Apex – Manchester’s next metal band


Sitting in their studio in Stockport Mill, Apex are getting ready to start their next rehearsal. All from in and around Manchester, with music taste that varies from deathcore to rap, they are all aspiring metal artists with a growing online presence.

In Spring 2013, their music teacher, Lee, brought together Isaak Heggs (bass guitar), Emily Greenwood (drums) and Michael Battye (lead guitar) by suggesting that they form a band. Once Isaak managed to get Emily and Michael to actually talk, the group got along well – the only problem being that they didn’t have a vocalist. But after multiple changes (including a vocalist who didn’t want to sing in front of other people), Isaak introduced Rohan McGillivray, who he knew from college. He was exactly what the band was looking for, and they progressed from there.

Nearly three years later, whilst Emily was on holiday, the other members decided to add another guitar player, Connor McGarry (rhythm guitar). She didn’t find out until she got back, but they all agree now that the band has only improved with Connor’s addition. Him joining the band has brought them a better live atmosphere and energy that they didn’t have before, and he is as much a part of the band as the rest of them. The only other thing that’s changed in that time, they say, is that they play better now and Isaak’s cut his hair.

Over time, the biggest challenge they’ve faced is overcoming their difference in music taste, as well as finding promotors to back and support them. They also struggled with the name and the genre of the band. Previously, they used names such as Scar Synposis and Undefined Uz, until Michael suggested Apex Predator and Isaak settled on Apex. The genre, however, is clearly still a fairly debatable subject. Although, they seem comfortably settled on post-hardcore, after Connor and Isaak told enough people that was the genre and it caught on.

Since then, they’ve played multiple gigs, with their most memorable being Academy Three, which they played in February 2015. They have also played in various other venues, such as Retro Bar, Zombie Shack and the Pub/Zoo. After their gigs, they go out together to celebrate, although Emily is often left to pack up (with the occasional help of friends Matty and Cassie).

When asked who was the most committed, there wasn’t much agreement among the group. Isaak suggested that it was he and Connor, although their friend Matty (not a member of the band, but a valuable rehearsal member) suggested it was Emily, to which the majority of the band responded “she just hits stuff”. And when asked who was most often late, Emily’s name was mentioned once again, although Michael pointed out that “you can’t be late if you’re never here”. However, arguably one of the things that makes Apex stand out on the metal scene is the presence of a female drummer. There still aren’t many women in metal, which is something different that Apex brings to the market. Their diverse music tastes and range in personality are also what sets them apart, as well as the combination of the instruments in terms of sound. Michael is the songwriter in the group, with input from the other members, while Isaak and Connor manage the band’s social media presence.


They are influenced by bands such as Being as an Ocean, Architects (although there was some debate about that as well) and While She Sleeps. However, they are individually influenced by different bands and various artists. They have all been deeply invested in music for the last six years or so, although some have been interested for longer than others – with Michael convinced that his mother playing music to him in the womb spiked his interest. They all look up to other bands for inspiration, although Isaak admits that the only reason he even learned to play bass guitar is because he had to pick an instrument at school, though I think it’s safe to say it’s a decision that worked out for him.

When asked what their newest release was, there was some confusion and disagreement among the group, which continued when asked what they were currently working on. But, after some deliberation, it was agreed that their newest release is the remastered version of one of their older songs, Direwolf featuring Will Walkden. Currently, they’re working on a new album, which they are part way through recording.

In terms of the future, the end goal for the band is to have their music appreciated, and to fill venues with people who genuinely enjoy their music. Their intention isn’t to be hugely famous, but simply to be able to make some kind of living from their music. Playing music is massively important to all of them, allowing them to meet new people and discover new bands, and it is something that they want to continue for a long time.

Unfortunately, they don’t have any merchandise available, having recently sold out of t-shirts, but they are hoping to release more soon. But they can be found on Facebook and their music can be accessed through YouTube and Soundcloud. At the moment, they’re taking a break from gigging to work on their next album and a project to celebrate reaching 1,000 likes on Facebook. So there’s definitely more to come from this Manchester band.

Where you can find Apex:
Facebook – Youtube – Twitter Soundcloud

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child parts one and two” – Book Review


14407930_963316187111450_503936187_oSet 19 years after the plotline of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows the story of Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy – two unlikely friends who are drawn even closer together by their parent’s disapproval. And together they discover both an incredible secret and come to a horrifying realisation.

The friendship between Albus and Scorpius is in no doubt the vital part of the play. The relationship between them is what drives the play forwards and links it back to the message of the franchise itself, which is friendship and family. Their friendship is as charming as it is familiar, with the love that they have for each other the one constant through the story.

Some people have said that they found the plotline too predictable, though I felt that it was a unique story in its own right. The familiar humour and warmth of the Harry Potter series is definitely there, and I thought the plot was particularly ambitious, unlike anything that we have seen in the series. It takes us back to a beloved character from the earlier books, a fan-favourite that many people believe was not done justice in the series. And it also takes us back to the original story, of a vulnerable baby Harry on the night his parents were killed.

The only thing that is not so familiar, is Harry’s characterisation. The distance in the relationship between him and Albus although a typical father-son struggle and a relatable story for some, Harry’s actions felt slightly out of character for me. His relationship with Ginny also felt very stilted and forced, with a complete lack of communication and affection between the two.

However, Harry and Ginny were never really two of my favourite characters, and I was more interested to see the progression of other characters like Draco, Hermione and Ron. Draco, I felt, was probably the most interesting transformation of all the characters. Despite the childish hatred and prejudice that he once displayed, he throughout the play continues to be a reasonable voice. Though his resentment for Harry is still present and the feeling is mutual, Draco is more able to put his feelings to one side, especially when it comes to their sons. His love for his family is what defines his character in the play, as well as his sarcastic wit. Ron, on the other hand, the usual provider of humour and lightening of the mood, almost falls flat. He comes across as a mere knock off of his late brother, and although he does provide some laughs, he feels less like a character in his own right and more like a poor imitation. His relationship with Hermione however is heartening and encouragingly familiar. Although they both have changed and aged, the love that they have to each other is a constant and despite the few scenes that they appear in, their affection and affinity that they have is uplifting. Hermione in particular is almost inspiring in how well she has done for herself, and is probably the most believable transition from the book series. Her intelligence and compassion is ever present and like Draco she is another voice of reason in the play.

However, the main focus of the story is not the “big seven” as JK Rowling called them, but the new generation of characters. And despite the inclusion of the characters we all know and love, the new characters are equally as engaging and captivating, with Scorpius in particular being the standout character for me.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the perfect epilogue for any hardcore fan. It makes references to the series without being overly nostalgic and stands strongly as its own story. As a play, I’d imagine it to be a spellbinding performance, and Jack Thorne and John Tiffany have done an excellent job converting the story to a medium that works perfectly. Having said that, the script itself is a quick and delightful read, telling a moving and heartfelt story that is sure to give any fan a sense of satisfaction.


Anxiety in a Long Distance Relationship

The first thing anyone will ever tell you about long distance relationships is that they’re hard. And they’re not wrong, long distance is one of the biggest challenges a relationship can face, although it’s definitely becoming a lot easier with the technology available to us.With apps like Skype, Facebook and Snapchat, you can get in touch with your significant other as quickly and frequently as you’d like.

But – if you have anxiety, long distance probably just got a whole lot harder.

Before I started dating my boyfriend, I don’t think I really understood my anxiety, or even if I knew what it really was. But after the first seven months or so, it began to cause such a strain on our relationship, that I decided that in order for him to understand my anxiety, I had to first learn to understand it myself. So after two years of managing anxiety in a long distance relationship, here’s what I’ve learned.

This won’t apply to all types of long distance relationships, or even all types of anxiety – this is just what I’ve experienced.tumblr_nvcsasU6gO1ugddz5o1_1280

Understanding and explaining your anxiety

It’s important that your significant other understands how your anxiety works. It will help them know what to do and how to react when it flares up. A lot of people don’t fully understand what anxiety really is, even if they think they do. However, you can’t explain your anxiety well enough, if you don’t understand it yourself. Try to look at your anxiety from a different perspective, see if you can notice any patterns in your behaviour, or any triggers (be aware that there may be multiple). If you can understand how your anxiety works, then it will only make explaining it to your significant other easier. Everyone experiences anxiety differently, so make sure that your significant other understands how anxiety effects you as an individual – what your limitations are, and how severely it effects you. You don’t have to have this conversation straight away, but it’s in important step in communication.

(Maybe) lower your expectations

As much as they want to, your significant other may not always be able to be there for you. Time zones are an unfortunate factor in many long distance relationships, and can often mean that your significant other is unable to respond when you might need it most. Though that doesn’t mean that you have to deal with your anxiety alone. Family and friends can be just as helpful, you just need to figure out what makes you feel better and make sure that the people closest to you understand that as well so they can provide that for you.

Trust them

The most important factor in a long distance relationship is trust. Being unable to see your significant other for prolonged periods of time can put some pretty worried thoughts in your head – but if there’s one thing that you should always remember, it’s that they love you. Long distance relationships are hard, and if that person didn’t love you and wasn’t committed to you, then I guarantee that they wouldn’t be in the relationship in the first place. They want to do the best that they can for you, even despite the barriers between you when you’re apart.

Your friends and family are there to give advice – but it’s not fact

Going to friends and family for advice – especially when you’re anxious – is great. It can be incredibly helpful just to be able to talk it out with someone, especially if your significant other is struggling to help with your anxiety as much as they’d like to. But you have to remember that your friends and family are different people. They only see as much of your relationship as you let them, and so their advice might be a little bit misguided, especially if you only discuss your relationship when it’s a problem or a worry. While they might give great advice and make good points, they won’t always be right.

Be understanding

As much as you wish it didn’t, your anxiety will effect your significant other as well. They’ll probably feel like there’s a lot of pressure on them and that there’s not much they can do, so it might be a good idea to check in on them every once in a while. Even if you just occasionally send them a quick message about it and see if there’s anything either of you can do to make dealing with your anxiety easier for the both of you.

Every relationship is different

Comparing your relationship to others can be harmful. It can make your anxiety so much worse and make you worry unnecessarily. Every relationship is different, just like every person is different, as so comparing your relationship to someone else’s is pointless. Especially when you’re in a long distance relationship. Your relationship is going to be drastically different to those around you, and that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Another thing that’s important to remember is that no relationship is perfect. You may hear other people talking about their relationships and start wondering why yours isn’t more like that – but that won’t be the whole story. You only know as much about that relationship as they’re telling you, so everything might not be as it seems. And besides, there is no such thing as an “ideal” relationship. What may seem ideal to you can’t be said of everyone.

People show love in different ways (especially in an LDR)

Don’t be worried if your partner’s ways of showing affection are different than what you’re used to, or what you expected. Everybody has different ways of expressing their love, and when we don’t understand this, we tend to assume it isn’t there at all. But that’s not true. You just have to get used to the different ways in which your partner shows that they love you, even if they may not be immediately obvious.

Reason with yourself

If you haven’t heard from your partner for a few hours, or are beginning to worry about them, take a moment to just think to yourself. It’s so easy to start concocting impossible stories in your head, but you have to try to be realistic. Especially if you’re living in a different time-zone to your significant other. Consider the time and what it is that they might be doing. They could be at work, or spending time with family, or even just having a nap because they’re overtired. When you can’t see your significant other as often as you’d like, any time spent not talking becomes immediately noticeable, though it doesn’t always have to mean something bad.

Keep them updated

Your partner loves and cares about you, and if there’s something going on in your life, then they’ll want to know about it. Even just giving them semi-regular updates on your anxiety and how you’re coping with it will hugely benefit your relationship. It helps you stay in-tune with each other and makes sure that they know what to expect.


I still struggle with my anxiety on a day-to-day basis, although I like to think that I’m better at handling it now than I was before. Two years into my relationship I still get anxious thinking about these things, but I’ve found that it helps to be able to put my anxiety into perspective and understand how it effects me. You can’t find an immediate solution to your anxiety, but you can take small steps to understand and cope with it, and in many ways that’s just as important.