The Slade Rooms Wolverhampton 13th December 2014.

When it comes to catching up with the mighty powerful metal scene in the Midlands, then today’s event is exactly the kind of gig that strives and succeeds in airing the best of the best. The Christmas frenzy was in full swing and I was expecting a festive surprise or two today as Santa would inevitably be dropping in aswell, so time to get this, the third Midlands Metal Crusade, on the road!

Slaughter Horse had the prestigious honour of being first band on stage today and even though they found themselves playing to a smaller audience than I would have expected, there was no holding them back from delivering a thoroughbred performance to all those present.

Next up on stage and a new experience for me where The Final Chapter who hail from the Rugby area. Jake Barnes makes for a mean metalcore vocalist and last song of their set was the killer track ‘Papyrus’ which quite frankly left such an impression, that I had to go find it later online. I’m pleased to report that even though this is one of their earlier songs and can be found on their July 2013 EP release’ Illusions’, it’s still out there – so what ya waiting for – go check it out for yourself!

Jake Barnes - The Final Chapter

Silence The Weak are a right chatty bunch and why not indeed, as not only was today about great music, but it was also about good times aswell and these metal core maestro’s certainly made a great connection with the growing audience at The Slade Rooms. Tonight’s set was to include their last ever live rendition of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ and shame on them I say, as their version makes for much better listening, so here’s hoping for a few more airings of it in 2015!

Jake Webb - Silence The Weak

With the recent departure of their permanent lead singer, Ant Collins, the show was most definitely still going on for Rogue Reflection and it was an absolute pleasure to see none other than James Mills from Hostile UK picking up the mic for them tonight. 1’ve not seen or heard Rogue Reflection before as they are relatively new to the scene, but if the set they played tonight is anything to go by, then watch out for them in the new year as many good things can be expected from Rogue Reflection.

Well, one thing for sure, Eyes Of The Raven always make for a welcome sight on any stage as far as I’m concerned as these guys always keep it real and just play it straight from the heart! And what a sight they were to behold tonight with Dave ‘Santa’ Horan and his elves having donned their best bibs, tins and tuckers especially in honour of this festive event. Even with the challenge of unsolvable technical issues for Craig Preston on bass, the band played on and much respect to them all for that!

Dave Horan - Eyes Of The Raven

Next to take to the stage were Our World Below? and Dave Riley and the band like several others on today’s line up, are firm favorites of mine. Having seen them play on several occasions over the past couple of years, their style and their strengths just seem to become more engrained with each performance played. Tonight’s set easily followed in that same vein and with a tour in the planning for 2015, best make sure you get yourselves out to one of their gigs – I promise you won’t be disappointed!

You know that ‘WOW’ factor that some bands just ooze out by the gallon, well The Heretic Order are one such all consuming entity! Sitting and watching their stage being set up, was a bit like watching an Edgar Allan Poe story unfold and as the band took to the stage, I wasn’t to be disappointed, as the hooded form of Danny Felice (Breed 77) was enough to stop everyone in their tracks! With the same level of attention to detail put into their ‘Evil’ rock ‘n’ roll, as is to be found in their stage presence, The Heretic Order are a band that will capture you attention and will not be forgotten!

Lord Ragnar Wagner - The Heretic Order

It was only to be expected that Destroyed Beyond Belief would make their set today memorable in every way possible, by my oh my, never in my wildest dreams did I expect my eyes to behold such a festive bevy of Christmas characters – just imagine this.…. a Christmas Tree, a Christmas pudding, a turkey (complete with drumsticks hohoho), Santa Claus, an elf and last but not least, the gawwwjus Ms Sean Westwood sporting a snazzy Christmas frock that seemed to defy gravity on numerous occasions!! I could tell you how good their set was but these guys never leave the stage after anything less than a top notch performance, tonight however, Destroyed Beyond Belief were true hero’s and for me, were the highlight of the day.

Sean Westwood - Destroyed Beyond Belief

Well, today has certainly been one hell of a day and with it’s greatness drawing to a close, it was time for our headlining band of the day, Seven Deadly to take to the stage. Bringing an onslaught of synth laden melodic thrash metal to the Slade Rooms, was such a great way to sign the Crusade off and at the time of seeing them perform, I don’t think anyone anticipated that this was to be their last gig ever but sadly it was, so that was definitely one Christmas present I was glad to have been given.

Archie Wilson - Seven Deadly

The Midlands Metal Crusade continues to grow and plant its feet firmly in the heart of the metal community. With this time of year being a much loved time of the year for many but a time of great difficulty for others, the heart of the metal community beat loudly today in support of the local charity and food bank, Abigail’s Larder. With a raffle raising a tidy sum and several of the bands involved donating to the cause aswell, Christmas was hopefully a little brighter for some, so roll on the next venture of the Midlands Metal Crusade and good times ahead wished to all.

Words and Photography by Sue Wardle.

As Lions

As Lions - The Fall

‘THE FALL’ – Available as a free download.

A ferocious, no-holds-barred blast of melodic metal, ‘The Fall’ is the first taste of what’s to come from brand new London 5-piece metal stars, As Lions. Available to download for free, this debut track is a four-to-the-floor foot stomper, with crushing riffs, and the signature vocals of Austin Dickinson, tackling themes of desperation and determination with the lyrics – “did you live or die on your last day” and “I will survive another day”. The 5-piece marry heavy, melodic, epic and insanely catchy, concocting an absolute beast of a debut single.

As Lions

Fresh from the ashes of Rise To Remain and other previous projects, Brit metallers As Lions feature Austin Dickinson (Vocals), Conor O’Keefe (Guitar), Will Homer (Guitar), Stefan Whiting (Bass) and Dave Fee (Drums). Lead singer Austin Dickinson says: “’The Fall’ is a song seething with an energy and determination that I have never felt before. Coming off the back of our former projects, it would be far too easy to release something that ‘treads the water’. We wanted this one out there first because it has that crucial diversity that sets us apart, but at its heart has the anthemic core and the fleshed out heaviness that made me want to make music in the first place. It’s a direct, impassioned and honest statement of intent for our future. 2015 is the year that UK Rock breaks down even more walls, and we are here to help light that fuse.“

With an EP due out in Spring, and also a potential debut album to be released this year, the UK has a new beast on its hands. As Lions have arrived.