The road to Bloodstock starts here with the 2019 Metal 2 The Masses competition! For the uninitiated, every year Bloodstock festival offers 31 spaces on the festival bill to winners of regional battle of band competitions, branded "Metal 2 The Masses". The winners of each regional competition get their name in lights on a major festival bill and line up along side the likes of Sabaton, Parkway Drive and the Scorpions.
Ultimately it's a way for the festival to give back to the smaller bands, to help nurture them and provide them with a stepping stone in their careers. For the bands, if the opportunity is grabbed with both hands, it can propel them onwards to bigger things and we've seen that in past years.
This year therevivalmusic.co.uk have teamed up with the Wolverhampton region to get an insight into the process and to give all the bands competing a spotlight. In all 30+ bands will compete here in the Black Country. But multiply that around the UK and there will be over 1000 bands competing for those 31 spots
and the competition is fierce! M2TM Wolverhampton heat one sees four bands pitted against each other. In Fury, Phantom State, Militia Inc and Eyes of The Raven. Each offering a different take on heavy metal and each eager to impress during their short thirty minute slot and progress to the semi finals.
After pulling names from a hat, Eyes of The Raven take to the stage first and deliver some beer fuelled metal mayhem. Suited and booted, the waist coat clad five piece deliver crushing stoner riffs and Horan’s brutal vocals complementing the sound perfectly. Beer is chugged and heads are banged with a sing-a-long to round out an emphatic set.
Second out of the hat are Brummie/Black Country outfit In Fury. Mixing some hardcore riffs with a metal ethos they produce a cacophony of noisey delight. Stacey’s growls fill the room as the band encourage the sizeable crowd to come forward and join in. Angst, aggression and out and out fury, ‘With These Demons’ (a song about mental health) delivered with passion and purpose. They’ll be hoping they’ve done enough to progress to the semi’s with that stand out performance.
Bringing a more youthful vigour to the stage are Birmingham metalcore quartet Phantom State. Loud, angry and full of energy, but somewhat timid on stage. A trait that will change in time as they grow in
confidence. The youngsters show potential, their song writing ability is infectious and their delivery wonderful. I’m sure we’ll hear more from them over the coming years.
Final act are Militia Inc, who we soon discover are possibly the Black Country’s finest mix of thrash metal and hard rock. Adorned with bullet belts and Dave Mustaine signature Jackson V’s, we are treated to half an hour of thrashy, raucous riffs and great showman ship. It's not all thrash though, there is a mix of traditional rock and heavy metal thrown in along with lashings of confidence and crowd interaction. For me the band of the evening, musically outstanding with on stage charisma and the ability to keep you entertained for the full set; but the decision for the full result lies with the panel of judges and the audience.
After the judges deliberations and the crowd vote, the results are tallied. The two bands moving forward to the semi-finals are Eyes of The Raven and Militia Inc. On the performances tonight it's the right result, but In Fury and Phantom State deserve recognition. They all did well and all four bands have a long future ahead of them.