heavy, chunky, classic hard rock track, which really gets your foot tapping. The powerful vocals of Kyle Martyn Stanley cut through over the top of thumping riffs and drums, and we get treated to a guitar solo towards the end of the song, which is rich and full in terms of tone, making this a great start to the album.

The next two tracks, ‘Epiphany’, and ‘Tear It Down’ follow the same style, providing a very upbeat first ten minutes of the album. Then things take a turn for the heavier with, ‘Heir to The Throne’. It starts with drums and guitar, similar to the sounds we’ve already heard. But this then gets joined by some down-tuned bass and builds into an expansive chorus that wouldn’t be out of place in a symphonic metal band. We also get a middle section with some screams and growls thrown into the mix, at a low enough level to make them not too intrusive, but enough to give this song a distinctly heavier edge. Kyle also has more of a rasp in his vocals throughout this song.

‘Alive Again’ and ‘Prey’ continue with the slightly heavier sound, but also add in some progressive exploration, with more experimental sections. The use of reverb in these adds a haunting and lilting feel to the acoustics. This provides a great contrast between the full on, in your face, and the more stripped back elements. I really like the opening to ‘Prey’ – Kyle’s unusual vocals work really well for the quiet elements, as he has an interesting tone, and is still able to deliver a powerful sound at a softer dynamic. This track builds throughout, to a crescendo of sound towards the end, giving the sense that the ‘prey’ has been trapped.

An element of calm is then thrown into the mix, with a Pink Floyd-esque soundscape in the form of ‘Ether’. Gentle guitar and synth effects float for around a minute and a half, creating a beautiful and peaceful serenity. Like sitting in a summer meadow, watching the pollen and insects float on the warm breeze.

‘Here I Go’, continues this theme, but with the addition of some lovely vocal harmonies. Then it bursts into a full-on progressive rock ballad, complete with cross rhythm sections, epic soloing, and plenty of moments where, in the good old days, any crowd would have been stood with lighters aloft creating a twinkling sea of swaying fire! I think this is one of my favourite tracks on the album actually.

Then we get to the business end of the album. The final three tracks, ‘Hole In The Sky’, ‘Broken Column’, and the title track ‘Homecoming’, really make this album for me. They feel like a bit of a level-up. They’re intricately put together, with interesting rhythms, brilliant vocals and harmonies, and real power. I also feel that the balance of sound in these final tracks has really had attention paid to it. At some points earlier in the album, there are times when I think things are too mid- heavy. The guitar riffs almost take over and obscure the rest of the sound. But here, it’s much easier to pick out individual sounds. These three tracks also have an insatiable groove to them, which really connects you to the sound. I would still like a little more bass and drums in the mix for ‘Broken Columns’ and ‘Homecoming’ though. I think that would have really helped drive the tracks. But then I’m a sucker for bass heavy stuff, so this is, off course, purely my opinion!

All in all, this is a very solid and accomplished debut album, from a very exciting young band, who I believe have a whole ton more to give. And it is well worth investing 56 minutes of your time to listen to it!

01. Fighting For My Life
02. Epiphany
03. Tear It Down
04. Heir To The Throne
05. Alive Again
06. Prey
07. Ether
08. Here I Go
09. Hole In the Sky
10.Broken Column
11. Homecoming

Kyle Martyn Stanley – Vocals
Paddy Cummins – Lead Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Joe O’Sullivan – Rhythm Guitar
Mike McCarroll – Bass/ Backing Vocals
Jess Stanley – Drums


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.

Interview with Jess Stanley and Kyle Martyn Stanley of Ashen Reach

Interview with Jess Stanley and Kyle Martyn Stanley of Ashen Reach
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi Everyone, Sheri here

I’d like to send huge thanks to Rachael Harrison and Enso Music Management for approaching me for this lovely chat I had recently with Kyle and Jess from Merseyside based Hard Rock band, Ashen Reach. Reforming/Renaming the band in 2018, Ashen Reach have a LOT to offer their audience. I was blown away by how humble and down to earth they are and that they have smashed their way from the first stepping-stone of the music industry, to now crossing its fast-flowing river, in such a short space of time! Be sure to check out this phenomenal band!

Sheri: What I wanted to do first is just brush up on the history of Ashen Reach…I know Ashen Reach reformed from Equinox, is that right?

Jess: Yeah that’s correct! We’re going way back sometime…I originally joined them when I was like…16 and I’m currently the only standing member from the very original line up haha!

Kyle: Oh wow!

Jess: Oh yeah, I got rid of them lot, no I’m joking haha!

Kyle: Hahaha absolute Axel Rose treatment right there!

Sheri: Hahahaha Lordy!

Jess: Hahaha. It was only I would say from about last year, hang on what year are we in now?

Kyle: 2020

Jess: We’ve only been this line up as Ashen Reach with obviously Kyle and Joe for about just over a year now. I think we had our little one-year anniversary at like the 1st August.

Kyle: That’s the 8th or 9th, something like that…

Jess: Something like that yeah, where we just finally got them secured and announced Kyle to the world. Before that, oh going back, we were Ashen Reach still before that for about a year in total as well and then we obviously did the gigs, the two shows with Bullet For My Valentine in April last year. That year was probably the first year we started taking things properly seriously and then obviously the big change up happened…but, was it 2018 or something? It all seems to happen around Christmastime where like, names change, or members change haha. So…hopefully it doesn’t happen again this year because I think we’re quite comfortable with it now haha!

Kyle: Best line-up ever!

Jess: It is, it really really is. But, for the current line up as I say, last year we just finished the Bullet for My Valentine shows and we did one or two gigs and then we parted ways with our singer and Rhythm guitarist…then, after that, Me, Paddy and Mike (drummer, lead guitarist and bassist) were like “What do we do? We just played two of the biggest shows of our life ever!” And it was so good and exciting feeling like that cuz it was like 5000 people one night and 8000 the other to play to…it was just unreal!

Sheri: Wow!

Jess: And it was just us two as well, it wasn’t like it was a festival of 20 bands, it was really something special. So, it was kinda a moment where it was like “Oh no! We definitely have to carry on.” So, we just put some Ads on Facebook and we got Joe, who’s our guitarist with the dreadlocks, first. We did some auditions and then from there on he helped pick Kyle…and I think it was actually Katherine Murph, who’s a promoter on the local scene, she messaged me out of the blue and was like “You know what, I know a singer who’s looking for a Hard Rock band and I know a Hard Rock band who’s looking for a singer! Why don’t I put two of you together?” And then from then it has kinda just been perfect! He came in and did an audition and we were like “yeah!”

Sheri: That’s awesome!!

Kyle: Yeah, I think I had to send the little video in, didn’t I? But I had a chest infection at the time haha…

Sheri: Oh Noooo!!

Kyle: And I didn’t want to be like “oh can I wait?” Cuz I didn’t want it, to you know, sound like an excuse haha so I was like “I’m gonna have to power through this!” haha.

Jess: Oh yeah! He sang one of our old tracks and we were like “yeah let’s get this guy in, see what he’s about”

Sheri: Well, safe to say you smashed it! Haha.

Jess: Oh yeah! We’re so glad you did as well, it’s so much better and it’s like a proper, proper family now…aren’t we?

Kyle: Oh yeah!

Jess: Cuz we wanted to make sure that not only can everyone play their instruments or sing, like we are gonna do it properly, we’re gonna be together for a long time, if you’re gonna be on the road or recording, so it’s like we gotta like these people haha!

Kyle: We is one big family now and dat.

Sheri: That’s how it should be! As we were sorta saying 2018 onwards was like, we saw some pretty exciting things happening for you guys. As you just mentioned you supported Bullet For My Valentine on their Russian tour, wasn’t it?

Jess: Yeah it was 2 gigs there, in St Petersburg and then Moscow.

Sheri: Amazing! Then obviously you also played the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock and then of course there was a line-up change in 2019. So, there are some huge positives as a young band…What has been your favourite part of the journey so far?

Jess: Oh God, do you wanna go for this one Kyle as I just blabbermouthed the whole way through that haha

Kyle: I’d say so far it was probably doing the album. Obviously doing the tours as well, like touring with Fahran and then we toured with Nocturn Wolf, Ritual Spirit and Kilonova. Like erm, just before the world ended. And it was – that was amazing, doing multiple dates in a row, travelling everywhere, meeting loads of new people and stuff like that. It was awesome and then obviously writing and recording the album, getting everything that we’ve put our entire heart and soul into. It sounds so rewarding like, we’ve just seen our new video today and it’s just like – Ahh, it’s so good! It’s just amazing watching it and you know when it’s like – all our hard work is paying off, there it is, it’s right in front of us and it’s just BOSS. Haha.

Jess: I think my favourite part is he growth in general, obviously being there from the very beginning of everything when we were – not even this line-up.

Sheri: Still a baby haha

Jess: Yeah It was! I was 16 when I joined the band and I’m 21 now – still a baby but haha – to see the evolution of the music, the people and just how strong we seem to be right now. Like in one year, we’ve released two singles, about to release the third, gonna release an album, we’ve done two tours and that is in the space of one year of actually getting the band members and then writing it all, so it’s all completely fresh material as well. We’ve got one song that we’ve kept over, and we’ve changed the lyrics and how it’s sung but everything else is completely brand new. It exciting seeing how well it’s all gelled together, and I feel dead proud. Proud of it. Haha!

Sheri: And that’s the thing isn’t it that when you’re an artist, it’s like your band is your baby, you watch it grow and it comes out and it’s all beautiful.

Jess: Yeah haha!

Sheri: So, we were just saying about your new single, ‘Epiphany’, will be released on the 25th September. Do you have a video to go with it?

Kyle: YAAAS.

Sheri: Amazing! Cannot wait to see that! And then your debut album, “Homecoming”, is scheduled to be released in November. After what’s been happening with the end of the world haha, this is actually really great. There are a lot of Artists that are feeling bummed out as a lot rely on touring, selling merch and so on to make their way. So, it’s amazing to see new music during the pandemic.

Jess: Yeah, I think it’s been a make or break situation for a lot of bands.

Sheri: It’s been brutal for everyone. I listened to the album today, multiple times.

Kyle: Ooooh!

Jess: Ooooh, did you haha! Have you got a favourite song?

Sheri: I do! It’s actually the title track that is my favourite. I detect some really strong Alter Bridge vibes and a little bit of a…almost like Trivium – ish, vibe.

Both: That’s a new one!

Jess: Our lead guitarist Paddy loves Alter Bridge so that’s probably how that’s kind of rubbed off in there somewhere.

Sheri: It’s also vocally too, in the lyrics! It’s very Alter Bridge type too.

Kyle: I could hear it in ‘Tear It Down’

Sheri: That’s a really good example actually! There’s a good balance of heavy, classic, groove and even a little bit of proggy metal and hard rock in your sound. So how did you reach your style of songwriting? And what works for you as a band?

Jess: Collaboration. 100%. We’ll all do everything and we’ll all chip in with the lyrics or if something is sung different, we can say “change it like this” or “try a drum beat like that”. Everyone has a say in everything and we feel like that has given the best results and it has worked in everything we have done so far so that is our way forward, isn’t it Kyle?

Kyle: Yeah, it takes a lot of pressure off as well. It’s not like where in some bands you’re like… “well, you’re the guitarist or you’re the vocalist, drummer, you have to write that part” so all of us combined together, it just helps make the song better. The way everything is, the only ego that should be in the room is the song itself.

Sheri: Absolutely.

Kyle: As long as it makes the song better, we should all chip in and as Jess was saying we could say “oh why don’t we try this” There’s a couple of songs that lyrically is 100% one person, maybe only 3.

Jess: But it’s still like “Ok guys what do you think?” No one calls the shots, do they?

Kyle: Yeah.

Jess: And because we all have different influences musically anyway and what we listen to – I think that’s why there’s so many different vibes. Obviously Alter Bridge has stood out a couple of times but other than that, we’ve had a different name from each person. Basically, which is nice because we don’t want to be a carbon copy of anyone.

Kyle: We get Bowie quite a bit too, which is odd because Bowie isn’t an influence haha!

Sheri: So, it’s a collaboration and a bit like a puzzle where everyone makes it a bigger picture. I really loved the title track ‘Homecoming’ I think it’s beautiful. I was sitting here with it on repeat through my work and I was like WOW. There’s a lot of power, emotion and diverse energy to the lyrics and the way your songwriting and music is put together. How do you feel some of your songs on this album reflect the rawness in your sound?

Kyle: I’m glad that people are feeling it because every song has some meaning to it. There’s a couple of songs that have really personal meanings like ‘Alive Again’ but there’s other song’s, like ‘Epiphany’, kinda one we all put together because we all had the vibe of it and we were all like “Okay, we can all understand what’s coming with that” so we all kind of feel within the song if that makes sense? Because we all are right in it, we all get into that mode of feeling and that.

Jess: The album is not a concept album so there’s no running story, so some of the songs might be about something else like, you know ‘Epiphany’ is about abusive relationships basically and then ones like Kyle said are more personal, might be about something that’s happened to someone in the band but overall, we just wanted to show everyone each side of what we can do. This debut album was basically like “This is what Ashen Reach can do” we can do long epic songs, we can do fast jumpy, upbeat songs and do a whole duet basically. We just wanted to show everything we can do but have passion all the way through. None of them are just album fillers. We just wanted to show all our sides, that it was 100% us and that you can hear the passion and effort that’s gone into every track.

Kyle: Even with ‘Ether’ the 1 minute 40 interlude, we didn’t just throw that in and just beef up the track, we put that in because we wanted it to make the album blend better. We just didn’t want to just change the vibe quickly.

Jess: Is it from “Prey”? It would be “Prey” straight into “Here I go” and “Prey” quite like a dark psychological thriller song – but we thought all that out and the order of the album, we just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just going all in super-fast, super hard, there was a proper build up and I think I feel after you’ve listened to it, you feel “What’s just happened”…like I’m glad I feel like that.

Kyle: Yeah the ending blows you into a false sense of security as well because you think it’s dead relaxing and dead chill, melancholy and then you forget your album is on repeat and it goes DADADADADA and you’re like ARGH!


Kyle: It’s happened when driving and having to swerve out of the way because I’ve almost sh*t myself haha. It just slams back in and you’re like “Oh there it is…Okay!”

Sheri: How do you feel that “Homecoming” is different to your previous work, for example you released a single in 2018 called ‘Gone Tomorrow’?

Jess: That’s one of the ones we took down because we thought it’s a fresh start but we really really loved ‘Homecoming’ so much and everyone would ask us to play it when we perform so we thought we have to keep it but we will just rework it to make it better and more suited to what we are now and it just had something else, it’s difficult to describe. You can tell when you’re playing a song and it’s not even my favourite song now but back then it was just like… this is just epic, we’ve written a nine minute song, people always cheer for and it was known as That Epic Song At The End – we’d finish on that song all the time because it was just a rollercoaster of a song.

Kyle: It doesn’t feel like a nine-minute song.

Jess: Oh no, we’ve heard people say, “oh you’re finishing” and you say, “it’s a nine-minute song” and they’re like “no way!”

Kyle: There was a guy in Scotland, and he was like “Oh really enjoyed your set but I have one criticism.” And we were like “Okay, what is it?” and he said, “Homecoming is too short” and we’re like “Its 9 minutes!!” He was like “IS IT!? Does not feel like nine minutes!”

Jess: So yeah, people get lost in it and I think that’s what made us think “No, we have to keep it and rework it somehow, this has gotta stay and be a staple part!” haha.

Kyle: Its nice seeing people singing along to it at the end of the show, people will start singing the chorus and that’s the first time we’ve heard that as well. You’ll see people just singing along and it’s just like “wow, this is their first time seeing this and they’re already singing along to it”. It’s an absolutely surreal feeling and it’s like… it’s actually happening.

Sheri: That’s when you know isn’t it – when people are catching onto your songs and its humbling.

Jess: We couldn’t be more grateful of people who just listen, share or you know, it is as you say humbling – when you see a couple bands and it doesn’t really matter what level, I know a lot of bigger bands don’t look at their own social medias but when you know when it’ a bit lower level, you see people that don’t reply to comments or they don’t react and these are the people saying “I love it” – I really hate that so much because people have taken time to listen to your music and if you’ve really put that much effort in, you care what people think and you know – we all care so much so we make a conscious effort to make sure we tell everyone who says anything you know “Thank you so much” because it really does mean the world to us when we say it.

Kyle: Yeah, we always try and message people back or reply to them or after a show we will always try and hang around and have a conversation with people and we try to get to know them, the people who listen to our music. Because it makes it personal. It turns a fan base more into a family, because you’ll see them come back and you end up becoming friends. You get a new level with people and its really nice.

Sheri: I love that. I mean, that’s how I essentially got doing what I’m doing now. Years and years ago, I met a band called Breed 77.

Kyle: I’ve heard of them!

Sheri: Really nice guys, I was introduced by a family friend at the studios and went to a couple of their shows and they were mingling and mixing and then making friends with some of them. Doing that, I met lots of different people, friends and circles and now I’ve ended up doing what I’m doing now and that is what I love because bands like you that actually take the time to make friends and mingle with people, you don’t know what your impact is on that person’s life you know…it can make a massive, massive difference. So… that’s amazing, I love it!

Kyle: Yeah if we can make people forget about their problems, even if it’s for like 10 minutes, then we are doing something right and makes everything worthwhile.

Sheri: Do you have plans to tour or promote “Homecoming” after the pandemic dies down a bit?

Jess: We do, nothing is booked or set in stone but Rachael, our manager is working extremely hard to try and get something. I think she said she was aiming for March next year, but we have no idea, nothing is booked yet. But that is the idea.

Kyle: We do have a gig in December as far as we know. It’s not been cancelled yet. So, we are playing December at Planet Rockstock in Trecco Bay, Porthcawl.

Jess: We were like yay we have all these gigs set up, things are going great and then… the world closed down haha.

Kyle: Yeah, we had some really good gigs as well. We had some like… supporting Ryan McCombs from SOiL and stuff like that. And I was so excited, like I was in work when we got the gig confirmed and I’m running ‘round the shop like YESSSS! Because I LOVE SOiL!

Jess: Kyle’s 31 by the way haha

Kyle: Yeah, I was absolutely chuffed! Headbutting the cookies haha going mental and some people were like “Whos’ SOiL?” And I’m like, “You don’t even…how dare you!! Haha I don’t care if you’re 67 Barbara…” hahaha.

Sheri: Educate yourself, like haha!

Both: Yeah exactly! Hahaha.

Sheri: What did you do before creating your way with Ashen Reach/before Equinox? What drew you into making music?

Jess: Paddy our guitarist, he was in a band before and I used to always go see them. I was doing my GCSE’s before I was in Equinox. I just knew I loved playing the drums as well, I was playing my lessons since I was about 12. So, I was a Grade 5 and my teacher was like “Go Forth my child, I can’t teach you anymore, go play in a band.” So I basically set off to join a band and I joined Equinox on JoinMyBand, I just found an Ad and I went to Vulcan Studios in Liverpool and did my practice there and they didn’t have a singer or anything at that point. That’s sort of where I went on and over time was new members and we evolved. We didn’t actually, with the very first line up of Equinox, we didn’t gig at all, we just spent loads of time in the practice room. But it’s because we knew we weren’t ready and then we went from there. But that’s personally how I got into it, seeing Paddy doing gigs on stage and I wasn’t in a band the whole time yet. And I was like I know I definitely want to do it now. Seeing your favourite bands on stage as well isn’t it? It’s like “Oh my God”. Haha.

Kyle: Oh, mine is a long time ago! I was proper into music as a little kid, I used to sing a lot when I was little but then as I got older, I was obsessed with Slipknot and Joey Jordison so I wanted to be in a band. I was actually a drummer for years. I was in a brick punk band kinda like the Artic Monkeys but with a double pedal haha. I was in a few bands, so I ended up forming kind of a Tenacious D double act with my friend Adam at Butlins. It was dead funny because we were told we had to do normal covers and we were like “No, we’re doing Tenacious D!” hahaha. We’re covering ‘Wonderboy’ hahaha. Just before I joined Ashen Reach, I was in a Take That tribute haha.

Sheri: Really??

Kyle: Yeah haha.

Jess: You were like the biggest in the UK, weren’t you?

Kyle: Yeah we were in at number 1 so I toured with them for three years but my itch was like, I wanna do rock and stuff like that so, I was in a proper djent-y metal band but I didn’t want to scream as much anymore. So, I spoke to Murph and I said “I wanna be in Hard Rock band, I don’t wanna scream anymore, it’s killing my voice” and Murph was like “Oh! I know a band!” and that was it!

Jess: Oh, I remember that as well as actually! I only got to drum as Rock Band haha like playing Rock Band with the family and now I can’t play Rock Band because I’m playing the real instrument haha

Kyle: It’s so annoying because as soon as you can play an instrument, you can’t play Rock Band or Guitar Hero haha.

Jess: I’m a boss on the guitar on it though. Expert! Hahaha.

Kyle: Rock Band makes me rage. I was trying to play Everlong by Foo Fighters and it’s like “You’re doing it wrong” and I’m like “No I’m not!” hahaha.

Sheri: Hahaha don’t dictate to me, computer! So, you’re from the Liverpool area?

Jess: Kinda yeah! Some of us are from Merseyside, Cheshire, Wirral. Kyle is from Runcorn.

Kyle: Runcorn is the posh area hahaha. It’s not posh at all…

Sheri: Are there any local Artists you would recommend checking out?

Jess: Oooh, there are good bands but the scene in Liverpool isn’t heavy on the Rock at the moment. We’ve got really good friends in Raised by Wolves; Liv in Raised by Wolves is a really awesome girl, so she definitely needs a shout out! But I think recently, because we’ve not actually gigged that much in Liverpool with Liverpool bands since being in this line up. But we can recommend like…Fahran and when we toured with Kilonova and so on, those guys are awesome.

Sheri: Aye, we had Fahran play at Rabidfest last year and they were amazing. Your first two singles off the album ‘Prey’ and ‘Tear It Down’ have been a hugely promising taste of what’s to come in November! What’s the reception of the singles been like for you? I know Kieran Scott of Ashen Crown did a reaction video to ‘Tear It Down’ recently!

Jess: “Tear It Down” has definitely been taken a whole lot better than ‘Prey’ but not because ‘Prey’ is worse, I think the seven-minute number scares people off. I think we may have just promoted ‘Tear It Down’ more but all the feedback we’ve had ourselves has been great. I think we had one guy though, which makes me laugh, who commented on the Ad on Facebook and was like “I hate this. This is too produced” or said it was too good and that he just didn’t like it. He thought it looked too clean and good, so I don’t know what it was…it didn’t make sense. And we are a local band with no money – so technically, you thinking that we are that clean and super great is like… a compliment haha. We’re not a Sludge, Death, Growl band so…

Sheri: It’s a complementive insult haha!

Jess: Yeah! Sorry hahaha.

Kyle: It like sorry we’re not one of those really (GROWLS) bands haha.

Jess: If you are one of those bands, that is fine! Haha. ‘Tear It Down’ has been played on Planet Rock and a load of stations. We were actually surprised because ‘Prey’ has had some radio time as well. We thought that was never gonna happen because seven minutes is a big chunk. But the Hard Rock Hell competition we were supposed to be taking part in got cancelled, when we did that, we sent them both tracks and they obviously have the segment on their radio show to show off each band who could be getting through and they played ‘Prey’ and we were like Wow!! It’s just really surprising. It’s been really great. I think we definitely kept it solid all the way through and we have done what we aimed to do.

Kyle: You can hear, there’s so many vibes that we were going through as the album has progressed, we wanted to experiment with stuff like in ‘Epiphany’ there’s Mongolian Chant and stuff. All five of us, even Jess is doing some haha. If you hear it, the higher vocal, that’s Jess!

Jess: I don’t sing anything else haha, my claim to fame with the vocals is the voice on “Prey” haha.

Kyle: Every single voice, every one of us have their vocals in the album as well. It’s not just where we wanted to just do me doing every vocal, because we’re not gonna do that live. So, there’s a lot of three-part harmonies. There’s a lot of me, Paddy and Mike all together. Joe has some proper guttural screams. It just adds depth to it so yeah, we wanted to do stuff that we could do live as well.

Jess: That definitely came off well because obviously the voice, the full breakdown as in Kyle’s breakdown in the song. Not like even in the music, that was very experimental for us especially as a second single haha.

Kyle: Yeah, we were like…is this too brave? But we thought let’s just go for it.

Sheri: It works! What advice do you feel is relevant to Artists at the moment?

Jess: I’d say that you have to be proactive. We’ve had lots of help, like my family, we’ve been really lucky to have my Dad who is a photographer and driver so – just make yourself look as professional as possible. You don’t need to look like it’s a business or job, people want to see you having fun. You have to choose what you post; you don’t want to be seen posting really silly things on the page, you have to keep people up to date. Because of the algorithms on Facebook at the moment, if you don’t post for like a day, you don’t get seen. Be as active as possible and make sure you’re professional while you’re showing your personalities I guess because you have to be careful. You have to treat life like you’re on stage all the time. Even if you are a small band. Don’t have the ego but act where you wanna be basically.

Kyle: Don’t be scared of writing what you wanna write as well. Don’t try and fall in with the grain that’s what I would say as well. So, if you’re like “Ah yeah let’s do a 20-minute space ballad, why not?” As long as your full passion is in the song, it can be anything but as long as it sounds like you’re putting your passion and love into it. It’s gonna sound great, regardless. Like you can tell when people write soulless music.

Jess: Always release the highest quality things as well. I was listening to this nine-hour audio book because I was researching “How do we be better?” haha. But rather than releasing a load of demos, if you’re gonna release an album, because it’s gonna take away the impact straight away and it’s not gonna be like “Let’s show them a little teaser before we do the full thing.” Practice videos are different, but it will definitely take away from everything if you release little demo tracks when you’re going to release the full song. Give away some things but don’t give away so much that you ruin it for yourself.

Sheri: Yeah because then people will know what to expect won’t they?

Jess: Yeah, you wanna have an impact and not just like Ah, this sounds almost the same… you want a full impact straight away.

Sheri: Finally, tell us a joke…

Kyle: I’ve got so many what would you like? Haha. I’ll do a family friendly one. My friend said to me “Eh Kyle, for that fancy dress party, I’m gonna dress up as a small island just outside the coast of Italy.” And I said, “Don’t be Sicily” (so silly)


Sheri: Hahaha that is the Dad joke of all Dad jokes.

Kyle: I love it, I know so many Dad jokes haha!

Sheri: Thank you so much for your time guys! It’s been really really lovely talking to you. I’ll look out for Jess’s vocals in ‘Epiphany’ haha.

Jess: Thanks so much Sheri, we really appreciate you having us.

Rick Here!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jess and Kyle for the wonderful interview and to Sheri for putting it all together. I too have been listening to “Homecoming”, the album, and it is a fine debut. You are all in for a treat!

Follow Ashen Reach at the following links:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and 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 Logo


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.

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:
As for our music, that can be found on YouTube at
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:

Band Links:


Enso Music Management:


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
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 Messiah

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 Reach

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 UK

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 Prognosis

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 Illusion

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

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…! 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 ainsworth

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)

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 prophecy

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 illusion

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