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Metal 2 The Masses

The Grand Final
KK’s Steel Mill Wolverhampton 1st June 2019.

Today is set to be one to remember, with six heats and three Semi-finals done and dusted in this years Wolverhampton Metal 2 The Masses, the Grand Final is now upon us. With a slot on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock calling out to our winner, the anticipation was electric and our six finalist were ready to give it their all.

With Rustlung having drawn the first slot of the day, they quickly set about making their thirty minutes count. The atmosphere on stage was all consuming – as was their blend of stoner/groove metal and clearly the band were intent on proving that they had exactly what it takes to be worthy contenders for today’s much sought after prize, to perform at Bloodstock.

The next band to take to the stage were The Black Hounds and as always, hard rock/metal played at its very best was their ultimate goal for today. With audience numbers growing, the band captured and held their attention fast, leaving no one in any doubt that today we would be witnessing Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses finalists, reach a standard of performance to be proud of.

Our third band of the day were Eyes Of The Raven and anyone whose seen these guys play live before, will know that they live stoner/groove metal large and always pack an honest and heartfelt punch with every song they play. Highlight of their set for me was ‘Crown Of Serpents’ which in my book, is pure and absolute mastery!

With the first three of our six finalist having given their all, the midway point of today’s event was reached and it was time for our first guest band of the day. Ashen Crown are a shining example of West Midlands metal and their rocket fuelled rise within this community has already led them to perform on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock in 2017. To describe their set today as brutal, ruthless and relentless is an understatement – a first class performance from a first class band.

Atarka were next to perform at today’s event and I can’t help but admire this band for their volcanic intensity, which is further incited by the towering stature of lead singer, Jamie Smith. With the audience rising to meet Atarka’s call to arms, the mosh pit responded and clearly, this was going to be one performance from today, that was favored by many.

Having attended all heats and semi-finals, there is one band who have repeatedly exceeded themselves, and that band is Blood Church. The theatrics of this band knows no boundaries and today, their satanic brimstone, metal and fire was more scorching that ever. This band have to be seen and heard – and truly, they are a mind blowing experience never to be forgotten. Today saw them take both stage presentation and metal to yet another new level with bible tearing, blood and two pigs heads giving rise to some very sharp intakes of breath from me! Epic!!

Elyrean have been a big hit with fans throughout the entirety of Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses and it has been an absolute pleasure to see them rise to meet high expectations head on. With each and every performance they’ve given, the impeccable standard of musicianship that this band possesses has been a sheer pleasure to witness and today’s Final saw them embrace the moment and completely captivate their audience of many!

Today’s Final has been an incredible event but with our second guest band of the day still to play, it was definitely far from over. Evil Scarecrow are absolute icons within the metal community – and beyond it for that matter and today’s set was certainly larger than life! With their stage props built to satisfy the most bizarre of imaginations, their music to feast on and lots of hilarity on stage and off, today’s Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses performances ended on a high, in true Scarecrow style.

And with all bands having played and performed like their very souls depended on it, we waited with baited breath for the announcement of the day. I really didn’t envy Simon Hall his job as judge today, as this was definitely going to be a difficult call! But the moment came and the announcement made and Wolverhampton’s winners of a slot playing on Bloodstcks New Blood Stage went to Elyrean and to say they were overjoyed is most definitely an understatement! But the good news didn’t end there as Eyes Of The Raven received the suprise selection of a slot on the Jagermeister Stage AND one band (who weren’t named) picked as a reserve should an available slot arise – now that is a result!!

On a personal note, it has been an absolute pleasure to have been part of this great event and my heartfelt gratitude goes out to Matt Edwards for keeping those big wheels turning, the sound guys for their brilliant skills on the sound desk, all photographers and reviewers, KK’s Steel Mill for their hard work and never ending commitment to this great event, Simon Hall and of course, everyone who has supported the bands and this event along the way. And there we have it folks – my feet ache but the heart is very happy, Wolverhampton Metal 2 The Masses 2020 can’t come soon enough!!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Metal 2 The Masses

KK’s Steel Mill Wolverhampton 3rd May 2019.

So the Wolverhampton Metal 2 The Masses semi-finals continue tonight, with five more live performances from Atarka, Blood Church, Dead Mob, Exiles and Recall The Remains. And getting this event underway were Dead Mob who delivered yet another storming set that was nothing short of a brutal powerhouse performance. With the large audience all set on supporting these guys, the band couldn’t have asked for more and once again, set the bar high for those bands yet to follow.

Next to give it their all were Blood Church, who had previously made quite an impact in Heat 6 with their satanic style of metal and presentation. With a dramatic entrance that was both ritualistic and eerie in style giving way to a full on attack of the darkest of metal, Blood Church mesmerized an audience already gazing on and listening in awe – this was definitely the kind of performance that was going to take some beating!

Our next band of the night were Recall The Remains who in my opinion, are one of the most exciting up and coming bands currently on the West Midlands music scene. As with our two previous bands, RTR had stepped up their game and seeing the towering figure of lead singer Jacob Collins being led on stage by a pig to the slaughter, their performance tonight certainly started with a sharp intake of breath! And in true style to their form, the metal was brutal – a seriously creative band that write and perform songs of the highest calibre.

Another up and coming band that are well worth getting excited about are Exiles, who stormed their way through to the semi-finals in Heat 5. Hardcore and smart with it, is the style that they have developed and tonight’s set from the band was intense from the moment this tornado hit the ground hard. Fueled by the energy on stage, there was plenty for the mosh pit to react with and Exiles certainly gave them 110%.

Tonight’s semi-final has been one of the toughest competitions yet and signing tonight off with a huge swell of energy and adrenaline, were Birmingham based Atarka. This band seriously showed the audience at KK’s Steel Mill what they were made of and their music and performance was nothing short of colossal in its delivery.

This semi-final gave us five bands who were all worthy of a place in Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses Final, so the voting tonight was indeed a very tough call but congratulations go out to Blood Church and Atarka who will go through to that event – and what an event it is going to be!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Metal 2 The Masses

KK’s Steel Mill Wolverhampton 4th April 2019.

Well, the Heats have flown by and tonight sees the final one with five more bands all hoping to progress down that road to Bloodstock.  And getting the evening underway were Orpheus, who hail from the Birmingham area. Alternative in their metal, this band have put a lot of commitment into developing their own sound and style and despite have been working hard on this for quite some time, they are relative newcomers to the live music scene. The bands set tonight saw that commitment at its finest and I hope we get to see more from this band in their many gigs yet to come.

Next up were 14 Pieces who brought along with them, their own brand of melodic thrash which hit the stage hard. Rife in attitude and belligerent in its deliver, these guys took full control of their stage and audience and firmly made Heat 6 as a night to remember.

The midway point of Heat 6 was marked by a blinding set from Master Charger, whose limitless ability has seen them command stages across the country on many an occasion, with the kind of accomplishment that makes you wonder why these guys aren’t on the Bloodstock line up already! Thirty minutes was just simply not long enough to relish the doom infused metal sound of Master Charger and tonight’s set from the band was A+ in its delivery and one that KK’s Steel Mill’s audience absolutely lapped up.

With the kind of gusto and energy that adrenaline thrives on, our penultimate band of Heat 6 took things to a whole new level tonight! Atarka have such a fresh feel to their groove rock metal and the drive within their performance was infectious and had their audience hanging onto every note and word. Once again, these guys served to put Wolverhampton high up on the Bloodstock map and making Heat 6 one of the toughest rounds so far.

And finally, the time had come for our last band of the night and the last band to perform in the heats of Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses 2019 – Blood Church. Dramatic in both visual style and stage presence, these guys dominated their every metal moment on stage and what a set it was! Steeped in the kind of theatrical allurement that grips you tight, Blood Church brought tonight’s event to one hell of an impressive end.

The competition tonight was TOUGH and sending just two bands forward onto the semi-finals was no easy decision for audience and judges alike but congratulations go out to Atarka and Blood Church both go through to the next round.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.