We’re back at the Big Red in North London for heat nine of Metal 2 The Masses as four bands prepare to battle it out.
It’s cold out, proper cold. So cold we just saw a brass monkey crying his eyes out. We carry on as this is my first time checking out the surroundings and the rules. If you’ve never been it’s a full on metal hang out; beautiful.
The rules: Four bands play. The crowd vote with a select panel. It’s 50% the crowd and 50% the judges. Excited yet?
On first are London-based two-piece thrash rockers Death Goals, embracing the role of openers. Showing love of playing live as lead vocalist/guitarist Harry Bailey interacts with the crowd showing humour, a nice touch. Performing hard hitting metal tracks of their own – “The Great Southern Crowd Kill” and “Leech” – the latter feels as though it has an added Nirvana angst to it. They finish with a little jam session and finally “Trendy Modern Wankers”. Harry Baily jumps off the stage riffing his way through the songs, climbs back up and continues. An enjoyable opener and a bar set for the rest of the bands. Congrats to drummer William Tyler, who battled through the illness of
a severe case of pneumonia … man ‘flu… a cold.
Next for the masses are Tyler Joel, Jake Bailey, Alexander Rutkowski and Oliver Harvey: Bird Brain Mafia. They catapulted through first two tracks “What Do You Think Is Wild?” and “Dead Face” with calmness as the crowd swelled. The drummer makes an announcement – it’s the first time he’s had a microphone, and also the last time guitarist Alex Rutkowski will play with them. “Shitstain City” – Alex jumps from the stage with guitar in hand. “Perfect Design” is a groover. The heaviness tones down, making for a good track for a swing of the hips and a gentle head bob. Completing the set, they play “Twenty & Dead” and “Barfly”.
By the way, there are many immaculate beards tonight. I recently shaved mine off, so I’m missing the grasping of my ‘said’ beard and… anyway. Back to the important stuff, the music.
Up next, Sutalkerah. These guys reached the final of M2TM last year and have come back with a vengeance for the road to Bloodstock. The five-piece thrashers have unique names for each song. Their performance wasn’t like a “Frostbitten Gland” (the name of one of their tunes). James Richards on guitar plays hard, his riffs are of chat-stopping brilliance. Front man Graziano “Travolta” Vanni headbangs his way through each song standing in the middle of his comrades. Tacopo “Er Chamba” D’alessandro (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), and Emanuele Ricco on drums power through their tracks of “Baba Yagazzzz”, “Relentless Ballsack”, “Nassau”, “Taking Over your Anus” and “Frostbitten Gland”. Oh man, take a breath, sit down, wipe the sweat from the ceiling. This is headbanging heaven or hell and Sutalkerah brought the metal.
After a few swigs of soda water and lime, on come five guys from West London – Imperium. Front man Ben Porter’s beard is a beard many would be proud of. He stands tall, with his crew either side. Their tightness and game is superb. Scott Lomas and Hardip Sagoo crunch riffs on “Here Come the Night”, making brutal heavy metal music. “Hate Game” is a certain stand out for me as Ben Porter fires the vocals up against James Hawes’s drum beats and Rapha Comes’s bass. Penultimate tune “Ragnarok” is a Nordic myth about the end of the world, and they finish with “Dare to Defy”. Imperium made this night even tougher to choose who will be the two to go through.
So, the stage is cleared. The Big Red attendees put in their slips with the two bands they want to head to the next round.
Results sorted… are you ready? A drum roll please… quiet people! The two bands heading to the next round are…
Sutalkerah and Bird Brain Mafia. Well done to all who took part! Heat ten is on April 15th…after heats eleven and twelve! This is due to it being postponed as it clashed with the memorial evening in honour of Iuliana Tudos.
Photos by Danni Garner