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

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

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

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020 – Lullaby For A Unicorn

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

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

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

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

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

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

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

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

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

Winter Hotel

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

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

Thrashatouille

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

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

Lullaby For A Unicorn

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

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

Krank

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

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

Leatherback

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 North Wales, Heat 1 – 29/02/20 – White Mammoth

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 North Wales, Heat 1 – 29/02/20 – Mad Spanner

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 North Wales, Heat 1 – 29/02/20 – Cry For Mercy

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 1 – 29/20/20

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales, Heat 1
Mcleans, Pentre 29/02/2020
Review & Pictures by Beth Jones

I need a serious chat with whoever controls time, because somehow M2TM 2019 was a whole year ago and here we are, at the 2020 heat stages already!

Whilst time may have disappeared, what hasn’t is the amount of new, young talent that is popping up all over the underground scene at the moment, and it’s events like this that gives the cream of those bands the opportunity to make it to the hallowed stages of the larger grassroots festivals. This year’s North Wales heats are shaping up to be an eclectic mix of styles, and I get the feeling that choosing the eventual winner is going to be tougher than ever, given the talent on offer.

With that in mind, we got our big coats out to battle yet another oncoming storm, and headed over to our now ‘local’, Mclean’s pub in Pentre, for Heat 1. Only three bands were set to play, two of which would be going through to the semi-final stage. With the crowd assembled, drinks (or in my case, cameras) in hand, and after a quick recap of the rules from our master of ceremony Ian ‘Beany’ North, we were all set for the first performance.

Cry For Mercy

These guys were one of our hot favourites in last year’s competition, narrowly missing out on a place in the final, and if you’ve read any of our recent live reviews on Ever Metal, you’ll know that we really rather like them! Sadly, the band’s drummer, Steven Taylor, was unable to play after having surgery on his wrist earlier in the week. But they had a stand in on hand, in the shape of Bassist/vocalist Kev Plant’s son, Aled. This however did not detract from their performance. They were, as ever, tight and well-rehearsed, with Aled’s drumming carrying the groove perfectly – he’s an awesome little drummer, and really should consider getting in a band himself! Whilst they’re not ‘Metal’ as such, they’re extremely talented guys who deliver a crunchy, groove based heavy rock sound, and they do it with ease, which makes them very endearing. They’re also incredibly humble, with nothing they do on stage being an ‘act’. What you see is what you get, and that is bloody good, solid hard rock, with this performance being a perfect example.

https://www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial/

Mad Spanner

We were taken from the ‘sublime to the Cor Blimey’ next, with another firm favourite of ours, Mad Spanner. There are no words that adequately describe the sheer lunacy involved in a Mad Spanner performance. The best I can do is this; imagine the chase scenes from old silent movies, only with more hair, more pulling of silly faces, punk/thrash rhythms and zany observational comedy lyrics, complimented by insanely fast and loud guitar and bass. If a tornado was musical, it would be like this. In fact, I’d like to pigeonhole Mad Spanner in a whole new genre, just for them – Tornado Metal! Bassist and front man, Michael Randall, is mad as a box of frogs, and spent the entire performance with a maniacal look of a man possessed flashing in his eyes. He flew around the stage like a runaway balloon, and how he managed to survive unharmed is a mystery. Coupled with the crazy guitar of Dan Ashley, and the metronomic drums of Ben Codd, it made for a highly entertaining performance. How Ben doesn’t end up with repetitive strain is beyond me, but at least the drum kit does provide some protection from Michael’s craziness! Dan, however, is always in the firing line – a brave choice! They performed their debut album in its entirety here, as it has a running time that slotted nicely into the 30 minutes allowed set time. Crazy, fun, and again very, very good!

https://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner/

White Mammoth

Our final band of the evening were White Mammoth. We’d seen them a couple of years ago in Chester for the Mammothfest ‘battle of the bands’ competition, and if I’m honest, they hadn’t really grabbed me then, but I was interested to see them again, to find out if they’d made progress. The answer to that question is, in a word, YES!! Continuing the showcase of ‘completely different genres’ theme, these guys deliver a huge hit of modern progressive metal, and they now do that very well indeed. Littered with cross rhythms and complicated bass and guitar riffs, they took us through a very intense and involved set, culminating with what is, in my opinion, and absolute masterpiece of a tune, during which I went into some sort of trance, completely fixated on the skills of each member of the band. The song was called ‘Naivety of Perception’ and is going to be released soon as a single, so look out for it if you like heavy prog! They embellished their music with a selection of samples, which I felt worked really well, giving their sound extra depth. My only criticism of them is, due to all the insane musicality they have going on, the vocals have a tendency to get lost in the mix and could do with a bit of a boost. The vocalist has an unusual tone, and it is a shame that it can’t always be heard as well as it should be – his screams came through, but some of the quieter stuff didn’t.

https://www.facebook.com/WhiteMammothBand/

And that, as they say, was that! With all three performances done, it was time to vote. One band would be picked by the audience vote, and one by our judges – John Matthews from Phoenix Rising, Dani Maguire from Powerzone, and Beany. I have to say I found my audience vote a very difficult decision, as I enjoyed all three performances equally. Eventually I went with my gut, voting for the band that I not only found most improved, but also that really reached into my musical soul – White Mammoth (sorry Cry For Mercy and Mad Spanner – I still love you, but I’m a sucker for prog!).

After a short break for the judges to deliberate, it was results time! The gathered crowed, which was a good size given the location, and the horrendous weather, collected by the stage in readiness for Beany’s announcement. After the preamble we have become accustomed with Beany, he gave us the result of the audience vote – Cry For Mercy! The Look of shock and amazement on the face of Kev Plant told the story of the night, and just how tough the competition was, but what makes Cry For Mercy so endearing to us had obviously been felt by the entire crowd. They’re very worthy winners of their place in the Semi-Finals. The second successful act, as voted for by the judges, based not only on musicality and talent, but also on their stage performance and presence, was Mad Spanner. This was met with a lot of jumping about and cheering, not least from Michael Randall!

With that, the first heat was over. A massive congratulations to Cry For Mercy and Mad Spanner – both well deserved. But huge commiserations to White Mammoth, who managed the even bigger feat of leaving me speechless for a good few minutes! What I’d say to them is get that vocal mix sorted in the next month! Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester, the legend and head honcho at NEW Metal Productions, gets to pick two ‘wildcard’ entries from the bands that get knocked out in the heats, and I would say, with that little tweak made, White Mammoth should be up for consideration, based on their performance.

A huge thank you again to Ian ‘Beany’ North and Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester for their tireless efforts and hard work bringing us spectacular gigs all year round. The scene round here would be dead without them. A massive thanks to all the bands, fans, judges and to the venue too, as without you, music on the whole would be dead. Next up – Heat 2! Bring it on!

LINKS:

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

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