Badgerfest 2021: Day 3 – The Bread Shed, Manchester – Sunday 17th October 2021

Badgerfest 2021: Day 3
The Bread Shed, Manchester
Sunday 17th October 2021
Review By Rob Sutton
Photography by Sheri Bicheno

Day 3 was upon us and, again, I was filled up on Maccies and ready for another day of metal! Somehow, I had no hangover, but I was sure this will change come Monday morning. Sunday’s line up had many bands I was looking forward to so let’s get on with it.

First up, and with a big reputation building behind them, was Manchester based thrash metal trio, Tortured Demon. The first thing I will say is, yes, they are very young. Now that’s out of the way let’s get onto their performance! Things started with an intro which for me was way too similar to that of Trivium’s Ascendency. I noticed this at Bloodstock, too, and I feel they could come up with something a bit different as it did make me cringe a little. Aside from that they hit the stage full of confidence and energy which was quickly picked up by the large crowd that stood before them. Already we had pits and it was only 12:15! While they do a lot of crowd interaction between songs and keep the hype going, for me there is a little bit too much swearing. Now you may call me a prude, and I know every band swears on stage and it does show passion. But it seems like every second word was the f-word… Having said this though these guys really feel like the future of thrash. Its ballsy, heavy, and has plenty to bang your head to. They have a bright future ahead of them!

https://www.facebook.com/t0rtureddem0n

The heavy, in-your-face theme continued over on the second stage next, as Edinburgh based bruisers Iron Altar hit it, guns blazing. They picked up where Tortured Demon left off, and gave the crowd a good old pummelling again! These guys are the very definition of heavy! So many thumping beats to bang your head to or even start a pit, yes pits were still a thing, even this early on. As previously mentioned, the second stage is not the biggest, and Iron Altar’s vocalist came up with an ingenious solution to create more space… don’t be on the stage! This worked as it gave a much more intimate feel to their show, and him fully interacting with the crowd while performing was really a pleasure to watch. These guys were definitely another one of my finds of the weekend!

https://www.facebook.com/IronAltarBand

The Manchester Metalcore scene is booming these days, and each of the bands within it brings their own take on the genre. Clashmute have gone down the Parkway Drive style, and while this isn’t my favourite style of Metalcore, Clashmute came out with yet more energy to add to an already hyperactive early afternoon. I have seen these guys a few times, but they never really hit the spot for me, however today, they did! They are tight and bouncy; all of this led to yet more pits, and a crowd well and truly on their feet. Their whole sound just felt so much more together than I have previously heard and I loved every moment of it. Sometimes the pauses within the songs are a little too long but they were normally followed by a fantastic breakdown. Clashmute have a good name and following behind them and this was the performance I felt like I needed to see to get on board.

Clashmute live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/clashmute

Many years ago, I entered Metal 2 The Masses in Liverpool, and played with some unbelievably good bands. So much so, that I have been following one of them since that day, and even got them on a festival in my hometown. I’m talking about Scare Tactics (or Scary Tic-Tacs as people were calling them). While it seems since that first show they have mellowed out over time, they’re music is so much better now. We heard fantastic dual guitar solos, stunning vocal harmonies, and a humble front man keeping us all entertained. What was fantastic to see was the number of people singing along to these guys, and not only that, but joining in with their chants, too. They felt like the audience’s band of the weekend, fully engaging and everyone participating, I mean who doesn’t want to sing along to ‘Drunk Fuck’? If you want to see musicians show off their brilliant skills, have a sing along, and get a massive smile on your face, Scare Tactics are the band for you.

https://www.facebook.com/scaretacticsuk

Today had already been relentless, in terms of top quality bands, and taking to the main stage next was Tech/Death heavyweights, Beyond Grace. These guys are a band I have never heard or seen before, so this was a complete unknown, but boy was I in for a treat! We were blessed with some beautifully crafted Tech/Death which reminded me of the likes of Virvum and Beyond Creation. Beyond Grace are stunningly tight, and it’s just mesmerising to watch their talent on stage, especially the bass player. It was simply incredible to watch the riffs and styles he was doing. So often the bassist is the forgotten member of a band, but this guy stood out. I’ll be honest, I loved this. While they didn’t have the biggest crowd, reaction, or pits, I walked away with a smile on my face over to their merch table, and to me that’s all that matters.

Beyond Grace live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/wearebeyondgrace

So after Beyond Grace I got collared by Moshville Times to do an interview, thanks to Anthony Timmis. This meant I missed all of Vice. Luckily Anthony did see them and was kind enough to send me his thoughts on them:

For years I had known Vice as a 4 piece, and this was the first time I seen them as a 3 piece, which they have stuck to going forwards. They started off their set with the ‘Wrath’, the first track off their debut album “First Chapter”. This involved plenty of heading banging and hair swirling from guitarist and lead vocalist, Tom Atkinson, and Bassist and backing vocals, Aiden Lord. Even drummer, Conner Summers, gave it some hair swirling like the little mad drummer boy he is. Being a 3 piece really has made no difference to their sound. The vocals where spot on and brutal during the new, and old songs, especially from the Bassist. I Really enjoyed this set and I have really missed this band. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to see them again soon.

Vice live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/Vicemetaluk

There was one more band before the interval, and after a frankly incredible afternoon so far, we were treated to what is possibly going to be one of the big bands to come out of the UK in the next few years; Norfolk based Symphonic Metallers, Ghost of Atlantis. I was lucky enough to catch them at Bloodstock after they were bumped up to the second stage, and really enjoyed them. This time we had the full line up and their sound is massive! The addition of synth in the music was a welcome change to what has been on before, and with the addition of some almost Black Metal style vocals, mixed with some incredible nearly operatic clean singing, it all created a cold atmosphere, which was not a bad thing. While many members were in Devilment before this, and felt like their fame was down to Dani Filth being in the band, Ghost of Atlantis have their own sound, and it’s a unique one at that. I can’t think of any band that sounds like these. There is a hole in the market, and these guys fill it perfectly.

Ghosts Of Atlantis live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/GhostsOfAtlantisofficial

After a well-earned rest, it was time for some Proggy/Alt Metal weirdness from Zebedy. Zebedy are another band I have been gigging with and watching for many years, so I knew what to expect here. We were met with some Dream Theatre style riffs, with Biffy Clyro style voices, which may sound like an odd combination, but it actually works. Zebedy utilise the fact that all 4 members can sing, and thus leave us with some fantastic 4-way vocal harmonies, almost like a mini choir in places. Again, like the first half of the day, Zebedy were packed full of energy and humour. They know how to get the crowd involved, and it paid off. Everyone was singing/shouting along and that, for me, is what Zebedy are about. Fun! One thing though, please get some new cymbals, they look very second hand.

https://www.facebook.com/zebedymusic

If Zebedy were the ‘ease back into the day’ band, then Harbinger were the sledgehammer! More Techy Metal on the mainstage, and it was tighter than a knot on a yacht. Vocally they are very impressive, utilising a number of growls, screams and even a personal favourite of mine, rap screaming. It’s basically quick screaming but it sounded brutally effective with these guys. We were also treated to another one of my favourite things to watched, yet more synchronised headbanging! I am pretty sure Harbinger read the book on ‘what Rob likes in a live show’ and then did it. Harbinger are heavy, tight and look all out professional, this was a fantastic performance!   

Harbinger live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/harbingerriffs

Another band I knew next to nothing about before the festival was Dygora, but I was told they were very heavy. This was true! They were insanely heavy, and pulled influences from many extreme genres, such as Death Metal, Deathcore, and even a bit of Slam. They played with absolute ferocity, and bludgeoned the crowd into submission, with some properly brutal breakdowns, and an insane vocal range. The whole set was an assault, and was absolutely fantastic to watch, my neck, by this point was in pieces!

https://www.facebook.com/DygoraBand

3 bands to go and I wasn’t sure how much more my neck could take after the day so far. My neck needed a rest, and I though I may get it with the next band, Borders… but nope, they brought my neck yet more pain! Borders stood out from this line up, not only with their bright yellow merch, but the fact they drag influences from outside of Metal, in the shape of Rap. It works brilliantly alongside their Techy Metalcore sound, and adds a layer that I’ve only really seen from Hacktivist. I will be honest I prefer Borders. To me it seems unique, while Hacktivist offer dual rapping, Borders offer singing, screaming, growling, and rapping. It’s quite a variety. This performance screamed ‘top tier’ UK bands, as they performed with passion, adrenaline, and enthusiasm. With the crowd bouncing, pitting, and headbanging, Borders had them in the palm of their hands. This truly was one of the best performances of the weekend.

https://www.facebook.com/BordersBandUK

Closing out the second stage was Scottish Prog Metallers, Ramage Inc. They are another band I have seen on numerous occasions, and they never disappoint. Vocally, the lead singer’s voice is exquisite, and today was no exception, I would compare his voice to that of Devin Townsend, it is seriously that good. With them being progressive some of the songs are lengthy, and it can feel like the riffs go on for a little bit too long, but that’s the genre, and these guys play it beautifully. Ramage Inc. felt like the perfect closure for the second stage. Their melodies bring tears to your eyes and make you wish that they would keep playing, much like we wished the festival was continuing on.

https://www.facebook.com/RamageInc

The last band of the weekend need no introduction. It was of course Raging Speedhorn, and it appeared they had come on stage with one mission, to drain what remained of everyone’s energy before normality resumed. Raging Speedhorn have grown such a huge following, which was clear to see by the number of people watching them. That and the number of people throwing themselves at each other for the entire set. Again, both vocalists, and the whole band, had the crowd completely in their hands; what they asked, they got. This set also had the most crowdsurfers of any band at Badgerfest, and that in itself shows how good this performance was. Raging Speedhorn annihilated The Bread Shed, and closed of what had been a truly fantastic weekend.

https://www.facebook.com/ragingspeedhorn

There isn’t much more to say about the festival as a whole. The line up was incredible, and will take some serious beating next year. The bar was suitably stocked, security were on point, there were only a few points where someone was making a fool out of themselves (always expected at a festival), and everything ran smoothly. John Badger and the team behind him have shown just how good a small festival can be, and dare I say it, I enjoyed this weekend more than I did Bloodstock. I will wander home and tell the stories of this insane weekend, and will definitely be returning next year.

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.

Sertraline w/Dreameater, Lost In Lavender Town and Aleya The Bread Shed, Manchester

Sertraline at the Bread Shed Manchester poster

Sertraline
w/Dreameater, Lost In Lavender Town and Aleya
The Bread Shed, Manchester
09/09/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

I’m in Manchester again and I’m sure my body is beginning to suffer with all the gigs this month, but, after no gigs for a whole year I’m making up for it. Tonight’s line-up is on the progressive/Djenty side and at a venue I have come to love, The Bread Shed. Normally at this point I’ll bang on about lavatories and beer, the toilets are fine but there is not enough beer behind the bar, in fact nearly everything on tap is off?! Oh well sober it is!!

First on is Chester/Manchester based Aleya, a post-hardcore, modern metal band. It seems there are a lot of bands in this genre at the moment, so in the underground, a band needs to stand out. For me it is the guitarist, with a smattering of gorgeous solos thrown into nearly every song and are a pleasure to listen to, that gets my attention. Sadly, the sound for these guys is not the best and while the drums were also clear, the bass and vocals did get lost in the mix. This is a shame as the front man has a cracking range from what I’ve heard on Spotify but I just couldn’t hear much of him. I think, due to this, the crowd did struggle to engage with them which in turn led to a bit of a static show on stage baring the occasional bounce from the vocalist. I don’t want to say this was a bad set or that there was much wrong with it but I just couldn’t hear everything clear enough to form a good opinion.

https://www.facebook.com/aleyaofficial

So, for anyone that knows me, they will know instrumental bands really don’t do much for me, I always think to myself ‘when are the vocals going to kick in.’ This was not the case with Stoke based Lost In Lavender Town. Their sheer talent while playing is simply sublime! So many obscure beats for you to attempt to bang your head to along with beautiful harmonies to lose yourself in. I found myself thoroughly enjoying them and now completely understand why these guys won the Stoke M2TM a few years ago. This was all helped by the sound quality being so much better for them. It was easy to pick out each instrument and really enjoy the talent on display.

https://www.facebook.com/lostinlavendertown

Things take a heavy turn for main support band Dreameater, the whole room seemed to spark into life with their opening track and heads were away banging. These guys are brutally heavy and loud. I love it! It’s breakdown after breakdown with hints of hardcore thrown in for good measure. These boys, despite only being a 4 piece, truly owned the stage, in some cases even hardcore dancing on stage and the crowd loved every single minute of it! A personal highlight from the set was when the genre completely switches to almost rap (yes he was scream rapping). This really marked them out for me. The ability to throw other influences in while still retaining their sound really kept you hooked. These boys are heavy, exciting and downright brutal! More please!

https://www.facebook.com/dreameaterukband

Last up and, who appear to be, a fan favourite of the evening is Sertraline, a band that would normally be a five piece but seem to be a bassist down. Sadly, this showed throughout the set as there was very little low end and also not helped by the sledgehammer before them. Never the less, their take on the prog genre is very enjoyable. There are some fantastic riffs and solos which are executed beautifully and with a massive smile on their collective faces, yes I don’t think either guitarists stopped smiling for the whole set and made everyone in the room seem like they didn’t have a care in the world. This is also helped by vocalist Lizzie’s enthusiasm and charisma on stage (pretty sure she was smiling for the full set too). She seemed completely in her element with the crowd singing back to her during almost every song. I can completely see why they have such a following and are playing Download next year and can’t wait to see what is to come from them, especially after hearing two of their new songs. However, there is a bit of a down side to the future as Lizzie has announced that this is her last tour before she leaves the band. Hers are huge boots to fill and I really hope her replacement can live up to the standards she has set. I look forward to it.

https://www.facebook.com/WeAreSertraline

So, an impromptu gig on a Thursday, I enjoyed some serious talent and an instrumental band which is a first. It was a shame there wasn’t a bigger turnout, more beer on tap and the sound wasn’t great for some of the bands but it was an evening showcasing some serious UK talent and many more bands to see again!

LINK:
https://www.facebook.com/TheBreadShedMcr

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.

And Heavy Metal For Wigan XXIII: Redemption

And Heavy Metal For Wigan, The Boulevard, Wigan 07-08-2021 Poster

And Heavy Metal For Wigan XXIII: Redemption
Defied w/ Solarshift, Shrike and Bloodmores
The Boulevard, Wigan, England
07/08/2021
Review by Rob Sutton

Another week, another gig and this time it’s off to Wigan. Did you know Wigan sent a pie to space? Anyway, The Boulevard is a venue I have not been to before and has also had a recent refurb. It’s a lovely venue with fantastic facilities and good beer (driving this time meant I didn’t have a chance to fully explore what the bar had to offer).

BLOODMORES

So, the terrible weather that had descended on the North had set the scene beautifully for tonight’s opening band Bloodmores. Now I have seen these boys many times and really think they don’t get the recognition they deserve and tonight proved this. This set was tight, insanely tight. Every song felt thoroughly rehearsed and it provided a very early assault on my ears. The absolute powerhouse behind the kit was not only brutally fast but incredibly technical with the beats and fills which was mesmerising! The sheer speed his legs were moving became just a blur. Guitar-wise the lead role was switched not only between songs but in some cases during. This really highlighted the immense talent that these guys had. Sadly, the vocals did get lost during a few songs but this was more of a sound issue as opposed to a band issue. When they could be heard they were that lovely meaty death metal growl, they really complimented the music. I did feel, that while the bassist was also very strong, he did feel distant from the rest of the band, this was most apparent when a breakdown would kick in and the whole band was in sync but he would just slightly bob. Saying this I did appreciate, during one breakdown, where he came off stage and just went crazy. More of that please! Now Bloodmores have been working hard as they are already on album number 2 and the tracks they played from this were on another level, I would have just liked something in the background while they changed guitars. Complete silence really lost a lot of energy. Having said all this, they were fantastic and if you’re a death metal fan I would highly recommend them!

https://www.facebook.com/Bloodmores

Now, as stated earlier, the venue had recently been refurbished. This meant that the floor in front of the stage still had wet paint. Because of this, barriers were put up in front of the stage which left almost no room for pits or even headbanging…hmmm not well planned here.

SHRIKE

Anyway, enough of me ranting as next up was Shrike, a band I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with many times and with their new single ‘Martyrs’, was looking forward to seeing a new Shrike. ‘Martyrs’ was the opening number and this is a belter of a song! I love the tone of the guitars the brutality of the drums, everything about this tune. Sadly, after that I felt the energy drop; the clean singing didn’t work for me and personally I feel a lot of practice is needed to fully polish the style they are going for. The ‘oohs’ were out of tune and there were a few longer gaps between songs which let the energy drop further. Having said this they still maintained the heavy which I loved and the last song ‘In Pursuit Of The Wych’ feels like an old classic. Shrike have a lot of talent and a lot of quality songs. Their stage presence during the set is insane; they really use all their wireless instruments to their advantage and dominate the stage but, for me, this wasn’t the best I’ve seen them , but I know next time will be better.

https://www.facebook.com/shrikeofficial

SOLARSHIFT

As I am from near Manchester I feel like I have seen most Manchester based bands on multiple occasions. However, Solarshift I have somehow never witnessed before. Why have I not seen them before?! Holy cheese balls these guys are good! The fantastic blend of KoRn style Nu Metal with the new age Metalcore is mix I never thought I’d like. Honestly the stagemanship of vocalist Ben is so engaging you can’t help but focus on him. This is not to say the rest of the band aren’t good, they really are. The drums, sound simple, but work beautifully in every song and provide the beat to bounce to. (There are a lot of bouncy beats, it’s like a workout). With the bass and guitars providing added meat, it makes this set feel like it should be on a large stage with a sea of people bouncing away. I had the same feeling watching these as I did watching Parkway Drive. Bounce, jump, spin, love life! Now I have to comment on the use of samples, for Beth, who will read this first. They are fantastic and add an extra layer to what is an already phenomenal sound. Also, bass drops! So, I have to bounce back to the front man, he has one of the best voices in the underground scene. Not only can he growl but he can shout and sing. All of these flow from each other seamlessly with such control and power. My only criticism with this set is I wanted more! Please check these guys out, you will not be disappointed.

https://www.facebook.com/solarshiftmusic

DEIFIED

This leads us to the final band of the evening. A band who are really gaining momentum in the UK metal scene, Deified. From the first beat this band oozes with professionalism and charisma. Is it any wonder they are playing the SOPHIE stage at Bloodstock? Now I will comment that they are the only band tonight who didn’t use in-ear monitors and this did mean that their set didn’t feel quite as tight as the previous three bands. However, they made up for this with fantastic melodies echoing that of At the Gates (love Melodeath) and utilising numerous guitar styles such as tapping and sweeping to make each song feel fresh, keep you engaged and guessing what they are going to do next. I love the humour front man Jamie has, he is a natural entertainer although, I don’t think, banging his head on the ceiling during the first song was in the script. Deified are a no B.S straight up metal band who always provide a good show, always look like they are having the time of their lives, no matter how big or small the crowd is, and because of this have become one of the most enjoyable live acts in the scene to watch.

https://www.facebook.com/deified

Tonight, was a real showcase of what metal in the Northwest has to offer. The calibre and professionalism of all the bands made this one of the best ‘local’ gigs I have ever been to. I would recommend checking all four of the bands out. I would recommend checking the Boulevard out as it is a fantastic venue and lastly I would recommend highly, going to one of And Heavy Metal For Wigan’s gigs as Oli has an ear for putting together incredible line ups!

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/andheavymetalforwigan
https://www.facebook.com/boulevardwigan
https://www.facebook.com/wiganart

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.