For those who don’t know (really?!), The Metal 2 the Masses (M2tM) competition is run by Bloodstock Festival and sponsored by the Wychwood Brewery (home of Hobgoblin). Winners of the regional finals get a place on the bill at the forthcoming Bloodstock Open Air festival.
Last year we had a brilliant line-up of national and international talent filling up the various stages. Gary managed to attend the most recent Scottish heat in Glasgow – Round 1 Heat 4.
Bands playing tonight were:
- The Nebulosity from Falkirk
- Nest of Vipers from Edinburgh
- Soul Remover from Glasgow
- Portionfed from Glasgow
- Ramage Inc. from Edinburgh
So here we are at another round of the Bloodstock Metal 2 the Masses at Ivory Blacks with the bands playing for a place in the final for a chance to play the Bloodstock Festival. I have only seen two of the five bands on tonight before (Nest of Vipers & Ramage Inc) so looking forward to it. Also a new venue to shoot and review at for yours truly. The venue could have been busier, especially given it was a Friday night, on the plus side it made it easier for me to move around and shoot as there is no photo pit here but great lighting and big shout to the sound guy for stunning sound all night.
So onto the bands, first up tonight:
The Nebulosity who I have never heard or seen before, playing in their PJ’s and a singer looking an awful like a deranged Jack Black. The set comes from their album C which came out at the end of last year. First up is “Rain” coming in at almost 12min which has a distinctly Alice in Chains feel to me, with Adam coming over as mentioned like Jack Black on speed. I was also really impressed with Alan on guitar. The band change pace with “Cosmonaut” with a distinctive early Black Sabbath/Hawkwind feel to it – my favourite of theirs on the night.
Next we get a shot of “Caffeine” and a solid bass intro from Alex who should move about a bit more like his fellow band mates! Again we hit the Alice in Chains vein. The band end a short but very enjoyable set with “C.Ghost”, a fantastic track which has a lot of levels and band influences in it – hard one to pin down. I thoroughly enjoyed their set and have already added their album to my Spotify playlist. If they play near you go check them out, buy the album and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
The Nebulosity setlist:
Next up Nest of Vipers, This is a band I have watched grow up to to the point where they are getting a lot of offers to play now and quite rightly so. As the pocket rocket voice that is Hannah Jones says, “Let’s make some fuckin’ noise!!” They launch into “Open Water” with Edward pounding away on the bass like a demented Nicki Sixx. Thom Hall is a guitarist you have to see live to really appreciate what he has brought to the band, with Alan on drums setting the pounding rhythm along with Edward.
The band launch into “Fear” next. As a vocalist, Hannah has grown so much in confidence and vocal range where I am sure she could shatter glass now. The next track is a favourite of mine – “Let Me Live”, a great all round track. “Dr Death” follows quickly along with “The Journey” before the band tell us to “Fall at Your Feet” with Thom and Ed trading some great licks on guitar and bass. This is a track which I think really shows Hannah at her best. The band go “Full Throttle” with Thom kicking in some tasty licks before we head in the last track of the set with “Viperstrike”.
The band will be heading into the studio in the not too distant future to record their first EP – about time too and with a spot on the excellent Wildfire Festival coming up this year, the future is looking good for this talented and hard-working band.
Nest of Vipers setlist:
- Open Water
- Let Me Live
- Dr Death
- The Journey
- Fall at Your Feet
- Full Throttle
Soul Remover up next, a great hard rock band not too dissimilar to that awesome band Massive Wagons in some of their tracks. First up is “Beast”, a full on rocker of a track. This is a band you want at your party. I enjoyed Craig’s guitar playing with him looking like some face-painted South American native.
Up next is the bone crunching “Fist to Face”, a real barn stormer of a track, with Scotty kicking it in Malcolm Young style on rhythm guitar. Next up very much in a L7/Alice in Chains vain is “Blow us Away” a cracking crunching track. The band have us for “One Night Only” next before giving us some “Snake Oil” – a cracking foot stomper of a track, quickly followed by “Poison Eye” with some nice guitar work from Craig.
We get some “Salvation” next with some nice twin guitar work from Craig and Scotty before we head into the last track with some crunching guitars from the boys, a track that comes across like a harder version of a Audioslave song. A short but very enjoyable set, definitely a band I will go and see again, and I recommend you do too.
Soul Remover setlist:
- Fist To Face
- Blow Us Away
- One Night Only
- Snake Oil
- Poison Eye
We have Portionfed up next, a band I have a hard time describing – different to all others on the bill tonight which is not bad by any means. We have the intense “LISM” up first; guttural, brutal guitar and rhythm section. An interesting track, “Woundlicker”, up next sounding like a heavy version of System of a Down meets Rage Against the Machine before we move onto “Dakimakura” followed by “The Beginner”. A new track is aired tonight in the form of “Take”, a solid hard song with snapping guitars and slapping bass lines quickly followed by the intense “Mystery Meat”.
The boys end the set with “Refuturist” with its intense bass intro and guttural vocals. An interesting and different band, but if you like your guitars crunching, guttural vocal and slapping bass lines in the lines of a heavy SOAD then this is the band for you.
- The Beginner
- Mystery Meat
So we head into the last but by no means least band Ramage Inc who start off a short 4 song set due to time constraints tonight. The 8-minute title track from last year’s excellent Earth Shaker album is up first, shortened with only part 1 getting played due to the limited time they had. Another from said album next in the form of “Guardian”, an 8-minute fantastic, progtastic outing with superb guitar work and soaring vocals.
The wonderful “Transparency” up next, again from Earth Shaker, with Bryan in fantastic vocal form. Musically just a fantastic track, my favourite of their short set. They end this all too short set with the excellent “Don’t Bring Me Down” from 2013’s Feel The Waves album. This is a fantastic professional looking band, all excellent musicians and with a vocalist like Bryan they deserve to be big on the harder edged prog scene.
Ramage Inc setlist:
- Earth Shaker
- Don’t Bring Me Down
So a great night all round with some fine music and good company tonight. Well done to Nest of Vipers, Ramage Inc & Portionfed for getting through tonight’s heat. Bad luck to the excellent The Nebulosity and Soul Remover.
All photos by Gary Cooper.