Gig Review: Ward XVI Album Release (feat. South of Salem / Pulverise) – Manchester Academy, 18th Dec 2021

Pulverise (c) Drew Scott

Nineteen months after hearing Metamorphosis for the first time, I finally got to experience Ward XVI live on stage bringing their album to life. Manchester Academy 3 is a small but perfectly formed venue, intimate and loud and Ward XVI brought some friends to help celebrate the album (re)launch.

Leeds based Pulverise bounced onto the stage with the energy of a dozen bouncing tiggers. Loud and unapologetic they rocked hard and warmed the crowd for the show to come. Kittens and Unicorns was the stand out song for me and definitely not about happy fluffy animals! They rounded off their set with a Cypress Hill medley which had everyone singing along, bouncing high and ready for more.

South Of Salem have been on my playlist this year much more than any other band if you believe Spotify. Having looked them up when they were announced as support for this show I found their debut album, “The Sinner Takes it All”, to be catchy, contagious and at times dark. Hearing tracks such as Let Us Prey and Demons are Forever live sent chills through me as singer Joey’s voice filled the venue. I can see this band on my playlist for next year too and gig list if we’re still allowed out.

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South of Salem (c) Drew Scott

Metamorphosis invaded my very soul on first listen and made me fall in love with the band and their music. Hearing Psychoberrie on stage, in person, gave me shivers, her voice filled with emotion. “Mother” on stage rocking the baby during Cradle Song started the show as it meant to go on and props including chainsaws, a toy box, and bed complete with Mister Babadook and a cast of under-bed monsters really brought the songs to life.

The black and white themed stage show with extras including Boris being beheaded added a theatrical element that I haven’t experienced before outwith a theatre. Recent single “Burn the Witch” was the sing-a-long song of the night and we watched as Psychoberrie stuffed Mother’s plastic wrapped ‘body’ into a metal dustbin.

Ward XVI (c) Drew Scott

The drums were loud and provided by John Badger of Badgerfest for the bulk of the show with Chris Bentham finishing off the last few tracks of the night. Some familiar faces from Pulverise joined in as broken toys to add to a cast of characters which included Doktor von Stottenstien and Wolfy Huntsman and a circle pit ensued. The show ended with the deranged and psychotic (anti)heroine being electrocuted in her very own electric chair.

Many bows were taken by the entire ‘cast’ of Metamorphosis and the cheering would have gone on for hours I’m very sure. The music had been perfect, Psychoberrie’s voice ethereal, and the show inspired. An amazing night and well worth the wait. I for one have already ordered tickets for their next tour!

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Photos by Drew Scott

Ward XVI: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | spotify | bandcamp | youtube

South of Salem: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube | bigcartel

Pulverise: facebook | twitter | soundcloud

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