Speed Queen, Toledo Steel & Skyryder – The Firehouse, Southampton – 13/09/2019

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Speed Queen, Toledo Steel & Skyryder
The Firehouse, Southampton 13/09/2019
Review by Lotty Whittingham

Heavy Metal therapy should be a thing. Think about it; you have had a stressful week or month; you attend a heavy metal show that matches this energy and that helps you get it all out. You also enjoy this experience with likeminded individuals who might be there for the same reason. This was the feeling I got on Friday 13th September when witnessing Speed Queen, Toledo Steel and Skyryder conquer The Firehouse, Southampton.

As the doors opened, it was great to see punters coming in early. Some grabbing a much-needed pint or two from the bar, others finding the ideal spot to watch the bands from and catching up with some friends. It was brilliant to see that support for local music is still going strong. Given that a number of venues are closing all over the country, it’s more important than ever to keep on going to venues and support the scene!

SKYRYDER
The first band to kick off proceedings on this night of pure class heavy metal were the colourful Skyryder! Colourful in stage wear most definitely and in personality too come to think of it. From the energy and passion in their performance, it was evident they were having a great time on stage. This enjoyment was passed onto the crowd who really seemed to take to their set consisting of slick guitar work, on point harmonies and excellent vocal work. Their brilliant musicianship combined with their fantastic sense of humour made them a fantastic opening band!

01 Skyryderhttps://www.facebook.com/skyryderuk/

TOLEDO STEEL
Local boys Toledo Steel were next to take to the stage. I have seen them on previous occasions and they always put on a great show. Friday night was no exception. Their mission is to offer straight to the point, no nonsense Heavy Metal and they did this plus more. Their passion and energy on stage was incredibly infectious. They performed a great selection of songs from across their discography and the crowd got to hear two brand new songs that will be on an upcoming album. A great set of heavy metal goodness from Toledo Steel once again.

02 Toledo Steelhttps://www.facebook.com/toledosteelband/

SPEED QUEEN
From the moment Speed Queen started to play, it was evident the name was more than appropriate, mainly in terms of musical tempo. It states on their Facebook page that they are a mixture of speed and heavy metal mixed with a nasty and sexy stage attitude. Judging from their performance on Friday night, it is easy to see that claim was incredibly accurate. Their mind-blowing performance consisted of finger blistering guitar work, dominant vocals and powerful stage presence. You didn’t need to be a detective to figure out who was in control of the crowd the whole time they were on stage. Let’s hope it’s not long until they come back to Southampton.

03 Speed Queenhttps://www.facebook.com/speedqueenofficial/

If Friday night proved anything, it’s that Heavy Metal is still alive and kicking. There was some solid music and passionate live performances, as well as the comradery from the community. If these bands tour together again, I highly recommend catching this line up in action!

Hyborian Viper Promotions
https://www.facebook.com/hyborianviperpromotions/

Images courtesy of Tomasz Wrobel at TzW Photography
https://www.facebook.com/Tzwphotography/

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham 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.

Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime -Greatest Hits Tour – w/Gin Annie – The Underworld, Camden, London – 29/08/2019

Geoff Tate_s Operation Mindcrime Underworld Poster

Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime
Greatest Hits Tour
w/Gin Annie
The Underworld, Camden, London
29/08/2019
Review by Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King

Having attended Bloodstock at the beginning of August for the first time in what seemed like an eternity (it was actually six years, but you know how time can play tricks on us!), I was in the mood for some more live music. Tickets for this had been booked well in advance so it was a gig I was really looking forward to.

Having seen Queensryche perform a stonker at Bloodstock with the fantastic Todd le Torre, I wanted to see just how Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime would measure up. Would they have the magic of the “old” Queensryche (although I had only seen the “original” Queensryche once before at High Voltage Festival way back in 2011 and, if I’m honest, they were pretty dire then!) or would they just sound like a covers band, which, I guess, technically, they are!?

So, the venue? The Underworld in London’s Camden Town. I, personally, like The Underworld. Its small so you don’t get the humungous amounts of people but large enough to have a decent crowd. There are a few pillars (holding up the ceiling I’m guessing!!) so depending on where you stand, your view could be obstructed a bit, but it really is only a problem if the downstairs (half a dozen steps down) is jam-packed!

So, amazingly for me, I arrived at the venue in plenty of time, so I actually managed to watch the support band (something I very rarely do!) I must admit I hadn’t heard of them before the gig but then I was expecting a band with ‘Wolf’ in their name for some reason!! Must be the blonde in me!!

Anyway, the support were a hard rock band called ‘Gin Annie’ and I must say I was VERY impressed. Hailing from Wolverhampton in the UK they feature (and I quote this from their website) “heavy guitar driven songs whilst maintaining a melodic vocal style; hook-laden choruses, and classy melodies.” I couldn’t have put it better myself! They were absolutely fantastic and judging by the reaction they were getting from some of the crowd, I am guessing they were already pretty well known (late to the party AGAIN!!)

They had a contagious energy that just made you want to get up and dance along with them, and if I had drunk one or two vodkas, I think I probably would have done. The guitarists were awesome, and the singer’s voice just blew me away. There was nothing fancy about them. They are a good old-fashioned heavy rock band, who obviously enjoy what they do. I don’t think there was a time when all five of them weren’t up on that stage smiling! A great sign of a band that work hard but have immense pleasure in what they do.

They played nine tracks in total and I must say I was rather disappointed when they had to leave the stage! I wanted more…..so on my way out I bought the CD from the merch stand and had it in my car for over a week! Instead of getting bored with it each time I played it, I loved it more and more!! I would really love to see these guys as a headline

band, and I will now make it my mission to see them as such!

Outstanding work guys!!

So, after a break of what felt like forever (I don’t understand why there must be such a long break between supports and the headliners. Festivals manage a quick turnaround, so why can’t they?) it was Geoff Tate’s turn. I was looking forward to it, but I must admit I also had a bit of trepidation about the gig. Going by the previous time I had seen him perform, and reports of other gigs over the years, I wondered if it was just all going to be a waste of time.

The band came on first, playing the introduction to track ‘Neue Regel’ followed by the main man himself, to rapturous applause and cheering!

Now, I have been a Queensryche fan for as long as I can remember and to hear all of my favourite Queensryche tracks being played right there in front of me was awesome BUT….and yes there is a but….there was just a little something missing for me! I loved Geoff’s voice during his heyday, but I don’t think he can quite cut some of the notes now. And yes, before I get bombarded with messages of hate etc, I know singers can tend to lose their voice as they get older, but this is a review and I have to be honest!

Despite this, he did do the songs justice, but then he should have done, shouldn’t he? He has been singing these songs for three decades and should know them inside out and upside down. The heroes of the evening, for me, were the musicians he had backing him, Felix Bohnke, the drummer from EdGuy and Avantasia being one of them.

These guys were simply magnificent and if you closed your eyes it could quite easily have been the Queensryche of yesteryear up there on that stage. Personally, I think they are all too good to be in what could only be described as a Queensryche covers band but if that’s what they are happy doing, then good luck to them.

I had heard of Geoff being somewhat arrogant (something I really do not like), and this did come across occasionally while he was onstage and again, I am ducking to avoid anything that could be thrown at me at this point!

Overall, though, Geoff and the boys did a grand job. They played all the old Queensryche classics from ‘Operation:Mindcrime’ (the track) to ‘Empire’ to crowd favourite ‘Silent Lucidity’ and more. I am gutted I missed them on the tour when they played the whole of Operation Mindcrime 1 and 2 but this gig did make up for that.

So, Gin Annie get massive double thumbs up, for me, being the better band on the night and I WILL be going to see them again, while Operation:Mindcrime, although great, came in second!

Gin Annie – Setlist:
New Bad Habit
All I Want
Fallin’
Damage
Next 2 Me
Dying To Live Again
Chains
Love Ain’t Here
Born To Rock n Roll

Gin Annie Links:

WELCOME TO THE HOME OF GIN ANNIE


https://www.facebook.com/GinAnnieUK/

Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime – Setlist:
Neue Regel
Screaming In Digital
Operation:Mindcrime
Speak
Spreading The Disease
The Mission
Take Hold Of The Flame
Empire
I Dream In Infrared
The Lady Wore Black
Walk In The Shadows
Breaking The Silence
I Don’t Believe In Love
Encore:
Silent Lucidity
Jet City Woman
Eyes Of A Stranger

Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime Links:

Operation Mindcrime Tour


https://www.facebook.com/operationmindcrimeband/

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King 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.

Rabidfest 2019 – The Bullingdon, Oxford – 18/08/2019 – Day Three

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Rabidfest 2019
The Bullingdon, Oxford
18/08/2019, Day Three
Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley

They say that as you get older, time goes quicker. They also say that time flies when you are having fun, so for us oldies having fun, time seems to go very quickly indeed, and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, here we were at the last day of Rabidfest, which again promised a very full, and very heavy line-up back at the Bullingdon. Bring on the metal!!!

King Bolete
The task of opening the final day fell to Oxford based, King Bolete, who offer a fusion of blues riffs, fuzz and groove, and harsh vocals, combining to make a sort of sleazy stoner metal which was very akin to a lazy, and for some, slightly hungover Sunday lunch time. They were the perfect way to start, went down well with the crowd and set the tone for the day ahead.

01 King Boletehttps://www.facebook.com/kingboleteblues/

The Final Clause Of Tacitus
From the moment these guys took to the stage, I could see they had the 90’s written all over them, and this made me pay attention – this was my era!! If you liked Rage Against The Machine and Clawfinger, you will love these guys. Rick already knew about them and really likes them because they had been featured on Ever Metal before. They offered a solid dose of Rap/Funk Metal executed brilliantly. I know this doesn’t happen very often, but I am going to give a special mention to Andy, the bass player (I know right – get the flags out)! He was the epitome of funk and was great to watch – definitely grand master level cool! The guitarist Tom, on the other hand, was a total nutter!! I have never seen someone go quite as bat shit on stage – there was definitely some sort of exorcism brought on by their music I would say! Trying to take his picture was like trying to herd cats! When we spoke to them afterwards, he told us that he had actually passed out on stage not so long back, from all the crazy jumping about! Lunatic! They were, very definitely, one of our highlights of the whole event, and when we got home I ordered both of their EP’s straight away!

02 The Final Clause Of Tacitushttps://www.facebook.com/TFCOT/

Broken Empire
From the old to the new, with a good dose of modern hard rock, Broken Empire! We liked these guys because they are fresh and very current – I could see my teenage daughters going wild to them, especially frontman ‘Ieuan’ with his far-out hairstyle! They have only been together since 2017 but have been gigging regularly and with two EP’s released already they are very well rehearsed and know exactly what sound works for them. Very enjoyable and definitely a band to keep an eye on!

03 Broken Empirehttps://www.facebook.com/brokenempireUK/

Democratus
This was a band that we had been really looking forward to seeing. We had heard a lot about them, and they are Welsh, so that alone makes them better than everyone else by default! They didn’t disappoint! Melodic death metal, with a more than sizable nod to classic metal, they ripped up the room for the entire of their set, with vocal powerhouse Steve Jenkins telling a story with his facial expressions, and engaging the assembled throng with some audience participation! There music was like a checklist of how to make it sound good – soaring power vocals – check, face melting guitar – check, epic rhythms – check, a hangman’s noose – che-wait, what?! Yes readers, you did read that right – towards the end of their set things became slightly more menacing when Steve produced a noose and promptly simulated hanging the other band members then himself, which was fun! (Don’t try that at home kids, not unless you are into that kind of stuff of course!) This was a really great performance and Democratus are now definitely on the list of bands to see again!

04 Democratushttps://www.facebook.com/democratusband/

Bloodshot
I have decided that I am definitely getting old, as here was yet another band that looked like they could be my daughter’s mates! From just up the road in Whitney, Bloodshot brought us some progressive death metal, with tricky stops and cross rhythms, and harsh vocals, on top of intricate guitar work. They were good to bang your head to and two characters in the crowd, who we very originally named ‘Dancing Guy’ and ‘Dancing Girl’, were having an absolute blast to them! I’m going to again mention the bass player, Will, just because he pulled some epic bass faces, a couple of which I managed to capture on camera!

Rick Here, I’m going to add that sometimes I find the harsher, more extreme bands a little difficult to listen along to at home or in the car, but seeing them live is a different thing entirely. To me this is where really heavy music completely comes alive and shines, it’s almost primal and Bloodshot were definitely a band that invaded my brain and intestines in a good way!

05 Bloodshothttps://www.facebook.com/BloodshotUK/

The Five Hundred
Guitars with too many strings alert!! It was time to get technical again with The Five Hundred. Thankfully I have no need to rant about having too many strings just for the sake of it, as the technical prowess of the musicians in this band required the extra strings. They were very very good. Down tuned and powerful riffs, intricate melodies, and on point vocals, mixed with killer drops that made the roof rattle, made their performance exciting and exhilarating. We were at the mid-point of the day, which historically is where I start to flag, however The Five Hundred made sure that this was a break from the norm by really waking me up! Again I am putting these on the ones to see again list!

06 The Five Hundredhttps://www.facebook.com/wearethefivehundred/

Gutlocker
Next up were Groove/Sludge Metal quartet, Gutlocker (or Stomach Padlock as many in the know were calling them!!). Again they were a name that we had heard quite a bit about and were looking forward to seeing. They were groovy, they were sludgy, and front man Craig McBrearty’s vocals were terrifying (in a good way, of course). I don’t know about my guts being locked – the rumbling bass licks were enough to replace all the fibre in my diet in that department – oosh! Again one thing that was not lacking in their performance was energy – a running theme from just about every band over the weekend, and they had the entire room banging their heads good style. Very pleasing indeed!

07 Gutlockerhttps://www.facebook.com/gutlockeruk/

Dog Tired
Coming to us all the way from the wild North, Scotland to be more precise (you know, that place where wild Haggis roam the hills – Rick), were Dog Tired. They were a mix of the brutality of Death Metal with the riffs of good old-fashioned Thrash but also a thundering Groove which, brought together, quite simply makes battle music! It kind of made us want to paint our faces blue, grab a big mother of a sword and stand on a hill shouting FREEEDOMMMMMMMMMM!! They were bloody good. We got a bit of hair envy again though, as guitarist Luke James has a proper mane of Pantene hair which was incredibly flickable! Their whole set was fast paced and full of growl and we loved it! Who’d have thunk that two genres I don’t get on with usually (You’re on your own there Beth, I love Death and Thrash – Rick) could come together to make something pretty frikkin good! Bought the album, listened to it in the car on the way home! Their new album is out in September and it’s a beast, in fact it makes us a want a pet haggis!!

08 Dog Tiredhttps://www.facebook.com/dogtiredmetal/

Bast
This may make me unpopular, so be warned. If you are a fan of doom, these guys are for you. For me, there is only one thing worse than doom, and that’s experimental doom. Bast are experimental doom. Whilst there is no denying that they are talented and competent musicians, and that they work well together as a group, I just don’t get it. I want to feel excited, like the rest of the weekend has built me up to be, but I just couldn’t get into a groove. Admittedly some of the songs were quicker paced than the sort of slow doom that Conan inflicted the night before, but I just couldn’t do the guttural screamed vocals, the melodies that were kind of smudged together, and the weird beats that were impossible to go nuts to. Sorry!

09 Basthttps://www.facebook.com/Bastmusic/

Papa Shango
So, yeah, erm. Papa Shango. It wasn’t what we were expecting! I spent a good few minutes wondering if my Pepsi had been spiked, and if this was a very vivid hallucination! Rick was actually concerned he had overdosed on his medication! Papa Shango are a many many pieced group of complete nutters, who bring together a Day of the Dead-esque shaman, a rock band, and RaRa girls adorned with Day of the Dead make-up, because why not eh? Whilst musically Papa Steve, Papa Dale, Papa Ryan and Papa Barry would be just a normal, half decent rock band on their own, the addition of The Pappettes Shango, and Papa Shango himself, turns them into a very hallucinogenic experience, full of double entendre, crazy naughtiness and hundreds of props! They were such good fun, and most of the musicians, including Papa Shango, spent a lot of time out in the audience! Were they under-rehearsed with some of the change overs? Yes! Did they go completely over the top? Yes! Were they extremely silly? Yes! Did anyone care? Not one bit in the slightest! They were good, light-hearted Sunday afternoon madness and we loved it! If you love the thought of Papa Lazarou from The League of Gentlemen TV Series joining forces with The Rocky Horror Show then Papa Shango will be your bag. They were also a photographer’s dream because of all the vivid colours and beautiful make-up. Awesome!

10 Papa Shangohttps://www.facebook.com/papashangomusic/
https://www.facebook.com/pappettes.shango.5

Desert Storm
After the half hour transportation to the lunatic asylum that had just happened, things got quickly back to normal for our penultimate band of the festival, with the entry of Desert Storm. Another local band, they brought a good mix of sludge and blues into their metal, and they did it very well. The room was full and getting back into the groove. There were definite nods to the old greats such as Sabbath and Zeppelin, but they were very current, and their performance notched up a level for me when there was suddenly a digeridoo type sound which took me aback for a moment – I was wondering who was playing it, then realised that it was actually a technique that vocalist Matt Ryan was using, which was similar to Tibetan throat singing, and was very mysterious and enticing, and gave the whole sound an added depth which was impressive and made them unique. They were a perfect balance of modern and classic, with some really great riffs and melodies, and toe tapping rhythms. I like this sort of stuff because it is clever, but not pretentious. Well done guys! We are Desert Storm converts!

11 Desert Stormhttps://www.facebook.com/desertstormuk/

Ingested
Here we were at the final band, and it appeared it was going to be Groundhog Day. Once again, on paper, they were a good choice as they have a large following but they just didn’t do it for us. It was an anti-climax. They spent more than twice as long as any other band sound-checking, a large proportion of which was getting their Apple MacBook to work, only for it to stop working three songs in, when they stopped playing half way through a song because most of the song was on samples. Call me old fashioned, but if you rely that heavily on samples, and can’t play it live, don’t put it in. Whilst they did manage to carry on without it after, what I’m guessing was a quick set-list change, I, like a fair proportion of the crowd, had seen enough. I know this will again make me unpopular, but honesty is the best policy and I don’t do blowing smoke up people’s arses. If I reflect on them from a purely musical point of view, yes they could play their instruments well, and the front man did have an angry sort of charisma, and they are indeed slamming death metal, but without the samples it was just another death metal band. If you like death metal, you will love them – so definitely check them out. If you don’t, then don’t. That’s all I have to say.

12 Ingestedhttps://www.facebook.com/ingesteduk/

And that was that. We took some last pictures, said our goodbyes, and headed off for our digs, via our new favourite food place, the Chinese restaurant a bit further down the road for take-two of the night before’s supper. It had been a great three days. We met some absolutely fab people and saw some really cracking bands. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the organisers for having us, and the great team that made the whole event run like clockwork. A huge shout out must go to the in-house sound guys at The Bullingdon, who were seasoned pros and were in control at every second – hats off to you chaps, a great job well done! Also to Mark Gibbs for being mad enough to attempt a three day festival, and to Greg Brown and our own Sheri Bicheno for making the chaos organised, and to the rest of the team for doing all the jobs that needed doing, and being genuinely fab people – we look forward to seeing you all again.

13 The Rabidfest Team (After the last paragraph)

 

LINKS
https://www.rabidfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/rabidfest/

https://www.instagram.com/rabidfest/

 

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.

Rabidfest 2019 – The Bullingdon, Oxford 17/08/2019 – Day Two

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Rabidfest 2019
The Bullingdon, Oxford
17/08/2019, Day Two
Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley

Before we mention anything music based in this review, we would like to compliment the Cherwell Guesthouse for the comfort of their beds! I had an amazing night’s sleep, which is something I never say about hotels and even Rick managed a few hours which is not something that happens often! Feeling refreshed and full of the joys of spring (or apparently summer, although I am yet to see evidence that this season exists!) we headed off to the second venue, The Bullingdon, which was usefully only a couple of minutes’ walk from where we were staying and where the rest of the Festival would take place! Winner!! Today we would be seeing eleven bands grace the stage and all of them were bands we hadn’t seen before, so we were very much looking forward to checking them out.

We arrived slightly early and met up with the crew at the ‘stage door’ to the back of the venue, where they were attempting the near impossible feet of erecting two gazebos in quite strong wind! But with a bit of logical thought and knot skills any boy scout would be proud of, said gazebos stood firm and the first band loaded in, meaning it was time for some music!

A/M (Altered Myths)
When these guys came on to sound check, and there was only two of them, I was concerned that maybe some of the other band members hadn’t got the memo that they were on first, and were still asleep, but no – there were actually only two members in the band! But flipping heck did they make a big sound! They played through their set to the small gathered crowd, sounding huge and very well-rehearsed. Drummer ‘Matik’ was also the vocalist, and was adept at both jobs, whilst guitarist ‘Eskay’ managed to make his guitar sound like two guitars and a bass all at the same time. I believe they may be wizards – anyone who can tell me otherwise gets a gold star! They call themselves a ‘Two piece original recipe meal’ and that is spot on because they aren’t easy to pigeonhole! We both thought they were a great start to the day!

01 A-Mhttps://www.facebook.com/thebandam/

Villainous
From a reasonably empty stage, to a very busy one – next up were Villainous, A four piece heavy prog metal outfit from Brighton. They hit you in the face straight away with punchy rhythms and clever melodies, but the most mesmerising part of their performance was front man Sean Stakim, who was the re-embodiment of the late great Keith Flint! His punk look, with check trousers and skin head, combined with his use of the available space, movements and mannerisms, and wild eyes which were only tamed by the lights on a pair of night vision style goggles that he donned for most of the set, took me right back to a festival in Switzerland in 1997, where The Prodigy gave a performance that left 17 year old me speechless. Seeing this performance at Rabidfest excited me, because, whilst musically they were far flung from The Prodigy, the mannerisms and charisma that exuded from them on stage was right there! I spoke to Sean afterwards and he confirmed that Keith Flint was one of his biggest influences. We absolutely loved these guys! Well done!

02 Villainoushttps://www.facebook.com/Villainousbanduk/

Master Charger
Any band that was to follow Villainous had a tough job in my opinion. That job fell to Master Charger, who were a late addition to the bill, and were heading straight off after this performance to a gig in Nottingham later that day – that is dedication! In contrast to what we had seen so far, Master Charger served up a dose of Stoner/Groove Rock, which was sludgy and in places quite grungy. For me it was a good, solid performance and they made a good sound, but it didn’t excite me as much as Villainous had, however Rick really loves their monster Southern Groove riffs and was very pleased that he had finally got to see them!

03 Master Chargerhttps://www.facebook.com/mastercharger/

Damaged Reich
Next up were local chaps, Damaged Reich, who we had heard a lot about, but had never seen. If anyone else is in that same boat and you like good, honest Thrash, I suggest you seek them out and go and bang your heads to one of their performances – they were really good! I am fussy with thrash – some of it bores me and leaves me cold, but this was not one of those bands, as for Rick, Thrash is one of his favourite genres so he was in his element. Again the stage was full of energy, and frontman Joe Samuels commanded the audience and drew them into his powerful vocals, backed up by the speed and groove of Adrian Irving and Liam Hodgkins on guitar, the meaty bass and backing vocals of Dan Atkins and metronomic beats of Hayden Wheable on drums.
So far this was a very successful day of metal in my book, as everyone was playing a blinder!

04 Damaged Reichhttps://www.facebook.com/damaged.reich/

Ascaris
Want to make a statement on stage, and inflict heat exhaustion on yourself in the process? If the answer to this question is yes, then do what Ascaris do, and play a set in the height of summer, wearing full dinner suits! Why not eh!! That’s exactly what these three nutters from Gloucester did and it was bloody good! I did spend way too much time trying to get the perfect photo of guitarist Sam Godding’s hair flick, which was mighty impressive! They took us through a rip-roaring 30 minutes of Blackened Death Metal, with some killer vocals and licks, and many facial expressions, showing that a good sense of humour and Black/Death Metal can work in harmony! Again, I am fussy when it comes to this style, and like very little of it, but I could get into Ascaris and, yet again, Rick had a massive grin on his face when watching them.

05 Ascarishttps://www.facebook.com/AscarisOfficial/

Hell’s Gazelles
Again, this is a band we had heard lots about, but not seen in a live setting. I have one word to sum up their performance – WOW!! This took it to a whole new level. This was proper! We both loved every minute of it. Hard Rock, tight as hell, and full of life! The energy and passion this performance held was truly commendable – frontman Cole Bryant reminded us of Freddie Mercury in his performance (no mean feat), giving an incredibly lively performance, most of which was spent vaulting over the pit barrier and performing in the crowd! It was exciting and accomplished in equal measures and for us was the performance of the day so far! We cannot wait to see these guys again, and will be seeking them out very soon!

06 Hell_s Gazelleshttps://www.facebook.com/HELLSGAZELLES/

Kinasis
From down that there Somerset way, Kinasis brought to the table some uber technical extreme metal, and they were rather good at it too! All their guitars had too many strings, and their stunningly technical riffs and rhythms made use of all of them! Whilst some technical stuff makes me look on with disdain for the level of twattishness, these guys just made me look on in awe and disbelief, because they all appeared almost shy of their talent, and gave a very humble, but completely brilliant and lively performance! They also looked so young, none more so than drummer Noah, who has the cherubic face of a child, but the timing of a seasoned master – which made Rick, a former drummer of 30 years, very, very jealous ! Damn fine technical shizzle chaps!

07 Kinasishttps://www.facebook.com/Kinasis/

VIG
It was now time for one of the event organisers, Mark Gibbs, to take to the stage for the final ever performance of his band VIG. Again hailing from the local area, they brought a proper dose of thumping groove metal to the day, and the audience lapped it up. Having spoken to Mark a fair bit since arriving in Oxford, it was quite a surprise to see this pleasant and mild-mannered gent roaring like a man possessed up on the stage! They again were a band that made your rib cage vibrate! I mean, is it really a gig if you don’t come out with at least one of your internal organs slightly displaced, right? It is a shame that they are not going to be a thing any more really, because we would have recommended you all to go and see them, but now you can’t, and we have seen them so ha!

08 VIGhttps://www.facebook.com/VIGbandUK/

Confessions Of A Traitor
Now we were getting towards the business end of the day, the stakes were higher, and it was time to ramp things up yet again with some metalcore in the form of London’s own, Confessions Of A Traitor. To me they were basically what you would get if you fed Aerosmith lots of sugar, cigars, and bourbon, and them made them really, really angry! They were a pretty bunch who had the look of a much lighter style, but they were lively, heavy and technical as hell, and frontman Stephen MacConville’s hair metal appearance was all a ruse, as his vocals were powerful hellish growls that had the audience, which was now much larger than earlier, going absolutely wild!! Again he spent a lot of time in the crowd – even getting involved in the pit whilst still singing, whilst the rest of the band kept things kicking on stage in impeccable fashion! Energy and effort was a ‘10 out of 10’ from me!

09 Confessions of A Traitorhttps://www.facebook.com/confessionsofatraitor/

Red Method
We were outside, in the ‘performers’ area’ when these guys turned up, gurning out of the window of their lovingly titled ‘tour bus’, which was more like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, and we knew at that point that they were going to be good fun to be around. What we didn’t know however was how flipping astronomically good they were going to be live!! Heavy/progressive/tech/death/metalcore shouldn’t work, but Red Method were here to prove that wrong! Bloody hell did they put on a show. They had everything right – the sound, the look, the energy, the charisma, the staging and the actual music itself was so fresh and exciting and heavy and punchy that you could not help but be blown away by their performance. We absolutely adored it, and definitely need more Red Method in our life! This was by a country mile our performance of the day, and it was going to take something very, very special to beat it as the performance of the weekend! But the best part was that they were all such great guys too – humble and down to earth, with no airs and graces – the way it should be. Considering they have only been around a short time you might wonder how they seem to have generated such a following, but knowing they are made up of ex members of Meta-Stasis and The Defiled puts a different spin on things. They know what not to do this time around and if they carry on like this then a Metal juggernaut has been well and truly created!!

10 Red Methodhttps://www.facebook.com/RedMethodBand/

Conan
We had heard a lot about Conan, and knew that they had a very large following, explaining their headline slot here. From what we had heard from various people, we were looking forward to seeing them. Sadly, for us, after what we had just seen, their performance was somewhat of an anti-climax. Firstly, they are Doom, which Rick likes but I don’t really do, but I was willing to give them a go. Secondly, and more importantly, because of their style, there was no lively jumping about, filling the stage, and drawing the audience in – it was more about the music than the performance. This is ok if you like that sort of thing, but for the members of the audience who wanted to bang their heads and were hyped after the likes of VIG, Kinasis, Confessions Of A Traitor, and Red Method, it was a bit like being a fly on the wall in a rehearsal room. That said, they were very tight in their performance, and the fans that had come to see them were obviously enjoying it. Perhaps at one of their own gigs, we would have had a different experience, but in the festival setting it didn’t quite work for us.

11 Conanhttps://www.facebook.com/hailconan/

That was Day Two in the bag. There was an after party for the people with more energy but we were both very tired, very sore and very hungry, so we stopped off at one of the many Chinese restaurants on Cowley Road for some proper Chinese food and it was bloody delicious!! With full bellies and reflective thoughts, we headed back to the lovely guesthouse to get our heads down and prepare for the final instalment of Day Three!

LINKS
https://www.rabidfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/rabidfest/

https://www.instagram.com/rabidfest/

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Rick 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.

Jared James Nichols – The Waterfront, Norwich, UK – 16/07/2019

01 JJ Nichols (Top)

Jared James Nichols
The Waterfront, Norwich, UK
16/07/2019
Review by Paul Monkhouse

Jared James Nichols has built up a solid reputation as one of the leading lights in modern blues rock, his firey gumbo of influences winning the hearts of audiences during tours with Glenn Hughes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, UFO, Saxon, Blue Oyster Cult and ZZ Top amongst others. It speaks a lot about the guitarist that he not only held his own against such legendary artists but gave them all a run for their money and on many nights blew away the headliners. His latest tour of the UK is part of a diverse triple band line-up that also includes Toby Jepson’s 70’s style hard rocking Wayward Sons and the topped-billed game-changers Living Colour. Despite the huge talent on show, Nichols opening set was the one that left the most lasting impression and brought the largest number of converts, all of whom stunned by the power of this three-piece.

Despite the early start time, a sizeable crowd was already pushing against the barrier as a siren rang out and Nichols strolled onto the stage, ripping into opening song ‘Last Chance’. This was rock ‘n’ roll as dirty and loud as you could have wished for, the muscular playing reminiscent of Cream at their most forceful but with an edge that spoke of years spent playing in rough bars all over small towns in the States. There was a real ferocity here that screamed to be let loose, all whilst being totally controlled by a band who knew exactly what they were doing. This juxtaposition of the feral and the crafted in their performance was such a fine balance that it equally thrilled and amazed, the adrenaline rush of being strapped into a turbocharged supercar driven by a Nascar champion.

‘Don’t Be Scared’ was a blistering display of heavy blues and saw Nichols flicking his guitar lead to slam and dance across the strings as he played the solo. This wasn’t the only extraordinary thing that struck about the performance as it was impossible not to marvel at how he played with such dexterity and heaviness without a pick, his right hand wrenching and dancing on the frets bereft of a plectrum to take the strain across the tight wound steel strings of his beloved Les Paul. The funky ‘Honey Forgive Me’ dripped with a raw passion and ‘End of Time’ rode along with a loping rhythm whilst conjuring a sound that brought to mind something akin to Jimi Hendrix jamming with Led Zeppelin.

02 JJ Nichols (Middle)

The heads-down boogie of ‘Baby Can You Feel It’ really swung as bass player Ronnie Elvis James and drummer Dennis Holms were watertight, James a study in trucker cool whilst Holms was a mass of flying blonde hair. Nichols himself cuts an imposing figure, standing well over six feet tall and all muscles, tattoos and hair and it’s one of these tattoos that catches the eye: a curled snake on his left arm. Whilst a first glance looking like the one Metallica had on the cover of the ‘Black Album’, this was actually part of the Gadsden Flag, depicting a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike and such it was with the jabs and controlled ferocity of his playing on new single ‘Nails in the Coffin’. The track opened to the sound of rolling thunder and rain and continued in this vein, a brooding and atmospheric track full of dread and dark power, providing an appetite whetting taster of things to come.

‘Hardwired’ may have shared a title with the San Francisco thrash giants but this was purely titular as the track came over as the love child of Whitesnake and Ted Nugent, all lascivious guitar work and macho strutting but none the worse for either. Closing the set was a staggering cover of Mountain’s classic ‘Mississippi Queen’, replete with the greatest cowbell playing in rock outside of ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ and a freshness that captured the vitality of the original but turned up several notches. Closing with such a well-known and much-loved song was a gamble but the fact that their own material can stand shoulder to shoulder and not feel out of place with it speaks volumes. The future, seemingly, belongs to him. All hail the new King of Blues Rock.

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/Jaredjamesnichols/

https://www.instagram.com/jaredjamesnichols/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzbfeZRfm79klg5WCSlUWXw

03 JJ Nichols (Bottom)

 

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

 

Klavium, Killer Hurts & Scars Of Remembrance – The Live Rooms, Chester – 27/06/2019

00 Poster (At top please)

Klavium, Killer Hurts & Scars Of Remembrance
The Live Rooms, Chester – 27/06/2019
Review by Beth Jones

It had been a couple of weeks since we had been to a live show, and this was a gig that we had earmarked when it was announced, even though it was on a school night! It was a chance to catch up with the guys in Scars Of Remembrance before their Bloodstock adventure, and also to see a couple of new names for us, Classic Thrashers Killer Hurts and a new name to the scene, all the way from Trinidad and Tobago, Klavium.

The gig was in the smaller room at the Live Rooms, which we have never been in before. It is still a good sized room and perfect for this type of gig.

Scars Of Remembrance
Fresh from their M2TM finals win, SOR opened the show in great fashion. They still continue to improve each time we see them, and this performance was no exception. Their brand of 90’s inspired riffs with death metal vocals, and punchy grooves really got the gathered crowd going and in the mood for some heavy tunes.
Front man Mike Edwards really likes to get in with the crowd and paced like a man possessed throughout the set, which motivated the audience to move along with him. The sound was awesome and the whole band looked more than ready for their trip to Catton Park in August.

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

Killer Hurts
Norwich based Killer Hurts do their thing very well, and their thing is classic, no nonsense Thrash. They were a man down for this performance, with their lead guitarist unable to make the gig, so they were performing as a three piece.

Whilst I’m not a massive fan of classic Thrash, what I will say is that they were super tight, and obviously well versed in the business, because their performance was spot on. It did lack the guitar solos that I am assuming would have been there if the lead guitarist had been available. Rick absolutely loved them, as it is one of his favourite genres, but musically, despite being very tight, they weren’t really for me if I’m honest. Each to their own though isn’t it!

(Rick Here: Yes I did love them. I understand why some might say they are a bit samey, but for me Killer Hurts are all the things I love about an old-school Thrash band. Think of Slayer crashing head on into Destruction and Exodus and you might be somewhere close although you’ll probably hear your own influences)!

02 Killer Hurtshttps://www.facebook.com/Killer-Hurts-308343311010/

Klavium
Its not every day you get a metal band from Trinidad & Tobago playing on your doorstep! Add to that the fact that they are only a two-piece band, and it becomes rarer still. They are Kahdil Beharry Singh on Vocals and Guitar, and Dylan Beharry Singh on Drums.
We were intrigued to see what sort of noise they made. The answer to that was BIG! Unbelievably big considering their lineup! But it wasn’t just big, it was tight, it was chunky, and it was heavy as hell. They were superb! This was Thrash that I could get onboard with. It was fast paced, with fantastic rhythms, and immensely powerful vocals. They sounded like a band that had at least five members, and after the gig we asked Kahdil how he managed to make it sound so big – was he putting his guitar through a bass amp, or using some crazy effects pedals? The answer was no – Just a regular guitar cab, and one pedal! It just goes to show that sometimes less is more, and all the technology in the world doesn’t necessarily make you any better. Although I do now suspect that these guys are wizards, as that sound should not have been possible with that set up!!! Brilliant, and terrifically nice and humble blokes too. If you get a chance to check these guys out, and you like early Metallica, great musicianship, catchy songs and HEAVY Metal then do it!

What a quality night we had, as did the small crowd who had made the effort to be there. That is my only gripe about the night – that more people didn’t make the effort to come out. Yes, it was a school night, yes it was the day before payday, but still. These guys had come on a shoestring from Trinidad & Tobago to play their first UK Tour – everyone should be getting off their asses and encouraging them, they definitely deserve it! I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones, having seen them here, and would like to say a big thank you to them, and to North East Wales Metal Productions for putting on the show.

03 Klaviumhttps://www.facebook.com/klavium/

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/skyyrockfestival/
https://www.facebook.com/fatangelbookings/
https://www.facebook.com/intenartist/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

 

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

Edenveil, Melodic Metal Night – The Portland Arms, Cambridge, UK – 30/04/2019

Edenveil

Edenveil
Melodic Metal Night
The Portland Arms, Cambridge, UK
30/04/2019
Review by Paul Monkhouse

Edenveil are the brainchild of singers Vera and Onyx, two classically trained vocalists who, after touring the circuit as an acoustic duo decided to go over to the dark side and unleash their full symphonic rock side. Whilst the two are incredibly polished and their soaring voices mesh perfectly with the material, the real surprise was the quality of the whole ensemble considering this was their debut gig as a full band. There was a real nervous energy and excitement onstage that translated across through the music and filled the room with a lush soundscape that truly befitted the genre.

Opening with ‘Seen Not Heard’, Edenveil soon stamped their mark on proceedings and staked their claim as ones to watch. Filled with a great sense of dynamics and with Vera and Onyx’s angelic and passionate voices diving in, out and over of the heavy guitar, drum and bass attack it was the perfect introduction to the new project. There was a real mix of influences from some of the giants of the genre but it was still very much their own creation, the twist and icing on the cake being two equally outstanding female vocals as opposed to the usual sole female or female/male vocal combinations that are established. There was a real freshness in that both voices are classical and the contrast this brought to the fire of the band. Having performed together for five years there was a real connection between Vera and Onyx, and this was enhanced by the carefully selected musicians, all the members gelling into a perfect storm.

Elements of folk music tinged ‘Weightless’, a haunting number that was a brave shifting down of gears after the opening barrage but built up the drama as it headed into a soaring chorus. As Vera delicately picked at her acoustic guitar, Onyx swayed, lost in the moment with the two coming fully to life as the song lifted and lifted. With the transition from acoustic to hard rocking there is obviously a period of adjustment going on behind the scenes as originally stripped back and naked songs are beefed up bit by bit, the songs slowly morphing from one thing to another. It will be interesting to see how the writing changes as the new six-piece band develop more and more material that stretches it beyond the original two voices and a guitar set-up.

This was always going to be a short set, squeezed as they were in an evening with three other bands; the Viking Metal of headliners Atorc, melodic thrashers Akilla and the incendiary Far From Refuge, but they were determined to be remembered. Third song ‘Wicked’ was another good indication of the direction they are heading towards with its galloping riff played over a piano melody, mirroring the perfectly balanced contrast of the symphonic rock style. Whilst it was obviously a joyful tribute and a well-known song, their set closing cover of Nightwish’s ‘Amaranth’ seemed a bit of a two-edged sword. It highlighted their musicianship and ability to make a classic their own but also may have indicated a lack of their own heavier material presently and the need for a filler. It would have been better to finish with another epic Edenveil original to be the lasting memory of their set but that will come in time. As for now though you can’t but help to be impressed with this fledgling outfit and more gigs and studio work will see them really grow.

LINKS:
https://www.edenveil.com/
https://www.facebook.com/edenveil/

https://www.instagram.com/edenveilofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWuiNb5wdsLkFLaVpQykxXQ

 

 

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

P.O.D. Full Circle Tour 2019 – The Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ – 21-05-2019

00 P.O.D. Gig Poster

P.O.D.
Full Circle Tour 2019
The Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ
21-05-2019
Review and Pictures by Andy Jansons

Christian Nu Metal legends P.O.D. (Payable On Death) are currently on their second leg of a North American Tour supporting their tenth studio album “Circles” which was released on November 16th last year. They are supported on this Full Circle Tour by Nonpoint, Hyro The Hero, Islander & Nine Shrines.

P.O.D. is one of the rare bands that has got their original lineup almost unchanged. Founding members vocalist Sonny Sandoval, lead guitarist Marcos Curiel and drummer Wuv Bernardo accompanied by bassist Traa Daniels who joined the band one year later. Marcos left the band in 2003 to return just three years later. All guys showed great chemistry and their performance was seamless.

From the bands that started up the show I was lucky enough to see Nonpoint. This Florida Hard Rock band or as they classify themselves a Heavy Hard Rock, also toured with P.O.D. during the initial Circles Tour and were main support. No matter how Nonpoint classify themselves, they play a very similar style to P.O.D. just without Christian references and they know how to put on a show. If ‘Chaos and Earthquakes’, ‘El Diablo’ and ‘What A Day’ were not enough to blow the roof off, then ‘Bullet With A Name’ which they always play as the last song, did the job. In your face hard rock, played with full energy, with vocalist Elias Soriano fully engaging the crowd set the perfect atmosphere for the nights biggest stars.

P.O.D. came out with ‘Soundboy Killa’, ‘Rockin’ With The Best’ and exploded the place with ‘Boom’! Every song from first to the last was played with tireless energy and the crowd absolutely loved it. They followed up with ‘Rock The Party’ and ‘Panic Attack’ before unleashing one of their heaviest hits ‘Murdered Love.’

Providing a little slow down in the middle of the set with ‘Circle’, ‘Satellite’ and ‘Beautiful’, the bands vocalist Sonny Sandoval brought two boys onto the stage, both in their early teens. Both boys were gifted drum sticks by Wuv Bernardo and stayed on the stage to help singing smash hit ‘Youth Of The Nation;. Fans, and of course the kids parents, loved the scene. These boys will have something to remember for the rest of their lives.

After this cozy feeling the band dropped the beat with ‘Southtown’, their hard knock life anthem from their first major label debut album “The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown”. As always, for the desert (end of the show) they played ‘Alive’, if not their most successful song, then their most admired for the meaning and their Christian motives.

P.O.D. delivered a show full of excitement and positive energy, and maybe even for a moment making a believer from the God forsaken pagan who wrote this review. This band is absolutely a must have for a rock / metal fan to be at least familiar with and see them live at least once, they are really good and talented and will move you with their music.

LINKS:

Main Page



https://www.facebook.com/POD/
https://www.instagram.com/POD/

 

01 pod3

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Andy Jansons 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.

Photograph reproduced here with kind permission from Andy Jansons

Rebecca Downes – The Met Lounge, Peterborough – 29/03/2019

01 Rebecca Downes

Rebecca Downes
The Met Lounge, Peterborough
29/03/2019
Review by Paul Monkhouse

Many bands have turned to acoustic sets in the past but very few as well as the Quireboys, a band with the charisma and material to make it really work for them. When this is perfectly teamed with an opening slot by the brilliant Rebecca Downes it proves to be an evening when all you can do is be swept away by the music.

Having toured regularly up and down the length and breadth of the country with her full band playing support to bands such as Magnum, tonight sees her shorn of her full band but joined by partner in crime guitarist and vocalist Steve Birkett. The duo fill the sound with ease and you can’t help but warm instantly to Downes, her great humour and down to earth personality shine, displaying not a shred of over inflated ego. ‘Take Me Higher’ is an excellent showcase for her soulful vocals and really got the attention of all there. As has been proven many times before, huge talent isn’t always enough but needs to be matched with great quality material to really highlight the artist. The songwriting team of Downes and Birkett have that by the bucketload. Next song ‘It’s Not Easy’ is a prime example of this as it twists and turns in unexpected directions whilst the stripped-down acoustic arrangement really lets the vocals shine.

Refreshingly, Birkett doesn’t just play second fiddle to the singer as the two are evenly matched in musical chops and it comes over as a perfect partnership. There is a genuine warmth exuding from them and when showcased in such great fare as the sparkling ‘Waving Goodbye’ it’s pretty unbeatable. The richness of the voices glides perfectly over a hooky chorus, as the track has a classic, almost pop, soulful tone. It would have been difficult to follow that gem but the Radio 2 playlisted ‘Sailing on a Pool of Tears’ ups the ante even more. A big, spellbinding ballad, it contains elements of chilled flamenco and is both instantly catchy and heartrending.

The pace changes with ‘1000 Years’, an upbeat blues number with a truly cocky strut that easily dispels the narrow view that the blues is solely downbeat tales of suffering. The short set finishes with the title track from last album ‘Believe’, another forceful wake up call that is both defiant and life affirming. Featuring an acoustic breakdown, its sense of dynamics proving it was the perfect number to finish on. Returning later for an incendiary duet with Spike for the Quireboys encore, Downes was the ideal choice as touring companion for these dates and was clearly having a ball on the road with a band she’s long been an admirer of. With her expressive Midlands accent she doesn’t sound like one of the Windsors in conversation but, make no mistake, when she sings Rebecca Downes is UK Blues royalty. If you want to know the roots of hard rock and metal, get yourself into the blues. You really can’t go wrong with the lethal combination that this partnership offers of filthy barroom rock ‘n’ roll and soul. Catch them when you can.

LINKS:
https://www.rebeccadownes.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaDownes/

https://www.instagram.com/rebeccadownesuk/

 

02 Poster 2019

 

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

 

Twisted Illusion & Friends Excite The Light Tour 2019 – The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool – 12/05/2019

00 Twisted Illusion Excite The Light Tour Flyer

Twisted Illusion & Friends
Excite The Light Tour 2019
The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool
12/05/2019
Review By Beth Jones with nonsensical ramblings by Rick Tilley

It is a little under 5 months since we saw Twisted Illusion last, and it is safe to say a lot has happened to the band in that time, from the shock announcement of two of its three members departure, to Matt, the life blood of TI, soul searching and wondering if it was all worth it, to being on the road touring and recording the second part of the ‘Excite The Light’ Trilogy, and now, as of last Friday, becoming a band again, after the confirmation that the line up of musicians guesting on the tour have now decided that it worked so well straight away, that TI (version 2.1.1) has been born, and that this is the new line-up! We couldn’t wait to see how they were doing as a group, given the short space of time that they have been working together.

Now to start, but as a bit of an aside, I will say that I liked driving in Liverpool far more than I liked driving in Manchester, and I managed to navigate without any bus lane infringements, so already this was good! We arrived at the venue a little after the first band started, but still with enough time to get a good feel for them. A quick look around the venue let me know that it was going to be a down to earth place. It was a good old, no bells and whistles, grass roots venue, which to me is the perfect way to enjoy music. You don’t need fancy bollocks when the tunes are top quality! Anyway, enough of this – to the music!

Riptide Messiah
Although we only caught two-thirds of these guys’ set, what we heard was pretty good; Gruff, chunky, and in places fairly intricate. They are quite melodic too, which I like. I am going to call it Melodic Prog Stoner Doom! They were a good way to start the night, but my only criticism is there was too long between songs. I’m nit picking, but this is one of my bug bears. I know you have to tune and stuff, but you need to fill that time or people’s attention wanders! Musically though, they know what they are doing and what sound they want to achieve.

01 Riptide Messiahhttps://www.facebook.com/RiptideMessiah/

Ashen Reach
Fresh from their amazing gigs in Russia, supporting Bullet For My Valentine, these guys were stoked for a good show. Having seen them support Twisted Illusion at Christmas last year (when they were called Equinox), we knew what they were about, and that we liked it! They didn’t disappoint! They are so full of youthful exuberance, of which we are very jealous, and they hammered straight into a full-on set, with powerful vocals, fast paced melodies, and chunky rhythms. They are a good, solid, classic hard rock band, and they make you happy. Lead singer, Dan Moran, has such a presence on stage plus pulls some spectacular faces and drummer Jess Stanley is a whirlwind of arms behind the kit! We were chatting to them afterwards and they are such awesome and humble people, and we wish them every success moving forwards.

02 Ashen Reachhttps://www.facebook.com/ashenreach/

Scare Tactics
These guys are a name who, up until three weeks ago, I hadn’t come across (Rick is familiar with the name but hadn’t seen them live before). Having now seen them twice in the space of a month we would like to report that they are blisteringly good! If Dream Theater and Linkin Park joined forces, this is what they would sound like. Incredibly intricate rhythms, modern rasping vocals, mixed with clean harmonies, and stunning solos. They do remind me a bit of Killswitch Engage, who I also love. Why these guys aren’t bigger is beyond me. And again, they are thoroughly nice chaps too – Rick very much enjoyed having a chat and sharing a fig roll with lead singer Andy Barker, after they had come off stage! I was jealous. I love fig rolls. Damn you gluten intolerance!!

03 Scare Tactics UKhttps://www.facebook.com/scaretacticsuk/

Prognosis
After seeing these guys at Badgerfest last year, I knew they were heavy. I had found them a little too heavy for me on that occasion, but I think it might have been because it was later in the day, and I was knackered, and the sound wasn’t great. Here, I enjoyed them a lot more, and had more time to concentrate on what they were doing, which was very heavy prog metal done very well. Lead singer, Danny Daemon, is an absolute unit, who looks incredibly menacing in the mood lighting on stage! He makes guitarist Christian Hickson (also of Frozen In Shadows) look much small, which is quite an achievement! Musically though they are very, very tight and look completely at ease performing. A very good main support.

04 Prognosishttps://www.facebook.com/Prognosis1/

Twisted Illusion
In what seemed like no time at all, we were at the pièce de résistance, and what we had all been waiting for – the new look, five-piece, Twisted Illusion. Straight away, before they even started playing, there was an air about them. They looked comfortable, relaxed, and ready to put on a show! And Christ is that what they did, right from the first note! Now, we all know that Matt Jones is a formidable front man, and that Saxon Davids can play a bit of guitar, but not having seen the newly added Cici Powell – Melkonian, Chris Jenkins and Andy Gotteri before, our mind were blown within about 30 seconds by how good they all were as individuals, but also how amazing they sounded together as a collective. This was not the sound of a band that had only had a few weeks rehearsal time, this was the sound of a band who were seasoned pros, who had lived in each other’s pockets for years, and who had more experience than any of these baby faced cherubs kicking it on the stage! This should not be possible – but yet here it was, with a sound so massive and together, it can only be described as pure raw talent, combined with a deep love and understanding of live performance, and with a bit of help from fate, to make a Utopian level musical experience. They were a bit good!!! Matt’s songs came alive with the addition of Andy’s keyboards, and Cici looked like she had been born with a bass in her hand – her skills absolutely blew us away, and her constant smile is infectious. Add to that the masterful percussion of Chris, executing the demanding rhythms to perfection, and of course the immense noodling abilities of Saxon and huge vocals of Matt, and you have the perfect recipe for putting me into a euphoric trance. I was welling up by the end of their set and was so ridiculously happy that it sounded this amazing. Better than I could ever have expected. It was like witnessing the birth of something truly special. Quite simply stunning! Rick, who felt the same, spoke to Matt afterwards, to tell him that, as a live experience, what he had just seen was, for him, right up there with the live performances of early Queensryche (circa “Operation Mindcrime”) and Rush! These guys should not be playing small venues like this, they should be touring arenas. They are that talented. The world now needs to know who Twisted Illusion are. Always remember that every huge band started in a back-street pub. The sky is the limit now guys.

05 Twisted Illusionhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/

That was a very, very special night and is going to take some topping! Currently, festivals aside, we have nothing on our radar that we can see coming close, until we go and witness Devin Townsend at Manchester Royal Albert Hall in December!

 

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

All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/