Ovation Music Management is becoming a powerhouse when it comes to showcasing up and coming acts in the West Midlands. People often ask where the next big bands are going to come from and its gigs like this one tonight put on by Ovation which is nurturing the next generation of talent.
Opening this celebration of rising heavy metal acts is Ashen Crown, making their live debut. Despite this they enter the stage with quite a reputation, having being touted around the Birmingham scene as the next big thing. A lot have people have come in early doors to catch them. The crowd are greeted with death metal riffs mixed with some darker doom laden elements. They certainly live up to pre-gig hype. Front man Kieran is playing his first ever show in any band and whilst he starts off looking a little nervous he soon settles in, within minutes he commands the show from centre stage like a pro. Twin guitars from Ste and Jay meld perfectly and the latter’s solo work is as good as any you will hear.
Next up are a group the likes of which you will have never before seen; Slaughter Horse. Frontman Jim is decked in revealing Lycra leggings and florescent corpse paint. The quartet mix traditional black and death metal sounds with a progressive twist. As they destroy the crowd with a near perfect half hour set Jim performs what can only be described as yoga on stage whilst also providing vocal accompaniment. Words cannot do them justice, this is a band that must be seen to be believed.
Parkhurst are somewhat newcomers and a first viewing for myself. Hardcore punk from the suburbs of Kidderminster. Frontman Jak is Tasmanian devil like on stage and it does not take long for him to be in the crowd singing. Despite being they youngest of the acts tonight they put on a well rounded show, one that belies their age. Aggressive, angst ridden hardcore, just as it should be. The solid work put in by Ron on bass and Tom on drums lays the foundations for guitarists Jack and Ben to build on. All this results in a well rounded hardcore performance that could see these boys go far.
For a little dose of brutality this evening Decimate fit the bill perfectly. A thunderous drum line throughout from Jim Schofield, who sadly plays hit last show tonight. Duelling guitars battle over the half hour set, lead triumphantly by the vocals of Matt Harrison who brings a hardcore element to metalcore backbone of this ensemble. The set is a fitting send off for Jim but by no means the end of this band, they will be back just as strong as before. If you like your metal core these boys are just the ticket!
A highlight of the evening are Stranger In Death (SID) a groove rich thrash band. They stand out from the bunch, not just tonight but on the scene in general. A tight nit group mixing fantastic musicianship with on stage eccentricity making them a joy to watch, photograph and listen to. Led by Bob on main vocals/guitars but supported so well with heavy vocal and guitar input from Mooney (if you're looking at the photographs he's the one in neon suit and tie combo). Bass lines from Jim and drums from Rich round out the sound of a group really on the rise. Their oh too short 30-minute set culminates with the debut of Jenny Greenteeth (part ii). I encourage you to check them out on whichever social media platform takes your fancy.
To close out the evening are local favourites Hostile. who have earned their hour-long headline slot having done a tour of duty on the scene for many years and worked with the great K.K. Downing. These boys are pure heavy metal infused with groove and a heavy dose of thrash. Jay is a great front man steers them through their full hour on stage very much leading the band in the mould of Phil Anselmo. The finess of A.J.'s guitar playing shines as they put on the most well rounded performance of the night. The sheer brutality of song Lamb to the Slaughter is exquisite and you cannot fail to enjoy this group. From start the finish the five piece show they really are leading the way in the Black Country today and surely it’s only a matter of time until they take the next step up.