Sunday 25th February 2018
Metal to the Masses Heat 2
at Duffy’s Bar
with Event Horizon, Dawn of Anubis and Seven Hells
Reviewed by Kashif Hussain
Resin Events, Duffy’s and Metal 2 The Masses are back with the second heat of Leicester’s regional battle of the bands, giving three bands the opportunity to duke it out in the hopes of being able to play the UK’s biggest independent metal festival: Bloodstock Open Air.
Vile as Jimmy were originally scheduled to play as well, but unfortunately had to pull out due to personal reasons. This left Event Horizon, Dawn of Anubis and Seven Hells competing against each other in the second heat.
First to step up to the stage were Event Horizon, an eclectic alternative metal act from Leicester. Their set was launched by a long but seriously impressive drum solo that already wowed the packed crowd, before leading into a groovy bassline that started the song proper.
Their sound was primarily hard rock driven, but with some clear metal and hardcore influences. The vocals were just as varied as their riffs, ranging from grungy singing, punk yells and death metal growls.
A highlight of their set was the slower, more relaxed track Breathe, which had a strong reaction from the crowd and led to many raising their lighters in the air. Bit of a fire hazard, but a good sign nonetheless.
The second band on stage was Dawn of Anubis. To be honest, I had them pegged for a tight hard rock act for the first few minutes of their set. That was until they dropped some seriously heavy, downtuned breakdowns that the rest of the crowd also seemed to love. This, along with powerful clean singing and harsh vocals, made for an interesting combo.
Although the clean vocals were impressive in their own right, they couldn’t have been more different from the hardhitting riff sections, almost sounding like a completely different band. Either way, they surely had something for fans of both the heavier and more melodic sides of metal.
The final set of the night was from Seven Hells, featuring a different line-up to when they entered Metal 2 The Masses last year, where they managed to reach the semi-finals.
Thrash metal riffs, hardcore vocals, a myriad of riffs and smashing breakdowns were more than enough to please listeners. The band moved and jumped around on stage with loads of energy, which was enough to go around even for the audience. Plenty of life in the crowd as they headbanged, danced and chanted along to the music, and many were throwing their horns up. Even after their set ended the crowd was chanting their name.
A short wait, and the crowd return to the back room to hear the judge’s verdict. The tension was palpable, but it was finally revealed that Dawn of Anubis and Seven Hells progress to the next round, while Event Horizon will still be given the chance to win by being named the wildcard.
With the first two heats over and many more left to go, Leicester’s metal scene has already shown just how strong it is. Whoever it is that ends up on the stage at Bloodstock, they definitely deserve it.
Friday 23rd February 2018
Nazare debut gig
with Soden and Dystopian Future Movies
Tonight’s show was organised by Evil Wizard Promotions.
Reviewed by Martin Baker
A friday night I’d been looking forward to for a long time, this was the debut night for a band I’d been eagerly anticipating a live performance from. The bill was 3 bands featuring Dystopian Future Movies on their recent tour with Soden and Nazare headlining their first ever gig.
Thanks go to Evil Wizard Promotions for presenting this great evening.
First up were Soden from Worcestershire, who began with some tranquil textures building up some wonderful tones, quite impressive for a 3 piece band. I particularly loved the meatiness of the bass which set the groundwork for the guitar to lay down some interesting sounds.
At times you could close your eyes and be taken away by the music, but there were plenty of faster parts to their songs that were very powerful.
Next to hit the stage were Dystopian Future Movies, whose combination of atmospheric guitaring and wonderful female vocals were impressive. There was lots of tuning and adjusting in between songs but after a couple of songs the band seemed to get into it more and engage with audience a bit more which was great.
Towards the end of their set the music got better and better with some wonderful tones appearing throughout their music and it was great to see the crowd loving it as much as I was.
Finally, it was time to see Nazare in action and let me tell you it has been worth the wait, these guys seriously kicked ass.
The powerful crunchy guitars, elastic hard hitting bass lines, incredibly talented drumming and the amazing contrasting vocal styles that brought it all together were delivered with energy and every song was catchy, everybody was loving it including some VERY enthusiastic fans (you know who you are!)
I loved every aspect of this band and their time on stage was far too short for my liking, a 45 minute set which included 4 powerful songs were amazing but left me wanting more from these guys. The only thing I would change would be to get the guitar solos a bit louder to enjoy them more!
These guys have clearly worked hard to get their music to this level and it was so good to see them perform live for the first time, I wish them every success for the future and if you get a chance to go see them, absolutely DO IT!!
Well done to all the bands who played, it was a great evening enjoyed by all and thanks again to Evil Wizard Promotions for setting it all up, be sure to check out their next events!
Thursday 22nd February 2018
It’s Thursday. I am at the Soundhouse. Tonight, it’s the auditions for the Glastonbudget music festival. Coming up: we have a line-up of acoustic acts. Singers. A band. It’s eight o’clock. The first act is about to start. Ollie Petch is on the sound desk. Very cold tonight – out there. Below Zero. In here, it is warm.
The first artist on the stage with his guitar. This is Matt Steady. A singer from Leicester.
He plies his performance with plenty of energy. What I often to refer to as ‘commitment.’ This adds dynamics to his songs. Musically, I would say ‘folk.’ Possibly flavoured with blues, perhaps a dash of Americana. No shortage of passion and drama. Plenty of punch. He is certainly catching to attention of the audience. Enthusiastic applause. Definitely a very good set.
A singer I have not seen before comes to the mic. Elle Robertson. Or perhaps that should be Ellé. I think she comes from Tamworth. What I like about her is her presence. Her performance is captivating. Always think that music comes alive more if you can both enjoy the music and see the performer who is making it.
Her songs come alive and what animates them is her personality. Such a good voice, too. Such verve and vitality. I can see the audience warming to her. She introduces what she calls “mash ups.” I think that might be what I call a medley. Captivating. I look round the room. Now it is almost full. I can see those at the front; they are full into the sounds coming from the stage. Ellé completes her set and leaves the stage to enthusiastic acclaim. I think ‘Well done Ellé. I have not seen you before. But I would so like to see you again.’
A band is coming on to the stage. Four of them, as far as I can see. From the back. They say they are from Nottingham. They begin with a number which I hear as rock and roll. Very entertaining, I think to myself. They seem to have attracted a fair number of fans.
A very lively set of songs. Good singing from the lead vocalist. Some backing vocals from the guitarist. The songs are varied; some are indie. What are they called? Rise of the Tomahawk.
I look round the room. It seems a little less full. Perhaps there are a lot of people outside, braving the cold in the smoking area. The next act is tuning up on stage. Chris Bramley. His face looks familiar. I might have seen him at the Oxjam festival, last year. I like the sound of his voice; ear-pleasing. Timbre – that’s the term, for the sound of a voice. He has a good range, too. Between the songs he says a few words to the audience. Connects with them. Not too much chat. But a few words to hold their attention between songs. I listen intently and think ‘a well-constructed set.’ Some covers, some that even I recognise. He finishes. The audience applauds and so do I.
The last act of the evening. The headliner. Nile Kaemon McGregor. Billed as Nile and the Penguins. Unfortunately the penguins had other business to attend to. So, here is Nile, on his own. No worries.
Nile is starting his set with some talking. Drawing in the audience with some comments. Again, an artist with personality. No doubt about that. Nile tells his audience “I’m here to play you some lullabies.” He is lit with red light. His voice is strong, full of impact and resonance. Packed with feeling. When he needs to, he packs a punch. At other times he is sensitive and delicate. When the song requires him to be. It is certainly a remarkable performance.
Time for me to go. The last bus beckons me. No a good night for walking home, I think to myself, as a shiver in the cold darkness of February. As I sit on the bus, I think ‘What a good night out. I am so glad I went. I heard some good music and met quite a few friends. What live music is all about. Not something you can download from the Internet.’
Wednesday 21st February 2018
Conjurer bring The Mire to Pi Bar
with Calligram, Attan and Garganjua
Reviewed by Kashif Hussain
Conjurer have already made a name for themselves as one of the biggest upcoming metal acts to come out of the UK. Having played festivals such as Damnation, Bloodstock Open Air and UK Tech Fest before even releasing their debut album, there are definitely bigger things coming for them in the future.
Pi Bar hosted the first night of their tour in support of their upcoming debut The Mire, and the tiny stage could hardly contain the sheer chaos brought by the headliners and their similarly wild support acts.
Starting things off was Calligram, a blackened hardcore outfit from London. Vocalist Matteo had broken his foot playing a different gig about a week before, but this did nothing to hamper his performance. His use of a crutch in place of a mic stand added a somewhat theatrical element to their performance, which featured all of the fury of hardcore plus the grimness of black metal, sure to please fans of both genres.
Coming all the way from Oslo to support Conjurer on this tour was Attan. They proudly displayed their Norwegian musical heritage in the form of black metal influences in their metallic hardcore sound. Slightly more focus on the blackened aspect of Calligram, plus some post metal elements in their closing track Edward, whose climactic ending meant that their set rightfully went out with a bang.
Local doom metal band Garganjua were next, and they certainly delivered on what their name alludes to: massive, sludgy stoner riffs. Think a heavier Electric Wizard with the reverb turned up to 11. Their slower riffs compared to the previous two bands were a welcome change, but the heaviness remained consistent.
The much-anticipated headline set consisted of Conjurer’s upcoming release played in full, but out of order and interspersed with the majority of tracks from their EP I from 2016. Vocal duties in Conjurer are shared between Dan and Brady, who also share guitar duties. Their roars, screams and growls play off of each other extremely well, just as well as their dissonant and chugging grooves.
Highlights include the single Retch from the upcoming album. As if the djent-influenced breakdown section wasn’t brutal enough, they brought it back slower than before to ensure that every head in the room was banging. Scorn was similarly ferocious, sounding almost like a doomier ISIS. The Mire’s title track is post/doom/sludge metal at its peak, with crazy fast blast beats and plenty of mosh moments.
If tonight’s set proved anything, it’s that The Mire is already a contender for one of the best metal albums of the year, and is definitely a step in the right direction for the Warwickshire quartet. It’s set to be released on 9 March, and can be bought from Bandcamp at https://conjureruk.bandcamp.com/
Sunday 18th February 2018
Metal to the Masses Heat 1
at Duffy’s Bar
with The Surrealists, Septolith and Earls
Reviewed by Martin Baker
Ladies and gentlemen, Metal to the Masses 2018 is finally here! It was great to witness the first heat get under way with a line-up that I was eager to see.
First up were Post-Hardcore Noise Rock group Surrealists who kicked everything off with an interesting intro as they came onstage to a mix of different guitar sounds and textures created together set their Noise Rock scene.
The music tied in nicely and it all comes together with strong and funky bass lines and some great drum beats. In the beginning I felt that one of the guitarists spends a bit too much time looking and playing with different effects on his effects pedals but with such and enthusiastic vocalist/guitarist for backup it was nice to have that balance, especially when he worked his way through the crowd on numerous occasions, and managed to end up flat on his back at the end of their set!
All things considered Surrealists are a bit rough around the edges but definitely one band to go see and watch for the future, they left me feeling pumped and excited for the rest of the evening!
Next on-stage were Skum Punk duo Earls who straight away made an impression with their theme and they were definitely delivering a message! They played with passion and conviction with some seriously catchy lyrics and riffs, which we can all relate to, my favourite was “I wanna get drunk and I wanna get laid,” I mean, who can’t relate to that?
For a two-piece band they created an amazing full sound and they managed to get everyone engaged and enjoying themselves and after their set I can safely say I had a smile on my face and I was reciting some of their lyrics, I’ll leave you to conclude which ones!
After another short break it was time for the last band of the evening Septolith! Straight away I was excited with the idea of a Metal band with keyboards and when they kicked off it was nice to see some classic riffs and catchy tunes but early on, in their first song I think, there were some technical issues that seemed to stop them in their tracks. A few blank expressions and some head shaking but eventually they managed to get things sorted and carry on.
With a more upbeat song they got the crowd back into it and I was happy to see some nice shredding to satisfy my ears and get the vibe back. I particularly liked the slower melodies combined with the lyric style and keyboard aspect which sounded brilliant.
In the end the judges decided that instead of just one band going through to the next heat, TWO bands would go through and a Wildcard would aswell!! So everyone was pleased with Septolith and Surrealists going through and Earls being the Wildcard.
Thanks go again to Simon Yarwood for organising everything and keeping the Leicester Metal scene alive and also to the judges who attended and gave their expert help in choosing the right acts to go through. I look forward to the next heat!
Saturday 10th February 2018
Deadly Circus Fire at The Shed
with Event Horizon and The Surrealists
Tonight’s show was organised by Vault.
Reviewed by Kashif Hussain
While Finches of Attica were playing upstairs at The Shed, the intimate basement stage, also known as The Vault, hosted a spectacular night of heavy music led by Deadly Circus Fire.
The four-piece prog band from London played a selection of tracks, including songs from their 2015 release The Hydra’s Tailor, alongside some stellar local support acts.
First to take to the stage were newcomers to Leicester’s music scene Event Horizon. Their set consisted of alt metal with a noticeable influence from post hardcore and a bit of pop punk, evidenced by their energetic rendition of Green Day’s Holiday. Hopefully we’ll see some big things from them in the near future.
Speaking of energetic, The Surrealists are always a treat to watch. The Leicester-based quartet’s name underlies their music, which can be described as noisy post-hardcore with hints of groove.
The set featured the singalong staple Glenn Branca From Sri Lanka, while vocalist/guitarist Ryan Taylor is definitely not averse to mingling with the crowd while performing, even climbing a bar stool as the mosh pit opened up in front of the stage.
Finally it was time for the headliners, Deadly Circus Fire, to take the stage. They have experience when it comes to touring and have even toured with acclaimed live acts such as Skindred and Crossfaith, and it really shows in the way they present themselves on stage.
Adam Pear’s vocals were quick to change from soft singing to a loud rock scream in between melodic instrumental passages. Highlights include the progressive and Opeth-esque heavy vibes of Shinigami Fall from their upcoming third album and the rousing Devil’s Opera from The Hydra’s Tailor.
Like all good prog metal bands, Deadly Circus Fire’s songs are usually a little on the longer side, although their clever use of cascading melodies, alternating vocals and dynamic riffs are certainly enough to capture the audience’s attention, which is just as true on record as it is on stage.