As Metal 2 The Masses London reaches the semi-final stages, the battle is on for one unsigned band to win the opportunity to play at Bloodstock Open Air this summer. There are now just twelve bands left in the competition, and the six bands competing tonight for three places in the grand final were Dead Before Mourning, Dirty Ol Crow, Die Kur, Prolapse A.D., Hex Morbidity and Seven Main Sins. Now, down to business.
First to take to the stage were Dartford thrash/comedy metal band Prolapse A.D. who were full of energy from the very start, and their “heavy, thrash and death metal with a shot of comedy” was the perfect way to start the evening. As well as playing crowd favourites “Pig F*cker”, “Digging Up Your Mother” and “Thrashing in the Church”, they played brand new song “Enemy of Cod” for the very first time. Charismatic vocalist Alex introduced the song as being about your local fish and chip shop, with a nod to Kreator. They ended their triumphant set with my personal favourite “Black & Decker Pu$$y Wrecker”, complete with infamous drill-mounted dildo.
Next to play were heavy / industrial metal six-piece Die Kur. Every time I have seen these guys throughout the competition I have been impressed with the inclusion of both a theremin and a violin – neither often seen in a metal band – whose high notes punctuate the heavy, sludgy bassline of the rhythm section, creating a really rich, layered sound. Tonight the bass seemed heavier and chuggier than I remembered and I was getting definite Rammstein vibes at a couple of points during the band’s set. The whole band put everything into their performance and it was possibly the best I have ever heard them sound throughout this competition – a whole new level tonight!
Third band on the bill were Seven Main Sins. They have stepped up their performance from show to show throughout this competition, and tonight they went the extra mile by unveiling two sculptures either side of the stage which featured skulls, nails and gas masks, and which were eerily lit from beneath. Tonight vocalist Łukasz swapped his cloak and lantern for an awesome skull and barbed wire hand-held mic stand which looked brilliant. The band’s atmospheric yet heavy black metal sound was just as great as I had remembered from previous shows, but with a little extra something this evening. The band put 110% into their performance and it was fantastic.
Next up were melodic black metal band Hex Morbidity. Like Seven Main Sins before them, Hex Morbidity also chose to adorn the mic stand, this time with white roses. Their cohesive gothic look and macabre / melancholic sound was popular with the crowd, and the band put on a very tight and impassioned performance. The inclusion of the cello never fails to add complexity to their sound and also adds a different element visually to what you usually see at a metal show.
Following Hex Morbidity were four-piece Dead Before Mourning from Surrey. I love their sludgy yet groovy sound and Matt’s vocals go really well with the riffs being delivered by Dom on his flying V. Their cited influences of Slayer and Megadeth were clear to see but the band have their own style, which was very popular with the packed crowd. I saw a guy walk into the venue, find his friend at the front of the stage and they proceeded to mosh / thrash together for the rest of the band’s set.
The final competing band of the evening were five-piece hard rock / punk / blues rock band Dirty ol’ Crow. This was my first time seeing the band and you could tell from the very start that they were going to be a lot of fun. They were incredibly energetic and pulled all the classic / sleaze rock poses, which is always fun for a photographer. Their self-confessed goal to “bring raw and undiluted rock n’ roll to as many ears as possible” seemed to be working as the band had a large number of fans in the crowd who sang and danced along to their set. The 80s rock influence is evident not only in how they sound but how they dress; ripped jeans, checked shirts and band tshirts. Vik was a very animated vocalist and moved and grooved his way around the whole stage. This may have been the first time I had seen Dirty Ol Crow, but I certainly would love to see them again – a very strong end to the competitive element of the evening.
After six brilliant performances it was time for the judges to deliberate, and while they did everyone was treated to a performance by non-competing band Wretched Toad, who won M2TM London back in 2015. Today 70% of the total votes came from the judges, and 30% from the audience. All six competing bands took their performance to the next level tonight so it must have been an extremely hard decision to pick just three bands to go through to the grand final, but the winners were… Prolapse A.D, Dirty Ol’ Crow and Dead Before Mourning. Huge congrats to those three bands who we will see at the Grand Final on 1 July at The Dome!
Metal 2 The Masses London returns to The Big Red next Friday night for the second semi-final round where five bands will compete for just two spots in the final. Come join us for a wonderful evening of metal!
Photos by Katie Frost Photography