(review by MWJ – pic by Huw Prestatyn)

So, I was returning from work in Scotland (previous night having endured having to rely on teletext for news on Wales match AND put up with celtic cousins anticipating us not being much of a threat to them in the play-offs, ha!). Anyway, what better way to break up a 5 hour journey than to extend it a bit and go and see some local noise merchants in Hendre

I could hear some deep rumblings approaching the place, which turned out to be the last 2 or 3 of Carbonvein’s set. Detuned sluggish riffs, with a melancholic, unstrained vocal over the top. Sometimes would kick into a third riff gear and some synchronised head thrashing. Perhaps a lot of influence from some of the better nu-metal acts but definitely given their own twist and interesting for it.

I notice (after a bit ) that Hendre has a stage now, don’t know if this a temporary measure for a special occasion, but think it improves things. Decent turn-out too.

The line-up seemed to have been jigged around from that advertised, as I figured it was Valleum next through the presence of Mike formerly of the legendary Vaffan Coulo on the drums. Two vocal, two guitar, and all the duties shared confidently. Before very long I was struck by how excellent the song writing was, they seemed to be effortlessly gliding over a whole range of styles, so quickly it was hard to pigeon-hole them at all. There was a lot of metal in there, from quirky thrash through to almost ironic heavy rock, with flashes of melodic punk as well. Endlessly inventive, each song demanded attention. Brief mention of the date followed by an anti-war song was well received also.

I had seen enough on the web and an Ankst DVD to recognise Wendykurk taking the stage but this was going to be my first live experience of them. A brief “helo”, a rumbling bass intro and then the punch of their angular, jagged guitars. The vocals from Nomi though, absolutely incredible, a rare talent although maybe more to my twisted tastes than others. In a single phrase or line she‘d go from sweet and soulful to brutal bark and growl and back again.

I’ve seen some one like the fearsome Tairrie B live and she’s on a par with her, but more so as the delivery is so dynamic, linking into the convoluted but slinky alternative metal riffs. To be fair I though the instrument mix wasn’t as clear as it could have been but that didn’t matter to the crowd getting down to it at the front. Hell, Holyhead must REALLY be shit if it inspires this seething fury lurking beneath and bursting through. All in all they are deserving of all the positive publicity recently received and hope their new “Soft Meat” album does well for them

Surprised to see yet another band as thought I’d missed Kipperwig but this was them. The already legendary kid drummer is just that, reminded me a bit of some metal guitar prodigy seen long ago on the Arena “Heavy metal” show, the same intensity in his face. And he’s a real power house behind the guitar and bass in front of him. They produce some modern sounding metal, the clear and strong vocals influencing it towards maybe Soundgarden or a faster heavier Pearl Jam. Good, but inevitably a bit anti-climatic. Long day starts catching up so I head back the way I’d came.

North Wales metal eh? Ready to take on the world if it can find the way to get there.