Twisted Illusion & Friends Excite The Light Tour 2019 – The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool – 12/05/2019

00 Twisted Illusion Excite The Light Tour Flyer

Twisted Illusion & Friends
Excite The Light Tour 2019
The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool
12/05/2019
Review By Beth Jones with nonsensical ramblings by Rick Tilley

It is a little under 5 months since we saw Twisted Illusion last, and it is safe to say a lot has happened to the band in that time, from the shock announcement of two of its three members departure, to Matt, the life blood of TI, soul searching and wondering if it was all worth it, to being on the road touring and recording the second part of the ‘Excite The Light’ Trilogy, and now, as of last Friday, becoming a band again, after the confirmation that the line up of musicians guesting on the tour have now decided that it worked so well straight away, that TI (version 2.1.1) has been born, and that this is the new line-up! We couldn’t wait to see how they were doing as a group, given the short space of time that they have been working together.

Now to start, but as a bit of an aside, I will say that I liked driving in Liverpool far more than I liked driving in Manchester, and I managed to navigate without any bus lane infringements, so already this was good! We arrived at the venue a little after the first band started, but still with enough time to get a good feel for them. A quick look around the venue let me know that it was going to be a down to earth place. It was a good old, no bells and whistles, grass roots venue, which to me is the perfect way to enjoy music. You don’t need fancy bollocks when the tunes are top quality! Anyway, enough of this – to the music!

Riptide Messiah
Although we only caught two-thirds of these guys’ set, what we heard was pretty good; Gruff, chunky, and in places fairly intricate. They are quite melodic too, which I like. I am going to call it Melodic Prog Stoner Doom! They were a good way to start the night, but my only criticism is there was too long between songs. I’m nit picking, but this is one of my bug bears. I know you have to tune and stuff, but you need to fill that time or people’s attention wanders! Musically though, they know what they are doing and what sound they want to achieve.

01 Riptide Messiahhttps://www.facebook.com/RiptideMessiah/

Ashen Reach
Fresh from their amazing gigs in Russia, supporting Bullet For My Valentine, these guys were stoked for a good show. Having seen them support Twisted Illusion at Christmas last year (when they were called Equinox), we knew what they were about, and that we liked it! They didn’t disappoint! They are so full of youthful exuberance, of which we are very jealous, and they hammered straight into a full-on set, with powerful vocals, fast paced melodies, and chunky rhythms. They are a good, solid, classic hard rock band, and they make you happy. Lead singer, Dan Moran, has such a presence on stage plus pulls some spectacular faces and drummer Jess Stanley is a whirlwind of arms behind the kit! We were chatting to them afterwards and they are such awesome and humble people, and we wish them every success moving forwards.

02 Ashen Reachhttps://www.facebook.com/ashenreach/

Scare Tactics
These guys are a name who, up until three weeks ago, I hadn’t come across (Rick is familiar with the name but hadn’t seen them live before). Having now seen them twice in the space of a month we would like to report that they are blisteringly good! If Dream Theater and Linkin Park joined forces, this is what they would sound like. Incredibly intricate rhythms, modern rasping vocals, mixed with clean harmonies, and stunning solos. They do remind me a bit of Killswitch Engage, who I also love. Why these guys aren’t bigger is beyond me. And again, they are thoroughly nice chaps too – Rick very much enjoyed having a chat and sharing a fig roll with lead singer Andy Barker, after they had come off stage! I was jealous. I love fig rolls. Damn you gluten intolerance!!

03 Scare Tactics UKhttps://www.facebook.com/scaretacticsuk/

Prognosis
After seeing these guys at Badgerfest last year, I knew they were heavy. I had found them a little too heavy for me on that occasion, but I think it might have been because it was later in the day, and I was knackered, and the sound wasn’t great. Here, I enjoyed them a lot more, and had more time to concentrate on what they were doing, which was very heavy prog metal done very well. Lead singer, Danny Daemon, is an absolute unit, who looks incredibly menacing in the mood lighting on stage! He makes guitarist Christian Hickson (also of Frozen In Shadows) look much small, which is quite an achievement! Musically though they are very, very tight and look completely at ease performing. A very good main support.

04 Prognosishttps://www.facebook.com/Prognosis1/

Twisted Illusion
In what seemed like no time at all, we were at the pièce de résistance, and what we had all been waiting for – the new look, five-piece, Twisted Illusion. Straight away, before they even started playing, there was an air about them. They looked comfortable, relaxed, and ready to put on a show! And Christ is that what they did, right from the first note! Now, we all know that Matt Jones is a formidable front man, and that Saxon Davids can play a bit of guitar, but not having seen the newly added Cici Powell – Melkonian, Chris Jenkins and Andy Gotteri before, our mind were blown within about 30 seconds by how good they all were as individuals, but also how amazing they sounded together as a collective. This was not the sound of a band that had only had a few weeks rehearsal time, this was the sound of a band who were seasoned pros, who had lived in each other’s pockets for years, and who had more experience than any of these baby faced cherubs kicking it on the stage! This should not be possible – but yet here it was, with a sound so massive and together, it can only be described as pure raw talent, combined with a deep love and understanding of live performance, and with a bit of help from fate, to make a Utopian level musical experience. They were a bit good!!! Matt’s songs came alive with the addition of Andy’s keyboards, and Cici looked like she had been born with a bass in her hand – her skills absolutely blew us away, and her constant smile is infectious. Add to that the masterful percussion of Chris, executing the demanding rhythms to perfection, and of course the immense noodling abilities of Saxon and huge vocals of Matt, and you have the perfect recipe for putting me into a euphoric trance. I was welling up by the end of their set and was so ridiculously happy that it sounded this amazing. Better than I could ever have expected. It was like witnessing the birth of something truly special. Quite simply stunning! Rick, who felt the same, spoke to Matt afterwards, to tell him that, as a live experience, what he had just seen was, for him, right up there with the live performances of early Queensryche (circa “Operation Mindcrime”) and Rush! These guys should not be playing small venues like this, they should be touring arenas. They are that talented. The world now needs to know who Twisted Illusion are. Always remember that every huge band started in a back-street pub. The sky is the limit now guys.

05 Twisted Illusionhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/

That was a very, very special night and is going to take some topping! Currently, festivals aside, we have nothing on our radar that we can see coming close, until we go and witness Devin Townsend at Manchester Royal Albert Hall in December!

 

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

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

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 4 – Wrexham Lager Club – 27/04/2019

00 Heat 4 Poster

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 4
Wrexham Lager Club – 27/04/2019
Review by Beth Jones

Unbelievably, the end of April loomed, meaning only one thing – the last heat of this year’s Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses North Wales was upon us! We only had three competing bands to look forward to on the night, as both Krank and Gods Of The Apocalypse had to withdraw at the last minute.

So, battling for the last two places, and also potentially one of Fozzy’s two ‘Wildcard’ spots, were The Perfect Escape, Scars Of Remembrance, and Mindriot 15. The night was to be guest headlined by Scare Tactics, who we had not heard before, but had heard great things about, so we were really looking forward to seeing them. I’m only going to write a short paragraph about each competing band this time, as they were all so close, and it was really hard to pick a winner between them!

The Perfect Escape
What a great way to start the evening. These guys were packed full of energy and quirky. It was very current, in a 90’s kind of way! They were a Metal/Hard Rock crossover with a healthy dose of Pop-Punk, and instantly recognisable influences from Green Day, Sum 41 and Blink 182. It kind of took me back to my formative years, but in the now! Kerrang would love them! They performed confidently and got the crowd into things very quickly, and they all looked like they were having a blast! Josh, the second guitarist, who also provided backing vocals, was a real livewire!

01 The Perfect Escaspehttps://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectEscapeUK/

Scars Of Remembrance
These guys have been on our radar for about a year, and how they have come on in that time, which is really pleasing to see. Their current line-up definitely works really, really well. Again, they draw a lot of influences from bands of the 90s/2000s, which I love – that was my era! This is definitely the best we have seen them, and the most relaxed we have seen them. Harris and Dawson, the guitarists, have now started adding a lot more vocals too and it really works, being clean vocals which are in total contrast to Mike’s screams!

02 Scars Of Remembrancehttps://www.facebook.com/scarsofremembrance/

Mindriot 15
Another crackingly good band, with again a very 90s/2000s vibe – this evenings selection of bands was really ticking all the boxes for me! They were good solid metal with a rap element in a similar style to RATM, which again worked really well. They were enthusiastic and got the crowd really bouncing! They were tight and well-rehearsed and brought everything they had to the competition, which was really nice to see! I really enjoyed their set, but they did play two covers, not the wisest choice in a M2TM heat, even though they were crowd pleasers!

03 Mind Riot 15https://www.facebook.com/mindriot15/

For the first time this year, this was going to be one hell of a tough call, as all three competing bands were completely worthy of a semi-final place!
While the judges deliberated, we were treated to a very special performance from a band who previously were victorious in M2TM in Liverpool, Scare Tactics.

Scare Tactics
Bloody hell! That’s all I can say! These guys are so stupidly good, its just not fair! They have a beautiful sound that balances Prog and Djent with Nu Metal in perfect harmony. With heavy influences from Dream Theater (and a good bit of Devin), their intricate cross rhythms and precision tempo changes delighted the gathered crowd, and totally blew our socks off. Everything was brilliant, and nothing overdone. The combinations of crystal-clear vocals, and harsh metal vocals worked so well with their melodies and riffs. It was obvious to see why they had been victorious in this competition in the past, and we would really recommend everyone check them out if you haven’t heard them before. We bought their album and have had it on in the car since!

04 Scare Tacticshttps://www.facebook.com/scaretacticsuk/

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, their set was over, and it was results time – it was too close to call and we really didn’t have a clue who would progress – the air was filled with nervous excitement! Seemingly the judges had as tough a time as us calling the result, and had to come down to small details, and for that reason, the two bands chosen to progress, by judges vote and he audience vote, were The Perfect Escape and Scars Of Remembrance. After speaking to the judges later, this decision was mainly reached because of the use of two covers in the Mindriot 15 set.

However, Fozzy did still have two wildcard winners to put through to the semi-finals, and I think the popular consensus was that Mindriot 15 should receive one of those wildcards.

We now know that indeed Fozzy did pick them, along with Navnlos, to progress to the next stage – no covers in the semis lads eh?

So, the bands for the semis are now confirmed as: Bad Earth, Lullaby For A Unicorn, Scarfoot, Cry For Mercy, Favela, Thrashatouille, The Perfect Escape, Scars Of Remembrance, Navnlos and Mindriot 15. This is where the shit gets real and the judging gets much harder – I wouldn’t like to have to call this now, as these bands are all great!

See you all at the semis!

Links
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/events/2134681543280772/ (Semi-Final 1 Event Page)
https://www.facebook.com/events/2350996518296726/ (Semi-Final 2 Event Page)
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/The-Wrexham-Lager-Club-965182906991705/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

 

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