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 22 bands from the UK and two from Europe a slot at the UK’s premier metal festival.
M2TM (Reading) Semi-Final one began with Windsor tech/prog outfit You Win Again Gravity. Like a mix of The Ocean and Deftones the mix together technical riffs and light ethereal melody. The band opened their set with a restrained, faux elctronica intro to build tension and then segue into a short instrumental song. Melodic guitars and bass take prevalence in the bands’ music to bring everything together in a symphony of aural delight. Dynamic vocals performed by the lead singer and guitarist add to the already many layers, one typically taking clean vocals while the other harsh. You Win Again Gravity put in a great performance and even though there may not have been many people in attendance they all enjoyed it.
Second band of the evening were London based rockers Vine Messiah. Ripped straight out of old-school sensibilities this five piece brought together bouncing groove and harmonised three way vocals and sounded like a modernised AC/DC. They may have been the oldest but they were there to show the younger bands how energy on stage is really done. Vine Messiah at times use more traditional guitar harmonies that brought to mind Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate. The band used somewhat poetic spoken word intros for most of their songs to set the mood. One of the guitarists had suffered to broken fingers a couple of weeks before the gig, but that didn’t stop him. Using a plectrum on his thumb he still ripped through the groovy riffs like a pro.
With only two bands remaining Reading’s own sons of djent Flight Of Eden took to the stage. Their signature mix of Evergrey like melodic refrains and choruses and Scar Symmetry powerful riffs they brought their brand of metal with a vengeance. The singer’s competent vocal style was obvious from the start, able to switch between clean and guttural low growls quickly and with ease he was a force to be reckoned with. They were an obviously technical band but choosing to express it as more riff based rather than blistering sweep solos all over the place, while the bassist played some impressive lead parts over the guitarists’ rhythm. Flight Of Eden brought the energy up in the room and with only one band remaining this had already been a great night of live music.
The final band of the evening were London/Essex bruisers Confessions Of A Traitor. Like Killswitch Engage on speed the band put in an impressive energetic performance with breakdowns aplenty. With a very well crafted stage act including synchronised jumping and headbanging they meant business. Musically theirs’ was of great variation, with some thrash riffs thrown in and Lamb Of God style grooves too they kept the pace fast and very tight. They also had great crowd interaction with the singer really getting the crowd going, even while standing on a sofa like a preacher instructing his flock. Unrelenting speed is what Confessions Of A Traitor are all about and what they do best and they brought them in spades. With all of the bands now finished all that was left was to hear the judges results.
With the surprise departure of Reading metal stalwarts Koru exiting the competition a couple of weeks beforehand this gig looked wide open. All of the bands put in a stunning performance but unfortunately only two bands could go through to the final.
Winners, advancing to the Metal 2 The Masses Reading final:
Flight Of Eden
Confessions Of A Traitor