Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, The Grand Final – Penny Black / XS Wrexham – 07/06/2019

00 M2TM North Wales Final Poster

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, The Grand Final
Penny Black / XS Wrexham – 07/06/2019
Review by Beth Jones and Rick Tilley

They say time flies when you are having fun, and that certainly couldn’t be truer about this year’s Bloodstock M2TM North Wales competition. Last Friday saw the culmination of months of work, peppered with smiles and tears, frustration and joy and some challenges that made this night all the more of an achievement, both from the bands and the organisers. It was certainly promising to be a metal extravaganza, with four guest bands, including a headline slot from Damim.

Thankfully the subject of many musings, the great British road network, didn’t let us down, meaning that Bloodstock’s own, Rob Bannister and his awesome better half Sherrell, arrived with us exactly at the time they had planned and we got to the venue just as the first band started.

Our venue for this final was Penny Black / XS bar, in the centre of Wrexham. Comprising of XS bar upstairs, and Penny Black downstairs, this was not a venue that had been used by North East Wales Metal Productions before, and we were all keen to see how it was going to fare. Our first band to perform was one of the guests, In Depths, in the downstairs bar.

In Depths
A local band from just over the border, in Chester, we saw these guys last year and like them. Since then they have gone through a slight line-up change, but they still have a great sound, and a dedicated bunch of followers. They gave a really good performance and warmed the crowd up nicely in readiness for the competition bands. For those that haven’t seen them, they are a modern djent type metal band, who have a really good feel about them. Well worth a watch.

01 In Depthshttps://www.facebook.com/InDepths/

Bad Earth
Our initial trip to the upstairs bar was to see the first of our competition bands, BAD EARTH, who we have been impressed with for many reasons, not least their heavy groovy laden rock/metal. We have been especially impressed with them recently because of the seamless addition of their new bass player, Tim Nicholls, who despite only being a member for about a month, looks like he has been there years! In this performance, he also took on some backing vocals, which added an extra depth to the music. Again, this was a great performance from them, especially as front-man Steven had been struck down with tonsillitis earlier in the week, which didn’t really show. A great way to start the evenings battling!

02 Bad Earthhttps://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH/

Cadence Noir
We always love a bit of gothic folk and roll to clear our heads – I mean, who doesn’t, right? And who better to provide that than the very lovely Cadence Noir, playing in the downstairs bar. As last year’s M2TM winners, it was great to see them back here performing as guests. They played a range of their catalogue, from old to new, and got the gathered crowd moving along at a fair old pace. Vocalist / Guitarist Adrien Perrie is a fabulous front-man who also possesses a dark sense of humour which perfectly matches their music. Add to that the wonderful violin playing of Emma Bennett and an increasingly sharp rhythm section and you have a band that should soon be occupying bigger stages!

03 Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

Lullaby For A Unicorn
We have come to know by now that when Lullaby For A Unicorn play, shit’s gonna get messy! So, we were very pleased to see that they had brought their trusty Henry Hoover with them to ‘speed up the clean-up’ operation tonight! Back upstairs they were the second competing band, and threw the kitchen sink at their performance. Now you all know that I love these guys dearly, both on stage and off, so what I’m about to say may come as a surprise. I didn’t think this was the best we had seen them and Rick was of the same opinion! I know, I KNOW I’m sorry!! I don’t know what it was – maybe they were just too stoked for it and put too much pressure on themselves, but whilst they were still brilliant, and despite the silly string, party popper assaults and the party cannons, it lacked just a little bit of their usual unicorn charm, which made us a little sad.

04 Lullaby For A Unicornhttps://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Scars Of Remembrance
Of all the bands who we have seen in this competition, this is the band who had the least confidence in the fact they could be in the running to win. When I spoke to them back at their heat, their plan was turn up, play a good gig and that was were it ended. Their main aim was to give people a show, and they were in complete shock when they progressed in that heat, and then again as the public vote winners in the semi-finals. They approached this gig with the same attitude – they were hungry as hell for it, but still had a humbleness that made them not yet believe. Well, guys, believe. This performance was, again, the best that we had seen them play, and you could see in each and every one of them how much this meant to them. Musically it was tight, it was well thought out, and it was so easy to get lost in the rhythms. Performance wise, they all gave it their all. Mike Edwards, as a front man, is brilliant and draws people in with his stare, and Ben thrashed the drums so hard that he completely sheered off one of his cymbal stands mid-song but carried on without missing a beat. It was a storming set!

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

Damim
We headed downstairs and had a short break before watching Guest Headliners Damim. These guys were new to us, and whilst they were not necessarily what I would usually choose, I actually really liked them for the musical ability. As for Rick, well he absolutely loved them! They were so precise it was superhuman, and every member was a stunningly talented musician. We found out afterwards that the guys on rhythm guitar and bass were actually stand-ins for the actual members who weren’t available that night! WOW, that level of talent and commitment cannot be learned, that is just something you are born with. Lead singer Nathanael is the most suave and focused person I have ever seen in Wrexham! He had an aura about him on and off stage which was very impressive. They also had an unfortunate random intrusion from the back of the stage, when one of the local Neanderthals managed to gain entry through the fire escape, however being the consummate professionals they clearly are, they never missed a beat, and the security had the incident under control in a matter of seconds, meaning most of the crowd didn’t even notice it happen. For anyone who hasn’t seen Damim before, and as we haven’t written about them before, their style is blackened thrash, with influences from Morbid Angel, Meshuggah and Death, to name but a few. They are very, very good and well worth checking out.

06 Damimhttps://www.facebook.com/dam.nation.uk/

Navnløs
It was then upstairs again for the final competing band Navnløs. Last time we saw these guys we criticized them for having too long a break between songs and looking slightly lost in said break. They had clearly listened, as the break between songs was much smaller and there was always a bit of guitar or something filling the gap, and it made such a difference – so thanks for taking that constructive criticism and making a positive change guys – it really was an improvement. Their pace was much better, and they were really impressing us, and the crowd. Then they had a bit of a moment – I’m not sure what happened but they had to restart a song twice, and I think at that point they knew what that would inevitably mean. It was a real shame, because they had really stepped it up for the final. I get them, but I don’t at the same time, if you know what I mean! Musically they are all talented, and they have a good sound, but I think nerves hinder their performance, which makes them not quite there yet. Please keep at it though guys. Work on the performance element, because the music is solid. I’m going to shut up now because I am starting to sound like Simon Cowell!!

07 Navnløshttps://www.facebook.com/Navnlosband/

With that, the competition section was over, and we had one last guest band to play whilst Bloodstock’s Rob Bannister, who had the extremely hard task of judging this event, deliberated and collected his thoughts on what he had seen. In my opinion it was between two of the bands, but I couldn’t decide which. We restocked on beverages and settled in for the finale performance from Left For Red.

Left For Red
Rick has been on at me for ages to check these guys out, and I had been looking forward to seeing them. I wasn’t disappointed – a cracking five piece from the West Midlands, they deliver a combination of groove and prog and classic British heavy metal which has an enthralling and almost hypnotic draw to it. Front-man LC is a ball of energy on stage and has a look about him that made me think of Blaze Bayley – to the point that I was like ‘is this Blaze’s long-lost brother?!’ This performance was also slightly bittersweet, as it was one of bassist Dan Carter’s final performances with the band, as he is moving on to different pastures soon. It was a really great way to finish a really great night, and I would definitely recommend checking these guys out too – their new album “Human Complex” has recently been released, and is liked very much by the team at Ever Metal.

08 Left For Redhttps://www.facebook.com/leftforreduk/

So here we were – the result (and no Ant and Dec anywhere in sight!). Rob had deliberated and, based on the performances he had seen his winners were…SCARS OF REMEMBRANCE!! We have to say that we concurred – they gave the best performance on the night, and you could see how much they wanted it, and this was why they won. The look on their faces was an absolute picture – total disbelieving joy, and I have to admit it got me a bit emotional. Having watched them grow since last year, I felt a bit like a proud mum!! Much happiness ensued, involving lots of hugging and love for everyone. Our thanks must be extended to not only the bands, who have slogged it for the whole competition, but also the really good sized crowd that turned up to the final, to Rob Bannister for judging and his lovely lady Sherell for manning the raffle and looking after my bags, to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North of NEW Metal Productions for organizing the whole thing in the face of some truly challenging times and to Dani & Joe Maguire of Powerzone and John Matthews of Phoenix Rising, for judging the heats and just being awesome people who make you smile when you see them at a gig. This is what happiness is. This is why we do this; the feeling at the end of this gig, the culmination of all that work. If we could bottle that, we would be millionaires. Bring on 2020!!

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

 

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 all 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/

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

00 M2TM North Wales Semi-Final2

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bring on the final!!

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

Pentre Fest 2019 Day Two – Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales – 23/02/2019

 

00 Pentrefest 2019 Final Line-Up Poster 3

Pentre Fest 2019 Day Two
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
23/02/2019
Review by Beth & Rick Tilley
Pictures by Beth Jones

…We arrived back at McLean’s Bar around Midday, fresh faced and ready for Day Two of Pentre Fest. To say there were a few faces looking slightly less fresh would be an understatement, but a good old ‘hair of the dog’ session was already ensuing for most! The weather was fine, everyone was smiling & chatting and we were thoroughly looking forward to another day of full on Metal, starting with a relatively new, local band, Navnlos.

Navnlos
Its always nice to see local acts perform at events like this, and Navnlos certainly kicked the day off in style, with there thrashy groove metal style executed really well. It certainly cleared the head of the already growing crowd, and was a great way to get people back in to the swing of things. They had catchy hooks to their songs, and you could move to them, and everything they played was executed really well. Our one qualm with their performance was the length of time between songs, spent in relative silence. It was too much and they lost all the energy that the song had just built up. Their stage craft will grow the more they gig but, apart from that, musically they are a talented bunch and we are both very much looking forward to see what they do!

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

Cheerfully Undiagnosed
Next, we went from the sublime to the cor blimey, with another new local band, who hadn’t played many gigs before. They were a kind of punk pop metal crossover, and their lead vocalist was certainly up for it, and had everyone joining in with some audience participation on the majority of their quirky, funny and bizarre set. They weren’t the best band that we were going to hear on the day, but they certainly weren’t the worst we had ever heard. With a bit more gelling time, and a bit more confidence as a band together, they could be good. I hope they carry on working on this because it was funny and light – hearted, but if it doesn’t work out, then frontman Adam (who reminded us of comedian Jack Whitehall) could probably do really well as a kid’s party host, after managing to command the hungover gathering here, and get them to sing random things with seeming ease!

02 Cheerfully Undiagnosedhttps://www.facebook.com/Cheerfully-Undiagnosed-1791893794227072/

Agent 47
I hadn’t heard these guys before, so wasn’t sure what to expect, but my ears pricked up when they started playing, as their style was instantly recognisable to me as the sound of the 90s! A Rage Against The Machine / Alice In Chains / Corrosion Of Conformity influenced sound that got me jigging along and took me back my formative years! They were really tight and very bloody good. Formed in 2011, and hailing from the Manchester scene, you could tell that they properly know what they are doing, and they deliver it with passion and style. For me they were one of my stand out bands of the weekend, not only because I love their sound, but because of how well rehearsed they were. A new one to add to my list of ‘must see again’ bands.

03 Agent 47https://www.facebook.com/Agent47UK/

Promethium
I saw these guys at Badgerfest last year, and was not as impressed with them as I thought I might be. I had wanted to see them again, and for Rick to see them too, to see if my first impression was founded, or if I was just a complete dick. The answer to that question was, ‘I’m a complete dick!’ Although, in my defence, I don’t think the sound issues at Badgerfest helped them last year, and thus the performance I saw then wasn’t their best, but I am so glad that I saw them again here, where the sound was superb, and I was able to make a more informed judgement about them. They are a super-talented product of Lancaster and well worth a watch. Lead vocalist Steve Graham has a great set of pipes on him, and the Rhythmic work of Kev Yates on drums and Ben Macfarlane on bass is spot on and If you top that with some crunchy, groove laden and intricate guitars then you have a recipe for awesome. Rick said they were one of his top bands of the weekend and that he actually preferred hearing them live rather than on album.

04 Promethiumhttps://www.facebook.com/Promethiumband/

Deified
Next up, and getting dangerously close to clashing with the most important game in the Rugby Calendar – Wales vs England in the Six Nations – were the Merseyside monsters, Deified! With as much punch as an angry gorilla on amphetamines with a score to settle, we LOVE these guys. We first saw them at the Christmas Mosh back in December, and were impressed then, but somehow, they were even better at this performance. Putting the OOO into groove metal, and the AAAaAAraragh into thrash, with an added spoonful of death metal vocals, they crushed our skulls continuously for their 45 minute set, and left us all wanting more. Fair play to these guys – they kept the crowd until the end of the set, and put everyone in a great mood!

05 Deifiedhttps://www.facebook.com/deified/

The next set was delayed, because of a small matter of one of the best Rugby games in recent years playing out on the big screen in the bar, and everybody, including the bands and the event organisers wanting to watch it! It was nail-biting, but Wales managed to overcome England! CYMRU AM BYTH!!!!!!! (Apologies to the English members amongst the merry gathering, but it was a damn fine game, and the best team won! We still love you though).

Frozen In Shadows
I was a bit like a child with a new toy when I found out Frozen In Shadows were playing at Pentre Fest – I couldn’t wait for Rick to see them after they totally destroyed my mind with their immenseness at Badgerfest last year. They were once again brilliant! They are excitingly heavy, and it makes every bone and sinew in your body vibrate with their power. For me they are the epitome of a super group. Incredibly talented musicians from other bands, coming together to do something magical that plays to each of their strengths. They are incredible to watch, with so much energy, passion and technique, that I am quite sure they will blow me away every time I see them. I don’t really think I need to say any more than that!

06 Frozen In Shadowshttps://www.facebook.com/frozeninshadows/

Ashen Crown
After seeing these guys as a full band at Amplified 2018, and seeing lead singer Kieran guesting with Mad Spanner on a number of occasions, we knew what these guys were about, and they lived up to their Amplified performance of last year, which was fab. They are super technical and tight, and Kieran’s growly death metal vocals punch you in the face like a street fighter on steroids! They are brutal as, and always fill the stage with energy. The local crowd love these guys, and it is easy to see why, when they deliver a belting performance every time, and this was no exception.

07 Ashen Crownhttps://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk/

Cadence Noir
Filling the main support slot were last years M2TM North Wales winners, and all-round lovely folk, Cadence Noir, bringing their unique ‘Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll’ to Deeside. I love these guys, and it is always a pleasure to watch them play, especially when they have a full quota of members, as they did tonight, with Nick on guitar making up the quintet. The thing that makes me love them is the way they blend heavy metal riffs, with folk melodies, and lamenting violin with crunchy distorted guitars. They put on a great show for everyone again here, whipping up the hall into good old jig! Speaking to frontman Ade after the show, he said that he was happy with the performance, and that it felt good – that was definitely transmitted to the room, because it sounded good too.

08 Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

Sodomised Cadaver
So, to the headliners. We had watched these guys earlier in the day doing an ‘acoustic’ (lol) set on the acoustic stage, so knew they were going to be heavy and loud as fuuuuuuck! They were. Crazy energy, meets brain shattering vocals, meets speed drumming, meets everything turned up to eleven, with a side helping of so much hair it would make bald men weep! I seriously thought that my skin might disintegrate, and needed to go hunting for my ear drums, which I could only assume had ended up somewhere in the car park! Whilst musically these guys aren’t really me cup of tea, tipping the scales into the realms of too heavy, they are very adept at their style and they are also endearing chaps who all have a great sense of humour. Good to watch, and if you like to feel like your whole body has been in an industrial tumble dryer, then you definitely need to look them up.

09 Sodomized Cadaverhttps://www.facebook.com/SodomizedCadaver/

Acoustic Stage
One thing that we have touched upon throughout this, but not gone into detail about was the Acoustic Stage, run over both days, by the one and only Edd Case, a stalwart of the local scene, with an immense passion not just for music, but for supporting underground, unsigned and local talent. His acoustic stage showcased a number of local acts: Neill Murphy, Captain Andy, The Hairy Bitches, and Zanda Stone, along with acoustic sets from Adam Robinson of Cheerfully Undiagnosed, Ade and Emma from Cadence Noir who pulled off an immense cover of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’, and a full on acoustic set, complete with a bin lid bass drum, from Sodomized Cadaver, which is possibly the funniest acoustic set I have ever seen. Edd himself also did a few turns on the stage, closing the proceedings by doing his final set with his pants round his ankles! Clearly one of those, ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ moments, as it was a little chilly! It was a brilliant side attraction to the main event, and a great place to chill out and have a right old giggle between bands. I definitely would like to see this return next year.

10 Edd Case - Acoustic Stage
One other thing that I need to mention, before I stop waxing lyrical about what a brilliant weekend we had, was the sound quality. For every single band, throughout the weekend, on both the main and acoustic stages, the sound was completely faultless. With the diverse line-up, this was no mean feat, and a special mention needs to be given to LA1 Audio’s Edward Davies who absolutely stepped up to the plate and worked like a Trojan all weekend. A special thank you must also be given to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North, for putting on yet another brilliant show in their tireless pursuit of bringing Metal back to North Wales. They both do a sterling job, and the local scene owes a lot to their dedication – thanks again guys. Bring on next year – HELL YEAH!!!
Links
https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

 

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

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