God Shaped Devil – Dark Fields Self Released Release Date: 10/07/2019 Running Time: 42:07 Review by Beth Jones 10/10
Being a Northerner, one thing that really pleases me is the amount of quality bands from around these parts that are popping up at the moment, and in particular, that of the Manchester scene. This couldn’t be truer of the subject of this review – Manchester based, God Shaped Devil, with their debut album “Dark Fields”.
I first discovered these guys at Badgerfest last year, where they were my band of the weekend, without question. I have been really looking forward to the release of this album since then, and was honoured when they asked us to be the first to give it a listen.
Fronted by Vocalist and Lead Guitarist Bécy Füzéri (Bex), with Matt Morris on Rhythm Guitar, Lajos Borsi on Bass/Vocals, and Luke Ellwood on Drums, they describe their sound as an explosive combination of thrash and groove metal with their own artistic flair. They self-recorded and released their initial EP in 2015, which was very well received, and featured in Terrorizer Magazine. The Manchester underground scene took to them straight away and since then, they have been gigging and working on material for this forthcoming release, which has helped their sound to evolve, and become what it is today, with the addition of Matt on Rhythm Guitar in 2017, making the original three piece into a four piece.
I love it when a band manages to catch me straight away, and I can safely say that God Shaped Devil have done that, both live, and now with this release. From the first chord on the first track, I knew that this was going to be good. Chunky, meaty and down-tuned, it grabs you by the guts and doesn’t let go. The whole album is an up-tempo, thrashy groovefest that you cannot help but bang your head to. It is full on and in your face, with Bex’s solid screams, and the deep growling backing vocals of Lajos, and it is peppered with atmospheric guitar sounds, as well as some beautiful solo work and electrifying rhythms from the bass and drums, which combine to give the whole thing an excitingly terrifying feel – it would not be out of place as the soundtrack to an apocalyptic, end of days, movie. Judging by the track titles, this (I’m hoping) is the feel that they have gone for – ‘Drowning Gravity’, ‘Deadly Sign’ and ‘Becoming Evil’, being just a few examples.
I like to try and write a bit about my favourite track from an album in a review, but I can’t with this album, because I can’t pick which is my favourite – they are all absolute bangers! I do love the first track, ‘Guiding Light’, because it grabs you straight away, and sets the tone for the whole thing. The guitar solo in the middle of ‘Drowning Gravity’ also deserves a special mention, because it is a real face melter!
I am seriously blown away by this album. The creativity is superb, and there are nods to so many styles in it, there is literally something for everyone. Musically, it is top quality, and displays their natural talent, and a professionalism that reaches far beyond their relatively new status. It is also brilliantly recorded and produced, considering it is all their own work. They have such a clear direction, and vision of what they are trying to do both within this album, and as a band, that it is truly enlivening. I really couldn’t give this album less than a perfect score, because I am struggling to find anything that I don’t like about it, and as a debut it is capable of blowing a great many other albums from longer standing bands completely out of the water! On our first listen, I felt like some parts may have been a little too low in the mix, but it turns out that was just our speaker being a bit pants! Listening again on a different system has cleared up that beef, so I literally have no constructive criticism to give. It’s just so bloody good! Damn! Short of something mind blowing, this is definitely going to feature very highly in my top ten albums of the year. I really hope they can sustain this level of superbness for a long time, and if they do, they are going to be one hell of a force to be reckoned with!
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.
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Manchester, UK based Metal band God Shaped Devil! Huge thanks to them for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Luke, I play drums in the band ‘God Shaped Devil’ the band has been around since 2014 with our first EP released in 2015 “Creator of Sodom”. We’ve gone through line-up changes and we’re essentially rebooting the band after 4 years with this upcoming album. Bex and Lajos came over from Hungary some time ago, but they didn’t meet until after migrating here to the UK. I found the band via a website with an advertisement looking for a drummer, honestly didn’t think I’d get the job, but here we are! And I’m grateful for it, it’s been awesome and it can only get better. We invited my cousin Matt to take a stab at Rhythm Guitars and he was made permanent shortly after.
How did you come up with your band name?
Bex’s good friend had been starting up a new band, and he came to Bex with a few band names, asking which was best in his opinion. ‘God Shaped Devil’ was amongst the list, and was Bex’s favourite, but his friend chose a different one. And so Bex asked if could use it for a new band he was forming.
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
Well Matt and I are from England and we all know what the metal scene is like here, it thrives in local areas and there is of course a huge fanbase for when bigger touring bands come over. We’ve got so many festivals on the rise like Badgerfest, Pentre Fest and Amplified to name a few. It’s just a great scene to be a part of no matter where you play if it’s a pub or a festival stage, the community in the metal scene itself is what makes it. Bex and Lajos are from Hungary, Bex’s former band ‘Inside My Head’ was pretty well received over there! And you know these Eastern Europeans, they’re crazy, really awesome people.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
We’ve just recently released our latest single ‘Drowning Gravity’ with a music video, so go check that out if you haven’t already, we’re going to be releasing a full length album very soon called “Dark Fields”. So keep an eye out for that one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFd-oZIZcyM
Who have been your greatest influences?
There are many differently influences within the band, for me I remember watching videos of Buddy Rich and just being in awe of his talent, moving into metal influences the big names like Lars Ulrich, Dave Lombardo, Chris Adler, Mike Portnoy etc. There’s a list of amazing drummers that I look up to but we’d be here all day! I know Bex has a big influence from Dimebag and Yngwie Malmsteen. As a band our band influences are few and far between the likes of Pantera, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engaged, Slayer, Metallica, Gojira, In Flames etc.
What first got you into music?
I think everyone gets in to music because it’s all around us, imagine a world without it? Crazy. But I actually got into metal through Guitar Hero 1 & 2 as a kid believe it or not, that game had some bangers. I think that will be the closest as I’ll ever get to playing the guitar, because I’m hopeless on the real thing.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
It’d be cool to start off small with a band local to us, just have guest solo’s or vocals, I think the Metal community in Manchester would love that also.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
There’s that festival that’s played on a cruise ship 70,000Tons of Metal, I think that’s something unique and it’d be memorable for sure!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
We haven’t really received any weird gifts from fans yet, but there’s still time!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
The one message for our fans; GIVE US ALL YOUR MONEY! Just kidding, we really appreciate our fans, old and new. It’s always makes us feel proud when we get people coming up to us after set giving us praise and asking us to sign stuff, it’s kind of surreal even at this level. So we’d like to thank all of our fans for showing their continued support especially our hardcore fans, you know who you are! And be ready for this new album coming out because we think you’re gonna love it!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I’m a drummer so I’m not really a musician, apparently. But the thing I enjoy the most, like most I bet, is playing live to many people! The thing I hate, is F!#!’in loading and unloading gear. My hardware bag has lost its wheels so that’s a bitch. We need roadies, so apply within guys.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
The one thing at the moment that’s bugging me in the music industry and I’m sure a lot of new and upcoming bands will agree with me; is how hard it is nowadays everything’s online and you can get it all for virtually free now. Streaming services etc, you get virtually nothing back from them unless you’ve got millions of streams/views. It’d be good if that could change, everything is about money, it doesn’t matter how good you are. It’s tough, and we haven’t even scratched the surface yet! But we love making music and we love playing it to people and that’s all that matters, and if it happens, it happens. At least we can try?!
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
I have a few favourites, it’s hard to put a finger on just one! I’m gonna say Gojira – “L’Enfant Sauvage”. Looking forward to seeing them in July!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Again it’s easy to have everything downloaded these days, the ‘digital age’ as they call it. But nothing beats having the physical copy! I’m still to invest in a Vinyl player, my Dad had one when I was young, can’t remember exactly how they sounded but they’re on the comeback and everyone’s commenting on how much better it is. Maybe we’ll make a few copies of the new album on Vinyl and I’ll see for myself!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
We’ve not actually played as many gigs as we’d like to be honest, but they’ve all been memorable in their own right. Rebellion is always a great venue to play, and I think our set at Badgerfest had the biggest crowd we’ve played to so far.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
If I weren’t a musician I think I’d be a bass player.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
I mean the idea of a dinner party in itself sounds horrible. But preferably five mutes wouldn’t be a bad idea. I like to enjoy my food haha!
What’s next for the band?
What’s next for GSD? Well we have the album virtually ready for release so we’re working towards a release date for that, we’d like to have a launch party for it also. We’re working on merchandise to go with it too. But the sky is the limit at this point we’re aiming to get out there as much as possible and make a name for ourselves!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
I think the clues in the name, right?! Jaffa CAKE, IT’S A CAKE. Biscuits go soft when they’re left out for some time, cakes go hard. If you think it’s a biscuit then you need to take a long hard look at yourself, pal. And just for the record, it’s a muffin, not a barm or anything else.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks for these questions they’ve been fun to answer, there’s not much else we’d like to add but of course just keep an ear out for our album release! We’re proud of what we’ve written and how it’s sounding, super excited to see what everyone thinks of it!
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Hi all, Rick here. As we reach Day One of 2019 here is a last thank you and final top ten list of 2018. Beth is not only turning into a great photographer (she has only been doing it for about 20 months) and has also written some excellent live and album reviews she is also, for her sins, my other half and I really couldn’t put as much time and effort as I do into Ever Metal if it wasn’t for her help, understanding and belief in me so a huge thanks goes out to her.
So, without further ado here are Beth’s top ten live bands/acts of 2018!
This year has been a pretty fine vintage, gig wise, for us. Here is a rundown of my favourite acts of the year.
10. Scars Of Remembrance.
Local to Wrexham, and new to the scene in their current line up, they really impressed me in the summer with their performance at the New Metal All Dayer at the Live Rooms, Wrexham. It was amazing to see how far they had come in such a short space of time and I can’t wait to see where they take their heavy, Metalcore sound to next.
Belgian Thrash at its very best. Their performance at this year’s Amplified festival was superb. I’m not usually big into thrash, but these guys really know how to put on a show. Frontman Joe has a majorly expressive face and a great voice, and the whole performance was buzzing with excitement, and much dry ice!
I happened upon this band almost by accident! I was doing photography at Badgerfest and looking forward to a good few of the bands on the line – up but had overlooked these guys. I won’t be making this mistake again! Their performance was electric and their stage presence huge. They all looked like they were having such an awesome time on stage, and their playing skills were totally on point.
I love music. I love clever comedy. I love madcap, slapstick performances. Psychostick have all this, and they entertained us no end at Amplified in the summer. They would have appeared higher in my top ten, but for the sombrero incident, which kind of distracted me as I was worried I might die! But they are so worth a watch if you get the chance. It is like watching the Pythons with guitars!
Who knew Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll was a genre. I certainly didn’t until I saw Cadence Noir going through the heats for Bloodstock M2TM, and then winning a thoroughly deserved spot on the Bloodstock New Blood stage. Their meld of folk fiddle, upright bass, and some really heavy riffs is fantastically nuts and works so well. I am soon to review their long-awaited album “Physical Copy” which was released on 22nd December, and I can’t wait to see them perform again at Pentrefest in February 2019.
If you want to party, these are your guys. Again, we have seen them a few times this year, but my personal favourite performance was on 22nd December at Mclean’s Pentre. They turned the fun up a notch, and had the whole place bouncing in Santa hats, covered in party poppers and toilet roll! They are four seasoned musicians who don’t like to take life too seriously, and this comes across so well in their music and their stage presence. Bass player, Anthony, plays in a unicorn onesie, which is hilarious in itself. Guitarist Dan has light up shoes, lead singer, Justin, has a slightly unhinged glint in his eye, and drummer Rageth, well, who knows – each performance is a surprise – for this one he was green and wearing lovely shorts with braces! They certainly have the funny factor!
These guys made me smile so much at Rockwich this year. They are crazy and funny, but also create some pretty awesome sounds. Their brand of sleazy, horror-inspired hard rock is quite unique, and they have something very special about them! Lead singer Kitty has one awesome set of pipes. They are quirky and interesting to watch live, and love a bit of interaction with the audience, breaking down the fourth wall on more than one occasion with trips out into the crowd which really draws you in to their world, and I will be seeking them out again in 2019.
Glam rock is alive and well and lives wherever these guys are. There was makeup, there was spandex, there were tassels, there was big hair, and there was soooo much dry ice and shiny lighting! On performance skills these guys absolutely nail it, and musically they aren’t too shabby either! Their fast paced, pumped up performance at Rockwich was one of my highlights of the year! Anyone who watches them and doesn’t smile has a heart of stone! I so hope I get to see them again very soon. Nothing makes me happier than watching a band completely loving who they are and what they do, and this sums up the StOp sToP boys.
It seems unbelievable to me that we only met these guys at Hammerfest in March 2018. We have now become great friends, and it seems like we have known them a lot longer. In the 9 months since we saw them originally, we have seen them again another 3 or 4 times, and they just keep getting better. This is a young band who really know how to work an audience and create a good show, and they are all brilliant musicians to boot. Their debut album is out in about a month and I highly recommend that everyone checks it and them out and gets to see them live at the earliest opportunity, as they do not disappoint.
Just WOW! I TOTALLY LOVE THEM! I first saw these guys at Amplified and they knocked me off my feet with their brilliant prog metal style. We recently attended their Christmas gig in the Manchester Academy 3. It was an emotional night, as Bass player Mark, and Drummer Matt M had decided that they were stepping down from the band, and frontman Matt J had been plagued with a bad throat for the week before the gig, but despite this they were utterly, utterly stunning. I am still trying to write a review of it, but I can’t put my thoughts into a coherent piece, such was the brilliance of their performance. Not many bands make me want to just stand and let the music consume me, but Twisted Illusion are on that elite list. I am so glad that we found them, and I cannot wait to see them again as often as humanly possible.
This has been a mighty hard list to compile as I have seen so many great artists this year. A few that were very close to making my top ten were, Witch Tripper, Evil Scarecrow, Mason Hill, Jayce Lewis, Impavidus, Footprints In The Custard, Resin, Fahran and Frozen In Shadows, who all deserve a mention for their cracking performances this year.
Writing this has made me realise how lucky we are to have so many great bands floating around at the moment, many of them only small, unsigned and relatively unknown in the grand scheme of things. Music truly is the most wonderful, universal language and I am so thankful that in enriches my life daily. If next year is as good as this year for live music, it’s gonna be awesome!
Thanks for reading and a very happy new year to you all xx
Disclaimer: All photos are the property of Beth Jones, Photograbee and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of all parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Badgerfest -The Sequel Saturday 13th October 2018 Rebellion, Manchester Review by Beth Jones
Badgerfest 2018 had been hotly anticipated here at camp Ever Metal, and so you can imagine our dismay when Rick’s illness demons reared their ugly head throughout the night before. To say he wasn’t a happy bunny was an understatement. Luckily Sian, my third man, stepped up to the plate with the enticement of taking pictures and seeing old friends again. As we headed to the venue, the weather was murky and grey, which could mean only one thing – we were in Manchester!! This was my first experience of the much talked about Rebellion venue, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised at how well laid out it was. With one main area housing the main stage, then a side area housing the second stage, it was a good-sized space for an all dayer!
The one thing I love about going to a metal gig is that pretty much wherever it is, you are going to see someone you know – the metal family is much extended, but close knit, which is why it is the best family to be a part of! Today was no exception, as when we arrived, the first person we saw was a very smiley Nick Gregory (Radio Deeside), who was one of our fabulous compéres for the day, along with Steve Tottle – fully kilted up and ready to go! By the time we had got in, said our hellos and found somewhere to dump our stuff, it was time for the music to start, so we headed to the main stage, or The Mushroom Stage, as it was called. Today’s billing was going to be loud, fast and heavy as f….udge, so we had our ear plugs at the ready ( health and safety of course being our main priority here 😉!)
First up was Blackpool boys, Daybreaker. Bang! If ever anyone wants a lesson in how to be the first band on at a gig and make an impression, watch these guys! They were like a tightly coiled spring, bursting with energy and ready to set the tone for the day. Bass player Lynden was superb and had bags of stage presence. They included quiet, more toned – down middle 8 sections in a couple of songs, and this contrast worked really well. Their sound was superb, with vocals that were screamy, but not over the top and great guitar work, all kept in check by the crazy drumming of Tom, who looked like he was having some sort of episode but couldn’t half hit them bangy things well! A great start to the day. We were all now very much awake!
After a brief digest of the stonking set just delivered to us, we headed over to the second stage – The Snake Stage – covering the massive 20 foot walk in a matter of seconds! Norwich based noisy people, Hedra, had the pleasure of opening this stage for us. They had some sound tech issues to start with (more on that later) but it was sorted quickly, and they soon got into the swing of things. These guys really know how to create the full package. A quick visit to their Facebook page will show you their level of professionalism, and I really like the fact that they almost had a band uniform, black shirts with the logo and band name on – which I liked a lot – it is good to see a band thinking about their whole image, not just the sound. They are very technical rhythmically and have lots of nods to varying genres in there, most noticeably modern djent style guitars and cross beat rhythms, but with more power. Their new drummer, Shaun, smashed it, and had some sweet sounding cymbals! For me, the only criticism was the bass was a little high in the mix. My god we were in for one powerful day!
Over on the Mushroom stage, the next act, Lancashire’s Promethium, were ready to go. Rick had been sent their album earlier in the year, so we were interested to see them live. The one thing that stood out for me was the great guitar solos. Unfortunately, to me, every song sounded a bit the same. The singer was very passionate but maybe pushing too hard and it ending up sounding like he was shouting a lot of the time – maybe he couldn’t hear himself enough in the mix. The lead guitarist did have a lovely classic sound and liked a bit of wah, which is always a plus. Things picked up a bit towards the end of the set, but they didn’t blow me away sadly. Whether we caught them on a bad day, or they were having some unknown sound issues on stage, I don’t know. I need to see them again to make a proper judgement really.
Back over to the Snake Stage, for another new name to me – God Shaped Devil. One word. Yes!! This was more like it! For a start, they looked more into it, and worked really well together. They were extremely well – rehearsed but looked like they were having fun with it. They had a fantastic thrashy sound and really great vocals. The sound was much better now on this stage. Their songs were well constructed, and even though they were still heavy, they had a real good groove and excellent melodies that you could really get in to. The drummer, Luke, was having a great time thrashing out, with some cracking double bass pedal work backing up his relentless pace! The fast-paced penultimate song, ‘Deadly Sign’, was superb and really got the crowd going. I think a lot of people really appreciated their energy as there was plenty of audience participation. Every song was a big hitter, with really well thought out riffs and beginnings and endings, which can sometimes be the hardest part of song writing! Absolutely loved their performance. My band of the day!
After that amazing performance the room was buzzing, and the excited energy continued to build, for next on the Mushroom Stage was new super-group Frozen In Shadows, fronted by none other than Footprints In The Custard’s Russ Custard, and with our intrepid organiser, Mr John Badger giving his first of two performances of the day on percussion (because, why just give yourself the stress of organising an all dayer, why not chuck a bit extra in with two rounds on the stage innit!). Now, for those of you who know and love Footprints, and were expecting a comedy band, you would have been disappointed, but for those wanting something kick ass, heavy and in your face, this is most definitely for you. I had purposefully not listened to the recently released EP, as I wanted the results of this meld of minds to be a surprise….Fuck me sideways! If the day’s proceedings so far had left anyone in any doubt about what sort of music we were all there for, then that was blown out of the water with this performance! They fired straight in to the set with an insanely fast, killer song and then carried on in the same vein throughout. It was so in your face it was like being beaten with a brick, but in a brilliant way! It was full on, high octane stuff, performed by consummate professionals. Some superb drumming from John who at one point nearly lost a cymbal he was hitting it that hard! I personally couldn’t hear Russ’s vocals at times. He was using a radio mic and there were issues with feedback and getting the levels right – I don’t think the desk could get the mix right, a theme that I eluded to earlier in the review, and that would continue through the day, which I will talk more about that later! Regardless, this was the business. Start to finish. Considering this is a new project and only their second gig, it was mind-blowingly good, and whilst I love Russ’s comedy side, he has shown here that he is just an all-round great frontman!
After the crazy dose of ear porn that we had just been served, it was time for Northern heavy heads, Skeletal Damage on the Snake Stage, where none other than Footprints drummer Alex Sladen (their plan to secretly take over the world, one band at a time has been put into action, and no-one will ever find out about it unless someone says… oh, wait, what, no! Forget you read that bit!) With some very fast blast beats from Sladen, they set the pace for their performance almost as quickly as Frozen In Shadows had, however they had a very tough act to follow, after what we had all just witnessed on the Mushroom Stage. For me, they were just ok. They know what they are doing and are solid, but I just wasn’t feeling it. The connection with the audience wasn’t quite there, but I think a lot of that had to do with the space they were in, as they were good to dance to and it was crying out for a circle pit in a bigger venue!
We first saw the next band, Fractions, at Uprising 2017, when they were fairly new in their current line-up, and we were kind of undecided about them at the time – and for us there was something missing; they didn’t seem quite ready. What a difference a few months makes! It was like watching a different band! From Leicester, they bill themselves as Metalcore and Progressive, and that is now clearly evident in their writing. They gave us a full-on set of really complex tunes with intricate guitar and lots of cross rhythms throughout, with absolutely superb vocals from Christophe Hare. It was all very polished, and they seem to have grown unrecognisably in confidence since we last saw them. It was really pleasing to see the progress they have made in the last year and the strong fan base that they have. Well done lads, you have me converted! Fractions! Fractions! Fractions!!
I was in a really good mood now after that and headed back to the Snake Stage for Reprisal – from the shiny bit of the country that us lot up here call ‘The South’. They bill themselves as Brutal Thrash. They aren’t kidding!! The vocalist, Tom Johnstone, JEEEBERS!! Now there is an angry man if ever I saw one!!! Or at least his stage persona is!! They are a bloody heavy, brutally fast wall of noise, which makes you feel like a hedgehog facing up to a bulldozer! They got some in the crowd going a bit too much for my liking and things started to get a bit ugly, so I got out of there – Ross Kemp fashion. I’m only a titch and, with no photo pit, and some seriously large people all going a bit Jackie Chan behind me, I thought it was best to retreat before I got squished! Musically, it wasn’t really my bag if I’m honest. It was a bit too brutal. I do like a bit of tune with my growl! But that said, they did what they do really well, and the drummer was insane and in perfect time, which isn’t always a given with drummers!!
Next up on the Mushroom Stage, were Manchester’s own, Impavidus – with John Badger making his second appearance of the day. Before that though, it was time for our fabulous compéres, Steve and Nick to have a bit of silliness with the audience, in the shape of the renowned ‘Badger Dance’! After a quick audience training session, the whole room was jigging about to the ‘Badger Song’, and having a right old party! Great fun was had by all and it breathed a new lease of life into the crowd, just in time for Impavidus to come on and do their thing.
So, what can I say about these guys that I haven’t already. I love them. They are so good together as a band, with each member being superbly talented in their own right; and with having such a good balance of growl and clean vocals, their music is always interesting and intriguing. You never get that same old same old feel with them. I am also completely in love with Michelle and want to marry her, because her vocal ability is stunning, and she is also the nicest person you will ever meet. Sadly, one thing that I will say about this performance is sound issues, and not through any fault of the band. I have mentioned earlier in this review that I would come back to this issue, and this is the point I am going to. Up until now, there had been some issues with levels, and feedback, and not enough of one thing or another in the monitor, however this is where it got real, and unfair. During the badger dance, the main stage sound tech had disappeared, and hadn’t arrived back by the start of Impavidus’ set, leaving the booth completely unmanned, and not having turned on the stage right mic, or monitor, which was needed for Bassist Patrick McBride. Myself and Sian happened to be stood on that side of the stage, and he was not a happy bunny one little bit – and completely understandably! I had ignored most of the issues until now, because they were only small, and sorted quickly, and with live events in a venue like this, you expect there to be the occasional issue, but this was a whole different level of unprofessional in my opinion, especially considering this was the main band of the guy that has organised the whole thing and was essentially paying the sound guy’s wages! Not only was the bass player about to go apoplectic, but there were issues with feedback, and Michelle’s vocals were very low. Eventually after about three songs, the scarlet pimpernel returned and just about sorted out the sound issues. Thankfully, the band just got on with it and the crowd loved them, so much so, that at the end of the set, they chanted ‘One More Song’ until they guys came back to do a thoroughly deserved encore!
After a short delay, due to the impromptu encore on the main stage, Nick Gregory was able to very enthusiastically announce the wonderful Torqued. Having travelled 7 hours up from Devon, they were hoping for a great show and the crowd were right behind them from the very start. Yes, you’ve guessed it – today’s running theme – some sound issues to start, with gremlins in the wireless equipment, but it got sorted pretty quickly. On speaking to Bassist, Marc Cleave, briefly before hand, he had said that Rimmy, their awesome guitar megaman, was now also going to be sharing the vocals with him. This worked really well, as their voices blend very nicely together, and it added another element to their sound, which is already mightily impressive for a three piece. They are also becoming a lot tighter the more they play. I love the Bass tone that Marc uses – it is really meaty and adds a lot of depth to their sound, and with Rimmy’s solo work just making everyone a little moist, they are a proper contender for one of our stand-out bands of the year. It was a good reception from the gathered crowd too, which was great to see. By now, the venue was packed to the rafters, which is a shining success, and tantamount to the hard work that John has put into the promotion of this event.
If metal music was like car manufacturing, our next band, This Is Turin, would be the Japanese model – impeccably technically mastered and something to drool over. This was a bunch of amazingly talented people delivering a perfect set. They are heavy and industrial, unrelenting and powerful, and great to watch. The double bass pedal work was Incredible and would have most drummers salivating and crying with envy! This set was a bit of a photography nightmare with complete red lighting throughout, but it did give a great effect and tone for their performance – it was almost like a vision of hell, bathed in fire and fury. Vocalist, Darryl Jones, was really animated and got the crowd really pumped. I loved this – it was super heavy, super dark, and super technical. Well worth checking these guys out.
Back over on the Snake Stage, Manchester death metal outfit, After The Abduction were just about to start. I have to admit that I was flagging at this point and had to wimp out cos my brain was fried, but what I could hear from the beer garden was brutal as! Thankfully the beer garden was situated adjacent to the Snake Stage, so it was still possible to see and hear what was going on, and I can tell you that not only did they sound brutal, but it was packed, and the crowd was brutal! It was great to see everyone having such a good time, and again, even though their music was a bit too much for me, they were certainly pleasing the crowd.
Next up were the positive folk orchestra, Isarnos, a seven-piece outfit, including violin, hurdy gurdy, penny whistle and Irish bouzouki, who marry up folk music with metal! Holy Moly! They certainly filled the stage, and this was right up my street! Having roots in classical instruments, and having played in a folk band, I was really stoked to see these guys in action. Again, the soundman couldn’t quite keep up, with levels all over the place to start with. In fairness, the range of instruments here would make even a hardened sound tech, sweat like Satan’s armpits! But it was an extremely good merger of folk instruments and heavy, almost symphonic metal and I need to listen to more of them! My one note would be that occasional tuning issues were apparent. I’m not sure how they tuned, but it could have done with being tuned to the Hurdy, as the drone sometimes seemed a little off. But massive kudos for them to do something as epic as this, and different, but still managing to fit in so well on a day like this. I really enjoyed them, but it was a shame that the sound wasn’t great again!
Out headliners on the Snake stage were up next – Prognosis. A good dose of extreme heavy prog to close out the second stage was perfect. They were very heavy and again very technical, but a real crowd pleaser. The place was completely heaving by now, and the space on this stage was noticeably cramped. The sound was now a lot better. Yey! For anyone who likes their prog on the heavy, very technical side, these guys are definitely ones to check out, it was a great, fast paced set and a brilliant way to close out that stage.
Our final act and headliners on the night were Londoners, Divine Chaos. Three words: In another league! You could tell that these guys had been going a good while and lived for the band. They also brought with them their own sound tech, who knew exactly what he was doing and what sound the band wanted. In all honesty, he was a little too fussy, and took a bit long sorting out tech issues including the second mic, that decided it couldn’t be arsed working any more. They eventually started 30 minutes late, which I think was detrimental as the crowd thinned a little with people needing to catch last trains. But, and it is a big but, their performance was absolutely stunning!! Thrash at its very finest. It was impossible not to like them, with their great hooks, catchy riffs and superb vocals, which really got everyone moving and singing along. They were a brilliant choice as headliner and a perfect example of British Thrash at its best. Their final song was all about crowd participation, and they had the entire place singing along and waving their arms, stadium style. They brought in another level of entertainment and breathed a new lease of life into the weary crowd. This is what these events are about. Still seeing that joy on people’s faces at the end of a high-octane day. There wasn’t a single person in that room who wasn’t having a good time.
As the houselights came up and the room cleared, one thing was certain – we had all had a stunning day. Yes, there had been issues with sound, but hey, it was a great gig with some really great bands, and everyone had a fantastic time. My Absolute Highlight of the day were God Shaped Devil. A totally new name, that blew me away! I love it when this happens!!! A very close second to them were Frozen In Shadows, just for their pure power and professionalism. Hats off to John Badger for stepping up to the plate to organise it all, and to all the other people behind the scenes – the stage crew, headed up by Simon Robertshaw, our fabulous compéres, Steve Tottle and Nick Gregory, who made sure the day flowed and that everyone knew who was next; the bar staff and security staff for keeping everyone safe and stocked with beer, Michelle Adamson and Abbie Taylor et al, for manning the doors, and looking after Sian; and the sound team, who did try their best – every experience is good experience. I Cannot wait for next year! If I had one ask, it would be for a proper photo pit at the front, because I don’t want to die of being squashed in a mosh pit, unless I am in the middle of it on purpose, not by default! Thanks again for inviting us John, and a massive well done to you. We are not worthy!
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