After so many rounds I’ve lost count, the Glasgow Metal 2 the Masses final eventually plopped into the calendar and – lo – but the line-up was strong. I’d encountered a few of the bands myself in the past, read about some in reviews but what I was to watch over a three hours or so was, more than anything else, going to completely strengthen my belief in the “underground” scene.
Six competing bands, none of which shared a style or genre. This simple fact, given that the earlier rounds weren’t themed in any way, proves that our scene has more strength in depth than a Championship winning football team. It’s all good.
One of the “heard of but hadn’t encountered before” bands (Ross saw them at Wildfire last year) kicked us off and set the bar ridiculously high. Both lead singers were all over the place – rock stance, posing, headbanging, engaging with the crowd… Many bands struggle to find one charismatic front man. Turbyne are greedy and have two. Musically they’re slightly prog, this backed by keyboards, but prog you can really rock out to. With the addition of real death growls from their guitarist, they managed to straddle several styles and did well at them all. Definitely the best hard prog band of the evening.
Necrocracy play stripped-back old school death/black metal and very evil they are with it. There was far less crowd engagement, but perhaps that’s to be expected at the darker end of the metal spectrum. Musically, they were great though they could perhaps have done more to drag the audience in with them. They did lose their vocals a bit in the mix partway through, but ended strong. Definitely the best death/black metal band of the evening.
Many flavours are present in the Titan Breed mix from classic heavy metal to an edge of death and a slab of Southern. They certainly brought a lot of fans/family members with them which made for a noisy and engaged crowd, the band’s singer bumping fists with the front row of the audience before the first chorus had kicked in. The band looked happy and comfortable on stage with the entire audience responding well throughout the set. They dedicated one song, “Be My Saviour” to the late Chris Cornell, a nice gesture. Definitely the best Southern metal with death overtones band of the evening.
Another band with quite the following, judging by the number of their t-shirts I spotted, followed and this time threw out some blues-infused rock’n’metal. Deadeyes played their first gig together in August and less than a year later find themselves on stage fighting for a Bloodstock place? On the strength of this performance I’m not bloody surprised. The first band to feature a singer also playing an instrument (bass), they were mugging to the crowd from the moment the lights went down. Slow, heavy and groovy they really hit home on the occasions they ramped up the tempo which they really did towards the end of the set. Definitely the best blues-infused rock’n’metal band of the evening.
Amazingly, I remember Gary mentioning this band in his review of a heat from last year’s competition. Probably because they played in their pyjamas. Tonight they looked like rejects from Plebs, dressed in
torn bedsheets togas. They have a very… unique sound, which the band categorise as progressive/psychedelic space-metal. The drummer acts like one of those “that guy shouldn’t be here” wedding band drummers, throwing in huge amounts of incredible fill on a very stripped back kit, all the time making it look easy. Pick sliding is the flavour of the month for the guitars. They’re certainly a very theatrical live act and have large amount of “wtf” factor. One minute they’re screaming like Ghost Bath, the next funking it up with something from the seventies. Then throwing down some atmospheric black metal. Definitely the best progressive/psychedelic space-metal band of the evening.
The first band to hit a serious technical problem, a faulty cable caused them issues as the set began, but Victorius did a great job of keeping the crowd warm while it was sorted. The slight delay was forgotten in an instant as they blasted into a frenzied twin-guitar thrash set. For all the warm-up skills, the band were a little stationary once they started playing, relying on the pace of the music to get the crowd going. You can’t go wrong with old school thrash in that respect! By the time they got into the second track, they were a lot looser with grins and poses if not quite diving into the audience while playing blinding fast riffs. By the third track, they were well in the zone. “OI”‘s were shouted, and horns raised. Definitely the best old-school thrash band of the evening.
Simon Hall was definitely left with a hell of a job to separate this lot out and to pick only one winner…
To give him time to ponder, and to keep the audience and competitors on tenterhooks a little longer, we played host to Kent’s Wretched Soul. They’d won a previous competition and filled a slot on the New Blood stage a couple of years ago. This year will see them on the SOPHIE stage and the played like a band who definitely had that bit more experience. Ripping the crowd apart with their ferocious death sounds, they managed to get a small yet destructive pit going.
“That time” came, though, and after a fun-raising raffle the overall winners were announced as Titan Breed. From my own perspective I couldn’t have picked a winner easily. I could maybe have narrowed it down to three based on various aspects, but even that would have felt harsh. I’d have said “they deserve it”, whichever band had been picked.
Congratulations to “fucking” Titan Breed, and bloody well done to the other bands for making it such a difficult choice.
Photos by Gavin Lowrey (the good ones) and Iain Purdie (the less good ones)