Dawn Ray’d w/Agvirre, Underdark and Gospelheim The Factory, Manchester 03/09/2021

Dawn Ray'd Poster

Dawn Ray’d
w/Agvirre, Underdark and Gospelheim
The Factory, Manchester
Review by Rob Sutton

Back in Manchester for the first time since we were grounded and boy oh boy has this place changed, so many more skyscrapers and my usual car park is no longer 24/7, but wasn’t a problem with this gig finishing early. So anyway, The Factory! This venue is clearly a nightclub, very obvious by the improvised stage which, for a gig other than black metal, perhaps would have been a bit restrictive for bands, but it was fine for this evening. Sadly, the toilets do feel like prison toilets but they are functional and clean so it is what it is.

First band up tonight is Gospelheim, this was their debut show and, all things aside, this is a solid set. The mix of depressing singing with black metal is something very different but it works and is very nice to listen to. You could almost describe it as Placebo with blast beats. It did feel like the band lacked confidence at the beginning of the set. Ricardo and Lenore’s vocals did get a bit lost in the mix but this was soon rectified as they gained confidence through the set. This was for me, at its peak during the 4th song where they were both beautifully in sync and gave this eerie dark ambience which was spine tinglingly good. For me the end of this set highlights why these guys will go far. Musically, the whole sound was out of this world, John’s drums really drive each of the songs fantastically and the lack of crowd interaction replaced with samples between songs also fully threw you into the atmosphere Gospelheim were creating. Honestly, this set was a fantastic insight into what these guys will be capable of with a few more gigs under their belt.


Next up were Nottingham based band Underdark who brought a lot more noise to proceedings. These guys really did step things up to another level. The sheer precision in their execution was phenomenal and the passion the vocalist was showing on stage really did suck you into their performance. When the in your-face wall of noise relents the melodies that take its place are surreal, it really does feel out of this world. I was left wanting a lot more songs in this set and will really have to check them out at a headline show if they come back. Another massive prop to these guys is, when one of the guitarists did have an issue, they continued through and it was barely noticeable. Vocally in Black Metal we are used to high pitched shrieks but Underdark add a very unusual low growl to the mix. It is used sparingly but really adds another layer to their sound. Honestly, you can see why they have played Bloodstock before and I think other festivals really should look at Underdark seriously!


Agvirre, another Manchester band with some familiar faces, both John (drums) and Ricardo (guitar) from Gospelheim are back on stage again and straight from the off they look much more comfortable playing here. Probably because Agvirre have gigged before and the pressure of their first gig has now passed. Agvirre are a very interesting blend of different styles. They go from very atmospheric and fast paced to almost rock in sound. For me the Keyboards did become a bit over powering in places but when the levels were right it pieced together fantastically and did send shivers down your spine. Using a Ghost Bath style voice isn’t really something I am a fan of but, in all fairness, it is well executed and when it was used it did fit. There was also a lot of silence between songs, something the previous two bands filled with either backing tracks or engaging with the audience. I’m not one for silence between songs, especially in this genre, as I end up feeling like I’m back in reality, something I don’t want in a Post Black Metal band. By the crowd reaction, these guys do strike the right chord in the scene and on recording I enjoy them a lot, it just didn’t work for me live.


Lastly its Liverpool/Leeds heavyweights Dawn Ray’d and boy do things take another odd turn. Firstly, we have a violin, which completely steals the show. The folk element that’s added here is just sublime, you really are taken out of this reality and end up closing your eyes and feel completely tranquil. The fact that he is also the vocalist as well is a testament to this guy’s talent; his voice is up there with some of the best in the genre. It’s punchy and unrelenting! This set is by far and away the most polished of the night, there wasn’t a single noticeable mistake in the whole performance. Speaking of performance, my god the drummer here is a beast! Such speed and precision in his technique is a pleasure to not only watch but to hear as well. From what I could see the same can be said guitar wise, however, they were completely lost in the mix. I found myself wandering around the venue trying to pick them out. Only when they switched to clean were they audible. Now this is not a fault of the band, they were flawless but with the lack of guitars it did feel empty. I was in awe over the talent these guys showed tonight the set itself was sublime and this means Dawn Ray’d are another band on my list to watch again.


So, this was something different for me. While I am a fan of Black Metal and Post Black Metal it is not a genre I know that much about aside from the odd band here and there. After watching these four bands I want to know more and find more. The mix of brutality and beauty is something that really hits me in a good way. Hats off to Badgerfest Promotions for this gig as it was very well organised and attended, I can’t wait for the next one!


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton 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.

Avarus EP Launch, The Waterloo, Blackpool 28/08/2021

Avarus EP Launch Poster

Avarus EP Launch
w/Where Oceans Burn and Asleep At The Helm
The Waterloo, Blackpool
Review by Rob Sutton

Another week, another gig, Well this is my third of the week but the only one I’m reviewing. So, the lovely northern sun shines brightly on the coastal resort of Blackpool and it would have been wrong not to have gone for a stroll along the beach, especially as The Waterloo is less than five minutes walk from the seaside.

From the outside I was very reserved about this venue, it does look like an old working man’s pub and this is highlighted by a bowls green at the rear. However, looks can be deceptive as once you walk into this venue prepare to be amazed. I was greeted by a huge stage, a bar stacked with all the booze one could imagine and staff that are amongst some of the friendliest in this industry. Now the make or break for this venue…the toilets…WOW! Not only are they clean but clearly someone has taken the time to make them stand out. The men’s are constructed with old beer kegs and the women’s with old drum kits (no I didn’t go in the women’s). Honestly if you haven’t been to this venue then I highly recommend it.

Tonight’s gig is Avarus’ EP launch and kicking off proceedings is a band I have already recently reviewed, Asleep At The Helm. As I have stated in my last review, these guys are mega and tonight felt even better than last time. This was down to a couple of things; firstly, a much bigger stage and secondly I was sober… 😊 So, I was able to really appreciate exactly what their live shows are all about and straight from the opening track pits are in full swing, these are kept going throughout the set with Dylan (vocals) and Brandon (guitar/vocals) pumping the crowd up at every possible moment. The complete set is a fantastic blend of brutal breakdowns, break neck speed and harmonic choruses. These harmonies are beautifully split between Dylan, Brandon and Adam and work plus Brandon’s voice is on top form tonight! His range is simply sublime! While it may seem like Ryan (bassist) is a little left out from the vocal duties he more than makes up for it by bouncing and spinning around the stage, honestly he looks like he is having the time of his life. The same can be said for the machine behind the kit, Dan, who between constantly smiling can be seen singing along to pretty much every song. Several tracks that really stood out for me are ‘Outsiders’ (check it out on YouTube or Spotify); ‘Deaf Ears Hear No Voices’ and their fantastic cover of ‘Lady’!


Next up was Where Oceans Burn from Manchester. I had never actually heard of this band before so was going in with an open mind. I must say I was not disappointed. The guitar tone that both Ben and Ross have is to die for! It’s so goddamn heavy and really hits you in the chest, I could not get enough of this and it left me wanting more, come the end of the set. Ben is a phenomenal guitarist; he is all over the fret board tapping and sweeping all while bouncing around like a maniac on stage. You do find it hard not to be mesmerised by him (maybe it’s the pink hair) but either way I enjoyed watching him. Vocally, we were treated to a mix of high and guttural screams and even the odd ‘bree’ from Alex. His range really is something else and his delivery was also on point. However, I’m not sure whether it was his choice or the sound tech to add a load of reverb to his voice but for me this didn’t work, I think personally his voice didn’t need it. Throughout the set I found myself singing along to songs I had never heard before, yes they are that catchy. I now can’t get ‘The Only Home We Know’ out of my head. Again, I’d thoroughly recommend seeking these guys out if you like your Djenty metalcore.


With that, we arrived at the last band of the night Avarus and, straight away, I am going to apologise as after three gigs and numerous early shifts topped with a 60 mile drive, my body was flagging big time so I didn’t quite manage until the end of their set. However, what I heard followed on beautifully from the two preceding bands with more catchy choruses and big breakdowns. Avarus stand out with their use of eight string guitars and the fact that it feels like there is more of an emphasis on melody, especially with the new EP tracks. These tracks are certainly the ones that stand out to me. I was lucky enough to catch ‘Nothing Left To Save’ and I love Lucas’ vocals as it really does remind me of Architects and he pulls the style off brilliantly. The use of their backing tracks also really adds to the ambience of the set, which fully engrosses you within their sound. Dare I say it’s beautiful? This is followed with effective and bouncy beats from Becky behind the kit and grooves from both Jay and Mikey. What I saw I loved and will definitely see these Blackpool Brutes out again. Check out their debut EP “Parallels” now!


What can I say about this gig? £5 for three (should have been four) bands who represent some of the highest quality in the northwest, one of the best venues I have been to in a long time, reasonable beer prices, good location, fantastic staff and a pizza truck outside, Oh and quality loos. I think that should say why you should check these bands and venue out. This whole gig was so much more than I expected and I cannot sing the praises of all three bands and the venue enough! See you all soon!


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton 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.

0161 Day Of Destruction – The York, Bolton 24/07/2021

0161 Day Of Destruction poster

0161 Day Of Destruction
The York, Bolton
Review by Rob Sutton

After a short shift at work, and with BoJo now finally giving us our freedom back, gigs are back on the menu (couldn’t help a food reference).

This was my third gig of the year (second as a punter) and the first all originals as well. So off I ascended to the York, in Bolton, a venue I have never been to before. I was pleasantly surprised as the last venue I visited in Bolton was a bit of a dive. Most notably the terrible toilet facilities. Firstly, I am pleased to say the toilets were actually useable, there was a lock, bog roll and a door! Also, I have to add the whole place felt clean and with a lovely outdoor area. But most importantly for me, Newcastle Brown at the bar. We are onto a winner.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to catch Crowfire, a hard rock/metal band from Manchester. I guess I will have to wait for next time. Sadface emoticon.


The first band for me was I Am The Wreckage, a metallic hardcore band with masses of stage presence. Both Guitarist and Bassist used their wireless systems to their advantage by getting right up in the crowd’s face. Very fitting for the genre and engaging, so much so I found myself having a good ol’ mosh to band one, along with many of the other onlookers. This led to a few pits even at that early point in the day. If I have to pick at the set I would say try and ride through any technical difficulties. But all being said the whole sound these guys have is incredible, I would strongly recommend anyone to check them out!


Next up were newcomers Ecstasy Engraved, and I only found out on the night that this was their first ever live gig! It was brutal! The songs were well structured, and while they were in the groove of the songs looked to be having the time of their lives, as did the crowd as yet more pits began. However, between songs felt a bit awkward, this I would put down to nerves as it was their first gig. The vocalist had a fantastic voice, and the set flew by, making me want to hear more, especially when they complete their line-up. (No Bassist L)


Chimp In A Box was a band that, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get when doing a listen before the gig, and in fairness I don’t get the joke? But all that aside, my god do these guys have groove! I loved it and could listen to those riffs for days. Maybe missing the joke stopped me enjoying these as much as I should have. or maybe adding a bassist will thicken the sound up more for me. But a solid set nonetheless and another band to see again.


From three bands I have not seen before it’s onto the only band I had, and many times at that. Portrayal of Ruinn is a band I have gigged with often, and since their latest EP dropped it seems they are starting to gain the buzz they deserve. This gig was proof of that; they were the first band with the audience actually singing along to their songs, no mean feat, considering most people can’t understand metal vocals! This is a true testament to the traction these guys are building. The set was tight, brutal and immensely enjoyable. Pits were present throughout the whole show, with a sea of Portrayal t-shirts bouncing around. This was one of the best shows I have seen them play, and it would be nice to see them on a bigger stage, so they can really show off how they can dominate the stage.


Sadly, I ended up missing Hounds, and again I am hoping to catch them when they are next in the area, as what I heard I liked!


The night closed with a band I have been following for a long time, Asleep At The Helm. These guys were mega! Full on new age of metalcore. This is exactly the genre I love, and they did not disappoint. The whole set was like listening to a pre-recorded album, with added energy and oomph. The mix of clean and growled vocals really added something extra here, as I hadn’t heard much actual singing (not complaining). When I say they were worthy headliners, I mean it, and I can see why they are getting picked up to support bands such as Our Hollow, Our Home. These are seriously a band to watch as I can see them going far!


So, gigs are back, and this was a belter! My only downfall was the Newcastle Brown which cost me a band. But aside from that, this venue is a fantastic new home for 0161 in Bolton, and I am looking forward to appearing at the next event!

0161 LINK:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton 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.