Cry For Mercy – Automatic Breakdown EP

Cry For Mercy – Automatic Breakdown EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/03/2020
Running Time: 15:36
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

Lockdown is still upon us, unsurprisingly I may add. It could have been horrific, but thankfully the kids are finding ways to amuse themselves, and any time is wine o’clock here at EMHQ! We’re keeping ourselves busy with all the new releases that are still appearing, in spite of the sucky nature of the world outside our windows. Within this ever-expanding list was the new EP from one of our local favourites, Cry For Mercy.

After having a really good run in the 2019 Metal 2 The Masses competition, and making a bit of a name of themselves locally as a very talented and catchy blues rock band, these three down to earth guys aren’t letting lockdown stop them from putting new music out there. The release of this EP was supposed to happen in physical form, but was instead released digitally. Although checking on their Facebook page, they do now have physical copies.

So, to the music! This is their second EP release, and after really enjoying their first, I was very eager to give this one a spin. At only 4 tracks and a little over 15 minutes, it’s a short burst of what the Cry For Mercy boys can do, but in terms of the songs, it is concentrated goodness! Each track has a great swinging blues rock feel, with cracking riffs, some really smooth guitar solos, and gravelly vocals making it the perfect soundtrack to a road trip through a dusty sun-bleached dessert in Nevada (after lockdown is lifted of course – currently please stay at home, etc, etc).

In terms of production, this EP is a big step up from their first release. I love it when you can see measurable progress in a band, and this is demonstrated perfectly here. The balance of every instrument in the mix is spot on, and the timings and ‘togetherness’ of everything really shows the progress they have made in terms of being tight in performance in order to create a fully gelled sound.

I particularly like the second track, ‘Skin Crawl’ as it has some great dynamic variations, progressing through full on vocal harmonies and crunchy chords, to a softer vocal and fingerpicked guitar section, which then picks up again into the very catchy chorus!

These guys have a very classic sound. A mix of Mama’s Boys, with some early AC/DC, and a good hit of deep-south groove, which is easy and pleasurable to listen to, and always makes me smile. Another great release guys, now get cracking on an album please, because 15 minutes just isn’t enough for me!

TRACKLISTING:
1. Automatic Breakdown
2. Skin Crawl
3. Fire
4. Breaking Down The Walls

LINE-UP:
Kevin Plant – Bass/Lead Vocals
Andy Cutty – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Steven Taylor – Drums

LINKS:
www.cryformercy.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial/
www.twitter.com/cryformercy3
www.instagram.com/cryformercyofficial/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/78fR4BEnRQLJqky32oZM4D

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.

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 – 29/02/20

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.

Pentre Fest 2020 – Day 2 22/02/20 – 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.

Pentre Fest 2020 – Day 1 21/02/20 – 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.

Pentre Fest 2020 – Day 2 – 22/02/20

Pentre Fest 2020 Day Two
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
22/02/2020
Review by Rick Tilley, Alun Jones and Beth Jones
Pictures by Beth Jones

Rick Here.

Saturday’s Pentre Fest, Day Two review is a collaborative affair between myself, Alun and Beth. I’ve made it clear who wrote what and I would like to thank them for their help, as well as looking after a broken 52 year old (me!) who cannot get around as quickly as he used to!

On the Saturday morning, pleasantly surprised that we weren’t hurting as much as we thought we might, we set off back to Mcleans, pausing only to pick up Powerzone’s Dani Maguire on the way, ready for a full day of Metal and Acoustic performances. It was noticeably quieter upon arriving, but a fair amount of alcohol had been consumed on the Friday, so I imagine there were a few sore heads! However, the always faithful had dragged themselves out of bed to watch the opening band of the day on the main stage…

Cheerfully Undiagnosed

Pop/Punker Cheerfully Undiagnosed (aka Adam Robinson) had also performed early on the Saturday at Pentre Fest the previous year, waking everyone up and putting a smile on our collective faces. Now expanded to a two piece, (with the addition of a drummer) they did the same this year. Vocalist/Guitarist Adam will probably be the first to admit that the material is simple, but he performs it with a huge glint of fun in his eyes and is very comical to boot. Getting a selection of hungover and tired metallers to sing along to tracks such as ‘I’ve Just Been Sick’ and ‘Unsolicited Dick Pic’ was hilarious to watch and take part in and it’s just the sort of thing you need to kick your day into gear!

https://www.facebook.com/Cheerfully-Undiagnosed-1791893794227072/

Edd Case

One person we certainly hadn’t expected to see was Edd Case. In the week running up to Pentre Fest Edd had been taken ill, spending two days in hospital, so to see him turn up on the Saturday with his guitar, looking like death warmed up was a bit of a shock. After telling him off, he proceeded to blow us all away on the acoustic stage with a short set of songs, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play or sound better. His original songs are beautifully written and any covers he plays are turned completely on their head, always recognisable but played in a way only he can. He was excellent but, like Brian, he was still ‘a very naughty boy’ for turning up!

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014628035630

Stormrider

Next up on the main stage we were due to get our first proper Metal fix of the day from a band I hadn’t seen live before but was really looking forward to, Manchester based NWOTHM four piece Stormrider and ‘by the power of Greyskull’ did they deliver. If, like me, you love a good dose of Trad Metal, mixed up with some Power and Thrash influences, played as tightly as a gnat’s chuff and delivered with the force of a Challenger Tank then you’ll love Stormrider. Their not long enough set was excellent and looking around at the growing crowd it was clear I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Afterwards I immediately went and bought their EP and hope it isn’t too long before we see them again!

https://www.facebook.com/stormriderofficial/

I nipped outside for a breather and immediately got caught up talking to people. For my sins I missed most of the next artist on the acoustic stage but, luckily, Alun didn’t so here are his thoughts on Rhiannon.

Rhiannon Petrou (Why’d You Wanna Know)

Sadly, Pentre Fest suffered a few casualties this year. One such example was on the acoustic stage, where Rachel Sian Roberts, one half of the newly formed duo, Why’d You Wanna Know, was hospitalised and (obviously) unable to perform. But the show must go on: and Rhiannon performed a short but enjoyable set on the acoustic stage. Admittedly out of her comfort zone, playing guitar as well as singing (having only started to learn guitar a month ago) she soldiered on and won plaudits for her effort. Only a few minor mistakes were noticed – and easily forgiven. Possessing a beautiful singing voice she even managed to add a ghostly, ethereal sheen to a cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ – making it sound good for the first time ever!

https://www.facebook.com/Whyd-You-Wanna-Know-105145631078966/

RipTide

Having seen the end of Rhiannon’s set and thinking what a beautiful voice she had, I headed back to the main stage to get another blast of METAL, this time from Huddersfield Thrashers RipTide, another band I hadn’t seen live before. Now Thrash is one of my favourite genres. I’m old enough to have been around when it all began and saw bands such as Exciter, Exodus, Testament and Destruction etc play when they were starting out. I was also lucky enough to see Sy Keeler’s first gig singing with Onslaught, which still stands as one of the best live performances I’ve ever witnessed. Why am I on a trip down memory lane you may ask? Well, RipTide filled me with that same sense of open-mouthed awe I got as a teenager witnessing my idols for the first time. They possess everything a Thrash band needs and they do it with style. There’s definitely an old-school ‘Bay Area’ element to their sound, but it’s mixed with a modern-day twist and slightly harsher vocals, which brings everything into the 21st Century. They were incredibly tight, playing at break neck speed when they needed to, but slowing down and leaving space for the groove as well. A highlight of the weekend, you must not miss them if they gig near you!

https://www.facebook.com/RipTideThrash/

Mine and Beth’s recent return to Ever Metal, for some reason, seemed to be going down well for many people attending and I got chatting again outside after Riptide. This meant I missed the beginning of Mike West’s set on the acoustic stage. Having seen him before I knew he was good, but Alun hadn’t, so here’s what he thought!

Mike West

If the connection between metal and outlaw country isn’t obvious to any readers, I can only pity you. I’ve never witnessed Mike West before, but his amalgamation of southern rock, dusty country and swampy blues was a delight to my old whiskey-soaked soul. Mike delivers his songs with a hard rockin’ swagger, as if he’s just busted out of Tombstone jail and is riding across the plains, lamenting women and fortunes lost. A great voice and an outstanding presence, Mike is one to catch when you can. Has anyone done a “Wild West” gag yet? If not, there’s a headline for us there!

https://www.facebook.com/mikewest333/

Folorn Hope

After Mike’s great set, it wasn’t long before our Master of Ceremonies ‘Beany’ was rounding everyone up to head back to the main stage. He didn’t have to coerce me because I had been looking forward to seeing Forlorn Hope for about a year. Historical Heavy Metal may sound odd to some (although, it’s never done Sabaton any harm) but Forlorn Hope manage it with aplomb. They have been described as “a musical version of Bernard Cornwall’s ‘Sharpe’ novels” and I couldn’t put it any better myself. They haven’t been together that long, but arrived on stage like a much more seasoned outfit. Their Classic Heavy Metal sound mixed with Military History of the Peninsular War of 1807-1814 lyrics and a little in-between song humour from vocalist/rhythm guitarist Chris Simpson works perfectly and you should really seek them out. If there is one negative it is that keyboard player Jade McKenna doesn’t get more involved or smile. Her playing is more than acceptable, and the keyboards definitely add something to the music, but she looks very ‘stiff’ on stage compared to the rest of the band!

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialForlornHope/

By this point my spine was starting to groan and I needed a break, so I’ll leave you in the more than capable hands of Beth who went to check out Ben MIlford on the Acoustic Stage.

Ben Milford

Normally we’re used to seeing Ben shredding in the shadows, as he’s the super skilled, but incredibly humble, guitarist in OMV. His acoustic performance wasn’t just a new experience for us – it was also the first time he’d done an acoustic set on his own. Talking to him beforehand, we discovered that he was pretty nervous about it, because it meant stepping out of his comfort zone by singing as well as playing. He needn’t have been nervous though, because his performance was brilliant, and he has a lovely voice. On a couple of songs, he had extra vocal support from his band mate Richie, front man of OMV, and the unstoppable Edd Case! To be honest though, he didn’t need it. He did a fabulous job on his own, and we got to see another side of him, which we really liked.

Scars Of Remembrance

Sore back or not, I wasn’t going to miss our friends in Scars Of Remembrance, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made for a long time, so I hope you don’t mind me waxing lyrical! Since vocalist Mike Edwards’ departure from the band late last year, SOR have been without a steady frontman. They’d decided that, for this gig, guitarist Mark Harris was going to sing (he already does backing vocals and has a good voice), but it was clear beforehand that he was in pain. It turns out he had cracked two ribs in a fall and wasn’t able to play guitar, and I think there were nerves within the band as to how this was going to go down.

They needn’t have worried, because within half a song, the now much more healthy crowd was looking at the stage and at each other in astonishment. Regardless of the pain he was in, which must have been very uncomfortable and deserves a medal on its own, no-one could quite believe the voice (both clean and screamed) that was coming from Mark’s lungs. He is a very quiet individual off stage, but this was an absolutely mesmerising performance, and easily the best I had ever seen Scars Of Remembrance play. Having just four of them on stage gives them more space. Bassist Karl Ditcher certainly came out of his shell (he also joined in on backing vocals presenting an excellent bear-like roar), guitarist Daniel Dawson admirably covered the missing guitar with his riffing, and drummer Ben Burke played like a man possessed, thumping the living daylights out of the kit. However, Mark was the star of the show and it’s quite obvious that they don’t need to find a new singer!

Afterwards, many people spent an awful lot of time telling them this, and I really hope they listen. I already thought they were a great band, but this performance elevated them to the next level! My band of the weekend bar none!

https://www.facebook.com/scarsofremembrance/

Back at the acoustic stage it was time for Adam Robinson to play a set and I shall leave Beth to tell you about that.

Adam Robinson (Cheerfully Undiagnosed)

Still stoked from what I’d just seen on the main stage, I headed back to the acoustic room to watch Adam Robinson deliver his second set of the day, this time acoustically and on his own. It was no less cheerful than his earlier offering, and his witty banter and repartee kept the crowd enthralled. Again, his chosen songs weren’t overly fussy or complex, just good fun. He is a great act if the audience need a bit of a giggle and a livener, and his endearing stage persona could warm the hearts of even the coldest of souls!

At this point, along with Dani from Powerzone, we had arranged to interview the bonafide superstar, and absolute gentleman, that is Luke Appleton (Iced Earth & Absolva), alongside Rishi Mehta (Babylon Fire) who would be performing an acoustic set together later that day. While we did that Alun was watching OMV and here are his thoughts!

OMV

On the main stage, OMV entered dressed like a bunch of West Coast gangsters in masks and bandanas. Introduced as “hardcore street metal”, these guys definitely showed some great musical skills and energy. Somewhere between Bodycount, Suicidal Tendencies and Biohazard is where I’d stack them. Either way, OMV delivered some brutal songs and bounced around with massive crossover riffs. They were very entertaining, although hugely confrontational onstage – I wasn’t sure if they were actually going to pistol whip the audience into submission. The music has enough intensity and power to speak for itself.

https://www.facebook.com/omvmetalband/

While I took a plethora of pain killers, washed down with a pint (don’t have a go at me) Beth headed to the acoustic stage to watch the second performance of the weekend from the excellent Cry For Mercy.

Cry For Mercy Acoustic

We’re quickly running out of adjectives to describe these guys, but I’ll have a bash at a few more here, to describe their set on the acoustic stage! We’re big fans of these guys at Ever Metal, and have seen them many times now, but not stripped back like this. As usual though, their performance was a masterclass in how to deliver a great acoustic rock and blues set. Drummer Steven Taylor kept the rhythms going on Cajon, which gave the set that extra acoustic feel, and the grooves were upheld by guitarist Andy Cutty and bassist/vocalist Kev Plant. This set upheld their super-tight musicianship, with all of them on point all of the time. One of the things I like most about them is how comfortable they look when they play. The feel they give to the music is both smooth and charismatic, and you can’t help being drawn into it, making toe-tapping and head nodding obligatory! This set was so chilled that it would not have been out of place on a ‘hideout’ stage at a midsummer festival somewhere in the Texas Deep South. It oozed groove and proved just how versatile these guys are.

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

By now I was going numb so I knew I could manage some more music and I went back to the main stage to watch Son Of Boar, however Alun rather enjoyed their set (I did too), so he’s written this short, but very complimentary review.

Son Of Boar

They have a cool name, and they looked pretty cool on stage in matching denim battle-vests. From the very first notes of the bass rumbling on the very first song, I had a feeling that Son of Boar would be something special. I wasn’t wrong. These Bradford bruisers have everything in spades: they’re unfeasibly heavy; they have slow, doomy riffs with a Sabbath-like infectiousness and they have a sludgy, swampy groove that can pack an aggressive punk punch. The best band of Pentre Fest 2020 as far as I was concerned, Son of Boar were superb. I even bought a t-shirt!

https://www.facebook.com/SonOBoar/

At this point Edd Case played a second set on the acoustic stage and it was the one time, all weekend, we missed a performance. However, as we’d seen him earlier in the day and he was still a very naughty boy for even turning up, he’s going to forgive us…aren’t you Edd?

Severenth

Back at the main stage it was time for the awesome Severenth to play and, once again, they showed why it is so good to have them back on the scene. When these guys were around the first time they toured the US and played the hallowed Wacken Open Air, among others and their pedigree shone through from start to finish. Vocalist Peet Bailey is a wonderful frontman, possessing a huge voice and bags of energy, Ben Jones thunders on the bass, guitarists Jack Somers and Adam Sidor are the perfect foils for each other, and drummer Dave Roberts is a mass of arms and rhythm. Together they a make a brutal, but very catchy team, and the sooner they release a new album the better!

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth/

We were now heading towards the climax of the Festival, but there were still two performances to go. First up were the headliners on the acoustic stage, namely Luke Appleton (Iced Earth, Absolva) and Rishi Mehta (Babylon Fire) who put on a wonderful performance. As Alun hadn’t seen Luke acoustically before he kindly supplied the write-up of the set!

Luke Appleton and Rishi Mehta

A really fantastic set was delivered by Mr Luke Appleton on the acoustic stage. In truth, this was a duo performance with Rishi Mehta (of Babylon Fire) playing too, and it was a genuine highlight of Pentre Fest 2020. Dubbed “acoustic metal”, the songs were both suitably laidback, yet delivered with a metal edge. Expertly performed, we had tunes from Luke’s solo “Snake Eyes” project, plus of course some Iced Earth and Absolva numbers. Not to mention a bit of Dio and Tenacious D for good measure! A real class act in every sense of the word, and both very talented and down-to-earth gentlemen.

https://www.facebook.com/lukeappletonofficial/

WomenOwar

After a short break, where some of us braved the horrendous wind that was pummelling Mcleans outside (actually, now I think about it, bearing in mind who was due to appear onstage, it could well have been the ‘True Metal wind of Joey DeMaio’s 24 string bass guitar), we headed back to the main stage to witness the climax of Pentre Fest 2020 – WomenOwar!! Now, there had been rumblings (no, not from my stomach) that WomenOwar were threatening to pull out of their performance as there’d been a massive argument between Floss The Boss and Davina Shenkles over who was going to wear the deep blue eyeliner and baby oil, but luckily tragedy was averted! Of course, had this been the real Manowar we would all have been sat twiddling our thumbs calling Joey a complete and utter wan…!

Yes I’m joking, sort of! WomenOwar are an ‘all women, not all women’ Manowar Tribute band and they were absolutely brilliant! Formed for a one-off performance in 2018 they now find themselves in demand, possibly because Manowar really do argue over who is going to wield the He-Man sword and get the best painted on six-pack, but more likely because they are very funny and play the songs superbly!

Made up from members of the awesome Dakesis, Fury and Christgrinder you just knew the musical prowess was going to be top notch, and so it proved to be. Armed with a wig and mascara collection that Steel Panther would be proud of (in fact Manowar would be proud of it as well), they proceeded to blow us all away with a majestic set of Manowar classics that the crowd lapped up! It was the perfect climax to a wonderful weekend. As it says on their website “the band have weathered even the most unconquerable challenges to consistently bring you 100% of the Manowar for 1% of the price of actual Manowar”, and that says everything really. Go see them! You won’t be disappointed, because WomenOwar will actually turn up and play!!

https://www.facebook.com/womenowarband/

So, that’s Pentre Fest wrapped up for another year. In all seriousness, it was incredible and everyone I spoke to enjoyed themselves immensely. Sound was perfect all weekend on both stages and the only thing that let us down was the weather but having the sometimes ‘not acoustic’ stage inside really worked well!

Massive thanks must go to the team at North East Wales Metal Productions for assembling another cracking line-up of bands and acoustic artists, and especially to Fozzy for getting through what must have been an awful weekend for him.

We were all well looked after by Pat and the staff at Mcleans, they do a sterling job, the bands were friendly and approachable all weekend and, of course, it wouldn’t be the same without all of you who turned up to watch.

Pentre Fest is a wonderful grass roots event and it should be thoroughly applauded. I’m already primed for 2021!

LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/LA1Audio/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

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.

Pentre Fest 2020 – Day 1 – 21/02/2020

Pentre Fest 2020 Day One
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
21/02/2020
Review by Rick Tilley & Alun Jones
Pictures by Beth Jones

Hi Everyone – It’s Rick.

Before you get into reading about Day One at Pentre Fest I would like send our love to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester of North East Wales Metal Productions. Very sadly, Fozzy’s Mum passed away just before the Festival yet, in what must have been an incredibly difficult time for him and his family, Fozzy was present on both days manning the sound desk on the acoustic stage and running the event in the professional manner to which we have become accustomed. Many of you reading this know Fozzy and what a gem of a bloke he is and I hope you can all join me in wishing him and his family all the very best. This review is dedicated to Fozzy’s Mum!

It doesn’t seem possible that this was our third trip to Pentre Fest, the last two years seem to have gone by in a blur of gigs, photos, reviews, interviews, albums and laughs but, once again, Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester, Ian ‘Beany’ North and Frank Williams of North East Wales Metal Productions had assembled a ‘must see’ line-up of bands and acoustic acts who would be appearing over the two days at Mcleans, Pentre. Our gratitude and thanks must go out to them for continuing to persevere at a time when getting people to come out and see original music is something of a struggle. I would also like to welcome our colleague, friend and fellow Ever Metal reviewer Alun Jones who was at the Festival on both days and has kindly submitted his thoughts on some of the bands!

Pentre isn’t a big place and, therefore, Mcleans is somewhat stuck in the middle of The Twilight Zone so, within an hour of arriving on Friday evening, it was wonderful to see that so many people were turning up. This was easily the biggest crowd we had seen at the venue for any event. On top of that we knew pretty much everyone so the atmosphere was amazing!

Oliver Carins (Scarfoot)

Local legend Edd Case, who usually hosts the acoustic stage, wasn’t around on the Friday as he was very poorly, and with us also being in the midst of a series of storms bad enough to get their own names the decision had been made to move the second stage inside so after a small delay, Oliver Carins (Vocalist/Guitarist with Scarfoot) got things underway with a wonderful cover of John Butler’s ‘Ocean’. Personally, I think Oliver’s confidence has grown considerably over the last few months but this was the first time I had seen him playing acoustically and a very talented guitarist he is indeed!

In what seemed like seconds Oliver was done and, suddenly, we were all heading to see Cry For Mercy open things up properly on the Main Stage.

Cry For Mercy

If you want to open a Festival with a bang then Rock/Blues power trio Cry For Mercy provide it. We’ve now seen them a fair few times over the last twelve months and they never disappoint. Vocalist/bassist Kevin James Plant has a wonderfully soulful voice with just the right amount of gravel (he can sure play the bass well when he wants to as well), guitarist Andy Cutty lets the riffs fly and the solos fly higher and drummer Steven Taylor provides an ultra-solid beat with plenty of smiles. They treated us to some brand new tracks from their forthcoming EP as well as from last year’s “Overload” release and they all ROCK! It struck me a few weeks back that they remind me a little of Mama’s Boys, who I saw play on a number of occasions in the 1980’s and that’s high praise because I’m a big fan of Pat ‘The Professor’ McManus. Cry For Mercy = Excellent!

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

Scarfoot

Back on the acoustic stage it was time for Oliver again but this time with the rest of Scarfoot. They all know how Beth and I feel but I’m going to say it again. Since new bassist Rhys Jones joined them last year Scarfoot have gone from strength to strength. There is a new found confidence in them and it shines through in their performances. This was a first for them as they had never played a ‘stripped back’ set before but it worked very well. As I have become more familiar with their music it’s fair to say that it isn’t your standard fare. It combines many influences and genres and comes across as occasionally schizophrenic (in a good way) and having two vocalists (drummer Phil Eakins also sings) sets them apart. If you’re familiar with the band Primus, imagine a saner version of them and you’ll be on the path that leads to the road that sits on the hill that Scarfoot inhabit. Lovely guys too!

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

Lullaby For A Unicorn

Off to the main stage again. This time it was for (drum roll) the one…the only…the leg-ends… Lullaby For a Unicorn!! These four guys have become really good friends over the last couple of years and we love ‘em to bits. Before they went on stage we were treated to lots of stories of their antics the previous week when they played the main stage at HRH Metal and predictably they had us in stitches (if you haven’t already then go and seek out the photos online). For this gig they had a new friend on stage…a synthesizer, apparently something they will be using a lot more in the future. It was a superb addition to their arsenal and turned vocalist Justin into a demented looking/sounding Jean-Michel Jarre! There wasn’t a colouring competition this time but we were treated to the usual array of Party Poppers/Cannons and, in an attempt to get the audience to love them even more than they already do, had bought shots for everyone which they dished out mid-set. Never predictable but always fantastic, Lullaby For A Unicorn are totally unique. In an age with thousands of sound-alike bands we should all be very thankful for that!

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

Daniel Moran

After replenishing our drinks (reviewing is very thirsty work I’ll have you know!) we went back to the restaurant…er, I mean acoustic stage, to see the next act, Daniel Moran.

I’ve seen Dan twice before, once with his previous band Ashen Reach and at Beth’s Charity Gig last December with his main band, the wonderful Reaper, but I had yet to see him perform acoustically and what a talent he is, especially for someone so young! He launched into a fabulous set, punctuated with jokes and witty banter and it’s plainly obvious that he lives, eats and breathes music. He has incredible vocal range, is a fabulous guitarist and relishes every moment that he can play and entertain. Finishing with a cover of ‘Why?’ from Devin Townsends’s most recent album “Empath” would be a challenge for most, but not Dan, who pretty much nailed every note and left the audience in awe. He is also a lovely chap so do me a favour and go and watch him wherever you can. People like Dan don’t come around too often!

https://www.facebook.com/DanielMoranMerseyside/

Impavidus

With the turnaround time between the two stages working like clockwork, by the time I’d been to the loo and had a quick vape the mighty Impavidus were already half way through their opening track over on the main stage. It had been more than a year since I had last seen them live, far too long for my liking, and I was soon banging my head as much as my battered spine would allow me to. Vocalist Michelle Adamson has the voice of an angel and devil rolled into one. Her clean singing is haunting but her growl matches Angela Gossow for venom. In fact, classic era Arch Enemy is who Impavidus remind me of most. They may possess huge groove and power and be as heavy as a stampeding rhino but melody plays a massive part in the music and their songs are incredibly catchy. It was also great to see their ex-drummer, the gentleman that is John Badger, fill in for them one last time! Impavidus really should be more well-known than they are!

https://www.facebook.com/impavidusuk/

After the wonderful set from Impavidus I was hurting and in need of a break so I’m now going to pass you over to Alun who went to watch the final act of the night on the acoustic stage.

Ryuko

Ryuko presented a couple of surprises on Friday night’s acoustic stage. First off, they were fully plugged in and electric. Second, they play more of an alternative rock sound, which was something of a contrast to the majority of other Pentre Fest bands. Readers may not be aware, though, that I am in fact King of Grunge, with my 90’s credentials well proven. Ryuko’s set included some melody and even jangly pop along with heavier riffs, which was an enjoyable diversion in a Dinosaur Jr/Nirvana style. Well performed, Ryuko just need to test their audience further and throw in additional surprises in either a ‘Negative Creep’ or ‘About a Girl’ vein.

https://www.facebook.com/RyukoBand/

With medication taken, drink in hand and the pain in my back calming down a little bit I returned to the main hall to find our ‘Master Of Ceremonies’ Beany hosting The Tequila Game! This was basically The Jäger Game without Jäger!! It involves a large number of slightly inebriated and good-natured MetalHeads rolling pound coins towards a bottle of booze to see who can get the closest. Winner gets the bottle and the money raised goes to charity. It is always good fun and was the perfect lead in to our Friday night headliner…

Witch Tripper

If you haven’t seen, or at least heard of, Witch Tripper then you must live under a rock at the bottom of the sea. On any given weekend they will be playing somewhere in the UK or Ireland and they never stop. They arrived at Pentre Fest with incredible new drummer, Christopher Reed, in tow and proceeded to do what Witch Tripper does magnificently…blow the roof off. Vocalist/Lead Guitarist Richie Barlow is a manic ball of sweat and hair by the end of the first track and bassist ‘Stoff’ is a slightly more reserved, but no less brilliant rumble of thunder. Together, the three of them play an enticing mix of Stoner, Rock, Metal and Grunge all held together with lashings of heavy groove and they never fail to put a smile on your face, regardless of how many times you’ve seen them. As usual they were on fire and brought the Friday proceedings to a close, just as it had started a few hours earlier, with a bang!

https://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

With an audible sigh, that only happens when every band has played a blinder, the crowd started dispersing to different areas of the pub for another swift pint, a smoke, a chat and to chill before heading out into the horrendous weather (the wind sounded like something out of a Hammer Horror film) to waiting Camper Vans, Hotels or homes. It had been an incredibly successful evening not just from a band perspective but also for the number of people who had turned up. As usual, Beth and I were completely knackered and hurting but we both knew that the line-up for Saturday was going to be brilliant…

…To Be Continued!

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/LA1Audio/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

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

Cry For Mercy – Overload EP

Overload EP Cover

Cry For Mercy – Overload EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 17/10/2019
Running Time: 14:59
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Cry For Mercy first popped onto our radar as one of this year’s competing bands at the North Wales M2TM competition, and instantly had our eyes opened wider and glued to their performance! Sadly, they only reached the semis in this competition, but this was nothing to do with their talent – more to do with their fit in the preferred genre – i.e. they just aren’t metal. What they are is absolutely top-quality rock and blues. We were so glad when they announced that they would be releasing an EP and were even more glad that they sent it to us to have a listen to!

So, to the EP!! Yes, yes, yes and more yes! It is top quality, good old fashioned RRrrockkk! Groovy as hell, with a good smattering of southern blues to boot. These three chaps know exactly what they want to sound like and capture it perfectly in four tracks, which are beautifully mixed and produced, and completely echo their polished and professional stage performance.

The title track, ‘Overload’, starts things off. It is a good, fast paced classic rock toe tapper. It is simple and straightforward and doesn’t outstay its welcome. It reminds me in places of ZZ top and totally would not be out of place on one of those ‘Driving Songs’ compilation albums that I seem to have so many of! I could certainly see myself pumping it out in a big American convertible whilst heading off into the sunset on Route 66! (Yes, I am a queen of clichés, so what! Shoot me!).

Next up is ‘Under Dark Skies’, bringing the pace down a little to full on groove level! It makes you pull that face that to you says ‘groove’, but to anyone looking in and not knowing what you are listening to says ‘gurning weirdo’! (Come on, you’ve all done that face at some point, and if you haven’t, you will when you listen to this EP!) In all seriousness, it is a superb track and shows off Bassist and Lead Vocalist Kev Plant’s superb voice and enviable range.

Track three, ‘We Won’t Go Down’, is again a good solid anthem, with a particularly catchy chorus which will be stuck in my head for some time! This track also shows off the drumming skills of Steven Taylor, who gets to do a few more fills and hit cymbals lots! Again it doesn’t outstay its welcome and could be the soundtrack to a myriad of ‘deep south’ style cult films, when the good guys decide to smash the bad guys once and for all (‘From Dusk till Dawn’ was the first thing that popped into my head, but it would work for so many!)

The final track, ‘I Don’t Know’, is probably the heaviest track on the album, but again is classic rock – starting with some solid and catchy guitar riffage from Andy Cutty, who also adds backing vocals to this track, and indeed the rest of the EP, creating some great harmonies and adding extra depth to the vocals, which makes it even better.

I am really impressed with these guys and their first release – yes, its not metal, and yes there are little tweaks that could be made here and there, but that does not detract from the strength of this as their maiden voyage into the world of recorded material! I had a brief conversation with Powerzone’s Dani Maguire about it and he summed it up perfectly:

“You know what I like about Cry For Mercy? They sound familiar. Like I’ve known them for decades. I mean, the sort of band you can slam on when you get in from a hard day at work, chug a cold one and just enjoy for what it is. Hard rocking, hardworking, skilful and comfortable with what they do, which puts me at ease as a listener. Nothing pretentious yet totally fresh.”

I 100% echo Dani’s words and thoroughly recommend that you look these guys up and give this EP a spin. My most major criticism is that it is too short – I want more guys! Get back in that studio!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Overload
02. Under Dark Skies
03. We Won’t Go Down
04. I Don’t Know

LINKS:
https://www.cryformercy.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial/

https://www.instagram.com/cryformercyofficial/

 

 

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.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 2 – Noah’s Bar, Colwyn Bay – 24/05/2019

00 M2TM North Wales Semi-Final2

 

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 2
Noah’s Bar, Colwyn Bay – 24/05/2019
Review by Beth Jones

The second semi-final of this year’s Bloodstock M2TM North Wales competition saw us taking a road trip to Colwyn Bay. On the A55! At teatime; on a Friday night; at the start of a bank holiday weekend… I’m not saying any more about the journey, apart from the saving grace that we had two extra passengers – Dani and Joe Maguire from Powerzone – thus making it a Power-Metal road trip! We arrived just in time to catch our first competing band of the night – the rather good Thrashatouille.

Thrashatouille
Yet again a great, enlivening performance from a very good, and very tight band. These guys are so good. They have so much fun with their performance and have a great gimmick with the food theme. Tonight, I felt they had stepped it up another level and really threw everything they had at the performance. It was very warm and very sweaty, and the space was only small, so they all looked completely shattered coming off stage, but I was fairly convinced they had just smashed it out of the park with their performance.

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

Navnløs
These guys are a conundrum for me. Music / playing wise, they are good solid groove / thrash metal, and they have a great sound, but I think their stage craft lets them down. They have improved since we saw them at the heat, but still, in between songs, it is too flat and it makes the atmosphere dip. They take too long and look a little uncomfortable – like they aren’t quite sure what to do to lead into the next song. But again, musically a great performance.

02 Navnloshttps://www.facebook.com/Navnlosband/

Cry For Mercy
These guys have got the whole package. They are groovy and funky, good old fashioned rock and blues, and they are just so easy to watch. My biggest concern with them is that this was totally the wrong platform for them to compete in – had this been a battle of the bands for rock and blues, they would absolutely walk it without question. I can’t wait for them to release some physical music, as I could listen to them all day. Performance wise, they stormed it, and had the gathered crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. Their musicianship is so good, and so full, that it makes you feel instantly happy.

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

Scars Of Remembrance
Keeping up their 100% record of improving every time we see them, the lads did it again tonight with their performance, which was the most brutal and the tightest we have ever had from them. Everything was on point – with the added vocals from Harris really completing the songs. I am so impressed at how far these guys have come in less than a year, both in performance, and their confidence on the stage. They were my favourite metal performance of the night.

04 Scars Of Remembrancehttps://www.facebook.com/scarsofremembrance/

That was the competition bands done with, and we went off to vote and refresh before the mighty Torqued took to the stage as guest headliners. The voting was a really hard one. I was torn between two bands, but I went with my gut. Time for some Torqued to clear my mind!

Torqued
What can I say about these chaps that hasn’t already been said a hundred times before! They are three brilliantly talented musicians, and excellent people to boot. They travelled a ridiculously long way to come and play for us, and boy am I glad they did. They were on point, delivering heavy grooves, immense solos, and banging tune after banging tune. My head bobbing gauge was cranked up to eleven, and the ponytail was unleashed so I could have a good old mosh. NB I think I may have broken my neck, judging by the lump I had on it for two days afterwards and I did nearly fall over because I got dizzy – I’m so metal! They have just released their second EP “Coup De Grȃce” and it is excellent – everyone should go out and buy it! A brilliant way to round off what had been a great evening of music. Thanks for a brilliant show guys. And a special thanks to Marc for producing our new merch range in his day job – Corrosive Merch!

05 Torquedhttps://www.facebook.com/Torquedband/

So, to the judging – this was definitely the toughest one so far, because each band gave a great performance, and each deserved to progress, but with only two spaces, it was anybody’s game.

The public vote went to Scars Of Remembrance, which pleased me, as I thought they had really stepped it up, and were very much deserving of a place.

The judge’s vote was a curve ball – we felt that Thrashatouille would have been in that spot, but suddenly from nowhere, it was Navnløs! Now, whilst musically I think these guys are great, I’m just not sure they are at the point of readiness, in the same way Thrashatouille are. And for me, the performance of the night was from Cry For Mercy – by a country mile – but this was the wrong platform for them, so…erm…yeah! Interesting, but this is the nature of the game! Well done to Scars Of Remembrance and Navnløs, and commiserations to Cry For Mercy and Thrashatouille. We also want to mention the great turnout at Noah’s which was pretty much packed all evening!

Bring on the final!!

Links
Grand Final Event Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/172760083629491/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

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

00 M2TM Heat2 Poster Top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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