Midlands Metal Crusade V

The Slade Rooms Wolverhampton.

Today marks the occasion of the Midlands Metal Crusade V returning to Wolverhampton and at 3.30pm sharp, our first band of the day took to the stage.

Toward The Grave looked like a band well happy to be here and played a great set that was laden with brutal guitar riffs and the savage vocals of Russ Snipe. I greatly admire this band for consistently combining so many aspects of the metal genre and creating a style that has both darkness and groove within its core. No doubt about it at all, Toward The Grave gave the early crowd a first rate start to the day.

Next band up were Slaughter Horse and these guys were one of the must see bands of the day for me. Sadly, they were one man down with Jim Chilton being absent from the stage, but it was still game on for the band with Craig Keating picking up the vocals and keeping their set as ferocious as ever. Next date in the diary for the Slaughter Horse is 29th January when they will be supporting Evil Scarecrow back here at the Slade Rooms – and what a night that is guaranteed to be!

Craig Keating - Slaughter Horse

With the audience well ready for more, the third band of today were Our World Below? and with these guys being no strangers to the local metal scene, there was a fair size fan base waiting to greet them. Today’s set from the band was one of the best performances I’ve seen them deliver, with the vocals of Dave Riley exceeding already high expectations. I’m really liking the current line up of the band which now seems like their best fit ever, so roll on many more gigs in 2016!

Another band on my must see list for today – and also on that of quite a few others were Fire Red Empress, as this was to be the first live performance for Jennifer Diehl who has recently taken on lead vocal duties for the band. Seeing and hearing Jennifer own those well known and much loved Fire Red Empress songs today, confirmed my hope that this will be the beginning of a new dimension for the band and I cannot wait to hear what comes out of the recording studio next year!

Jennifer Diehl - Fire Red Empress

The half way point of the day heralded the onset of Eradikator’s set and no doubt about it at all, these guys were on top form as their metal was certainly molten tonight. With their new album ‘Edge of Humanity’ receiving some very positive reviews, their performance served to justifiably confirm those views and for those who didn’t get to see them today or simply want to see them again, Eradikator will be hosting a Launch Party at the O2 Academy 3 on Saturday 23rd January 2016!

Patrick Cox - Eradikator

Next up on stage were Burden Of The Noose and undoubtably, this band never fail to execute one of the most intense live performances to be experienced. Lead singer Andy Barraclough is a master of menace on stage with his never ending corrosive gaze deftly underpinning the ferocity of his vocals and always serving to compliment this bands musical brutality. An excellent set from the band tonight.

Gehtika are a band who need very little introduction as their ostentatious stage presence and extravagant metal is well known and well loved by many. Tonight’s set included several tracks from their recently released album ‘A Monster In Mourning’ and in true Gehtika style combined with the spirit of expect the unexpected, their was a spot of onstage appreciation from a fan too!

Topher O'Meager - Gehtika

Our penultimate band for this evening were The Heretic Order and after seeing them at a previous Crusade, this band have grown to become a firm favourite of mine. Tonight’s set from them was loaded with atmosphere and a good helping of audience participation aswell and for me, their set was over way too fast. With a new tour in the planning for next year, The Heretic Order are facing a busy 2016, so do check out their forthcoming dates as these guys are well worth the price of a ticket!

Lord Ragnar Wagner - The Heretic Order

One thing that every Crusade always delivers, is a headlining band guaranteed to surpass expectations and this Crusade was to be no different, with non other than Raging Speedhorn set to raise the Slade Rooms roof tonight. With the stage undergoing the required transformation, the audience numbers swelled but given this bands popularity and long standing achievements, that was only to be expected. Nothing was held back from the band or from the audience either as their set got underway and it really was a performance that put the hard in hardcore!

Frank Regan - Raging Speedhorn

Today’s crusade lacked for nothing apart from the unavoidable absence of Hils Ovation however the Slade Rooms raised a glass or two in appreciation of all Hils’ hard work and for making this great event happen.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.