It’s week three in the heats of Metal 2 The Masses in Wolverhampton, the competition which will eventually see one band line up alongside Sabaton, The Scorpions and Parkway Drive at Bloodstock this summer. Tonight another five bands go head to head with two places in the semi finals at stake.
First up are Enemy of Atlas; Birmingham’s youthful noise mongers get the crowd going early. Raucous metal riffs, elements of hardcore and some out and out brutality. For the first time in three heats we have a mosh pit, limbs flailing around in time to the beat of a drum as Haydn Brine’s vocals ring out. They have stepped up and set a mark for the following four bands to follow.
Another Brummie band are up next in Second Cities, announcing to the crowd they prefer to play gigs here in Wolverhampton to their home town, a statement sure to win brownie point with the crowd when it comes to voting later on. The post hardcore outfit, a little more melodic than the previous band mix strong vocals with screaming guitars to perfection. A great performance sure to win them new fans.
Considering we are in Wolverhampton, there’s a heavy dose of bands from downtown Brum competing tonight and the third band are no exception. Born Zero have brought with them
large laden full of hard hitting metal madness. Following the lead set earlier in the night they encourage the crowd to get rowdy and soon a active pit forms whilst their riffs batter our senses. An influence of the likes of Machine Head and Pantera eminate musically as Levi’s persona shines through leading the band whilst drummer Charlie puts on a show on technical excellence on the stool. The loudest, brashest band of the night so far, but we have two more to go.
The Black Hounds are very different from those that have come before this evening. Mixing hard rock with elements of metal they deliver a well rounded brand of music that puts them a cut above in terms overall musicianship. Powerful vocals reminiscent of Halford and Dickinson in places and magnificent guitar work in abundance. So far this is the performance of the evening, but there is still one more band to come.
Skull Fox have a lot to do as the final band of the evening, following on from those that have come before, can they pull a rabbit out of the hat and win this thing? They do their very best to do just that. The five piece have an energy to their sound, big stoner riffs emenate from the PA as front man Jamie's vocals tear a hole in our collective ear drums. When Jamie adds a third guitar it gives the band a strength, a depth, an edge to their sound that impresses. As they walk off stage half an hour later they’ve made the judges decision and the fans vote very difficult to predict.
The final three acts have all been so good it will be unfair for one of them not to go through, but sadly that is the case. Once the fan votes are counted it is Born Zero and The Black Hounds that progress to the semi finals. Leaving the others very unlucky to have missed out.