Pentre Fest 2020 – Day 2 – 22/02/20

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

Rick Here.

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

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

Cheerfully Undiagnosed

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

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

Edd Case

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

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

Stormrider

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

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

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

Rhiannon Petrou (Why’d You Wanna Know)

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

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

RipTide

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

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

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

Mike West

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

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

Folorn Hope

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

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

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

Ben Milford

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

Scars Of Remembrance

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

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

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

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

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

Adam Robinson (Cheerfully Undiagnosed)

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

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

OMV

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

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

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

Cry For Mercy Acoustic

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

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

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

Son Of Boar

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

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

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

Severenth

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

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

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

Luke Appleton and Rishi Mehta

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

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

WomenOwar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LINKS:

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

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

Pentre Fest Summer Session 2019 – McLean’s Pentre – 06/07/2019

00 Pentre Fest Summer Session Poster

Pentre Fest Summer Session 2019
McLean’s Pentre
06/07/2019
Review by Beth Jones

Is there anything better on a summer’s day than having a good time with friends, with good music and cheap beer? The answer to that question is of course ‘No’ and this year’s Pentre Fest Summer Session was one such summer’s day that we have had the pleasure of enjoying so far this year! The weather this year looked questionable, but thankfully by the time everything kicked off, the sun had decided to get its arse into gear and put in an appearance!

The lineup was a great mix of styles from classic heavy metal to groove death metal and everything in between, and it also saw the return of the now infamous Edd Case and his acoustic stage, which is just the best way to chill out between bands ever. This takes place out on the veranda (!!) and this year saw Edd kicking off proceedings there, and then going inside to do an opening slot on ‘the big stage’, which he was uber happy about!!

Edd Case
What can I say about Edd that hasn’t already been said?! If you don’t know him, or haven’t seen him perform, then you really do need to check him out. He is so much fun, and he never fails to put you in a good mood. This is a man who has come close to death and now has a newfound love of life, and it is infectious. He finished his ‘big stage’ set with a song he penned himself, called ‘Letters Back Home’, which personally I think is lyrically one of the most emotive songs I have ever heard. I have seen him perform it a number of times now, and I can’t watch it without getting the mother of all lumps in my throat. Every god damn time! You have no idea how much will power it takes me not to turn into a blubbering mess!

01 Edd Casehttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014628035630

Scarfoot
Again, we have seen these guys on a good number of occasions, the most recent being the Bloodstock M2TM Semi Final. This was a very different performance to their last few however, and they seemed a lot more relaxed, which came through in their performance. Lead singer / Guitarist Oliver Carins came out of his shell a bit more and really looked like he was enjoying the performance – something which I haven’t always seen in the past. Drummer Phil Eakins was solid as ever on the beats, and his voice came through really well thanks to the impeccable sound, which once again the sound man has to be applauded for.

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

Thrashatouille
After their shock exit at the semi-finals of Bloodstock M2TM, it was great to see these guys back to their culinary best! Their madcap meld of food and thrash is always a welcome teatime treat in my book, and they again pulled off a brilliant performance here, with some new songs as well as the classics, finishing up with the temporarily named ‘Chocolate Romance’, as they hadn’t been able to get their hands on a Red Velvet cake for front man Rob Sutton to smash into his face at the end! They played a super tight set and had a great laugh. It was also amusing to see the ever-lovely Nick Gregory of Radio Deeside being turned into a human hoopla peg, with giant inflatable donuts!

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

Mad Spanner
These guys are really starting to find themselves properly now. They have a great new logo and a real identity as a band now, and that is showing through in their madcap, post-apocalyptic punk thrash performances that continue to amuse and delight us! This performance was no exception, and yet again they looked like they were having immense fun, with Michael Randall bouncing about like Tigger on speed (I swear he is trying to get a sponsorship deal from Duracell), and the immense power of Dan Ashley’s guitar and Ben Codd’s drums making sure that everyone knew that it was Mad Spanner time! I love these guys because they are just totally nuts and don’t take themselves too seriously, and this is what performing should be all about. Manowar could learn some useful life lessons from Mad Spanner!

04 Mad Spannerhttps://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner/

Midnight Prophecy
We saw Midnight Prophecy last Christmas at the Twisted Illusion Christmas Gig in Manchester, and were completely blown away by them, so we were super chuffed that we would get the chance to see them again on our doorstep! They didn’t disappoint. Their performance was exquisite. They are old school classic British Heavy Metal. They are melodic and impeccable and exciting and enticing, and I love it. Lead singer Craig Cairns has such an amazing voice and reminds me very much of a young Bruce Dickinson, and the rest of the band provide enough energy and noodling skills to competently cement their sound together into something very, very exciting. I thoroughly recommend them to everyone. One of the Pentre regulars, who had never seen them before, said to me that they were probably the best band he had ever seen there, and I have to say that I totally agree.

05 Midnight Prophecyhttps://www.facebook.com/midnightprophecy/

Bloodyard
I watched the soundcheck for these guys and it made me chuckle in amazement because Donna Hurd’s powerhouse vocals literally made my eardrums bleed, and then they stopped and a tiny little voice said, ‘Yeah that sounds good’, and it blew my mind! How the hell she does that roar I do not know but flipping heck it is powerful!! They are a North West based Groove Death Metal four-piece and for this performance they had a stand in bass player, but you wouldn’t have known – they were super tight and super heavy, and Donna absolutely owned the stage. We had to leave a little early, as we are both old and broken and these all-dayers take their toll on us now, but we caught most of Bloodyard’s set and they are definitely worth checking out if you like metal to punch you in the face with RRRRRRRAWRR!

06 Bloodyardhttps://www.facebook.com/bloodyard666/

Before I sign off on another live review, I must also mention in more detail the acoustic stage, run by the acoustic king himself, Mr. Edd Case, which kept us chilled and entertained during the main stage breaks, and saw a couple of sets from Edd, along with performances from Neill Murphy, Captain Andy, Zanda Stone, and Scarfoot’s Oliver Carins. It is such a calming place to be between the main acts and I love it. All the acoustic performances were spot on again, and full of the feel of a long summer’s day.
Yet again we had a smashing time at Mclean’s, and I for one feel quite lucky that we get to go there, because it is quite possibly one of the friendliest places to be, where airs and graces are left at the door, and everyone is relaxed, which creates the wonderful and warm atmosphere that surrounds every event there. Thanks again to Fozzy and Beany for their tireless work putting on these showcases, to Edd Case for working like a trojan for the love of the acoustic stage, and to all the bands and acoustic acts for keeping us thoroughly entertained. Here’s to doing it all again next year!

07 Acoustic Stage

LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingrocks/
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.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 3 – McLeans Pentre – 19/04/2019

00 Heat 3 Poster

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 3
McLeans Pentre – 19/04/2019
Review by Beth Jones & Richard Tilley

Ah, Easter weekend! What better way to celebrate the rebirth of a myth, than with some metalllllll! The venue for M2TM North Wales Heat 3 was the wonderful McLean’s again, but this week’s line-up was set to be heavier than last weeks, and on arrival, the crowd looked up for a good night! Sadly, the headliners couldn’t be there, so we just had the competing bands; Nights Tribunal, Favela, Thrashatouille and Renegades Of Fire. Three of these bands we had seen before, so we had a pretty good idea of what to expect, but Favela were a new name to us.

Nights Tribunal
Kicking us off were three young hopefuls in the shape of Nights Tribunal. They started quite tentatively, which isn’t the way to win over the crowd, but they did get better through their set, as they got a bit more in to it. The bass player was very enthusiastic throughout and looked slightly out of place, as they weren’t as heavy as his playing suggested! Their guitarist/vocalist, Ryan Bond, has a very quiet voice, and I think to progress, he needs to make a decision – if he is going to sing, SING! Or if he isn’t confident enough to do it with some gusto, get a vocalist who can. That being said, they did have one song that grabbed us, Maple Grove, which was a nod to Pink Floyd, and could work quite well with a bit more rehearsal.

01 Nights Tribunalhttps://www.facebook.com/nightstribunal/

Favela
These guys were a step up from the off. They describe themselves as Southern / Post Hardcore / Metal, and were definitely a nod to the nineties in style, with a bit of a rap/metal vibe going on – lots of influences from RATM and Deftones. They were super tight and well-rehearsed, and the drummer, Sam Martin was spot on, and didn’t half hit those bangy things with some force! Rick also loved the use of cowbell. Vocalist Tom Harrison had bags of energy, and brilliant stage presence – he made an instant connection with the good sized audience, which set them off to a great start. As a group, they didn’t take themselves too seriously, which is refreshing to see – if you have fun with it, so does your audience! They had a really cracking sound and moved to the top of my list of ‘ones to watch in 2019’! Every member knew exactly what they were doing, and the additional vocals provided by bassist Ross Cardno, and guitarist Mike Harrison, were very good. We like these guys a lot.

02 Favelahttps://www.facebook.com/FavelaUK/

Thrashatouille
Having seen these guys at Christmas, we knew that we were going to get a lot of food based craziness from them. They didn’t disappoint. For this performance they had two waiters with them, who stood motionless either side of the stage for a couple of songs, then screamed MOSSSSHHHHHHH, and started a pit! Happy days – perhaps someone might have told them there was a fly in the Ragu, and it made them lose their shit – who knows! Add into the pot an inflatable donut and some very excitable crowd members, and you can see how the atmosphere ramped up a bit! I know these guys are a personal favourite of Powerzone’s Dani Maguire, and he was merrily moshing his face off at the front throughout the set! They also introduced a new song to their set, which went down a treat, and they finished off with a nice bit of baking – with singer Rob Sutton burying his face in a rather lovely looking red velvet cake. You have to hand it to them, they are great fun, and musically they provide a hefty dose of good old fashioned thrash! Well done lads.

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

Renegades Of Fire
Closing the night were a band we have seen a couple of times, including last year’s M2TM heats, and we were hoping to see how they had come on in a year. Thankfully there was a definite improvement. Guitarist Alex Wright and Bassist Connor Ormiston have really come out of their shell since the last time we saw them, and looked much more relaxed, and it was good to see them taking on some vocal duties too. Steven Taylor on drums has improved so much as a drummer this year, it is commendable. Lead vocalist Andy Lewis needs a bit more oomph in his voice to really make it stand out, but musically they are so much tighter now than they were a year ago. They still have some way to go but gigging and practice will bring that. They look like a band now, which was really pleasing, and we hope to see them continue their upward progression. Be confident lads – you definitely have something, just throw away those nerves.

04 Renegades Of Firehttps://www.facebook.com/Renegades-of-Fire-1929979253889558/

And so, again, it was time for the judges to go off and do their deliberating, although again I think we could put a pretty safe bet on the progressing two bands. Again, the public vote went the same as the judges’ thoughts, and it was announced that Favela and Thrashatouille were the victors on the night. All is not lost for the others yet though, as Fozzy does have the job of picking a wild card act, so who knows! The last of the heats is coming up on Saturday 27th April, at the Wrexham Lager Club, and we will be there once again!

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

 

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

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

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

00 M2TM Heat2 Poster Top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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