WHERE THE FUCK ARE THEY
i call for a coup d'etat
Musicianship/Skill – 4
Guitar – loving that signature WAHH! Drive is HARD. Technicality wasn’t always present, but you generally nailed it.
Drums – Loving life on stage! Watch those double kick licks + beats, you can’t afford to misstep! Really driving the band.
Vox – Not necessarily technically impressive, but strong in the mix and your growls + screams are great. Cleans sometimes wavering and unsteady. Lower notes in particular you seemed to struggle with.
Bass – LOCKED. IN! How hard were you being pushed technically?
Professionalism – 4.5
What took so long getting started?! No nonsense when they got going. Guest feature was a nice touch, integrated well. Just don’t let it override the purpose of that song.
Your mix is great.
Songwriting – 4
1st– probably the most serviceable and generic of the set. But not ACTUALLY generic. Got me, and crucially, the audience invested.
3rd– Guest vocals gave a good performance. Don’t let it override your lead singer’s performance though – keep your centre spot! Hook was great, became a little lost in the guest vocal highlight and breakdown.
Hooks were ACE. Very accomplished.
Creativity – 4
Unlike Shibboleth (your clear cousin/half-sibling), your songs were sonically distinct.
Lots of tropes of the genre but your singer, particularly personality-wise, was a tour-de-force. Never felt leisurely.
Stage Presence/Entertainment Value – 4.5
OFF THE FUCKING CHAIN! …until the anger became a shtick. Really shined when it became clear you were having fun! Bassist – bust some moves, dude!
Your 3rdsong mosh pit was brutal – I think someone died…
We got taken for a ride. FUCKING INSANE.
Overall – 21/25
When are you guys going in the studio? I NEED your EP.
Artist: River Purple
Vox – tasty harmonies! High notes handled well, generally still strong.
Drums – Solid roll on that snare in the 2ndsong dude! Watch those dynamics in the verse and careful with the transition from bear to fill and back to beat again.
Strings – Bass is tasty; guitars are working around each other nicely. Watch your timing though and find a way to differentiate your sounds – at times I wondered whether the band needed both guitarists.
Camaraderie w/ other bands was slick and nice to hear. No nonsense start was ace.
NEED to watch that mix – easy to lose guitars when the band is really going for it. Mic technique is NICE!
Some static in quieter parts.
Songwriting – 3
1st– Promising start with that intro, slightly over-played the quieter first verse, lost some of the energy. Otherwise, a solid.
2nd– Structure was creative, but the song needed that upbeat second part sooner. Emptiness of first half was fine, but a little odd after such a long transition between the first song and this one.
3rd– Can’t really remember this one! Where’s your hook?
4th– Ambient guitars are NICE!
5th– Vocal harmonies only slightly slipped here. Ballad-like chorus wasn’t particularly unique, not as pleasant as the verse. Post-chorus elevated the song.
Creativity – 3
Transition from 1stto 2ndsong, while not necessarily complex, was a nice segue and carried audience interest onwards.
Nothing ground-breaking, but structure was inventive.
Band have not relied on frontman for stage presence, movement on stage is good. Frontman isn’t just performing for the rent-a-crowd at the front!
A delight to watch and listen to, but still felt there needed to be a Unique Selling Point to set you apart in your genre!
Overall – 19/25
Musicianship/Skill – 3.5
Drums are solid, double kick gave me palpitations. Timing was thrown a LITTLE in more technical parts.
Vox – Hope your larynx is ok! Nice variety of scream styles.
Strings – Clearly competent, bass locked in tight with drums in 3rdsong opening rhythm.
Professionalism – 4
Slick entry, on in a timely fashion, straight into it, no fucking about.
Seamless introduction of guest vocalist was a delight.
Parts sometimes got lost in the mix – make sure you get someone off-stage in front of the speakers during soundcheck to test the levels. Finished in-time.
Intro: Solid tone-setter, a bit clunky.
1stsong: Wearing influences on their sleeves, intro was a great start, need to continue energy through that outro. Half-time alone doesn’t make it epic!
2ndsong: Like song 1, lost some of its excitement halfway through.
3rdsong: Locked in drums, bass + guitar. BLAST BEATS!! Guest vocals were great, the energy and performance, easily the strongest song.
I said before their influences are pretty clear, which leads into them not being entirely original.
Despite seeing their soundcheck, I hadn’t quite clocked they would feature guest vocals in the final song, which added so much!
They have it by the bucket-load! Their enjoyment is clear and not forced. Good audience interaction – had them moshing in seconds. Sharing the mic with audience is SICK – good thing they knew to try and scream too! Singer slightly fucked the first audience interaction off the back of the intro – need more of a gut-punch moment before asking them how they’re doing. These guys need a bigger stage! Even the peeps who clearly are not metal fans enjoyed.
ALSO: WALL. OF. DEAH!
Overall – 18.5/25
Kicked off the semi-finals really well, it’s a difficult slot for a metal band!
Artist: Maximum Axiom
It goes without saying you guys are clearly competent musicians.
Guitars – Some EPIC solos. Nailed the tone. Watch that unintentional feedback (vox too).
Bass – Solid. Wanted more from you though!
Vox – Hope you warmed up, you’re gonna be exhausted! Wanted more of those delicious harmonies.
Drums – Impressed that wig is still on your head after even 1 song! Fucking BIG when you needed to be. Some fills felt messy.
Professionalism – 3
You guys have clearly worked hard on this routine. No fuss, on and off. Slick.
Expected a slightly more polished set from a band playing with a shtick and technically moderate-complexity songs.
Similar story to what you are about to read in the ‘Creativity’ category – we’ve seen all this before!
Intro – pitch-perfect but pretty run-of-the-mill. Easy to jam to. Serviceable.
3rd– BALLAD TIME! And then BANG with that surprise upbeat turn, saved you guys from tiring out the tropes.
Creativity – 2
As entertaining as y’all are, you’ve kinda backed yourself into a corner for this category – as a band paying clear homage to a specific era + genre of music, you unfortunately limit yourselves in your creative scope – occupational hazard I’m afraid! That being said, you pulled it off with aplomb.
Stage Presence/Entertainment Value – 3.5
Genuinely hilarious – got the audience on board with your shtick easily. Frontman nailed it. Careful your jokes don’t become in-jokes that alienate part of the audience. Doing ‘coke’ on stage – is it appropriate? Not entirely. Does it fit your aesthetic? Of course. Don’t make a mess on stage though! Definitely started to wane towards the end…
Overall – 15.5
Vox – you are clearly proficient, sometimes your voice sounded like it was struggling though. Don’t let the audience interaction compromise your flow and quality.
Drums – SOLID! Nice gear – don’t let it be a substitute for technique though.
Lead Guitar (glasses) – Tone wasn’t working well consistently.
Rhythm Guitar – Quietly competent.
Bass – Nice licks, wanted a little more.
Good plugs for your content. GET THOSE DOWNLOADS!
On and off, no fuss. Band didn’t always feel ‘together’. Some of the rhythms on the strings didn’t gel. Need to work on your mix – you don’t intend to be a wall of noise, so let those melodies cut through!
Songwriting – 2.5
1st– Great intro to the set.
2nd– Falling into ‘generic’ territory. Guitar solo was understated, kinda wanted you to let rip a little more and add something more to this song! Neat little drum beats and delicate playing – not sure it’s all coming together.
3rd– Your sound and style is now consistent with the previous song. Guitar solo didn’t quite gel with the section it came in. Final chords and outro saw the song hit its stride beautifully, shame it took so long to get there!
4th– Don’t abandon those sweet hooks!
5th– Again, only found itself in the end. Need to find ways to differentiate your songs more.
There are some cool creative ideas here, not always being perfectly executed. Drums in particular is pioneering experimentation, felt like the rest of the band wasn’t quite matching your inventiveness. Blending nice genre tropes, not every song was especially sonically distinct however.
Stage Presence/Entertainment Value – 3
Style-wise – are you all even in the same band?! You had to BRING IT after Incarnal’s set and you certainly brought the right energy in your opener. Nice audience interaction. Your ‘slightly overwhelmed but really psyched to be here’ persona was funny, don’t overplay the awkwardness! Rest of the band seemed to fall a little by the wayside.
Overall – 15/25
Musicianship/Skill – 2.5
Watch your tempo in transition between sections, don’t rush!
Vox – Are you rapping? Diction and flow is wicked. Lower notes weren’t strong, at times you weren’t the frontperson the band needed.
Drums – Careful you don’t override others in your dynamic changes. Really shined when you filled!
Vocal guitarist – Tone isn’t particularly unique. Could do more with your rhythm role.
Guitars – Picking is lovely.
On in seconds – which we like to see!
You are all really self-assured without being cocky! Singer switching between guitar and keys wasn’t so slick.
1st– LOVELY! Nice hook, but is it enough of a strong opener? I’m not sure.
2nd– Nice creative structure.
3rd– Vocals losing their way a little, wanted a stronger lead. Guitar is NICE though!
4th– First song with a strong hook! Shame it also went on to be the most generic song in your set. Drum solo was cool until singer basically interrupted it.
I was never confident you were pushing yourselves.
Creativity – 2.5
Song structure was inventive, but you still had a fairly generic sound at times. Drum solo in last song was a nice idea, poorly executed. If you’re gonna rope in the singer on percussion, don’t detract from the drummer’s groove by taking away part of their kit!
Felt very much like the band was a support for the singer-songwriter, you should try making yourselves more complex.
Silence in between songs is not ideal! Audience interaction is lacking, needs some banter or at least a hello! That ‘whoop’ was cool – show us more often. Give another member of the band a mic so they can chat to the audience when singer is switching instruments or hydrating.
When in doubt, get the audience clapping! – Nice!
Overall – 13.5/25
Really solid and tight, great vocal for the music. Good drummer.
Confident performance, well defined sound, good.
Really solid for the style – stayed pretty much within a genre but explored the possibilities well. Polished detail, some great riffs.
Creativity – 4
Band has gone for an image and it works well for them. Not the most dynamic style but every song sounded like a different angle had been explored and had its own details and moments.
Little bit nervous to start but didn’t last long. After that great. Good interaction and crowd involvement.
Overall – 19.5/25
Really solid band, enjoyed their songs and commitment onstage. Hope to see them again.
Musicianship/Skill – 4.5
Nice classic rock. Some great guitar solos, vocals worked very well with the music. Solid.
Totally not sure what to make of the American accent or banter, not a huge fan. Is it a joke? The band is good, no need for comedy. Looked great, good confidence onstage despite the jokes. Too early to attempt a singalong. Well thought out sound with defined guitars.
After the intro bit I thought the songs were very good, well structured classic rock with good dynamics, catchy riffs, good musical breaks, good vocal hooks.
Love the concept of the band – good to see a thought-out image. And the songs were as creative as you can get staying within that genre.
Very good. The early singalong was misjudged and be careful not to go flat after a big entrance. But generally very good. Why that accent??
Nice classic rock with pretty much all the stuff it need as well as some unnecessary comedy. Really interesting concept.
Nice interplay between guitars, vocal fit the music perfectly although unfortunately the singer seemed to be struggling with his voice/throat at times. A few moments where it could have been tighter.
Confident on stage, sound was well balanced and blending nicely. Singer worked well as a ‘front man’ and interacted well.
Nice indie with big vocal melodies, good dynamics and good detail. Also some nice bass lines.
Creativity – 3.5
Stylistically stayed pretty close to the indie mould but generally felt like each song had its own character. Definitely space for a backing vocal.
Stage presence worked well in a slightly awkward but also confident way. Tricky to explain that properly – but that’s how I saw it. Rivers Cuomo style.
Catchy songs, committed performance. Ill singer – tough luck with the timing. Hope to see them again with the singer in better health.
Rank: Joint 3rd
Nice vocals, nice vocal harmonies. Good interplay between two guitars. Priority should be to work on tightness and playing as a unit – especially with timing. Vocals got better as it went on – do you warm up?
Professionalism – 3.5
Good, confident onstage. The two guitarists need more definition between their guitar sounds to make the interplay sound crisper.
Nice, catchy indie songs. Nicely textured, good dynamics, nice changes of pace.
A few moments where some interesting influences came in to add something different, particularly the first and fourth songs.
Good interaction and generally confident. Occasionally slipped into not doing too much between them for a while in terms of movement.
Nice songs with some very nice moments. Work on defining the two guitars and tightness (at times) and you’ll be sorted.
Musicianship/Skill – 3
Great vocals for the music. Very competent musicians. Really enjoyed the drummers fills.
Good. Sound – try to find more definition between the guitars and bass sounds – came across a little bit muddy and there’s only 2 instruments so should be possible.
I like the style but would like to see the songs developed a little bit more. The big elements are there but sometimes little details and small moments can make a difference.
Three solid song, possibly running a bit out of ideas a little bit at times, and pretty much followed a formula (although one I like) – not particularly dynamic.
Stage Presence/Entertainment Value – 4
Intro probably wasn’t necessary. Good chat between songs, good audience reaction and the band really made the most of it.
Overall – 15.5/25
Big start to the night! I am a big fan of the style, look forward to seeing them again and especially how they develop.
Need to work on tightness and timing a bit, but some interesting stuff going on rhythmically when it did come together well.
Quite a nicely balanced sound. Guitar (lead parts) sounded a little bit dry at times. The two guitars needed more definition between them – as a result the songs with piano sounded much fuller. Could have organised the songs in an order to avoid moving the mic around as much.
Some really nice ideas, little bit repetitive at times. I felt the piano driven songs worked better.
Creativity – 2.5
Again nice ideas, but it did feel like there was a lot going on with the same texture.
Stage Presence/Entertainment Value – 2.5
Not too much happening onstage – looked a little bit shy at times. Much better towards the end of the set.
Nice set with some solid song ideas, think there is room for the band to develop them further and work on tightness.
Judge: Jake (Flipside)
All members are solid. Vocalist is probably the weakest musician but in this context it doesn’t matter. Her attitude is the primary focus and it’s great!
The band is at its best when anger takes over.
They know what they need to do to create a feeling of anger and fear. Very confident and focussed. Vocalist’s attitude carries this band.
Songwriting – 5
Songs are cohesive and very well structured. The breakdown was awesome. Not unwilling to experiment which keeps each song fresh.
Creativity – 5
I enjoy that it musically goes off the beaten path often, opting for longer bars in places. Draws from punk without completely ripping from it.
Very energetic, without stepping on toes. The focus is the singer which works perfectly.
Very fun to watch, and the feeling that the vocalist might come and stab me was real…In a good way.
Overall – 21.5/25
Great band. Very heavy and the crowd was super engaged. With a bit of training – this singer could be great.
Very solid. Lead guitars were brilliant. Vocals on point. Vocals are very, very good.
They’re all in their place. Bassist and second guitarist both appear slightly out of place but the band was very cohesive.
Very well written 80s music. Very derivative but also tongue in cheek. Pretty great vocal hooks.
It’s hard to call their music original, because it’s not. But it is a lot of fun.
Stage Presence/Entertainment Value – 5
Playing very hard into their fictional gimmick. They were very engaging to watch – making this form hard to fill out. Humour was on point. Vocalist definitely stands out. I do question those tight jeans though!
The only way to write music in this style nowadays is to at the same time take the piss out of yourself. Thoroughly enjoyable set with a band that clearly enjoys having a laugh.
Everyone had their role to play and had it on lock.
More harmonies please!! Every member was great.
No pointless unmusical licks or showing off. Just confident well played music. Both guitarists compliment each other well.
Couple of times the drummer felt a little inexperienced but still sat in the pocket well.
Singer is very confident and it shows in a very positive way.
The band playing in between songs is smooth and very effective.
This band could play a venue 10x the size with this show and it would still work very well.
Feels like there was little guidance when writing these songs. Not much to grab onto. Lots of great sections, could just use a bit more structure. Love the basslines. Some more vocal hooks could really benefit.
Great use of different styles. Love the way sections can extremely contrast.
It’s evident that everyone in the band contributes, and the many different ‘styles’ show this.
Everyone is clearly very comfortable in what they’re playing and able to move around naturally.
Vocalist clearly loves every minute.
Very professional. Feels like they’ve been around for years. Not a lot to complain about, aside from the fact some of their songs lack a bit of direction.
Instrumentally quite tightly knit. The interplay between guitars were nice! Not sure if vocalist was ill but he appeared to struggle – He was ill, confirmed!
Great drummer. A couple of questionable guitar sections.
Following a heavy band is tough, especially with softer music so the fact they still put on a great show was impressive.
Vocalist’s demeanour was friendly and welcoming.
Songwriting – 3.5
They clearly spent a lot of time on writing these songs. Structures are great, but vocal hooks leave a bit to be desired. Melody in ‘don’t be a stranger’ (unsure of song name) that an audience can latch onto. A couple filler songs could be dropped.
Very indie, and doesn’t really verge from that style. Nice variation in instrumentation in a few places though.
Guitarist in a suit looked like he wanted to be somewhere else. Vocalist was confident, if a little unsure what to do with his hands.
Overall – 17/25
Nothing too new here, but a good performance from a group of people who seem to really enjoy what they’re playing. Very professional, would like to watch when the vocalist is in better form.
Musically tight. They know what their sound is. Vocals are suitable beefy, but timing is questionable at times.
Drummer is very good.
Very professional in their attitude. You get the impression they would put the same show on no matter where they were.
Very consistently slow. Some riffs stand out, but nothing particularly grabbed me. First riff of end song very nice.
Love the Lamb of God style riff in the last song.
First instrumental song is quite boring and doesn’t do the rest of the set justice.
Nothing new here. But they have definitely stayed within the realms of the style they clearly love.
Vocalist seems a little unsure of himself. He looks awkward and his inter-song banter feels very scripted and unnatural. Not a lot of movement from instrumentalists, although they do a good job.
Overall – 16/25
Vocalist should consider what he says between songs and make it sound more natural, but aside from this the band are very solid. They know what they want to sound like and they nail the sound. Maybe consider some more instrumental hooks.
Drummer is great. All very in the pocket.
Basslines are very nice. Love the piano. Her voice sounds better when singing high, so more of that would be welcome. When the band are playing instrumentally it’s very very good.
A couple of duff notes, but in context it wasn’t too bad.
Some drifting in tightness at parts in the songs.
Professionalism – 2.5
Feels more like a group of people playing music than a full band. Singer needs a lot more confidence, especially when talking. I would advise against saying ‘these are just some songs’ and make it feel more like a band. Awkward silence between songs was noticeable.
Instrumental hooks are brilliant. Drums are very tasteful, and do exactly what the songs need. Vocals could use guidance, especially to bring out the positives in her voice. More movement in the vocals would benefit – they’re quite monotone.
Very consistent, but some of the instrumental hooks feel inspired. Variation with the keyboard was nice. Songs are quite samey, but there were parts of really great music.
Stage Presence/Entertainment Value – 2
Very fun end. Guitarist stage left clearly having lots of fun. Bassist was solid but noticeably not wanting to stand out. Her being centre stage would be great too!
Overall – 14/25
With it being the singer’s project, she could benefit with being more confident. Generally, song writing could be improved but it’s easy listening. Solid performance.
1st Incarnal (1+1+1=3)
2nd Maximum Axiom (4+2+2=8)
3rd River Purple (2+3.5+3=8.5)
4th GoldReed (5+3.5+4=12.5)
5th Shibboleth (3+5+5=13)
6th Forester (6+6+6=18)
Thank you Neil, very cool!
Pilot's comments <3
I do feel like playing first hurt shibboleth. Granted I am a musical ignoramus when it comes to this genre but some of the wow factor was missing compared to heat. Incarnal were epic and I don’t think it was just due to playing later - well played and deserving of final slot on Thursday for me! Goldreed my favourite act for the songs and their sound - granted didn’t see you in your heat but based on songs alone I would have seen you in the final! Keep up performances like this and I’m sure you’ll be challenging for the win next year! River Purple with Will leading were a force of nature, same with Max Axiom - my front person of the completion so far! Forrester did really well this year for a first stab at the competition and I think again, like goldreed, you guys have “a sound” - it does need some work and refinement but the potential is certainly there (especially first tune in the set).
Overall, great semi final and hope to see lots of you in next years final!
Collusion is very legal and very cool