Friday night and time for Heat 2 of Metal 2 the Masses, where two more bands will make it through to the semi-finals in May. I’m due to set off when I get a message that the sound tech has let us down, they’ve found a replacement, but everything will be running late. It’s not a problem the show will go on. I arrive to a scene of panic, the club’s drum kit that we were told would be complete after buying a couple of stands needs some major attention. Again, no problem, there’s a flurry of helpful hands as all the bands pitch in and we soon have a working kit.
It’s 10pm, we are an hour late, but off we go as Soldato take to the stage to a cheer from a crowd that’s been very patient so far. From Leyland in Lancashire this four-piece blasts out some great classic hard rock blues with John Taylor providing some powerful vocals, great riffs, and instrumentals from Craig Benyon on guitar, Gediminas Jurgaitis on bass and Phil J Bailey’s drums keeping it all together. A good start to the night with some edgy, raw rock ‘n’ roll getting the crowd warmed up.
- Holy Man
- Wolf Pack
- Black Rage
- Broken Man
- Double Time
Phantom Sea take to the stage next, from Blackpool this metal band launch into a set that blends genres from death to doom while skipping across a touch of sludge. Mark Millard’s screaming vocals carry well with Matt Mcloughlin’s haunting and melodic solos on lead guitar, and Matt Longshaw powers the drums along while giving some mighty backing vocals. Lynden Garrad (Daybreaker) does an amazing job on bass while standing in for Kyle Worrall, who will be back in time for the semi-finals I’ve reliably been informed.
- Deep Waters
- Falling Lights
A trio from York next, Krystallized. Well, they should be a trio, it seems they have no bass player. He’s been held up with important business at the other side of the country and can’t make it. But that doesn’t deter Risho on vocals / guitar and Jonathan on drums, who still get up and do what they can, and to be fair, it sounded pretty good. Their sound was obviously a little flat and depthless from the lack of bass but the two boys did a good job of delivering a reasonable set. Shame they were a man down as they could have been in with a good shot with some powerful old school metal.
- Zone of Terror
- Last Breath
Last but certainly not least tonight, Dimensions from Northwich. A five-piece progressive metal band that come on stage in an explosion of heavy riffs and hair. Saul Ennett on vocals leans over the stage headbanging and jeering the crowd on, and within the first song, there is the first mosh pit of the night, which they keep going up till the end of the set. James Von Gerber and Michael Baddeley deliver some downright dirty riffage on the guitars, Dan Naden racing along on the drums and David Eyes brings the rumble on the bass. Screams of “one more song” are heard from the now baying crowd as they want more of this awesome band, sadly we have to say no as we are already running late and it’s a competition with set times.
- Death Perception
- As Gods
- The Only Way Out Is In
- Area 6
The judges retire as we asses the crowd votes and soon we have clear winners and a surprise. Compere Bobbi Davies announces to the cheering crowd… Well done Dimensions and Phantom Sea who are both through to the next round, but the judges were so impressed with Krystallized getting on stage and performing with no bassist that they want to hear the full band, so they’ve been put through as a wild card and are also into the semi-finals. What an amazing night of face melting metal and people stepping in at the last minute with all the bands pulling together to help out and get the show on the road.
Photos by Drew Scott Photographic