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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 26th April 2019.

So all six Heats have now concluded and the next step forward along that road to Bloodstock, see’s all those victorious move on through to one of the three Semi-finals – with the first round commencing tonight.

And getting things underway tonight were Militia Inc., who were one of our two winners from Heat 1. One of the things I really admire and respect about these guys is that they just get up on stage and give it their all – 100% and nothing less. Plus, when you add in the fact that they do a damn fine job of it too, these guys have certainly been a highlight of Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses for me.

Next up were Rustlung and with the memory of their set from Heat 4 still strong in my memory, expectations were running high. Tonight’s set saw the band full of intent to make it through to the final and with the audience right behind them, Rustlung metaled up and delivered a blistering set that was a pleasure to behold.

If you want to create an impact at a metal gig, then a bit of disco will usually do just that. To strains of ‘Disco Inferno’, Eyes Of The Raven announced their arrival and then proceeded to deliver one hell of an awesome set, that had Wolverhampton completely in its grip.

Our last contenders of tonight were Crows & Crosses and this band have become quite a talking point when it comes to up and coming bands in this region, so no suprise really to see them here at Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses first Semi-final. An impressive set from the band and an excellent way to bring this part of the competition to a close.

Our guest band of the night, first walked the road to Bloodstock way back in 2014 and were then invited back again in 2017, so when it comes to knowing what winning this competition can do, Eradikator are the band you should talk to. Their on stage energy tonight surged at full thrash and speed, with the audience relishing every moment. Eradikator have a new album due for its launch in August this year, so keep your eyes peeled for more news on that.

The level at which all four bands performed tonight was nothing short of impressive but it was Eyes of The Raven and Rustlung who now go through to the final on 1st June.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Metal 2 The Masses

KK’s Steel Mill Wolverhampton 28th February 2019.

Wolverhampton’s Metal To The Masses is BACK! and tonight see’s four bands taking part in Heat 1 and all hoping that the road to Bloodstock has their name on it!

Our first band of the night were Eyes Of The Raven and bearing in mind that their performance would set the measure for those yet to follow, not one single nerve was showing from any one of these five outstanding musicians. Eyes Of The Raven always keep their music and performance real, with song and lyrics that the audience can relate to and tonight’s set saw their wonderful connection with the audience in full flow. For me, the highlight of their set was the track ‘Crown Of Serpents‘ which in my book delivers pure addiction – so be sure to check out the video for this track over on YouTube.

Next up were In Fury and I have to say that this band deliver one hell of a great brooding bevy of aggression and attitude, which rapidly insighted an adrenaline flow from start to finish. Lead singer Stacey has an incredibly powerful voice and persona to match and it came as no suprise that by the end of their set, the draw to be off stage and amongst the audience took full control of her. A great set from the band tonight and one that was clearly enjoyed by many.

With Heat 1 flowing like clockwork, our penultimate band of the night Phantom State were ready, willing and more than able to bring their metal to the masses. In contrast to previous performances, Phantom State seemed more reserved on stage but this in no way masked the mood of the set, as the force their music possessed most definitely delivered the goods! Seeing an up and coming band such as Phantom State is always a pleasure, especially when they also leave you with the impression that more great things are still yet to come, as this band did.

With the time upon us for our final band of the night to take to the stage, the energy and enthusiasm in the room was still riding high and Militia Inc. took full advantage of the audiences mood with a set that was loaded with intensity, conviction and downright ball breaking hard rock/metal. As I reflect on their performance tonight, the stand out quality about it was that they made every second on stage count with their vitality and enthusiasm being served up by the bucket load. A great end to the night and that easily created a lasting impression.

With the votes of the audience and judges being collected in and counted, we all held our breathe in anticipation of the outcome and huge congratulations go out to Eyes Of The Raven and Militia Inc. who will now go through to the semi-final heats. The up and coming music scene in this area has a wealth of talent within it and tonight, we got to see four very fine examples of bands all proving that this is going to be one hell of a great experience for those yet to take part!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.