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Live Review: Nottingham M2TM – Heat 12: Beneath the Shadows, Beyond Your Design and Bad Llama

Review by Brady Moody

The first-round heats have reached their climax with what was regarded by many as the toughest heat of the entire Nottingham competition.

This is no ordinary battle of the bands. The prize…a slot at Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2023’s New Blood Stage!

Opening the night was Beneath The Shadows. A quick look online revealed not a great deal about this newly emerging band, other than they’re a mixture of Nottingham Trent University and The Confetti Institute students.

So, how did the mystery band hold their own against two of the favourites to win this competition?

Despite being an inexperienced band, their sound was surprisingly polished and cohesive, for the most part. There were occasions in which the sound felt a bit less tight, but it actually added to the flow. This could have possibly been intentional too. They had only been playing together for a few months, but their passion and dedication to their craft was evident in every note they played.

The lead singer had a voice that energised the audience, while the guitarists' intricate melodies and harmonies added depth and texture to the music.

The bassist and drummer held down the rhythm section with precision and energy, propelling the songs forward.

The audience was left amazed at how a group of newcomers could produce such a professional and captivating sound. It was clear that this was just the beginning for this talented group of musicians and not only was the sound gripping, but their stage presence was highly encouraging.

I feel that time is their friend, in that all they need to improve will simply come with time, experience and chemistry.

Taking things up a level were Beyond Your Design. This metalcore band was a force to be reckoned with, this live show was an experience like no other. Metal 2 The Masses is the time to take things up a notch, having seen Beyond Your Design before, they most certainly ascended to a level I’d never seen before.

Photo by Mangata Music

How did the crowd react to this? With great enthusiasm and energy.

Crowd movement was very limited, which would be unusual for this type of performance. However, the reasoning behind this is simply because this intimate venue was absolutely crammed with fans making it difficult to move. Reflecting the magnitude of this heat and the bands involved.

Vocalist and guitarist Rob's screams were both haunting and powerful, delivering lyrics that touched on personal struggles and societal issues.

The chemistry between both guitarists was incredible leading to riffs and harmonies that were heavy and intricate, weaving together to create a wall of sound that was both brutal and beautiful. The rhythm section was tight and precise, driving the songs forward with ferocity. With each song, this band left the audience in awe of their sheer talent and energy. It was no wonder they have become one of the most respected and beloved bands in the underground scene.

Photo by Mangata Music

Rounding off the night was the brilliantly named Bad Llama.

This band had a lot going for them - their musicianship was impressive, and they had a unique sound that captured the crowd. Their performance was engaging, with catchy hooks and driving rhythms that got the crowd moving.

But despite their strengths, there was a sense that they could be even better. Perhaps it was their songwriting, which sometimes felt a bit formulaic and predictable. Or maybe it was that their own material felt slightly overshadowed by finishing on a cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Bulls on parade. An odd decision given you’re playing a competition to showcase your own music.

Whatever the case, it was clear that this band had the potential to take their music to the next level with a bit of refinement and experimentation.

With a bit more creativity and risk-taking, they could truly be a force to be reckoned with in the music world.

Out of the three bands, only one could go through. This heat’s winners were Beyond Your Design. Deservedly too.

A flawless set from start to finish. Well done to both Beneath The Shadows and Bad Llama for playing incredible sets.

A HUGE congratulations to Beyond Your Design, making it a 100% success rate for Unearthed Music’s roster in the Nottingham heats. I look forward to seeing them in the semi-final, and I’d imagine the final too.

The semi-final dates and line-ups for Nottingham’s M2TM are as follows:

13th May

4FoxSake – Confyde – Dead Demons – Down in One – Thirteenth Sign – Tori Lamour

20th May

Beyond Your Design – Buried By My Heartache – Crying Corvid – Dead Bait – Memoirs of the Damned – Unified Roots

Both semi-finals are being held at the Tap ‘n’ Tumbler in Nottingham, organised by Mangata Music.

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May 03, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Such words.

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