Metal 2 the Masses Manchester: Semi-Final 2
Words and Photos: Anthony Firmin
Another year, another Metal 2 the Masses competition and another round in Manchester with three semi-finals. The winners of each semi-final going forward to the final on 23rd June with the three runners up battling it out the 16th June for the final place in the final… glad we got that sorted out!
In any event there are four bands here this evening and on paper it is probably the hardest of the three semi’s with all the bands seemingly on equal footing. First up are Stormrider who have strong support this evening with their shirts scattered amongst the crowd. When we saw them in the first heat it was obvious that they had come a long way in terms of sound and professionalism since last year and tonight is no different. They already have a sing-a-long anthem in the kitsch shape of “we are made, made of metal” and most here are loving it with the band riding the proverbial storm in style.
(Note: photos are from the first heat)
We caught Frozen In Shadows at Satan’s Hollow a couple of weeks back where they put on a competent but not quite convincing performance - more down to the venue rather than the band – it’s not every musician’s favourite place to play. Tonight they upped their game and with great sound they smashed the frozen ball out of the park and into the distant shadows, it is a massively improved performance which see’s new bassist Beardy Dan settling in nicely. Job done.
Granted, operatic and symphonic metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I do like it. Pallas Athena did well to get through the first round as their sound was a bit patchy that night, that was not their fault. Still drummerless this evening and relying on backtracks they put in a much better set, the sound is far clearer with Vickie Harley seeming more comfortable and thoroughly enjoying herself, her vocals are outstanding. It is a belting performance and although sans drums there is a dynamic missing it means the rest of the band have to nail it perfectly – which they certainly do. Pallas Athena have now appointed a drummer and will be gigging with them soon – I can’t wait to see the next incarnation.
Finalists in last year’s competition, Saurr failed at the last hurdle with what we described at the time as “some flat vocal moments (which) blunted their edge”. The Wiganers are back again this year with a steely determination to win and whilst they may be pieless the vocals are delivered with full force. The rest of the band are no slouches either and it is an exciting alt-metal display which they are renowned for.
Although the judges say, as they always do, “it was so tough”, it comes as no surprise to us that the two bands going through to the final rounds are Frozen In Shadows and Saurr. Commiserations go to the other two bands but this is not the last we will have heard of either of them.
The next semi-final is on 9th June… see you there!!