Well here we are at heat 5 already. It doesn’t feel that long since it was dark and foggy that first week in January, and here we are racing into the last half of the heats. Nights are getting lighter and it’s sunny and warm(ish) as I arrive at The Bread Shed, my obligatory coffee in hand I set up for tonight’s show, and I know it’s going to be a blinder.
First up a young band, Tortured Demon, and when I say young… 12, 13 and 14 yet they start the show better than some seasoned bands I’ve seen. These three young lads from Oldham fly straight into an impressive set of hard thrash metal, with insane pounding drums and bass lines backing the screaming guitar and guttural vocals and occasional clean. I’ve seen them before so knew what to expect, there were many jaws hit the floor in the packed audience though. Impressive stage presence and crowd interaction from all the band, the future of metal is assured with youngsters like this.
Karellen up next, a 3-piece Manchester-based metal band have a definite doom/stoner edge to they’re sound with crashing cymbals, heavy bass and guitar. With the two guitarists sharing coarse vocals they have a very raw sound. Add the foundation-shaking breakdowns it was inevitable that the mosh pit and head banging carried on from the first set. With plenty of hair flying on stage it was a solid performance that any other night would have secured a win.
Blunt Force are the third band of the night from Manchester. These five lads are seasoned musicians who play a blend hip hop/rap and heavy rock/metal and do it well – think Rage Against the Machine on steroids. With a high energy set from the off they deliver, with in-your-face vocals from both the vocalists accompanied by the very tight drums, bass and guitar shredding keeping the audience bouncing along for the entirety.
Our penultimate band tonight is ỤBỤRỤ. Things take a dark turn here as the stage is plunged into red light and they take to the stage covered in corpse paint. Coming from Leeds, this five-piece don’t like to define themselves by genre but have a distinct black/death metal vibe and appearance, but with undertones of other genres mixed in for a very unique sound. Apparently, this is their first live gig but it certainly doesn’t seem that way. Tons of confidence on stage, and yet another great set.
Last but certainly not least tonight, Portrayal of Ruinn (2 “n”s – most important!). I have followed these guys for about 12 months, and they have upped the game each time I’ve seen them. A five-piece melodic deathcore band from Manchester, they storm the stage and take it over continuing the intense adrenaline rush we’ve experienced tonight. To very tight drums, bass and rhythm you add screaming leads and the on-point growls from frontman Calvin. The highlight of the set must have been when he asked for a wall of death and got it.
So, the bands have done their all and, brother, what a night. Again I’m glad I’m not one of the judges retiring to the back room tonight as this competition just gets harder and harder to call. Finally, the wait is over and bang on 9.30 as usual our compére and host Paul “Chunk” Watling takes to the stage to announce the results.
First through with the crowd vote Tortured Demon and no surprise. They brought a lot of fans and won many new ones over with an awesome performance. The judges vote goes to a very deserving Blunt Force, a very good call for the mix of rap and metal with their twist on it which was very unique. I was about to feel gutted for my favourite but wait says Paul, we have a wildcard… Portrayal of Ruinn also go through for the great set they put on tonight.
Another phenomenal night with five great acts. Again, a shame they can’t all go through. So a huge well done to ỤBỤRỤ and Karellen, both played exceptionally, but the standard and quality of all the bands is through the roof this year. Roll on next weekend and heat 6. August and Bloodstock will be here before we know it.
Pics by Drew Scott Photographic