It’s Good Friday and I’m on my way to the Sanctuary for the penultimate round of Metal to the Masses. Another 4 bands will take to the stage hoping to win over the crowd and secure a slot in the semi-finals, with the aim of winning a place in the grand final and a chance of going on to Bloodstock. It’s a warm evening and the holidays have brought out plenty of fans for the bands tonight.
Opening tonight’s show with a bang is Detest an extreme metal 5 piece from Manchester, the lights go down and they play to strobes for the entire set, cool at first but a little too much for a whole set I think. Mixing several genres with a leaning to deathcore they have the room bouncing within the first song. With some obvious fans coming along and providing some hardcore moshing and support with screams of Detest before, during and well after they finish. The set seemed a little short but the crowd loved it and they definitely set the bar high early for the rest of tonight’s bands.
Next to grace the stage is the Scott Beveridge Project, previously playing in tribute bands, Scott now plays his own original classic metal and plays it well. Blasting out powerful chords and intricate solos while singing, and assisted at live gigs by friends Lyndan Garrrad – bass (DayBreaker), John Badger – drums (too many to mention) and Luis Antonio Gutarra – guitar (Sin Circus). They play a scorching set of Scott’s own music from his new solo album, much to the delight of the headbanging fans who have come along from Copple Lancashire tonight.
Iridium are up next. A 3 piece from Preston only recently formed and with only 1 live gig before tonight I believe, they play fast hard thrash. Ryan Marshall plays a mean guitar with great vocal range, Mike Taylor hammers the bass hard with Mike Wade doing an ample job of running the drums into the floor. Sadly, the crowd thins a little for the start of their set as they don’t seem quite as tight as the first 2 bands tonight, only 1 previous live gig a little telling. They soon pick up the pace and the last half of the set is much better with the band seeming to enjoy it more as the crowd starts to swell again.
Our final band of the night is Grand Elder a doom/Southern metal band from Manchester. With a look and sound Seether would be envious of they now play to a packed room. They dish out hard hitting and intricate riffs and stoner grooves with a mix of vocals, and certainly hit the bar set by earlier bands. With the second moshpit of the night taking shape very quickly and some of the crowd singing along its obvious this band has a good following, and it’s clear to see why. Just pipped Scott as my favourite band for the night.
Once again, another face melting, bone rumbling night of great bands and now it’s decision time, the crowd votes taken. However the air horns from Grand Elder fans are being discounted (they didn’t need them anyway), and the judges disappear into the back room. Finally, the wait is over and compère Bobbi takes to the stage… Congratulations to Detest and Grand Elder who go through to the semi-finals in May. Well done to all the bands, hardly any technical hitches tonight and big well done to Iridium and the Scott Beveridge Project who both played great sets, but sadly didn’t make it through. There is still another wildcard slot available yet so who knows.
Photos by Drew Scott Photographic