It's frustrating that there are so many average metal bands around, especially in areas where the metal scene is only small. We're lucky to have an existing scene of this genre but if the reputation of sloppy, bland bands continues, there won't be one. However, on occasion a decent band will play a show and it makes me smile. One band recently made me forget where I was completely; it felt more like a metal bar somewhere in northern Europe. That band was Matronarch.
It's obvious these guys work hard, and actually practice away from the band space. Metal just isn't a genre where you can half-ass the job and expect it to sound authentic. Skill and knowledge will always separate the cream from the crap. And when listening to the band it was clear that the song arrangements were well thought out and allowed space for real melody and hooks. So many bands here chug out forgettable noise that they call a 'riff', and some boring power-chords for the chorus, then copy-paste-copy-paste it until it fills up the song length. The difference with a good band is the thought put into the 'riffs' and chord progressions which actually are worth gold from the get-go. Matronarch actually included catchy riffs and melodies with sophisticated harmony, and then had all of the virtuosic guitar shredding and keyboard soloing draped generously throughout, with taste.
Visually, the band is quite appealing. A common problem that makes other bands lousy, is their appearance. They look horrible on-stage because they come unfit and physically unprepared, resulting in hairy, sweaty troglodytes pulling the most ugly facial expressions because they can't breathe. It's exhausting for the audience to watch a drummer cringing in pain because the tempo is too fast for his poor technique and health. But the Matronarch members either looked calm or like they were rocking out to the music, which drew a good crowd response. They look like a metal band but stay well groomed, there is no excuse for looking like a hobo on-stage.
Perhaps the only lacking aspect is that between songs, it became awkward sometimes when the band seemed to forget that they were on-stage and engage in whole band conversations about petty things with the audience. However it still shows they were having fun, and trying to add a level of intimacy. It was great to see a band being so nice to the audience.
It's also great to see that the band is making progress. Not long ago they supported Kamelot and also Alestorm, and I think they were rightfully chosen. I'm looking forward to their debut album and future shows!
Find them HERE!