One of the great things about Bloodstock Festival it not only showcases the biggest and best metal bands from around the world but it also offers a platform for the unsigned bands of the UK and beyond that are currently toiling on the underground circuit.
Metal 2 The Masses is a battle of the bands that ultimately gives bands from the UK and Europe a slot at the UK’s premier metal festival.
Heat One of Metal 2 The Masses Reading 2015 was a storming success even at this early stage in the competition with good attendance and all of the bands putting in impressive performance, all hungry to get through to the next round. Unfortunately Ignite The Sky pulled out at the last minute leaving only Bitter Divide, Incarnadine Coven and Ghost In The Static left on the bill for the night, fortunately however this meant that these three bands were all successful in progressing through to the Semi-Finals.
The first band to take to the stage on the evening was Andover heavy hitters Bitter Divide. For the first band in the competition they set the bar incredibly hight with their mix of metalcore melody, rock heaviness and powerful groove they blew the crowd a new arsehole. Their accomplished musicianship and verses full of crunch set the audience alight and making a good impression, with a very good crowd interaction too. Their use of melodic choruses with the vocalists strong catchy melodies brought to my mind the pacing and style of Maynard James Keenan of Tool. They also played a pitch perfect rendition of Killswitch Engage‘s that had my sixteen your old self singing along inside my head, and occasionally out loud.
After a quick change over the next band to play was Reading’s own sons and daughters of spooky symphonic goodness Incarnadine Coven. They started their set with a very haunting-and very impressive-three-way vocal harmony intro between the lead vocalist, the guitarist and the drummer, very cool and unique way to start their set. With a polished sound and strong operatic vocals throughout their set they managed to hold the audience in the palms of their hands and make them have an unwillingness to be let go under any circumstances. With an abundance of theatricality and a well layered sound they had a richness and fullness of texture to them not heard all that often, Nightwish wish beware, there’s a new, younger and hungrier band on your heels.
And then there was one, after two great performances by two equally great bands only one performance remained on the night, it was time for industrial bruisers Ghost In The Static to do battle. With their atmospheric darkness, cool guitar melodies and 1980s vibe they had an interesting sound that I would liken most to the darker material of Nine Inch Nails-bear in mind I’m not the biggest fan of industrial music so I’m not the best judge, but I liked what I heard. They also had some powerful punchy riffs and driving rhythms thrown in to keep the on-stage and the inner crowd energy high. This was a performance that all in attendance won’t forget for some time, and with very good reason.
And with that the first round of this year’s competition came to a close, and what a first round it was. Even for a Sunday night the crowds participation, rabid enjoyment and merry-making can only be seen to be a good indicator of the rounds to come.
As I said, because of one band dropping out all three that took part progress to the semi-finals of the competition, but-even with that helping hand-Bitter Divide, Incarnadine Coven and Ghost In The Static all would have deserved to go through anyway.