Metal 2 The Masses London Quinter Final 4, The Big Red (20 May 2018)

Metal2TheMasses London was back at The Big Red in North London on Sunday with the fourth quinter-final round. Battling it out for two places in the semi-finals this week were: Leashes from Heat 2, Prolapse AD from Heat 6, Arcane Militia and Serpentyne from Heat 8, plus Nunchucker from Heat 12. Despite not winning their original heats, Leashes and Serpentyne were given a second chance at glory when they competed at The Circle Pit and The Runners-Up All Dayer respectively and won the chance to continue in the competition. Tonight head judge Keiran Sheard was joined by Vas from Evisarize and Moshville Times’ Danni Garner, and together their votes made up 60% of the final score, with the remaining 40% being decided by the audience.

Serpentyne (c) Katie Frost Photography

First to hit the stage this evening were Nunchucker who had a definite hard-rock / rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Frontman Chris Tate snaked his way around the stage with a swagger like Jagger in dangerously low-rise jeans backed by the groovy guitar riffs and pleasing melodies created by his bandmates. The opening slot is always a tough one, especially on a sunny Sunday early-evening, but Nunchucker’s fun, lively and upbeat tracks were easy to get into and hard not to tap your feet along to. It was my first time seeing the band live (having missed them in their earlier heat) and I really enjoyed their sound and performance.

Next up were Dartford thrash/comedy metal band Prolapse A.D. Last time I saw these guys in Heat 6 I very much enjoyed their sound, which they described as “a cocktail of heavy, thrash and death metal with a shot of comedy”. They opened their set with “Pig F*cker” (a song about some bestiality-related allegations concerning a former Prime Minister) before launching straight into “Digging Up Your Mother” for which the band are soon to release a video. They went on to play a selection of their humorously-thrashy tracks including “F*ck Cancer” and “One Minute Wonder” (both fairly self-explanatory) as well as a brand new song “Narcissism” which was blast-beat-tastic and included some epic guitar solos. The band ended their set with my favourite of their songs; “Black & Decker Pu$$y Wrecker”, which charismatic vocalist Alex introduced by waving a drill-mounted dildo in the air.

Leashes (c) Katie Frost Photography

Something completely different musically now with heavy alt-rock band Leashes. The band had a very cohesive look all dressed in black, and they used backing tracks to add an extra layer of atmosphere to their performance. Musically the guitar and bass were sludgy and heavy, paired with a mixture of clean and growl/scream vocals, and some obscenely complex drumming by Graeme. Vocalist Alexi had all-black eyes which freaked me out a bit but his performance was full of passion and his vocals were drenched in emotion. As he screamed into the mic it was like the sound was coming from his soul, which made the band’s performance very strong, engaging and hard to ignore. A couple of my favourite tracks the band played were “Mother Superior” and “Destroy”.

Up next Arcane Militia brought their “aggressive love metal” to the Big Red stage. These guys had a great look to them; a combination of sleaze rock with a metal edge. Their music was fast-paced heavy-rock and they were great fun to watch. Joe, Tom and Steve on guitars and bass were all very energetic and pulled a lot of the classic “rockstar” poses, which are always a pleasure to photograph. Their performance was anything but static, with vocalist Mikael venturing off the stage to sit on one of the oil-drum tables towards the end of their set, as well as hanging from the ceiling and rolling around on the stage at other points during their set. There were sick guitar solos, there were some great vocals and some impressive drumming…Arcane Militia put on a passionate and entertaining performance.

Prolapse A.D. (c) Katie Frost Photography

Bringing a slightly different vibe to the evening were symphonic / folk-rock / metal sextet Serpentyne, whose line-up included a violin and bagpipes, together with the more common guitar, bass 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, particularly Vaughan on the bagpipes. There was no hurdy-gurdy in the line-up this time but the band’s metal-meets-medieval sound was still as great as it always had been. Their songs were groovy and toe-tapping, and Lee’s guitar really added that metal sound to the more traditional songs in the band’s set.

It had been another glorious evening of metal, but only two of the five bands who performed were able to advance to the next stage of the competition. As always it was a very hard one to call as all the bands put their heart and soul into their performances, but the eventual winners were… Serpentyne and Prolapse A.D. Huge congratulations to both bands who will join Dirty Ol Crow, The Brood, Die Kur, Sutalkerah, Dead Before Mourning and Empire Warning in the Semi-Finals next month!

Metal2TheMasses London returns to The Big Red next Sunday for the fifth and final quinter-final round where more bands will be battling it out for a place in the semi-finals in June. Get all the details on the event page and join us for what is always a fun evening supporting the local music scene!

Photos by Katie Frost Photography

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