Another Sunday night, another round of Metal 2 the Masses London at The Big Red, and not even the miserable weather or heavy traffic stopped people from showing up. This time around, five runners up from previous heats were given the opportunity battle it out on stage to remain in the competition.
Elysian Divide were up first and didn’t give the audience a chance to warm up. The band’s singer Atashi Tada showed off her vocal range across songs both in English and Russian, drummer Steve Barker kept pounding the drums hard, and the guitarist Jon Sick brought the riffs to the party. Still, we didn’t see the usual energy and interaction between all band members. This show featured a new bass player who didn’t look very comfortable on the stage and toned down the performance. Having seen them before this was a bit disappointing, especially considering what was at stake.
When Symbol of Orion began their show, that was the moment that battle jacket bearers came forth and some headbanging really got started. The music sounded highly polished and it was the first time in a while that I found myself not able to easily fit a band into one of the many metal sub-genres. There are songs that might remind you of Gojira, or Mastodon, or even Static-X, but in the end it all sounds unique enough thanks to their Nepali influences and a bit of an old school edge that makes it even better.
Next up, The Redeemed took not only the stage but also the floor of the bar when the energy levels became too high to contain on stage. Bassist Josh Lightfoot kept sweating it out throughout the whole show and after two songs the singer Dean Fletcher joined the crowd for the rest of the show. Showcasing a decent amount of variety in their songs, the band put on a more than decent performance.
Deathtrip Armada took it a step further in aesthetics with a vampiresque style of clothing and make-up, but thankfully their performance didn’t have to rely on looks to stand out. The band put on an energetic performance from start to finish, with singer Richard Ashton frequently engaging with the audience and inciting them and guitarist Dana Tasker shredding both on and off stage as well. The band brought it all in a show that gave them a good chance of becoming the winners of this heat.
Last but definitely not least, were London scene regulars Sun Seth. Being last to play in a competition like this gives you the advantage of knowing what the competition is like and what you’re up against, so it was up to the band to deliver, and deliver they did. The band kept the crowd headbanging during the whole performance without rest, and while it was getting late in the evening, there was still energy for more.
While all of the bands certainly put on good shows and would all be worthy to carry on to the next stage, only one band could get through to the next stage, and that victory went to Symbol of Orion. Congratulations to you, guys. Metal 2 the Masses will be back to The Big Red in London this coming Sunday for another runners up round featuring Bloodrush, Fist, Hot For Doom, Inferno Noir and Raw Medicine. More details can be found on the event page on Facebook.
Photos by Luis Rodrigues