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.