Editor’s note: apologies for the delay with this week’s report. Danni has been really ill and was an absolute trooper making it to the gig at all. It’s taken her a couple of days since to be able to plough through her pics and draft a review. As always, though, it’s always worth waiting for!
Sunday 10th December saw the return of Metal 2 the Masses to The Big Red in Holloway, London of 2017. Heat 5 could be summed up thus, quoting Mick Wood from Monsta Ents: “The competition was fierce, diverse and on point as all four bands gave it their all”.
First to play were heavy rock/metal band Uncle Rust, made up of brothers Justin McConville on vocals and guitar, and Chris McConville on drums, with PJ Phillips on bass. These guys had a good classic rock vibe at times and I feel most people would appreciate their music. Go see for yourselves – they are playing one of my local venues, The Bedford in Balham, where a lot of famous artists have played in the early days of their careers, on 15th January. Or listen to their album Fractured Lens on SoundCloud.
Next were Kingston band, Harbour Sharks “Formed in 2015, Harbour Sharks have created a unique sound incorporating big guitar riffs, groove-laden drum beats and melodic vocals. The band have spent two years perfecting their sound, writing music and playing live shows across the UK. Born from the minds of vocalist Jack Morris and guitarist Rob Rees, Harbour Sharks’ ambition is to have an impact on the British rock music scene with their crushing blend of riffs between punk, metal-core and reflective lyrics of the lower middle class.”
These guys gave an extremely energetic and passionate performance with their vocalist Jack jumping on and off stage a lot during their set, even getting up close and personal with the judges, Keiran Sheard, Paige Lee and Shannon Howard at one point. The last song they played was called “False Flags”. In a nutshell, it’s about staying skeptical of the information the media feeds us when there are ‘terror attacks’ Jack informed me.
Some bands make music as a creative hobby and just to entertain people (and there is nothing wrong with that) but then there are some bands that want their music to say more, make a statement and have an impact on people’s feelings and thoughts. This is Harbour Sharks! They are a passionate, mesmerising and intriguing band, go check out their album A History of Violence, released in October 2017.
The next band to play were a band I have photographed and reviewed a couple of times before for The Moshville Times, Butcher in the Fog. “A no nonsense heavy band from London, taking elements from metal, rock, punk and noise, sticking it together and getting on with it.”
Looking very festive in their Christmas hats, they gave another brilliant performance. Yanni on vocals and giving us some awesome guitar riffs, Alex hitting the drums, and Kumar doing his usual rhythmic rocking dance moves that everyone loves, on bass. But of course it wouldn’t be a Butcher in the Fog show without the guys stripping off mid-set (just tops, mind you, as it is Winter). I must say I was impressed Kumar was the only one who managed to keep his hat on the whole set though.
Listen to their album Something Bright and Scary on Bandcamp
The last band to play were quite different to any other band I think I’ve seen so far in the competition. For starters they had their own name stand. Giving a very theatrical performance were Gossamer Veil. “A British band blending goth/doom metal influences with baroque pop and prog for a sound that is dark, passionate and totally unique. The band name Gossamer Veil is inspired by Nietzsche’s writings on Apollonian-ism and Dionysian-ism in The Birth Of Tragedy.”
There was lots of black – black clothes, black hair, black eye make up… I wondered if The Cure was an influence for them. Samuel the lead vocalist enjoyed giving a dramatic performance which included singing to a skull at a few points during the set. An interesting band with whom to end the evening.
Well you can’t say Metal 2 the Masses doesn’t give you anything. Not only do you get a variety of metal and rock bands, but also witty banter from Mick and great theme tunes from Dylan the DJ. Mick also gave out little prezzies that night, you know because it’s Christmas and all that.
Four lucky people won scratch cards and biscuits and one lucky lady won tickets to Bloodstock Festival 2018. Personally I was jealous of whoever got the bourbons and spent the night asking who had any biscuits, but that’s beside the point!
Thank you to all the bands who took part and for everyone who braved the cold and the 2cm of snow to come along on the night. I think this was a tough choice for everyone to make as voting seemed to take longer than other rounds. Eventually the winners were revealed as Butcher in The Fog and Harbour Sharks, both going through to the next round.
This was the last Metal 2 the Masses until 21st January. Enjoy the holidays!
Photos by Ryan Whitwell (ShotIsOn Media) and Danni Garner