Category Archives: Recommended

Chemikill

With support from The Unresolved, Ghost Of Machines, Rawkas and 14 Pieces.
O2 Academy3 Birmingham 27th July 2019.

I’ve been looking forward to tonight for what simply feels like AGES, as once again, Ovation Music Management has brought together a stellar line up of my kind of metal and hard rock, all under the roof of the O2 Academy3 in Birmingham.

And getting tonight’s event underway, were the Telford based band 14 Pieces who like to play metal hard, thrashed and notably heavy. I really love the way that this band capture an intensity in both their music and live performance and without doubt, these guys delivered an impressive set tonight. Good live music is a thing to be treasured and tonight’s set from the band saw them clearly on the greatest of form and making for an excellent start to the night.

Next up were Rawkas and you have to hand it to these groovecore masters as they certainly know how to capture an audiences attention, with songs that bring about a raging torrent of dark melodic riffs and vocals that graze the soul to its core. Tonight’s set saw Rawkas deliver five of their very best tracks, which included last years release ‘XVX‘ and the fantastic ‘Black Lagoon‘. If you’ve yet to check Rawkas out, then I strongly recommend you do and seek out these two tracks for yourself – you won’t be disappointed.

The one thing I really love about Ovation Music Management gigs is that you get to discover some pretty awesome up and coming bands and Ghost Of Machines most definitely sit within that category! Local to the Swindon area, this band have been together since 2014 and in those few years, they have developed a collective personality that manifests itself live as both visually dramatic and alluring in its presence. Their set tonight was a burst of none stop energy and rock, which manifested itself through the tireless vitality of lead singer Billy Bingham – a must see band for sure!

Our penultimate band for tonight were The Unresolved and with influences including Motorhead, Black Sabbath and T Rex, these guys certainly know how what it takes to make the hard rock roll. With a recent change to their line up bringing Thomas Gould (Vocals) into their fold, The Unresolved look and sound set to move forward in a very positive direction and have also recently released a new single ‘Here To Stay‘. If you like you rock to have that good time vibe and love great riffs aswell, then these guys are the band for you.

The West Midlands metal scene has seen bands come and go but there are also a number of great bands who have stood the test of time, with one such band being Chemikill who were our headliners tonight. Chemikill stand firm amongst our local masters of metal and their long standing presence has brought about an amazing catalogue of hard hitting metal that not only has stood the test of time but continues to be very current aswell. Tonight’s set from the band was a first class performance, with the vocals of lead singer Tracey Rand being an absolute pleasure to behold – when it comes to capturing the notes and interpretation of the music – this gal has exactly what it takes. Chemikill have more dates in their diary for September, so do check out their Facebook page for more information about these.

To see more photographs from the night, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Ashen Crown

With support from Mad Spanner, Blood Church and Grave Altar.

It’s Friday and time to blow the working week cobwebs away and I can’t think of a better way to do it than in the company of Ashen Crown, Mad Spanner, Blood Church and Grave Altar over at The Hole In The Wall in Shrewsbury.

Getting the metal underway tonight were Grave Altar and these guys didn’t waste any time with pleasantries, they just hit the ground running hard. With metal that consistently locks on to a rapid fire ricochet, this band not only looked but sounded like serious business and there was no let up throughout their set at all. Intense, powerful and just what you need to get a Friday night off to a great start.

Our second band of the night were Blood Church and having seen them play live on several occasions this year, they have fast become a favorite of mine. Nothing says more about a band than the audiences reaction and Blood Church tonight drew the audiences attention to the point of becoming a seething pit of bodies. I can’t remember the last time getting up close was such an impossibility and with a performance like this, these guys are well on their way to immortality!

There was something quite mesmerizing about watching our third band of the night, Mad Spanner. Maybe it was their appearance or the blatant craziness of Michael Randall but I found myself caught up in an experience that I can only compare to Beetle Juice the musical. Having said that, underneath this persona, there is a very competent band who have built an amazing metal world of their own creation which is thunderous, ravenous and quite eccentric. Once again, the audience were possessed and lapped up the invitation to mosh like their lives depended on it!

Our headliners tonight were Ashen Crown and with Kieran Scott also promoting the event, this was a busy night all round for him. There is a very tough core to Ashen Crown that drives a powerful hypnotic element to this bands metal and you can feel the intensity simmering, right up to the point when the explosion is unleashed and boy oh boy, did this guys deliver an (((earthquake performance))) tonight. With the band now heading into the studio to complete their debut album, this is one album that I can’t wait to hear and if you want to catch them live again, they will be launching ‘Osolescence’ at the O2 Academy3 in Birmingham on Saturday 26th October.

Tonight’s event has been one hell of a night for live music with great music, a fantastic atmosphere and an audience completely in tune with all of the bands. Born To Lose Productions have their next event lined up for 23rd August back here at The Hole In The Wall in Shrewsbury and believe me when I say, that is going to be a night you don’t want to miss!

To see more photographs from the night, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Metal 2 The Masses

The Grand Final
KK’s Steel Mill Wolverhampton 1st June 2019.

Today is set to be one to remember, with six heats and three Semi-finals done and dusted in this years Wolverhampton Metal 2 The Masses, the Grand Final is now upon us. With a slot on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock calling out to our winner, the anticipation was electric and our six finalist were ready to give it their all.

With Rustlung having drawn the first slot of the day, they quickly set about making their thirty minutes count. The atmosphere on stage was all consuming – as was their blend of stoner/groove metal and clearly the band were intent on proving that they had exactly what it takes to be worthy contenders for today’s much sought after prize, to perform at Bloodstock.

The next band to take to the stage were The Black Hounds and as always, hard rock/metal played at its very best was their ultimate goal for today. With audience numbers growing, the band captured and held their attention fast, leaving no one in any doubt that today we would be witnessing Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses finalists, reach a standard of performance to be proud of.

Our third band of the day were Eyes Of The Raven and anyone whose seen these guys play live before, will know that they live stoner/groove metal large and always pack an honest and heartfelt punch with every song they play. Highlight of their set for me was ‘Crown Of Serpents’ which in my book, is pure and absolute mastery!

With the first three of our six finalist having given their all, the midway point of today’s event was reached and it was time for our first guest band of the day. Ashen Crown are a shining example of West Midlands metal and their rocket fuelled rise within this community has already led them to perform on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock in 2017. To describe their set today as brutal, ruthless and relentless is an understatement – a first class performance from a first class band.

Atarka were next to perform at today’s event and I can’t help but admire this band for their volcanic intensity, which is further incited by the towering stature of lead singer, Jamie Smith. With the audience rising to meet Atarka’s call to arms, the mosh pit responded and clearly, this was going to be one performance from today, that was favored by many.

Having attended all heats and semi-finals, there is one band who have repeatedly exceeded themselves, and that band is Blood Church. The theatrics of this band knows no boundaries and today, their satanic brimstone, metal and fire was more scorching that ever. This band have to be seen and heard – and truly, they are a mind blowing experience never to be forgotten. Today saw them take both stage presentation and metal to yet another new level with bible tearing, blood and two pigs heads giving rise to some very sharp intakes of breath from me! Epic!!

Elyrean have been a big hit with fans throughout the entirety of Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses and it has been an absolute pleasure to see them rise to meet high expectations head on. With each and every performance they’ve given, the impeccable standard of musicianship that this band possesses has been a sheer pleasure to witness and today’s Final saw them embrace the moment and completely captivate their audience of many!

Today’s Final has been an incredible event but with our second guest band of the day still to play, it was definitely far from over. Evil Scarecrow are absolute icons within the metal community – and beyond it for that matter and today’s set was certainly larger than life! With their stage props built to satisfy the most bizarre of imaginations, their music to feast on and lots of hilarity on stage and off, today’s Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses performances ended on a high, in true Scarecrow style.

And with all bands having played and performed like their very souls depended on it, we waited with baited breath for the announcement of the day. I really didn’t envy Simon Hall his job as judge today, as this was definitely going to be a difficult call! But the moment came and the announcement made and Wolverhampton’s winners of a slot playing on Bloodstcks New Blood Stage went to Elyrean and to say they were overjoyed is most definitely an understatement! But the good news didn’t end there as Eyes Of The Raven received the suprise selection of a slot on the Jagermeister Stage AND one band (who weren’t named) picked as a reserve should an available slot arise – now that is a result!!

On a personal note, it has been an absolute pleasure to have been part of this great event and my heartfelt gratitude goes out to Matt Edwards for keeping those big wheels turning, the sound guys for their brilliant skills on the sound desk, all photographers and reviewers, KK’s Steel Mill for their hard work and never ending commitment to this great event, Simon Hall and of course, everyone who has supported the bands and this event along the way. And there we have it folks – my feet ache but the heart is very happy, Wolverhampton Metal 2 The Masses 2020 can’t come soon enough!!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.