Midlands Metal Crusade

The Slade Rooms Wolverhampton 12th October 2013.

Today’s Midlands Metal Crusade is one gig I’ve personally been looking forward to since the moment it was first announced. I was pretty sure that I didn’t stand alone in that anticipation, as even just a quick peek around the Facebook pages for the bands that were lined up to play, simply screamed out that this gig meant a lot to so many.

Arriving at The Slade Rooms, I was greeted by a healthy queue of people all with happy smiley faces and in a time when venue closures and gig cancellations are becoming a regular occurrence, this kind of sight really makes you heart soar with delight.

Today’s line up boasts some of the finest metal bands in the Midlands community along with a special performance from the amazing Breed 77, and with the majority of bands having a thirty minute set and us only having a fifteen minute jimmy riddle and beer break in between, today was going to be full on from start to finish.

So, with no time to waste and champing at the bit, our first band up on stage were the fiercesome thrash metalers, Obzidian. Their set list for us today included a good sample of tracks from their latest album, including the title track itself, ‘Concrete Psychosis’ and these guys made for a great start to the day!

Paul Hayward - Obzidian

Our World Below? were next up on stage and delivered a set that simply tore through the Slade Rooms. Rich in heaviness and savage in their persona, these guys were here to do the business and with audience numbers rapidly growing, the appreciation that they rightly deserved was certainly given.

With the time fast approaching 6pm, Left For Red duly took to the stage much to the delight of all those who were here to follow the crusade. These guys really need little introduction as their long standing, grove infused metal, has a voice that roars for itself and roar indeed it did tonight. Great performance from Left For Red and one of the highlights of my day!

LC + Dan Carter - Left For Red

With ‘Cataclysm’ exploding into the airwaves, XVII’s set hurtled headlong in a brutal storm cloud of metal that rained down heavily upon the first pit of the day. Vaughan Bennett, is a giant of a front man in both ability aswell as height, so if you’ve not seen or heard XVII before, this band are definitely one you need to check out.

I’ve seen a lot of good things written about Gehtika in recent months, but even with such credible recommendations in mind, I had not anticipated the actual experience of seeing them live! I’m not quite sure what hit me first, whether it was their theatrical image, their impeccable personalities or the frenzied attack of their music but my goodness me, these guys are a band destined for big things and very spiffing indeed!

Anthony Knight + Scott Allen - Gehtika

Our sixth band of the day were the groove metalers Eyes Of The Raven and if that alone wasn’t cause for celebration, lead singer Dave Horan had a bit of a birthday bash going on up on stage aswell. With plenty of beer and a big shiny balloon to mark the occasion, along with a couple of band members from Gehtika and Left For Red on stage aswell, the birthday shenanigans brought a grin to just about everyone’s faces. Great set from Eyes Of The Raven and good times had indeed!

It was inevitable that at some point today, time would over run and sadly as a consequence, Destroyed Beyond Belief’s set was a little shorter than planned. That said, these guys made ever moment count and their set was nothing less than blissfully brutal. New album on the horizon aswell, so keep an eye open for that one too!

Edd The Viking Bailey - Destroyed Beyond Belief

Our penultimate band of the evening were the mighty Breed 77 and with the recent departure of their former lead singer and Rui Lopez stepping up to the mic as his replacement, plus another new face in the guise of Andy Burlace on drums, this performance was also one I was keen to catch. Breed 77 delivered their ten song set tonight with the same prowess and class that has earned them their mighty fine reputation and being able to hear and see the live performances of ‘Drown’, ‘Bring On The Rain’ and ‘Zombie’ served to satisfy all of the high expectations which I had brought with me.

Rui Lopez - Breed 77

Today’s Crusade seemed to have simply flown by and with our headlining hometowners, Upon Descent, set to deliver the final metal onslaught of the day, no-one left standing looked ready for home just yet. With Dab Brown at the mic, painted for battle and tireless in spirit, these guys gave a brutal performance that was well worthy of their prestigious responsibility.

Chris Meddings - Upon Descent

Today’s metal invasion at The Slade Rooms has been something that I’ve felt extremely privileged to have witnessed and one of those gigs that will stay with me for a long time to come. I think it’s important to give thanks and recognition to a few people whose contribution to the organisation and running of the day, made for a big factor in it’s success. To Hils Ovation for her tireless commitment to the local scene, to Midlands Metalheads Radio station for comparing the day and spreading the word, to the epic sound and lighting techies who got it spot on today and to the Wolverhampton Civic staff and security for keeping the wheels on the crusade wagon turning all day long. I could keep going but it’s a very long list of possibly 500 people to thank but I won’t, as I think you all know who you are.

As I headed for home with aching feet and tired arms, those ailments paled into complete insignificance when compared to the great memories that I was taking back home with me and I sincerely suspect that today will serve to be one of the most memorable metal highlights of the year for many.

Words and Photography by Sue Wardle.