Badgerfest Promotions Presents… Badger & The Mushrooms Christmas All Dayer, Rebellion, Manchester – 11/12/21

Badger And The Mushrooms Poster

Badgerfest Promotions Presents…
Badger & The Mushrooms Christmas All Dayer
Rebellion, Manchester,11/12/21
Review by Rob Sutton

It had been a while since I’d last been to the rebellion in Manchester, and since the lockdown there have been many setbacks for the venue. Deansgate station needed work done to it and this in turn caused the closure of Rebellion for a number of months while the work was taking place. This has led to many things in Rebellion suffering. Firstly the entire toilet block had been destroyed, leaving the venue having to replace the facilities with portaloos. Not only that,but the stage itself looked to have been hastily put back together and looked unfinished. This was a massive shame as this venue was one of my favourites to go to. Tonight’s gig was also plagued with numerous technical difficulties and sound issues. Never-the-less the bands made the best out of this situation.

Due to work commitments I didn’t manage to catch World Held Hostage or Mairu.

https://www.facebook.com/mairumetal/

https://en-gb.facebook.com/WorldHeldHostage/

So first up for me was 40,000 Leagues, a band I have seen many times and each time they seem to get better. The whole band oozes with charisma on stage and are very engaging to watch. Vocally, Nathan’s voice was absolutely on point again, in fact I would say here it was the best I have heard it. Some of the notes he hit were simply stunning, and it was backed with some soaring solos and on point drums. There was a huge amount of crowd participation in this set, most notably ‘story time’ where the whole crowd sits down! While this has been done before, it was something unusual for the Manchester scene, which was great. My only criticism is that the last song did go on a little bit too long for me, but the addition of a Christmas song was very fitting. This was a cracking set and a great start to my day.

https://www.facebook.com/40kLeagues/

Next it was the turn of Clashmute, a band I first reviewed at Badgerfest, where they properly won me over. This set was equally as good, as the band again looked professional on stage, and again gave a show worthy of bigger stages. This gig was the final show for their bassist, and what a reaction they got with pits present throughout their set. The atmosphere was amplified by more cracking breakdowns which had the whole crowd banging their heads. A personal highlight of this set for me was ‘In Virtue’; this song is a proper banger, and Clashmute had the crowd shouting the lyrics back at them. Ryan’s voice has improved massively over the years I have seen them, but tonight didn’t quite match their set at Badgerfest and this did result in some moments of feedback when he cupped the mic. Having said that, this set really got the night going for me; it had everything you want from a Metalcore band. Definitely a fan!

https://www.facebook.com/clashmute/

UK Melodic Death Metal is hard to come by these days, and in Manchester I only really know of one band, Frozen in Shadows. They are made up of members of many other bands, including Footprints in the Custard. You could say they are a super-group. Sadly here they suffered with a lot of technical difficulties which led to the guitars cutting out and almost inaudible keyboards. This was a real shame as at Bloodstock these guys were fantastic, but the whole sound got completely lost. I also felt the drums were overly complicated for the sound they were going for; that’s not me saying the drums are bad, but in some cases you can over play and be overly technical, or throw fills where they aren’t really necessary, and this was an example of that. This took away from some of the fantastic riffs that would otherwise be much more noticeable and also seemed to drown out the keyboards further. As previously mentioned there are members of Footprints in the Custard, and while the genre Frozen in Shadows are going for is completely different, I can’t help but notice the silliness from FITC has transferred over here, and it’s not something I feel works. I’m all for a band being a little silly every now and again but this did feel like a mirror of Footprints’ comedy. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Frozen in Shadows. ‘Alone’ is an absolute belter of a Melodic Death Metal track, but this set fell flat tonight for me.

https://www.facebook.com/frozeninshadows

Gospelhiem I saw a few months ago for their very first show, so I was eagerly awaiting this set to see if they had improved. I was not disappointed. Their confidence as a band has grown immensely, and vocally I could hear them so much more clearly than previously. They created a depressingly dark atmosphere throughout the venue, one which was a great change from the previous bands. I was particularly impressed with Lenore’s voice which was incredibly haunting throughout the set. Gospelheim really have massively improved since last time and I can see why they are getting bigger and bigger gigs thrown their way. They are completely different to anything else in the genre, and I love it. If I had to nit-pick this set, I would say it was a song too long; a half hour set for me would have been absolutely spot on. Definitely a band to watch going forward!

https://www.facebook.com/gospelheim/

Another blast from the past for me was After the Abduction. I have previously seen them on a number of occasions, and played alongside them, so it was nice to see them again. There was a notable change to their line-up, as they have recruited a new bassist/vocalist, although he was in their previous band, The Threat. With this change of line-up also came a slight change in genre, the familiar slams and brees have been replaced by Death Metal grunts. The whole sound was very different from their previous guise, but was a welcomed change. After the Abduction have always been known to play to an exceedingly high standard and this performance was no exception, I don’t think there was a note wrong here. They utilise some lovely chops within riffs to really emphasise their competence, and add a nice breakup of the song. Throw in some ridiculously heavy breakdowns to that mix, and the whole set just felt tight and polished. ATA don’t lack confidence on stage either – each member, including the drummer, can be seen glaring at the crowd, head banging, and generally going mental on stage! Even though ATA did suffer with technical difficulties which completely wiped out the bass, they continued on. Luckily for them this happened during the last song, but it did leave the vocalist/bassist a little lost without his instrument. This was an absolutely stunning set. It was performed perfectly and left me lost for words, outstanding is the perfect phrase for this set.

https://www.facebook.com/AftertheAbductionUK

From downright heavy, to pretty next! Another band I have seen on many occasions is Countless Skies, and by this point I am pretty sure they are sick of the sight of me. Especially after running into them in Slovenia, of all places. Countless Skies hold a special place for me as I am a massive Melodic Death Metal fan, and I have always considered these guys to be amongst the best in the genre! I own every album/EP they have released, and about 3 of their t-shirts. Anyway, enough fanboying! On to their set. It was simply beautiful. The backing tracks were at a perfect level as to not overpower the guitars, and there were some stunning keys underneath what can only be described as breathtaking guitars. Their use of tapping really tugs on your heartstrings and you really feel the emotion within the songs just from the guitars alone. Once you add in the powerhouse of a voice that the bassist possesses, it takes the whole sound to a new level. We were treated to a few new songs from their new album, one of which, ‘Glow’, took up the majority of their set. This is not a complaint though, as it is brilliant. I would have loved this set to have been longer and would also have loved to have heard ‘Ethereal’ again, but I can’t use these points to mark down what was probably the most enjoyable and emotionally powerful set I have seen this year.

https://en-gb.facebook.com/CountlessSkies

Anyone who has seen a metal gig line-up will have probably seen a logo that stands out from all the others. Here it was a colourful, child-like design which looked as if someone was having a joke with the poster. But if you thought that, you would be wrong! Party-Cannon from Scotland are no joke, just heavy as hell fun! They were the last of the original bands tonight and brought with them a party like no other. We had a huge amount of inflatables, as well as bags of party balloons. The crowd went wild for this and we ended up with numerous crowd surfers on top of an inflatable shark (most of whom fell off immediately), and a set that had nonstop circle pits, spin kicks, and general violence! Crowd aside, Party-Cannon play a good mix of grindcore and slam, but their overall sound is very different from the usual slam bands I see them play with. There’s a lot more emphasis on the riffs and the groove within the songs, coupled with some utterly filthy gutturals which make it just damn dirty! They do also add slam elements to their sound, but their breakdowns aren’t the usual slam style. There is a bit more to them than that, and I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly, but damn I like it. Party-Cannon are not only brutal and enjoyable to watch, but also add the element of entertainment when it comes to getting the crowd going. I have not seen a band have this much control over the mayhem that’s ensuing before them, and it is impressive. This was again an absolute blast to watch!

https://www.facebook.com/PartyCannonUK/

We ended the night with Badger and the Mushrooms, a covers band that, obviously, with the name, played Badgerfest. Last time they had a half hour set to open a festival, this time we had about an hour and they were the headliners. Now, obviously being a covers band, I can’t comment on their music creativity, and unfortunately there were quite a few mess ups within the set which were noticeable. Having said that, they are fun, and the whole point of this set wasn’t to be serious or show off. It was to entertain. And that they very much did. While we had the usual Rock/Metal covers of artists such as Disturbed, Metallica and Ozzy Osborne, tonight we had a few extras, including a Christmas song, a ballad from Alter Bridge (blackbird) and my personal highlight, ‘Gay Bar’. I am not going to sit here and tell you this was a brilliant set or musically they’re the best covers band, but what I will say is it was the perfect way to close this all dayer. The whole crowd dancing, the whole crowd singing along, and everyone leaving the venue with a massive smile on their face. That is what Badger and the Mushrooms are about, having a good ol’ party!

This was a fantastic gig with a fantastic line-up, Badger really has a knack for putting on gigs like this now, and I love them. Sadly, the venue not being finished and nearly every set having some form of technical difficulties did let the day down a little. But really this shouldn’t take away from what was a truly awesome gig. I enjoyed every band I saw, and would happily see them again. Badger, you should be proud of this one!

One other note was for the bar man, Jake, who was the most helpful and chatty bar man I have had the pleasure of being served by. He went above and beyond!

Bagerfest Promotions:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. 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.

Rob’s Review of 2021

Rob’s Review of 2021
By Rob Sutton

Beth here! Our newest addition to the team, Rob, has been a busy beaver for his highlights review of 2021! Not only has he done top ten albums, but he’s also done top ten EPs, and top ten live performances, too! Check out his comprehensive review of the year that live music sort of got back on track, just about! 

2021 has been a strange year, the first half was spent sitting in doors, and then suddenly we were all allowed to do what we wanted! We have had everything from online festivals to sit down gigs and then back to normality. One thing that has remained fairly normal has been the constant stream of new albums and EPs, though. So, without further ado, up first is my personal top 10 albums.

10 – Bullet for my Valentine – “Bullet for my Valentine”

Bullet For My Valentine came out of the blocks with “The Poison” back in 2005 and it was a stunning album. Since then for me they never quite got back to the quality that album had. Until now, BFMV have come back with a bang, and without the gimmicks. For me this is their first proper Metal album, and has some cracking riffs and even some breakdowns. Matt has also gone back to using more growls than screams, which personally appeals to me greatly. 

Bullet For My Valentine Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/BulletForMyValentine

9 – Our Hollow, Our Home – “Burn in the Flood”

Our Hollow, Our Home has been a band I have followed since watching them on 2019’s Never Say Die Tour and I absolutely fell in love with their sound. Their combination of Pop Punk style beats and choruses mixed with true Metalcore breakdowns and growls is something very different from the rest of the genre. This album perfectly encapsulates their sound and the addition of Rio from Crystal Lake on ‘Remember Me’ is simply brilliant.

Burn In The Flood Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/ourhollowourhome

8 – Dreamshade – “A Pale Blue Dot”

These guys are a band that randomly came on my spotify playlists while working, and since then I have not stopped listening to this album. It is so darn catchy! Their guitar work is reminiscent of the Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal scene. Throw this in with some Hardcore style vocals and you have something that is unlike anything else. My personal favourites from this album have to be ‘Shanghai Nights’ and ‘Stone Cold Digital’, again so freaking catchy!

A Pale Blue Dot Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/dreamshadeband

7 – Imminence – “Heaven in Hiding”

The Architects style Metalcore is something that has been replicated and imitated by many bands in this day and age and while MetalHammer put this down as almost plagiarism, I wholeheartedly disagree! There are so many more layers in this album, the addition of a violin is just spine tinglingly pretty. There’s also a much more melancholy feel to each song, as opposed to being upbeat, which is actually welcomed. They aren’t as catchy as some of my other picks here but Imminence offer something a little different from your standard Metalcore.

Heaven In Hiding Album Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/imminenceswe

6 – Architects – “For Those That Wish To Exist”

I’m sure by now you can tell I like my Metalcore, so it was probably obvious that Architects would be one here. “For Those That Wish To Exist” was a slight change to their usual style, the Nu-Metal influences were clear in songs such as ‘Animals’. Architects have been a blueprint for many bands recently, so for them to evolve away from the norm was refreshing.

For Those That Wish To Exist Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/architectsuk

5 – Ex Deo – “The Thirteen Years Of Nero”

Ex Deo, a band consisting of members of Kataklysm, who said at Metaldays they don’t deal with gimmicks, have a side project that is just that. Aside from the roman theme, the Death Metal on offer here is in your face heavy. The additions of keys make this really feel like it would have been composed by a Roman. I love the concept, I love the music, and this album is how quirky bands should be – more about the music with the theme on top!

The Thirteen Years Of Nero Album Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/exdeo

4 – Vola – “Witness”

Straight up I have to point out that there isn’t a scream or growl in sight on this album and “Witness” is the only one on my list like that. Vocally, Vola are incredible. Riffs, Vola are jaw dropping, and the technicality in the music is just phenomenal. I have had this album on repeat so many times in my car, singing along to ‘Head Mounted Sideways’.

Witness Album Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/volaband/

3 – Arcaeon – “Cascadence”

A late addition to my list, as I only discovered these at November’s Techabilitation, but my god this album is good! Vocally, there are notes I didn’t even think a singer could hit – just listen to ‘Origin of Dreams’ or ‘Ezekiel’s Wheel’! Musically, this is up there with the likes of Periphery. The whole album is just a massive show off of talent and pure Progressive/Djent perfection. Every time I listen to this album I get goose bumps and not many albums do that.

Cascadence Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/arcaeonuk/

2 – Spiritbox – “Eternal Blue”

Again, probably predictable on this list, but that is for good reason. This album has taken the Metal world by storm. Before 2021, no-one knew who Spiritbox were, now they are almost a household name. This album was greatly anticipated after songs like ‘Holy Roller’ were released. They did not disappoint! Eternal Blue is simply stunning from start to finish.

Eternal Blue Album Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/Spiritboxofficial

1 – Annisokay – “Aurora”

For anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for metalcore, this list has made that obvious. This year produced Aurora, probably one of my most played albums of all time now. It is again stupidly catchy and vocally beautiful. Songs such as STFU highlight the bands ability to be straight up heavy while others like Bonfire of the Millennial add a much slower feel to them. This album comes with recommendations from Within Temptation after Sharon worked with the guitarist for a song. These guys aren’t very well known and seriously deserve a lot more recognition, this album is the soundtrack to my 2021!

Aurora Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/annisokay/info

Rob’s Review of 2021 – Part 2: EPs

2021 also produced some stunning EPs, so I thought a quick ‘top 5’ were worth a mention.

5 – Attack! Attack! – “Long Time No Sea”

Yes I know they are a meme band from the MySpace era and we all used to joke about their constant use of crabcore. These guys did inspire an entire genre and then disappeared off the face of the earth. Strangely I was happy when I saw this was coming out as, despite all their faults, I did really enjoy them. “Long Time No Sea” shows they have grown up a little. Gone are the overly auto tuned cleans, and we are left with a solid singing voice that is quality on its own merit. The EP felt stripped back from the early days without losing too much of what made Attack! Attack! Legends.

Long Time No Sea EP Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/attackattackus

4 – Insomnium – “Argent Moon”

I love my pretty Melodic Death Metal, and for me Insomnium are among the best at it. Each release never fails to send me to a state of pure relaxation. “Argent Moon” isn’t anything new for them, but for me a slight evolution on “Heart Like a Grave”. Trying to fix something that isn’t broken springs to mind with this EP. “Argent Moon” is simply beautiful.

Argent Moon EP Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/insomniumofficial/

3 – Orbit Culture – “Shaman”

If I was making a list last year these guys would have had album of the year, alas all I can add on here is “Shaman”. This is a small addition to “Nija”, and just feels like they have added 5 more songs to the album. They haven’t changed much in a year, but that’s fine; their cross between Metallica and Gojira is just sublime. I think Orbit Culture have the most headbangable riffs in Metal at the moment.

Shaman Ep Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/OrbitCulture

2 – Impending Doom – “Hellbent”

Deathcore feels like a dying genre, but there are still a few gems hiding out there. Impending Doom are one of them. This EP is heavy and relentless, 20 minutes of some delicious breakdowns, bleughs, and blast beats. I wish they had made an album as it has been so many years since new material, and this made me want to walk outside and throw something. AHHHH ANGER!

Hellbent EP Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/impendingdoom/

1 – Lorna Shore – “…And I Return to Nothingness”

Lorna Shore had the misfortune of having to replace a vocalist; this can be make or break for a band. In this case it has made the band into one of the biggest in the scene. Their mix of Synths and Black Metal elements may be some that are used with other bands, but they are simply terrifying here. Throw in some face melting breakdowns and you have proper Deathcore. Okay, this is all good but the real reason these guys have hit the big time is that voice! There is nothing in the Metal genre that comes close. If you haven’t listened to ‘To The Hellfire’, then do so. You will see why this is number 1.

And I Return To Nothingness EP Cover Art

https://en-gb.facebook.com/LornaShore

Rob’s Review of 2021 – Part 3: Live sets

Seeing as I have managed to go to so many live gigs this year I thought it was only right to make a top 10. Now obviously, I have seen hundreds of bands this year, and each one was quality on their own merit. This was by far and away the hardest list to make.

10 – Recall the Remains – Grand Central

Grand Central this year has put on some fantastic shows, but for me the set performed by Recall the Remains was head and shoulders above the rest. The sheer power in the voices and cracking stage presence was just stunning. This for me was better than their set at Badgerfest, which many had down as one of the sets of the festival!

https://www.facebook.com/recalltheremains


9 – Asleep at the Helm – The Waterloo

Asleep at the Helm were utterly brilliant at this gig, and being the first band on, they set the bar incredibly high for the rest of the night. Vocally, they are almost unmatched in the underground Metalcore scene, and the crowd here were bouncing and singing along to almost every song.

https://www.facebook.com/AsleepAtTheHelmOfficial


8 – Blood Church – The Gifford Arms

If you want to witness a stupidly heavy band, then Blood Church are for you! This set was filled with Black Metal ambience and insanely heavy breakdowns, not to mention one of the best pig squeals I have heard all year. They not only destroyed the venue but for me were the best band on the bill.

https://www.facebook.com/BloodChurchBand/

7 – Harbinger – Techabillitation

I couldn’t have a live list without this set. Harbingers entire set was spent with me pitting, spin kicking, or on someone’s back. I absolutely broke myself to these guys and was one of the few times this year I fully got involved when at a show. Pure aggression and brilliant stage presence!

https://en-gb.facebook.com/harbingerriffs/

6 – Solar Shift – Techabillitation

Another one from Techabillitation. SolarShift I have reviewed on a number of occasions this year, and their set in Oldham was a little lacklustre, but here everything came together beautifully. As a last minute addition to the bill they were very much welcomed. This set was exactly what SolarShift are all about, great fun and of course… BOUNCE!

https://www.facebook.com/solarshiftmusic

5 – Grief Ritual – Badgerfest

Grief Ritual are probably one of my finds of the year, their Black Metal/ Hardcore crossover is simply brilliant, and they were the band that really kicked off Badgerfest for me. Not only that, but they also gave me a sore neck, which I had to endure for the rest of the weekend. This whole set was heavy and aggressive and I simply loved it.

https://www.facebook.com/griefritual/

4 – Dreameater – Breadshed

This was a last minute gig for me, and I honestly hadn’t heard of Dreameater before, but their ability to flick between genres during a set, all while keeping their sound was stunning. They were brutal and I have been listening to them non-stop since. Their new album, “Cold”, is also worth checking out!

https://www.facebook.com/dreameaterukband/

3 – Necronautical – Bloodstock

Surprisingly the only Bloodstock band on here! This wasn’t to say the bands weren’t good at Bloodstock, more that there were so many quality gigs as well. Necronautical were my stand out band at BOA though. Their take on Symphonic Black Metal with the assistance of 2 opera singers (male and female) was gorgeous. The entire set was spine tinglingly good, and will forever be ingrained in my memory.

https://en-gb.facebook.com/Necronautical/

2 – Arcaeon – Techabillitation

As I have mentioned with my album list, these guys are incredibly talented and this translated fantastically on stage. Although down a guitarist, this didn’t feel thin or light, but was just jaw droppingly good. Not to mention the entire band had massive smiles on their face the whole way through the set, and the vocalist must be one of the happiest vocalists I have seen. The whole set was just perfection and I highly recommend checking these guys if you get a chance.

https://www.facebook.com/arcaeonuk/

1 – Countless Skies – Rebellion

A very late addition to this list as I had already started writing it before I went to this gig! However, I simply could not ignore this set. Countless Skies performed an utterly beautiful set that was littered with stunning guitar work and a magnificent voice to accompany. I was left completely speechless afterwards and in a state of awe. I may have seen Countless Skies countless times but each time they amaze me, and for me this was the most enjoyable set of the year.

https://en-gb.facebook.com/CountlessSkies

Honourable mentions:

Just a few other things that impressed me or I thought deserved a mention.

Badgerfest – As a whole this was by far and away the best run of the 3 festivals I have been to this year.
https://www.facebook.com/badgerfestival/

Portrayal of Ruinn – For smashing their headline set in Eccles https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn/

0161 MUMC/And Heavy Metal for Wigan – For consistently putting on top quality gigs all year
https://www.facebook.com/0161MUMC/
https://www.facebook.com/andheavymetalforwigan

The Cartographer/From Her Ashes – for being lovely to an unknown drunk northerner at Techabillitation. (Me) 
https://www.facebook.com/TheCartographerUK
https://www.facebook.com/fromherashes

Ever Metal – for giving me a platform to write about the music I so dearly love!

Thrashatouille – for being the best band in the world, ever, and who need signing to every record label so they can take over the world one pizza slice at a time! (I joke this is my band).
https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille/

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.

Severenth w/ Karma’s Puppet and The Shuffle – The Swan With Two Necks, Macclesfield

Severenth at The Swan With Two Necks

Severenth w/ Karma’s Puppet and The Shuffle
The Swan With Two Necks, Macclesfield
3rd December 2021
Review by Robb Sutton

It’s been many years since I’ve been to Macclesfield, and to The Swan With Two Necks, which was a venue/pub I loved as it has an intimate and homely feel to it. Going back there was a proper blast from the past, and it still has the same friendly atmosphere and probably the best smoking area of any venue I have been to this year! I called it ‘Granny’s Shed’ as that was the feel of it: sofas, old décor and lovely blankets everywhere.

Tonight wasn’t about Granny’s Shed however! It was about 3 bands. First up was The Shuffle, an Alt Rock/Metalish band who I’m sure I had seen in their previous guise Monkey Shuffle. This was their first gig in a very long time. The band said they had been going for 19 years, and their longevity shows, as they offer up a very nostalgic, MySpace era feel, with the nod your head riffs and pop/punk style vocals. Mix these with a couple of cheeky screams and it all fits together very nicely. It reminded me of Alexisonfire, a band I used to be into as a teenager, it’s the mid 00’s vibes that really get you going. To me this is what The Shuffle are, a fantastic trip down memory lane, although I did feel like there was one song too many in this set. But that’s a minor setback for what was a solid and truly enjoyable set.

https://www.facebook.com/theshuffleuk

Next up was a band I have seen a lot of online but never managed to see in the flesh, Karma’s Puppet. They certainly had an air of professionalism about them, with the stage covered in their logos, and a cheeky box for the vocalist to stand on. Karma’s Puppet seem to take influences from many places in music, most notably for me was the Lamb of God influenced riffs, which offered the grunt and speed to their set, and this was backed up with some solid drum beats as well. They seem to take a lot of influence from the Metalcore genre as well, adding a mix of both clean and growled singing. The growling was really good, it fitted beautifully with the pace of the songs, the singing however was not so much to my taste. It isn’t bad, but it reminded me of Billy Idol. It does work with their sound, but just isn’t quite my usual go to style. Karma’s Puppet as a whole performed a brilliant set, and from this, I can see why so many people were wearing their t-shirts, myself included. They are carving a name for themselves in the North West, and performances like this will be a reason why I would see them again.

https://www.facebook.com/karmaspuppet/

Finally was a band I have seen many times over the last decade, as well as having the honour of standing on stage with them at this year’s Bloodstock! It is, of course, Severenth. Each time I’ve seen them this year they have only had a half hour set, but this time was a full 45 minutes. This meant we were treated to the usual tracks, such as ‘Reveal’ and ‘Two Mirrors’, but also some others, including a brand new as yet unnamed track. This was a personal highlight for me, as it gave a glimpse into what’s to come in the next year for this band. Although, the new song still kept to the Severenth ‘UK band doing a German Metalcore’ sound, it did sound fresh. This performance was filled with little gems for us to enjoy; from the blistering drums to the jaw dropping dual guitar solos. Top this all off with a delicious mix of clean and screamed vocals and you have the recipe for a fantastic set. We were also treated to a really old song from their back catalogue, ‘Age of Paranoia’, which was a song I used to jam to so many times as a teenager. Here it did feel dated, though it was nice to hear the old song again. Severenth are one of those bands you can sing along to, mosh to, but most importantly, really enjoy watching, just hope they remember to get the merch out! Until next time boys!

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth


One thing to note about this gig was the absence of a sound tech, this meant all the bands tonight were adjusting their own sound or helping others do so, this really shows the many talents that are hidden in the underground scene. It was another cracking gig with good bands, good music and lovely people. What more can you ask for?

The Swan With Two Necks Links:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. 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.

Badgerfest 2021: Day 2 – The Bread Shed, Manchester – Saturday 16th October 2021

Badgerfest 2021 Poster

Badgerfest 2021: Day 2
The Bread Shed, Manchester
Saturday 16th October 2021
Review By Rob Sutton
Photography by Sheri Bicheno

Day 2 was here and it was time to head back to the Bread Shed, filled up with Maccies, to try and relieve the fuzzy head from the night before! Day 2, was the first day proper, where things really kicked off – 14 bands over 2 stages, and I decided that today would definitely require stamina!

Aside from a Maccies, a great way to get rid of a hangover is Telford based Metalcore heavyweights, Recall the Remains. These guys kicked the day off in perfect fashion with some old school metalcore. They use a fantastic blend of brutality and melody, not only in the guitars, but also vocally. The clean vocals provided by the guitarist are beautiful and look effortless as he sings and riffs simultaneously, backed by the familiar growls and screams from the lead vocalist. These guys have the genre covered to a tee, adding breakdowns which aren’t just chugs, and are refreshing from the majority of metalcore out these days. They had energy in abundance and a fantastic chemistry between the members on stage, this all led to them being marked as one of the bands of the festival and setting the benchmark for everyone else exceptionally high!

https://www.facebook.com/recalltheremains

Over to the second stage, and I will point out that it isn’t the biggest of stages and has a massive pillar in the middle, so probably isn’t the easiest stage to perform on. Opening this stage were Manchester based Metal/Rock band, Ashen Reach. These guys I have heard of before, but never actually had the chance to watch them. They don’t disappoint, as again they’re full of energy, and cleared up what was left of the hangover. Ashen Reach also utilise multiple vocalists, but using a singing style, as opposed to growls (although there were a couple of cheeky screams here and there). The harmonies were impressive and make your hairs stand on end, there was a lot of the rock influenced ‘oos’ which I think were perhaps a little overused within the set, but don’t let that take away from their phenomenal performance. Not only are they musically very engaging, but they really pump the crowd up and get them all singing along. A great way to open the second stage but I was left confused as to why the vocalist disappeared off stage for a whole section of a song?

https://www.facebook.com/ashenreach

From the upbeat of the second stage, to the eerie and horror themed antics of The Injester. These guys certainly brought something different to the festival, all wearing masks, covered in blood and with some creepy sounding keys in the background. Sadly this didn’t work for me, there was a lot less punch compared to the previous 2 bands, and it felt a little bit cobbled together and all over the place. This maybe the style they are going for, but it didn’t do anything for me, although it was an interesting watch.

The Injester live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/TheInjester

Callus is another band that I have heard a lot about but never actually seen. They brought their Stoner Metal to the second stage, with some absolutely belting riffs which got not only mine, but many heads in the crowd nodding. It’s much slower pace than the previous bands, but this is a welcomed change to the day. They performed a tight solid set, and I would certainly recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre.

https://www.facebook.com/Callus.band

Today seemed to be a lot slower pace than Friday’s brutality. And to this end, back on the main stage were Netherhall. They brought a much calmer performance to the day, and while the crowd look to struggle to fully engage with their take on Progressive Metal, I personally enjoyed it. I loved the weird beats and the tone these guys have, not to mention the almost Tesseract style voice that overlays. While metal is mainly headbanging and mosh pits, I found myself closing my eyes and losing myself completely in the music. There was minimal crowd interaction here which is possibly why they didn’t seem to get much engagement back, I think the set is just about the music and it is simply gorgeous to listen to!

https://www.facebook.com/NetherhallUK

Sadly, with only 5 minutes between bands, there was always going to be the odd band I missed. From what I very briefly heard from Everest Queen, they sounded solid, but I can’t say much more, as I missed a lot of their set.

https://www.facebook.com/everestqueenband

A few weeks ago, I travelled up to Wolverhampton to watch Black Tongue, and supporting them was our next band, Ashen Crown. At that gig they didn’t quite fit the theme of the night, so didn’t end up with the reaction they deserved. No such problems for them this afternoon, as they drew the biggest crowd of the whole weekend, honestly you could barely move or even get in! This is what Ashen Crown is about, fast music, lots of pits, and heads banging! This set was crushing and even with some sound issues at the beginning, they pressed on with absolute precision and professionalism. They may have played the Sophie stage at Bloodstock this year, but after such domination of a stage, they are well on track to be headlining festivals like this, and easily becoming top of their genre! This was simply incredible and by far the best I’ve seen them play!

Ashen Crown live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk

Throughout the last few months, we have gotten used to band members having to miss gigs, but what has been fantastic to see is they way bands have adapted to the unusual circumstances. Ascaris were a drummer down, and using, as they described, the most expensive drummer – a laptop. I will say their drummer was beautifully in time! In fairness the remaining 2 were also both extremely tight. They bring a brutal mix of Black and Death Metal, without using the cheesy corpse paint or hail Satan phrase. These guys play fast, and their hands are blurs on the fret boards. It was a solid performance. If you like your Blackened Death Metal fast, relentless and incredibly polite, Ascaris have you covered!

Askaris live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/AscarisOfficial

Back for some more Stoner Metal next. As I’ve said, it isn’t my genre of choice, but King Goat brought another brilliant performance, all while allowing the smell of incense to fill the room. It was slow, great riffs, all performed fantastically. Again, I would recommend checking them out if this is your style.

https://www.facebook.com/kinggoatbri

Next, and from across the border, was Godeater! I first heard about these guys when I saw them announced for Bloodstock. They were heavy then, and they were even heavier here! These Glaswegians have so much energy I’m not sure how they got through the set. Not one of them stopped moving for the full half hour, apart from the drummer because well… drummer! There is so much weight to their take on Deathcore, and they were by far the heaviest band of the day so far, and the pits show that! They were in full swing and mighty at that. 

Their tasteful use of samples adds just a little bit more to their overall sound and made them sound huge! It’s always a risk as a vocalist to go into a pit, more so if the mic is wired, but here he did (someone give this guy a wireless mic, as I’m pretty sure a few people tripped up). What impressed me about this was even though he was in the pit, he continued to deliver flawless vocals and this is all while being bashed from pillar to post! The only thing that let them down was the slightly flat cleans, but they did again add another layer, and along with the samples, really stand these guys out in the Deathcore scene. Honestly, these guys are a band to watch in the future, they’re brutally heavy, full of energy and perform to an exceptionally high standard. Godeater are the full package!

https://www.facebook.com/godeateruk

Continuing the theme of heavy were Blood Oath, and with their blood-soaked attire, I was expecting a strong Black Metal influence here. But I was wrong. What we were met with was a concoction of many extreme genres, predominantly Death Metal, and yes there was plenty to headbang to here. I don’t think there was a single head still in the crowd for these guys, as they drew one of the bigger crowds for the second stage. We were also blessed with some new material and boy does it sound HUGE. I really am excited to go and watch this when it’s released. Blood Oath are insanely tight, have some soaring riffs and solos, with some machine gun-esque drums, all with vocal styles from a catalogue of genres, did I hear a bree? These guys were fantastic, and for me my favourite of the second stage, and my find of the day!

Blood Oath live at Badgergest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/BloodOathUK

For many years my friends have been banging on about Red Method and how I really need to see them, well, now I have! All dressed in red, rather appropriately, they bring a mix of Nu-Metal and Djent, with a sound resembling that of old school Slipknot, albeit on ironing boards (8 string guitars). They performed with sheer aggression and passion; they are in your face heavy! I loved the addition of the keys and samples all played live, and not on backing tracks, though I was amazed the keyboard remained in one piece after seeing what AVD (keys) did to them when he was in The Defiled. One thing I love about watching heavy bands do breakdowns is all the members headbanging in sync, Red Method pulled this off fantastically and got the whole room bowing! While the cleans aren’t the best in the world, they were clear enough to get half the crowd singing along, and this was the first time I’d properly seen this crowd sing. Red Method sound so heavy that no amount of gym time would be able to pick them up, they have a new fan, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Red Method live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/RedMethodBand

More Sludgy music from the second stage was next, with King Witch. This Stoner band is fronted by a lady, and her voice is beautiful, almost like a Siren soaring over the down tuned heaviness provided by the guitars and bass. Again, it’s not my genre of choice, and does mean I can’t say too much on them, but they felt a bit different and they were enjoyable.

https://www.facebook.com/kingwitch

So, onto our headliners and they come with a serious reputation behind them. They have opened the main stage at Bloodstock a few years ago where a very, very hungover Rob attempted to stand and watch them but instead fell into a heap on the floor. Luckily, no such issues today though I am kicking myself for not watching them fully at Bloodstock… Krysthla destroyed it here! They are filled with incredible riffs that had me windmilling away, and pretending I had the faintest idea how to play guitar. Added to that were some incredibly consistent growls, and some nice cleans in the mix, too! They remind me of Divine Heresy, a band I used to absolutely love! There were blast beats, rapid guitars; just everything about this set was on point and tight. I’m not normally a person who ends up raving about a headliner but in this case they are by far one of the best headliners I have seen at a festival. I was left in awe, is there anything these guys don’t have? Massive pits? Check. Crowd surfing? Check. Taking Rob’s money as he heads to the merch table? Check. What a band, what a show and what a way to end day 2!

Krysthla live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/krysthla

I learnt a few things today, I can smoke a cigarette in less than 5 minutes, the quality of the bands at this festival is insane, and that I either needed to have taken someone who knows about Stoner bands, or learn more about the genre myself! Nevertheless day 2 was insane! 

Badgerfest Links:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. 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.

Badgerfest 2021: Day 1 – The Bread Shed, Manchester – Friday 15th October 2021

Badgerfest 2021 Poster

Badgerfest 2021: Day 1
The Bread Shed, Manchester
Friday 15th October 2021
Review By Rob Sutton
Photography by Sheri Bicheno

This was a weekend I’d been looking forward to for a long time! Good friends, good bands, and beer. Day one was the shortest of the 3 and only had the main stage open, but this worked nicely as a warm-up into the rest of the weekend.

Kicking things off were Badger and the Mushrooms. By the name of them, I wasn’t expecting anything too serious, and this became immediately apparent, as Danny (Prognosis/Bass) was wearing possibly the darkest sunglasses known to humankind! The whole band has been put together by the main man himself, John Badger, who was in his usual place, behind the kit. Joining him onstage were a selection of the most talented musicians in the Manchester scene, Arun (Beyond Salvation/Guitars), Johnny (Zebedy/Archetype/Guitars). and Nathan (40,000 Leagues/Vocals). All of these guys were there for one purpose only, to kick the festival off in style. There were no original tracks, just a selection of covers, ranging from Rage Against The Machine to Disturbed, all performed flawlessly, really giving the crowd a chance to get a few beers down them while singing along to rock and metal classics. One thing that caught my eye in particular was Nathan’s voice. While I have seen him in his band many times before, this performance really showcases just how good his voice is – he was on point! Great way to kick things off!

Badger And The Mushrooms at Bagder Fest

Next up, and the beginning of the originals, were Manchester based BruteAllies. I have seen these guys before and what stuck in my head was the awesome light up coat worn by the singer, it’s quite something! These guys are loud, and they provided us with some cracking riffs backed with heavy beats, and brute-al Randy Blythe style vocals. The crowd seemed to love it and so did I. The swap between the bassist and guitarist highlighted their ability to play anything on anything, too. This was their first gig back after the global hiatus, and it did feel like there were some nerves on stage (also the joy of being the first band on), so I feel like there is still more energy to come from them,  once they get back into the swing of things. If you like fast, heavy music, these are a band I would recommend!

BruteAllies at Badger Fest

https://www.facebook.com/BruteAllies

From the lights of a coat, to the darkness of blackened hardcore next, from the insanely heavy Grief Ritual, who hail from the South West UK. This performance was in your face and relentless! From intense breakdowns to pained screams these guys had all basses covered. Speaking of bass, the bassist was bouncing around like Tigger on Red Bull! His feet were barely on the ground! To contrast this, the vocalist genuinely looked like he was ready for a cage fight – truly invested and passionate in the music. This was a tight set from a band I honestly had never heard of before, and I found myself headbanging for the entire set, and lapping up every blastbeat and every riff these guys could throw at me. The set flew by and I was left wanting more. One of my finds of the year!

Grief Ritual at Badgerfest

https://www.facebook.com/griefritual

Basement Torture Killings are a band I have listened to for a while now. A punishing grindcore band who leave no teddy bear ungutted in their quest for raw speed and precision. This performance surprised me; I was not expecting the voice I heard to come out of the tiny lady on stage. She has an incredible voice and probably one of the best death metal voices in the underground scene. The music is brutal, and the stage show matches, although in a slightly more comedic way. We witnessed the beheading of a beloved teddy, who’s head made its way onto an audience member’s head, and from what I heard, caught the attention of the Manchester police, too (probably confused). This was a very enjoyable set and continued the heavy theme of the night fantastically.

Basement Torture Killings at Badger Fest

https://www.facebook.com/Basementtorturekillings

With the penultimate act of the night, Agvirre, we saw the return of John Badger behind the kit. This was the second time in as many months that I had seen them, and while last time I didn’t quite get into the music, this time was a bit different. I think the bigger stage suited them. I felt the angst in the voice and the pain in the music. While they’re different from the previous 2 bands, being more on the Post-Black Metal side, it still strangely fitted tonight’s theme. Musically, they are very different and grab influences from many genres. They were an interesting and (this time) enjoyable watch, though I’m not sure why the keyboard faces away from the crowd. From the audience comments I heard, they made a lot of new fans, and rightly so. This was a solid, dark, and almost depressing (in a good way) 35 minutes that I would happily watch again.

https://www.facebook.com/agvirrewrath

Tonight’s atmosphere had been building up for one thing, and I’m not talking about a hangover on Saturday morning! I’m talking about UK grindcore legends, Foetal Juice. Somehow, this was actually the first time I have seen them, and I was not disappointed! The speed and technicality these guys displayed tonight was the very reason why they played on the Bloodstock main stage. Pits were in full swing to just about every song, and heads were furiously banging away! These guys provide no rest, just a constant assault on your ear drums. Remaining professional during technical issues is something a lot of bands struggle with, but while there were some issues here,  Foetal Juice powered through, so the energy of their performance didn’t waver in any way. Ending day one with a band like this ensured the audience won’t be able to headbang for the rest of the weekend… Oh well, it was worth it! Perfect headliner to round out day one!

Foetal Juice at Badger Fest

https://www.facebook.com/FoetalJuice

This may have only been the first day, but my neck hurt, I felt an impending hangover looming! Judging by the rest of the audience, I wasn’t going to be the only one feeling a little worse for wear on Saturday morning. Fantastic first day and every band smashed it, bring on day 2!

Badgerfest Links:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. 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.

Sodomized Cadaver w/ Colpocleisis, Exhumation, and Navnlos – 14/11/2021

Sodomized Cadaver Live Rooms November 2021 Poster

Sodomized Cadaver
w/ Colpocleisis, Exhumation, and Navnlos
The Live Rooms, Chester – 14/11/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

It’s not very often you see gigs on in Chester, which is a shame, as the Live Rooms is a fantastic venue, boasting 2 stages. The main stage is huge, and gives a feel of Manchester’s academy, although for this gig we were in the smaller front room. This gives punters more seating without losing too much space, and the stage is smaller, but doesn’t offer any less of the experience.

First up were local boys Navnlos, a band I have seen before, but these days it’s a completely different line up, with only one original member remaining. This was their first gig after the pandemic, and they have shown massive amounts of improvement. Their Death Metal sound feels so much more refined than before. Unfortunately, I only managed to catch 2 songs, and one of those I was at the bar, so I can’t say much on their set. But from what I heard they have improved a lot and I shall have to check them out properly.

https://www.facebook.com/Navnlosband/

Second on was Liverpool Metal 2 the Masses winners, Exhumation. These guys I hadn’t seen since they won their competition, and I hadn’t seen their name about too much either. Their sound consists of influences mainly from the Death Metal genre, I heard a lot of Cannibal Corpse in the music, but vocally, while we had a lot of the familiar grunts, we also had an addition of pig squeals. This all added to a more modern feel than a lot of Death Metal out at the moment. Exhumation also managed to pull in possibly the biggest crowd of the evening, which helped them perform what was a deliciously brutal set; however it still sounded very much the same as last time I saw them. In saying this, I will definitely be on the look out to watch them again.

https://www.facebook.com/ExhumationBand

When listening to slam on recording I find it difficult to get into the style. The humour seems lost in the indistinguishable grunts and squeals. But live is a completely different story. Colpoclesis, from both Manchester and Liverpool, took to the stage and immediately brought even more heaviness to an already heavy gig. While the grunts from the vocalist remain fairly indistinguishable, it was much easier to appreciate them. I still am unsure if these sounds are actually human. Couple this with some breakneck slam beats, and ruthless drums, and you end up with a barrage of sheer brutality. The humour I mentioned earlier comes out more between songs, where you actually hear the song names, and in some cases a bit of a story. There is something rather amusing hearing song titles such as ‘Back, Sack and Smack’ and ‘Brokesmack Mountain.’ This was coupled with some utterly bizarre intro samples, most notably the Chuckle Brothers engaging in a sexual act with each other. Throwing all this together leaves you with a set you either want to headbang ferociously to, or throw down! It was a fantastic bit of escapism and sets like this really keeps me interested in this genre.

https://www.facebook.com/colpocleisis/

Sodomized Cadaver have made a name for themselves recently with their intense speed and precision. This show was no exception. While the band has been reduced to a mere 2 members, sound wise you really can’t tell. I am utterly amazed that a band can sound this heavy with only 1 guitar and no bassist. Not only this but he is on vocal duties as well. This is truly a sight to behold, and anyone who says men can’t multi-task need to see this. The drummer also added a massive amount to the sound; he is not only rapid on the double kick, but really adds the groovy feel to the riffs. The whole set felt beautifully structured and brilliantly executed, which leaves me hardly surprised that they’re ending up playing the second stage at Bloodstock, along with numerous other festivals across the UK. These guys are an absolute must see for any Death Metal fan.

https://www.facebook.com/SodomizedCadaver/

For a Sunday night gig this was fairly well attended. While places like Manchester or Birmingham may bring more people in to a similar event, for a small city, this was a promising steppingstone in bringing a Metal scene back to Chester. North East Wales Metal Productions should have their heads held high with this one, as they managed to put together a disgustingly beautiful and brutal line up of Death Metal, and have a quality venue in their arsenal.

LINKS:

The Live Rooms:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

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.

Portrayal Of Ruinn w/ Cast In Tephra, I Am The Wreckage, and Biomech Wangies, Eccles – 13/11/2021

Portrayal Of Ruinn at Wangies Poster

Portrayal Of Ruinn
w/ Cast In Tephra, I Am The Wreckage, and Biomech
Wangies, Eccles – 13/11/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

Tonight was the first time I had ventured to Eccles for a gig! And on first observation, before I start talking about the bands, I have to say Wangies is a cracking little venue, filled with character and some of the loveliest bar staff around. The whole place has a lovely homely local venue feel about it. That made the prospect of live music even more great!

First up was a band I knew nothing about. I hadn’t listened to them before hand or heard the name until this gig, though there was a familiar face behind the kit in Aaron, who I have seen in many of his previous bands. Biomech are a mix of Tech Death, with elements of Deathcore, and their influences are clear to see. The tone of the solitary guitar has a delicious crunchy sound to it, and gives their overall sound a meaty fee. This is coupled with some blistering drumming, and some of the fastest double bass, I have heard in a long time. The drums really are solid and jaw dropping to watch. Biomech also utilise backing tracks to create some added ambience to their music, and this includes the lead guitars. While this is all well and good, I honestly would have preferred the leads to be played live with the backing tracks being the rhythm guitars. I do like to see bands show off, and Biomech missed a trick here. This set felt a little rough around the edges, but with a bit more practice these guys have the potential to go far, as they all clearly have a lot of talent.

https://www.facebook.com/biomechband/

Second up was a band I have been following since my first post lockdown gig. I Am The Wreckage seem to have built a name for themselves by, well, wrecking venues. This set was no exception; they were full of beans and leaping around like a bunch of scared gazelles. The bassist could be seen standing on amps, spinning around, or lying down on the stage. It’s hard to keep your eyes off him, but it wasn’t just limited to bass! The guitarist seems to be making a habit of starting the carnage by merely strolling into the crowd and knocking a few people around. It worked, as pits continue from here for the rest of their set. Musically, this did not seem as well polished as last time I saw them – the muddy tone of the guitar drowned out everything else, and left each song sounding rather messy and rushed. Saying that, there were a few moments where a very tasty riff would shine through, and everything came together neatly. This was by no means their best set, but it was packed with energy, and was an incredible amount of fun to watch and to join in.

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheWreckage/

Cast in Tephra travelled a long way to play this show. All the way from Newcastle to be exact. With them, they brought a new level of heavy to proceedings, mixing Slam and Deathcore together to create something that was ungodly heavy. Vocally, there is a cracking mix of styles, including some disgusting pig squeals. (I say disgusting as a good thing). There was plenty to headbang to here, and pit to, and they were again present throughout the set, and much more brutal than before. People were yet again getting thrown out the door, or falling into the bar, although that’s not a bad thing as you can just get another beer while you’re there! The use of samples for the intros was nicely done, and didn’t take away from their overall sound, in fact it was a fantastic addition. We were also treated to a few covers in this set, firstly for all the old school Deathcore fans, ‘Recreant’ by Chelsea Grin, which was performed beautifully and allowed me to sing along, much to the confusion of a few around me, as it seemed no one had got which song this was. Then, as the final song of the set, we were treated to ‘Roots’ by Sepultura, a classic! And this cover was probably one of the best I have heard a band play. My main criticism with this though is that they had a half hour set, and playing 2 covers felt like a waste, when their own material was of such a high quality. This actually left me really disappointed, as I felt like this could have been one of the best sets of the year, had I heard more of them, and not other peoples work. Saying this, they were enjoyable and were so close to playing an absolute blinder of set, hopefully next time one less cover will elevate the set higher.

https://www.facebook.com/CastInTephra/

Tonight was all about one band – a band I have reviewed on a number of occasions -but tonight was Portrayal of Ruinn’s first headline set. They continued exactly where Cast in Tephra left off. Pure, in your face brutality, and plenty of pits ahoy. Although the crowd may have thinned a little they show no signs of relenting. Portrayal played a mix of old and new songs throughout the set, and you could hear the crowd joining in on the more well known songs. They also began the set with an intro sample which thankfully this time didn’t continue playing through the first song. Apart from this there were no other samples in the set, and this was no bad thing as it gave Calvin (vocals) plenty of chance to pump the crowd. Portrayal have had critics in the past for not moving much on stage, tonight however, they were bouncing, moshing and generally getting in with the crowd. Doing this however caused an unusual issue, with a guitar getting tangled in the netting on the roof. This took a lot of time to untangle, but was hilarious to watch! This wasn’t the only problem they had with the netting, as while throwing some free t-shirts out, one managed to land perfectly in the netting as well. Portrayal also treated the crowd to a new song which I felt did need a little bit of work as it ended rather abruptly, and they didn’t look as confident playing it as their others. But this was a good time to try something different. They also brought a guest on for their latest single ‘Lifeless Life’, however I cannot comment on this song as the guest was me!! Portrayal of Ruinn have really grown in the last few months, a lot of gigs and hard work definitely seem to be paying off, as they dragged a huge crowd to this show. I can see 2022 being a very good year for these guys with this rate of progression.

https://pages.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn/

Portrayal and the 0161 have pulled another blinder of a gig; they really are showing that the Manchester scene is alive and kicking. This is a fantastic destination for any band in the underground scene.

LINKS:
0161 MUMC:

Wangies:

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.

Old Selves w/ Recall The Remains, Only The Righteous, and Death By Discourse

Old Selves at Grand Central Manchester Poster

Old Selves w/ Recall The Remains,
Only The Righteous, and Death By Discourse
Grand Central, Manchester – 11/11/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

The Coronavirus nearly stole Grand Central from the Manchester scene, with plans afoot to make it into a family restaurant. Luckily for local metal, it was saved, and brought back as the go to pub for metalheads. Not only this, but gigs have also resumed at the venue, which shows just how strong the scene in Manchester is.

Tonight, 4 bands took to the stage, the first of which being Death by Discourse. Sadly, due to some Mercedes driver deciding to have a crash on the road into Manchester, we were unable to catch them.

https://www.facebook.com/DeathByDiscourse/

First up for me then was Only the Righteous, a post-hardcore band from the North West. These guys have been floating around on my radar for a few months, but this was the first time I’ve managed to catch them. Sadly, they were missing a drummer, and thus had to make do with a drum machine. It worked for this gig, although being pre-programmed, they did lack punch. Luckily the rest of the band bouncing around made up for the missing member, and they spent pretty much every song fully engaging the audience, which was met with many audience members singing back at them. Vocally they seem to be going down the style of old school Underoath. However, while the more shouty style of screams really fit the genre, in this case it did sound strained, and I feel they need a lot of work. Only the Righteous also boast multiple members adding to the vocals, but for me this needed quite a bit more practice, as there were a few places where they were out of time with each other. Tonight’s show was fairly solid though. They got the crowd going, and warmed up for the evening, and above all, many people looked to be enjoying the show.

https://www.facebook.com/OTRBANDUK/

I had the pleasure of seeing Recall the Remains at BadgerFest a few weeks ago. They blew the audience away then, and tonight was much the same for them. Not only were they full of energy, but they performed with a level of precision that is unmatched by many bands in the scene. We were even treated to a new song, which was a highlight in the set for me, as well as some of the older tunes, which I found myself singing along to. Speaking of singing, the clean vocals performed by Jordan (bassist) are simply beautiful, and among some of the best in the genre. He also performed some screams, which sadly don’t quite work for me, they sound a little rough. Maybe this is the style from inhaling that just doesn’t float it for me. Front man Jacob is a beast on stage, jumping around and headbanging throughout the set, all while treating the crowd to a mix of growls and screams. It’s quite an art to mosh and growl at the same time, but he pulled it off perfectly. Backing the fantastic vocals were 2 phenomenal guitarists, who sometimes got lost behind the vocals. But the mix of sweeping and tapping solos, with the use of a whammy bar is a sound that really puts a smile on your face. Underneath all this there was a hint of backing tracks. They’re nice to hear, as they aren’t in the forefront, and let you appreciate the musical talent on display. Recall the Remains played a blinder of a set – one worthy of a headline slot. The buzz for these guys in Manchester is growing, and rightly so! It was a thoroughly enjoyable set, and I look forward to seeing what they do next.

https://www.facebook.com/recalltheremains

Finally for tonight was a band I had pleasure of sharing the stage with on Halloween. Yorkshire boys, Old Selves, seem to be constantly on the road at the moment playing gigs right across the UK. They have clearly already made a name for themselves in Manchester, as there were many of their t-shirts on display here. The crowd, however, seemed to have thinned drastically, and constant feedback issues during sound check would have knocked any band, but not these guys. They open with pure energy and were already bouncing around the stage. Their guitar work is fantastic, the whole set was laden with incredible riffs and soaring solos. These guys show off, and rightfully so; they are exceptional guitarists. Their use of backing tracks when I played with them was subtle, and added a really nice element to their style. Tonight though, they were way too loud, and because of this all the other instruments got lost in the mix. Old Selves throw a mix of different subgenres into their sound; from hardcore, to metalcore and even thrash. This creates something new, something that stands out from your normal metal band. I really enjoy watching them and trying to pick out where their influences are. As entertaining bands go, these guys are up there, but I keep thinking the headline slot wasn’t right for them tonight, as they didn’t get the same reaction as the previous 2 bands.

https://www.facebook.com/oldselvesofficial/

It feels so good knowing that Grand Central is back! It has always been a great venue to play and to watch and with gigs coming thick and fast here, I will be back again!

LINKS:

Grand Central:

0161 MUMC:

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.

Internal Conflict w/ Hounds, Odysseus, and Unbroken – The Boulevard, Wigan 09/10/2021

Internal Conflict And Heavy Metal For Wigan Poster

Internal Conflict w/ Hounds, Odysseus, and Unbroken
The Boulevard, Wigan 09/10/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

Back in Wigan again, and it seems the bad weather of the North resides here, as yet again it is raining! As I’ve already commented on this fantastic venue before, I’m not going to do so in this review. What I will say though, is that the issue last time with the paint not being dry wasn’t actually the case. It was due to flooding in the area before hand. Luckily tonight there were no such problems, and the full floor space is able to be utilised.

A few years ago, when I played in Wigan, we played with a lovely groove metal outfit called Unbroken, and it was nice to see these guys back on a line-up so I could have the pleasure of watching them again. Tonight’s gig was their first back after lockdown, and while you could tell there were some nerves to begin with, they soon settled into their rhythm. Straight out of the gates was a song which stood out from all the others; A nostalgic trip back to the early 00’s, where the groove/nu metal trend was in full swing, and we even got some Slipknot style rappy vocals from G-Bar (vocals)! This was nicely backed up with Andy (Bass/Vocals) and Dave (Guitar/Vocals) adding more vocal layers. Honestly, this was a very strong opener, and set the scene for the rest of the show. While their music isn’t anything new, it is a nice blast from the past and is done very well. They’re a ‘smile on your face’, feel good kind of band, who provided a solid benchmark for the night, and while they were sometimes a little static on stage, they more than made up for it with banter and shed loads of character.

https://pages.facebook.com/unbrokenmetal/


Second up, and fresh from Bloodstock’s New Blood Stage, were Preston based Tech/Deathcore outfit Odysseus. I did manage to catch these at Bloodstock, but the sound really didn’t do them justice there. Tonight however, the sound was much better, and allowed them all to really show just how technically talented they are. The riffs provided by both Dylan (Guitars) and possibly the only guitarist able to smile for an entire set, Kev, were crisp and tight, and all held together beautifully by Tom (Bass), and Sam (Drums). Rach (Vocals) voice was solid through the set, and fitted the genre nicely, though I would have maybe liked a bit more range, especially when the breakdowns come in. For me, the thing that let these guys down the most was between the songs, the songs themselves are solid but all the energy is lost with huge gaps of silence. This led to the set feeling a lot longer than it was. Perhaps if they gave a mic to another member, it may take the pressure off Rach, or throw some samples between songs to keep the high energy that the actual songs set. Odysseus have a solid foundation to build on, though. This was massively apparent when they unleashed a new song second from the end; It was by far and away my favourite of the set, and I look forward to seeing what else is up their sleeves.

https://pages.facebook.com/odysseusuk

The first review I did for Ever Metal was back in July in Bolton, and sadly I missed a band when I was there. This time there were no distractions, so I finally got to watch Isle of White based Hardcore bruisers, Hounds. These boys really stepped up the night! They are ‘balls to the wall’ hardcore, and it’s done exactly how it should be. Maximum aggression, maximum engagement, and full on in your face! The speed these guys play really gets the adrenaline pumping and makes you want to jump in the pit. There was a pit, but for some reason a lot of the crowd had thinned drastically?! Maybe these guys were too energetic? Their influences are clear to see in each song, with Hatebreed and Terror springing straight to mind. Hounds just released their cover of Terror’s ‘Stick Tight’, and they performed it well here, but personally I wouldn’t have had this as their last song. While they weren’t the tightest band here, and Ash (Vocals) either lost his breath or forgot some of the lyrics, they provided the evening with a fast paced aggression that not many bands can deliver on, even ending on the very punk note of smashing a few instruments. Quality set, great fun.

https://www.facebook.com/houndsuk/


Headlining this show was a band from back in my old Synapse days, so I was very excited to see how far they’d come since then. Internal Conflict, from Leicester, are a metalcore band with a huge reputation behind them. They have now played Bloodstock a staggering 4 times, and from tonight’s performance, I can see why they keep getting asked back. First off, the stage was decked out with their logos and the band filled the stage. Each song was performed with pin-point precision, layered with beautiful solos, harmonic singing, and blistering drums. Adam (Vocals) pointed out that a reviewer of their latest album didn’t like his voice; personally I think it fits with this genre. While the music and clean singing remind me of As I Lay Dying, his voice has a more hardcore sound to it. It works and gives a good contrast between aggression and depression. On the subject of the new album, there were many songs from it played at this gig, and they sounded so good live! (Yes I did buy the album, and so should you). Internal Conflict is a band I could listen to over and over again, live or on recording. Tonight’s set flew by and I was left wanting a lot, lot more. They have been the most professional, tight and musically brilliant band I have seen so far this year. You guys have a new fan!

https://www.facebook.com/internalconflict

Tonight was another cracking gig, Oli at …And Heavy Metal For Wigan has knocked it out the park again, great bands, great sound, great turn out and nice beer. What more could you want? Oh, a few more people in the pit!

…And Heavy Metal For Wigan 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.

Dead Romantic w/Avarus, Solarshift and Rosen Bridge Whittles @ Tokyo, Oldham 02/10/2021

Dead romantics at Whittles Tokyo Oldham

Dead Romantic
w/Avarus, Solarshift and Rosen Bridge
Whittles @ Tokyo, Oldham
02/10/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

I have been waiting to get a gap in my calendar to check this venue out for some months now as I have seen many pictures and videos of a massive outdoor stage. Although this gig was on the indoor stage, I still had a nosey at the other one. I must say both stages are sizeable here, great for gigs and perfect for a festival. The venue itself feels fresh and new with lots of seating, both inside and out, as well as a good selection behind the bar, perfect as I didn’t drive to this one. The toilets also are of a high standard even if someone seemed to have had a fight with some paper towels and littered them everywhere…

ROSEN BRIDGE

Tonight, we kick off with a new band for me, Rosen Bridge from North Wales. These boys combine Djent with Metalcore, which is apparent from the outset with a pair of ironing boards for guitars (8 strings); both Marcus and Eddie (guitarists) do well to provide not only tasty riffs but some lovely harmonies giving the whole sound a melancholy feel to it. This is backed up with Alex (vocals) using both clean and screamed vocal styles. It does end up meaning some of the songs do get stuck in your head. While some of Alex’s cleans were a little flat on occasions, he more than made up for this with the screams and his showmanship. Oh, and this guy has some of the best dance moves I have seen from a front man! Sam (bass) who is very loud in the mix adds a fantastic touch of groove to the sound and Rowan (drums) does very well to keep everyone in time, even with the addition of backing tracks and some fantastic pauses within the songs. I personally would really struggle to stay in time to these songs. All of this comes together to create a beautiful blend of aggression and beauty, a sound which I very much enjoyed and look forward to seeing again next month.

https://www.facebook.com/RosenBridgeUK

SOLARSHIFT

Second on tonight and for the second time it’s Solarshift. Last time I reviewed these Manchester based Nu/Metalcore brutes, they blew me away! This time was much the same, Ben was his usual charismatic self on stage and pumped the crowd up and got them off their feet. His voice again was cracking, both growls and cleans. Now, with this stage being much wider than the stage in Wigan, it was much easier to focus on the rest of the band this time. Drum wise, he really goes for it! As I said last time it’s nothing too fancy but it gives the music so much energy and bounce. He is well into this and looks like there is a spring in his chair with the amount he is bouncing. Sadly, with the guitarist and bassist just stood there, barely moving for most of the set, you really lose the feel. For example, Ben will shout bounce and he will, whereas the other two will stand there and look at each other. It is sad as Solarshift have a unique sound and to me probably the best overall in the underground Manchester scene and really will go far. But when these bigger stages come calling they may look a little out of place when half the band is stood still.

https://www.facebook.com/solarshiftmusic

AVARUS

Continuing the bouncy vibe of this evening comes the third band Avarus, another band I have already reviewed. Since then, I have been listening to their latest EP “Parallels” a fair bit which meant I was annoying the people around me by singing along to quite a few of their tracks. This was greatly helped by the fact they sounded big tonight. Each instrument was very clear to hear and with the fact they all were bouncing around and generally looking like they were having the time of their lives really helped. This was a much shorter set than last time and I did feel like I wanted a few more songs out of them. Their modern take on metalcore really feels tight and polished, showing that they wouldn’t look out of place on a big stage, it was just a shame they didn’t get the crowd reaction they deserved tonight.

https://www.facebook.com/avarusofficial

DEAD ROMANTIC

Finally, we have Dead Romantic. These guys are a bit different from the previous three bands as there is barely a growl in sight. But this is not a problem as I am sat listening to these guys feeling 14 again. It’s nostalgic and really takes me back to my early teens. I really wanted to sing along however I didn’t learn any of the lyrics beforehand. These guys absolutely dominated this stage; this was even with a lot more space than the previous bands. They looked like they were in their element, like they were having fun and because of this the crowd did too. There was a proper party atmosphere for these guys! A couple of things that really caught my eye were Mike’s (guitar) fantastic solos that were scattered throughout the set; each one had its own feel to it. Another was the distinct lack of backing tracks, this all being done live by Sam (keyboards). It was really refreshing to see these done live as opposed to pre-recorded. These guys will go far; they strike a chord with many age groups and fan bases, all this despite only forming in April 2021 and this being their fourth ever gig. Honestly, this was a phenomenal achievement to be headlining a gig with this much confidence, ability and passion whilst only being a band for 6 months, simply incredible.

https://www.facebook.com/deadromanticband

I loved this line up tonight, I loved the venue, I want to come back again and see how this all works outside. It’s a great place with great people and if the line ups are this good going forward this venue will surely be a staple for many bands on tour!

LINK:

https://www.facebook.com/whittlestokyo

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.