Sundays have recently become synonymous with another Metal 2 the Masses round at The Big Red in London and last Sunday was no exception with the 4th quinter final. There were some strong events happening that same day with Desertfest happening around Camden Town and Chuckfest taking place at The Unicorn not far away, and though the day started with low attendance, it slowly kept building up to a busy crowd.
Her Despair had the unfortunate first slot on the stage without a lot of people to play for. This might have affected the band negatively. The performance felt emotionless and without any thrills. One thing I have a pet peeve for is musicians looking bored on stage, and this was a performance with a bass player reminding me of the CollegeHumour sketch featuring Mark Hoppus.
Up next were Phobetor who spiced things up a bit. The singer Debora Conserva was expressive throughout the whole show and showed great death growls reminiscing of the band Cadaveria. It was a solid performance which was deserving of a bigger crowd than what was present at the venue by this time.
Kicking things up a notch were Tides of Ire, a 5-piece from Kent who have a modernised nu-metal style of sound. The guitars feature crunchy, catchy riffs which combined with Leonardo Ozorio’s drumming form a sound very worthy of head-banging. Singer Mark Wills uses a mix of rap and melodic vocals with some effects added on top and at points took the show from the stage down to the crowd.
Shortly after, Xero from Newcastle Upon Tyne took the stage. Multiple influences can be heard in their sound, from grunge, djent, prog and alternative rock and metal, resulting in something that should please different types of people. Everyone in the band brought something to the table to make it a great show for the now larger crowd to witness.
Gate seemed to be the odd ones of the bunch and slightly detached from the theme of Bloodstock. They are a heavy rock band but their live show didn’t feel as heavy as their recordings. Regardless, they put on a show which was certainly enjoyed by some enthusiastic fans at the front of the stage.
At this point the venue was feeling much fuller and we were getting closer and closer to the end. Bad Frankenhausen were the band to listen to for those who were bummed to miss Desertfest as they brought the fuzz and riffs to The Big Red. A nice bass groove, a drum beat just at the right speed, not too fast but not too slow either, and the riffs just kept on coming.
The final band competing was the thrashers Hand of Doom, who have become quite big crowd-pleasers of the local scene and put on a very strong performance in their previous Metal 2 the Masses round. This show was no exception and from start to finish there was a frontline of headbangers and hair being whipped back and forth.
While the votes were being cast and counted, Tides kept the music going. Although the band had previously been in the competition they were no longer competing. Similar to the band Gates, Tides, although a great band, felt out of place with the theme of the festival. Still, they did great and provided the crowd with good entertainment until the results were announced.
Shortly after, the results were announced. Despite being a quinter final, there was a bit of an uneven amount of quality in the performances that took place and the winners were very clear. The bands moving on to the next stage of the competition are Tides of Ire, Xero and finally, Hand of Doom. Congratulations to all three of them!
The next quinter final round is also next to a bank holiday and will be another all dayer featuring Detoxen, Empire Warning, Enquire Within, Enterfire, Mountain Caller, Winter’s Edge and Seven Main Sins. It will take place once more at The Big Red in London and will be on the 26th of May.
Photos by Luis Rodrigues