It wasn’t your standard Metal2TheMasses on Sunday; it was the “Moshpit” round where six runners up from the initial heats got a chance to go back into the competition. Battling it out were M.I.N.D from Heat 1, Hex Morbidity from Heat 3, Shard from Heat 4, Sun Seth from Heat 6, Serpentyne from Heat 8 and Imperium from Heat 9. There were also performances from two non-competing special guests; Perpetua and Seed of Sorrow.
Tonight reigning head judge Keiran Sheard was joined by all four of The Courtesans – Sinead, Saffire, Agnes and Vikki – and together their votes made up 50% of the final score, with the remaining 50% being decided by the audience.
First to hit the stage were Imperium (who we featured recently as our Band of the Day) and the five-piece were the perfect band to kick off proceedings as they stormed straight into a high-energy performance that got the whole crowd going. Bearded Ben on vocals was full of charisma and energy as he stomped around the stage, and his band-mates were equally as animated. The band were incredibly tight and they mixed face-melting guitar solos with catchy riffs and a brutal rhythm section.
Next up were progressive thrash / groove metal band Shard from Guildford. You don’t often see a bassist on vocals, and even rarer is a bassist so animated; George was snaking his hips in a more-metal-than-Jagger manor as he snarled into the mic with a slightly maddened look in his eye. There was even one point when his grooving was so intense that his guitar strap removed itself but Ben from Imperium was on hand to swiftly re-attach it as George continued to play. Shard’s music was a great mixture of a few different genres including atmospheric black metal and even some jazz elements.
Bringing a slightly different vibe to the evening were symphonic / folk metal sextet Serpentyne, whose line-up included a hurdy-gurdy and bagpipes, together with the more common guitars and drums. Vocalist Maggibeth’s operatic vocals provided the perfect accompaniment to the rest of the band, who produced a wonderful sound. Each band member looked like they were having a fantastic time on stage and the audience was feeding off their energy, and vice versa. Towards the end of their set Vaughan got out a second set of bagpipes and performed a great solo in honor of the two Scottish non-competing bands Perpetua and Seed of Sorrow who would take to the stage after all six competing bands had performed.
Three bands down, three to go and it was time for Hex Morbidity to take to the stage. This melodic black metal four-piece were deliciously sludgy and in addition to their bass guitar they had Arianna on cello, which added a really interesting element to their sound. The band had a really solid and cohesive look, and their music was just as considered.
The penultimate competing band were five-piece M.I.N.D who brought some prog to proceedings. Having seen M.I.N.D compete once before I thought I knew what to expect, but their performance was even better than I remembered. Once again I was in awe of the insane skills of Andreia on guitar, but the rest of the band were equally impressive, and Erim on keys was particularly animated; holding one of his keyboards over his head at one point towards the end of their set. Vocalist Daniel was as energetic as ever and their performance was really engaging.
The last of the six bands competing tonight were quartet Sun Seth – another band I had the pleasure of watching compete during the earlier heats of the competition. Tonight guitarist and vocalist Savvas decided to perform topless, to the delight of certain members of the crowd. Once again Sun Seth brought their heavy tunes and massive riffs to The Big Red, interspersed with captivating melodic passages and I for one really enjoyed their performance.
After all six competing bands had performed it was time for the judges and audience to deliberate and cast their votes. While they did everyone was treated to two special performances from non-competing bands; melodic death metal five-piece Seed of Sorrow from Inverness, followed by quintet Perpetua from Edinburgh. [I sadly couldn’t stay to watch either of their performances as I had to head home early as my trains were down due to planned engineering works, so Danni took a couple of photos of these last two bands.] It had been a long afternoon/evening of metal but a glorious one. Alas only two of the six bands who battled for glory this evening were able to advance to the next stage of the competition. It was a very hard one to call as all of the bands put 110% into their performances, but the eventual winners were…Serpentyne and Hex Morbidity. Huge congratulations to them – we look forward to seeing you again later in the competition!
Metal2TheMasses London returns to The Big Red next Sunday for the “Circle Pit” round where four more runners up from the initial heats will be battling it out for a chance to get back into the competition.
Photos by Katie Frost / Danni Garner