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Metal to the Masses Final Leicester 2016.

Now Drownload’s out the way, I can sit down and pen some words about this fabulous new event, that is Uprising (Resin Events in association with Firebug & Andy Wright) the brainchild of Matt Kirk and Mr. Simon Yarwood who are responsible for the M2TM’s events in Leicester and its new ‘Goldenboys’, as they managed to pull off the largest and best M2TM’s final to date.

Simon Yarwood - Resin

This all took place at the marvellous De Montford Hall and as I walked from the car park, which is a mere stones throw away from the venue and very reasonably priced at £4 for parking all day, I couldn’t help but notice the grandeur of today’s venue and the grounds in which De Montford Hall is situated are equally as impressive. This lead me to investigate a little more and did you know, De Montford Hall was in fact named after “Simon de Montford” a late Earl of Leicester (c. 1170–1218, confirmed 1207) I shit you not! The Architect was Shirley Harrison and it’s auditorium alone has a seating capacity of around 2000 people, which houses a restored pipe organ, estimated to be worth over £5 million, back in 2014… wish I’d known that before I went!

As grand as it’s setting, the days line up for ‘Uprising’ was equally as impressive as on the main stage alone, we had five great bands (Garganjua, Blood Oath, Final Coil, Conjurer and Temple of Lies) who were all battling it out for a place on the New Blood Stage at this years Bloodstock Festival. We also had five of the biggest and best live acts, currently active in the live music scene today (Internal Conflict, Beholder, Conan, Hell and Phil Campbell’s All Starr Band) and if that wasn’t enough, we had Acid Reign, AGHAST, Morass Of Molasses and SWAMP DELTA over on the second stage, as well as acoustic sets from Resin, James Cull & Rhett Barrow and The Midnight Dogs. And it didn’t stop there either, as we also had some rather alluring Burlesque acts who entertained the masses between the acoustic acts on stage 3.


The whole day was extremely well organised and thoroughly thought out, with everything taken into consideration. For example, outside in a safe and pleasant enclosure we had three types of food vendors to choose from, which I managed to sample two of, For me, the food selection is as important as the bands that play as in my book, I love eating! Motley Brew, who cater for all your caffeine and non caffeine related drinks, for the non-drinkers or those driving (like me) who, incidentally, were an official sponsor of today’s event. I’m sure you’ll spot him about, at a summer event near you, if so, go over and say hi, he’s now one of my festival highlights and saviors, especially the morning after a heavy days drinking! As for drinking, not only did we have the two bars to choose from, but we also had some very fine real ales to choose from but as this event was also sponsored by Hobgoblin, what did you expect!

As you can plainly see, this was a full days entertainment, in a fantastic venue, all for less than £20!!!

As this was primarily a M2TM’s finale, we were very eager to see who would go on to play Bloodstock, as we’ll be attending in an unofficial capacity (we won’t be covering the event as we’ll be getting drunk and enjoying ourselves for once) so it’s probably a good idea to discuss our thoughts on the bands that took part!

Garganjua were first up and are a band we know all too well, as this is a side project for Beholder’s lead guitarist, Scott Taylor! We have in fact reviewed Garganjua’s new album, which is fantastic so we’re aware of the doom-tastic capabilities of this band and wasn’t surprised to see them in this final. Lighting was dark and gloomy, just the way they like it, although difficult to shoot in but it does make for the perfect setting to their sound, so we can’t complain. I’m not 100% certain, but Scott sounded a little nervous in his vocals on the day, I don’t know if that’s because of the scale of this event, or if he’s not quite comfortable being a front man but Where he lacked in his vocal capabilities, he more than made up for with his guitar playing ability, phenomenal!


Blood Oath are probably the first band that I know of to get to a M2TM’s final, having only been a band for eight months, yet their attendance today based on the performance we witnessed, was justified! We can be forgiven for not knowing who this band were going into this event, as it appears very few people do looking at their Facebook page, with only an insulting 259 people following, s that really doesn’t do this band any justice! All I can say is, the few that have heard of this band have very good taste, so when these guys become massive stars, playing their Groovy Death Metal, which was brilliant to watch btw, at least you can say you knew of them, before the fame and the glory. Personally, I love discovering bands like this and watching them grow in popularity! I’ve seen it happen many times now and I’ve gotten pretty good a spotting real talent and potential, so I’m tipping these to be a huge success in the not too distant future!

Final Coil we’re our least favourite band out of the five, that doesn’t mean to say they were rubbish, but in a battle of a bands, you consciously rate bands in some measurable order, based on ability. For us, I felt the vocal were their weakest point, but their musical ability was brilliant and I got into their groove quite well during solo’s etc. This band consists of a great bunch of people though, and their bass player rocks!

From what I can gather, after speaking to people on the day, the next band, Conjurer went into this competition as a firm favourite to win it and their energy and style of music (post-sludge) was faultless on the day. Andy, the band’s Bass player even decided to jump off the massive De Montford stage and jam out in the photographers pit, where he was soon set upon by said photographers – like a swarm they were! Great set, from a very hard working, competent band, who are currently signed to Holy Roar Records and we expect to see more of these guys!


The final band battling it out for a place were Temple of Lies and another band tat we’ve not come across before today but are now happy we can say we’ve seen them play live, as they played out of their skins on the day and we really enjoyed their set. Front man Si Shaw is a born performer and a joy to watch on stage. Signed to Attic Records, I’m certain we’ll be seeing these guys playing again very soon!

All the bands that played in the final are winners in our book, if it was left to us, we would have sent through either Blood Oath or Temple of Lies but thankfully, that responsibility wasn’t ours and we didn’t envy the judges, who’s job it was to decide the winners! That honour went to more distinguished gentlemen, who chose Doomer’s Conjurer as their overall winners, but with a plot twist, they also decided to grant Garganjua a runners up prize, so they too go on to play at BOA this year and much kudos to these guys, we’ll see you all there!

Looking at both the winning bands and the doom metal style they play, this clearly tells us what the festival were looking for this year, it’s true, doom has grown in popularity of late – just look at Desert Fest, for example. Great stuff, the losing bands shouldn’t give up, as the M2TM’s event is a great way to play to a well distinguished organisation and if nothing else, it gets you recognised by new fans!

As for the rest of the day, Internal Conflict were subliminal and it was great to see them playing on a large stage, such as De Montford Hall. These guys are a great example of what a band can achieve going through the M2TM’s event and we love them for it. They’re hard working, produce great ‘energetic’ music and all members of the band are grounded, down to earth guys and who are easily approachable, yet they have ambition and desire to do well, which no one can fault them for!

Internal Conflict

We saw yet another flawless set from Beholder, who’s latest album ‘Reflections’ has been their most successful offering to date and has catapulted them into new territory and stardom. It’s popularity has also earned them a return slot on the Sophie Lancaster stage at this years BOA, so we look forward to seeing them again this year,which must be our fourth time in 2016 alone!

Doom lords, in comparison, Conan, wow’d the crowd with their crushing riffs and these guys were a great compliment to today’s line up and a great choice, as they’ve already played Desert Fest and are soon to embark on their second tour of Australia, which also includes their first trip to New Zealand. These guys are going places in the music world, so to catch a glimpse of them here, at Uprising, was a great honour.

Hell, who hail from rival city Derby (my current place of residence) stole the show today though, with a full stage production, that included all the pyrotechnics you’d expect at a Rammstein gig! Although, this was only our second time seeing Hell, it was in fact our first full show experience, as not every venue you play in can accommodate 12ft flame blasts, which are as hot as hell it’s self – let me tell you! I was under the impression the togs were only allowed in the pit for the first three songs, as only after that, would the flames be fired but nope, I was stood right next to one when it first fired and I shit my pants, quite literally! I survived though, with an experience I’ll never forget as this band are truly amazing. What a show, wish they’d also play Bloodstock this year aswell, nudge nudge, wink wink!


As the stage was stripped bare in preparation for Motorhead’s own Phil Campbell’s All Star Band, I felt a little sorry for them having to follow on from Hell, but with Phil’s legendary statues and guitar playing, if anyone could pull it off, he could, well, you’d think so anyway. The start of their set seemed to be plagued with issues, with Phil not entirely happy with the sound and few grimacing faces from other band members and the lead singer constantly looking down, to read the lyrics to cover songs. This wasn’t the band I remember seeing a few years back at HRH, when they were excellent! Less we forget, Phil has recently lost a lifelong friend and former band member in Lemmy Kilmister, earlier this year, god rest his soul, so maybe I’m being a little too critical, but as a viewer, it wasn’t the best performance of the day, by any means! As their set went on though, it did get infinitely better and watching Phil shred was a delight – he truly is a master guitarist, of that I’m certain!

Phil Campbell's All Star Band(1)

Mr Yarwood and co. pulled off a truly memorable all day event, of which I’m certain will only grow as I’m aware that the gears are already turning for next years event! We’d like to extend our gratitude, to Resin Events for inviting us to cover their first ever Uprising and certainly hope it isn’t our last, as today was incredible! I feel I’ve waffled on enough, but I’m sure you’ll agree, this event was far from ordinary, it was in fact very special!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)


The Firebug Leicester 8.4.16.

Tonight’s gig was a special one, as I’d participated in Beholder’s Kickstarter campaign, which they successfully smashed within 24 hours. Fact is, they reached their target in the first two hours, which is pretty amazing for any band, so we’re over the moon for them. As part of my package, I was given the opportunity to be a part of the set up crew, which in reality all this means is I helped lug their equipment up two flights of stairs, which I’m sure the band appreciated immensely as it allowed them to conserve their energy for tonight’s show! Tonight’s gig was part of a Resin Events night, who’s an up and coming promoter in the Leicester area and starting to make a name for himself, as he’s fair and goes that extra mile to ensure bands want to play his events and the customers have a great night out!

As part of the nights entertainment, the promoter also secured three others acts to play alongside Beholder, the first of which being Opensight, a fantastically creative band from London, whose origins stretch slightly further a field, as the four piece are from all over Europe.

Members of Opensight consist of, Ivan David – Vocals / Guitar, Genia Penksik – Guitar and Redd Reddington – Drums. Although no bass player was present, thanks to the wonders of Technology, a laptop computer filled in the gaps. It also produced a rather cool projection, that coincided with their set and I was pretty impressed with that, to be honest!

Ivan David - Opensight

At first I didn’t quite know what to expect from these guys, lead singer and guitarist Ivan David was very theatrical and entertaining, however, his solos seemed awkward and very complex, so I’m not sure if he missed a few notes or if I’m just stupid? However, as the set went on, the more interested I became and it was almost as if the whole room had been hypnotised, as their music grabbed us off guard, with their funk fuelled metal cross over style which was something very unique indeed and not something you come across all that often. Personally, I’m still on the fence with this band, but I’ll certainly be trying to see these guys play live again, just to see what happens, I’m sure it wasn’t a fluke, yet quite possibly the most original thing I’ve see all year?

The next bands name, should have been an indication of what to expect, as to some extent “Victorian Whore Dogs” are what they go by and it suits them, perfectly! After a rousing introduction, courtesy of the one and only, master of ceremonies Mr. Rob Bannister, the band set off at lightning speed with my first impression being ‘another screamo band’ but as the set went on, these guys certainly changed my initial perception!

Danny Page - Victorian Whore Dogs

The band describe their sound as being a cross of Hobo Sludge and Sexy Trampcore, two genres that I’ve never heard of before and I’m sure they’ve made it up, but it does describes their style perfectly! I mean no disrespect when I say, lead singer Danny Page is a big lad, but he certainly seems very comfortable within himself, as the top came off and so did the lid on his personality. Off stage, he seemed quite a gentleman but on it, he became a sex crazed mad man, offering everyone in the room sexual favours whilst touching himself. I assure that this was all part of the act but it was very entertaining!

Tonight was a relatively warm one, so how the bands drummer Steve More managed to play the entire set in a dog like gimp mask is beyond me, however it did serve as another aid towards the comedy factor! These guys have taken on a genre that usually bores me to tears as there are so many young angry men playing this type of music today, but Victorian Whore Dogs have managed to turn it into something quite unique and very entertaining! The rest of the band consists of, Adam Marrelli Crawley – Guitar/vox and Andy Nuttall – Bass/vox. VWD’s are currently touring around the UK with the next band on tonight’s bill, Morass Of Molasses or MoM for short.

First off, these guys had the best merch stand display that we’ve seen all year and thankfully, my amazement didn’t stop there! On stage, these guys are riff monsters and we’d liken them to bands such as Black Spiders – lead singer Bones The Beard was clearly a fan of that band, as he was wearing their t-shirt and fans of 1000mods, Wo Fat and Baroness should seriously consider checking these guys out! I’m aware the band played last years Bloodstock festival, which sat well with the crowd tonight, especially when you consider who was in attendance!

Phil The Mountain - Morass Of Molasses

As the last band before them were extremely entertaining, so were Morass of Molasses and when they invited Danny back up on stage to take part in a song, we knew there was a reason these two bands decided to tour together, if not for the comedy factor, the track they played was bloody brilliant – even with screaming involved. This review is slighly under whelming and doesn’t really do the band any justice – not because they were sh*t, but because I don’t know enough about them. They did however, leave a lasting impression on us, so we will do our best to find out more!

Danny Page - Victorian Whore Dogs and Bones The Beard - Morass Of Molasses

One funny moment was when Bones addressed the crowd with an introduction to a song, which was meant to be about a dragon – I think, but someone close to the band suggested it reminded them of cock…ok, I didn’t feel that, but one guy in the crowd liked cock, so immediately related with what was being said, I never did find out if the song gave him a happy ending though?

So, to the band of the hour, Beholder. It’s been a long time coming but thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, the release of their third Studio album ‘Reflections’ was all made possible thanks to the generosity of their fans and the band haven’t let them down either. I spoke with both guitarist Scott Taylor and drummer Chris Bentley, who both said that the band have approached the making of this album a little differently than with “Order of Chaos”. With the previous album, they went for tracks they thought were right, technically, but with this new album ‘Reflections’ they dug deeper and wrote music that had more meaning both lyrically and musically.

Chris Bentley - Beholder

Metal Hammer quite rightly penned and I quote “Progressive edged metallers Beholder have impressed…excellently crafted and crushingly performed…this is without a doubt the most cohesive collection of songs that Beholder have put to their name to so far” and we agree. I’ll never win any awards for writing, it’s not my forte, I do this to accompany my images however, I do know what I like and I’ve always liked this bands honesty and persistence – I’ve seen this band play to twenty people and still given it their all. Tonight, deservedly, the venue was almost full, with people from all walks of life in attendance and all with one thing in common, to show their support to one of the hardest working bands in the underground metal scene, who, thanks to this album, appear to be emerging into pastures new!

If I could bottle up emotion, I would have made a fortune from the glee that was emulating from front man, Simon Hall’s body language, throughout the entirety of tonight’s set. I could see he was loving every second of performing this new album, not in it’s entirety and not in the same order that it appears on the CD but the set was mainly geared up to showcase the new album and quite rightly so as it’s a belter! Live, these guys are amazing too!

Simon Hall - Beholder

Reflections gets its official release on 12.02.16, so be sure to grab yourself a copy and be sure to see a live show soon, as the band play five more shows around the country this April – check out their Facebook page for more details!

Reflections is available to buy from Beholder’s official website.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)


O2 Academy3 Birmingham 2nd May 2015.

Tonight’s Hils Ovation gig really is a bit of a big deal from me, with at least four very good reasons why – Destroyed Beyond Belief, Haerken, Morgue Orgy and of course, the one and the only, Beholder.

Destroyed Beyond Belief have fiercely championed the West Midlands metal scene for many a year and even though they are well renowned for their mischief and misdemeanors, there is always one thing that they are totally serious about, and that is their music. From my mouse hole perspective in the O2 Academy3 photo pit, it felt like tonight’s performance was stoked to the max, as it delivered an edge and an energy that seemed borne out of the sheer elation of being back up on stage. A great set from DBB to start off the night and one that the band can definitely be proud of.

Sean - Destroyed Beyond Belief

From out of the mists of medieval times, (and the snaking haze of the O2 Academy’s smoke machine) arose our second band of the evening, Haerken. Haerken are as much an experience as they are a superb metal band with their attention to detail in the delivery of their set, capturing an age and an aura that transverses the chronicles of time. This may have been the first time I’ve seen them play live, but it certainly won’t be the last as this was one crusade that I will certainly be following!

Reverend Benjamin - Haerken

Our third band of the night were Birmingham’s very own Morgue Orgy and boy, oh boy do these guys know how to take thrash to a new level! The O2 academy3 was blissfully subjected to an onslaught of metal that was savage in it’s delivery, brutal in it’s ebb and intense in it’s message which all in all, makes for the most cranial of experience! Morgue Orgy are a great band to see live, so keep those eye peeled for dates yet to come and bring ya sense of humour with you as these guys enjoy a joke or two aswell.

Gray - Morgue Orgy

So, with no further ado, the moment I had been waiting for had arrived as our headliners for tonight and renowned ambassadors of the holy metal grail, Beholder, took to the stage. From the moment that the band stepped on stage to the dying refrain of their last note an hour and a quarter later, the intensity of their metal and the passion and core beliefs that lie within it, were all consuming.

Simon Hall - Beholder

Their set list tonight included a selection of material from their previous albums aswell as a smattering of songs that are still yet to be recorded and released. And there we have it folks, as Beholder will be heading back to the studio with the intention of having a new album ready for release hopefully later in the year – and that will definitely be something to look out for!

Si Fielding - Beholder

Tonight’s gig really was one of those night’s where all musical hopes and expectations were exceeded and if that ain’t one of the greatest joys of live music, I’ll eat my hat!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.