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Metal 2 the Masses Bristol: Heat 4, 12/04/17 and Interviews!

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On this day over 2000 years ago, the man credited with being the Son of God was in Jerusalem in the build-up to the events which are generally associated with Easter. But before the four day weekend arrives, there’s the small matter of Heat Four of Metal 2 the Masses: three bands, two spots in the semi-final, one place at Bloodstock in August drawing ever closer.

Any chances of a slow start to proceedings are eviscerated the moment Atigun Pass take to the stage. As abrasive as crawling across broken glass with the zipper on your jeans undone, their music has much as common in metal as it does punk and hardcore, and it’s a true barrage of a performance that threatens to shake the foundations of the Exchange and send everyone crashing into the basement below. The best thing of all is the chemistry onstage – the foursome are having an absolute blast throughout their set from the thrash and pace of Six Minutes (“You know a song rocks when it starts with the fucking drums!” shouts guitarist Pinto) through to the final strains of Counting Wolves, the first song they ever wrote as band. It’s a strong start and one that warms everyone up good and proper

“You know who we are, we sound like this.” says Franklin Mint’s Mr. Nick after the band are introduced on stage. Quite WHO they sound like, however, is a matter open to debate; there’s a lot of different styles and genres on show here; predominantly hard rock, there’s a heaviness that leans towards classic metal at points and a touch of psychedelia involved too, all married with Mr Nick’s near spoken-word vocals. It’s curiously hypnotic, at times sounding like UFO and early Pink Floyd, at others Nick Cave and the Bad Seed and the Velvet Underground. There’s also the stomp of Wormhole and the soar of Tiny Gyroscopes way, each as compelling as the other and at no point do Franklin Mint lose their momentum; it’s an encapsulating set from start to finish.

Rounding things off are Black Wasp, probably the youngest band participating this year with frontman Gacy Zodiac (supposedly a punk from the year 2045 back to stop conformity in music) a mere 17 years old. Naturally for a band so young their energy is unrivalled and they’re quickly into their stride with their own brand of punk, Blank Slate a particular highlight. Zodiac is a very interesting character; coming across like Marilyn Manson with a GG Allin streak, he’s taking no prisoners as he leaps and prowls the stage in near full corpsepaint and blood; not even microphones are safe, with the one he’s holding taking a battering as it’s repeatedly rammed into his forehead. That said, it’s when he brings everything in that Black Wasp are at their best: Passion Operatics is the best song of the set, with Zodiac letting his voice and scream take centre stage and guitarist Josh Nickless allowed to break free and turn out a cracking solo to finish everything off. Definitely a band to watch in the future.

With the three done and a storming headline set from Outright Resistance over as well (you will never hear a better cover of Limp Bizkit’s Break Stuff anywhere on Earth), it’s announced that Franklin Mint and Black Wasp are the bands headed through to the Semi Finals at the end of May and beginning of June. It’s been another fantastic night of music and, once again, Bristol has stamped its claim on having the best underground metal scene in the country right now.

In the past week, I’ve been chatting to both bands who made it through to find out a little bit more about them…

 

Franklin Mint

For people hearing about Franklin Mint for the first time, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We’re a band with a combined age of over 150 years. We play our own version of Prog-rock and Punk. You may call it Prunk if it helps start a new scene, and we’ve been together for over five years (with a few line-up changes) – but we still surprise ourselves every time we practice and that’s the key.

You played Metal 2 the Masses before under the name Gargantuant, what made you decide to come back?
We were asked to and last time we made the finals! We always enjoy playing to a new crowd – delighting and bemusing them in equal measure.

How do you feel your set on the night went? Following on from this, how does it feel to make the Semi Finals?
The set went exceptionally well. There were tears and laughter – and that was just us. We’re looking forward to the semi-finals as it’s a chance to showcase some of the tracks from our first album out later this year. Imagine a double gatefold sleeve concept album made for five hundred quid. We aim high – it’s the only way.
Franklin Mint’s a curious name – can you give us an insight into why you’re called that?
Sammy and the Spangles was already taken – but if anyone has collectible plates of dolphins in space or kittens playing with ducklings then they will know the true answer.

Which three bands do you feel have influenced your sound most?
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Kid Creole and the Coconuts.

Where can we find out more about Franklin Mint?
Go to franklinmint.bandcamp.com – we need to sell the last of our t-shirts.

Finally, what would it mean to play Bloodstock?
Probably the other bands were busy?

Black Wasp

For people hearing about Black Wasp for the first time, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
When you come to our shows you are seeing something real and raw. We are a four piece, hardcore industrial punk group from Bath who are simply sick and tired of all the major label bullshit. We are done with being force fed, and intend to do something about it before it’s too late. We strongly promote individuality and artistic personalities, while also going up against any and all forms of power that stand in our way. We intend to lead a revolution with those who are brave enough to stay until the end of our shows against against the rich, powerful and normal.

This is your first time playing Metal 2 the Masses; what made you decide to apply this year?
We applied because we wanted the opportunity to spread our message to a wider audience.

How do you feel you’re set on the night went? Following on from this, how does it feel to make the Semi Finals?
Our set was great, we got an awesome response from the audience and judges and hopefully rallied more troops. It’s amazing to make it to the semis and we will put on an even wilder show next time!

One of the songs from your set that really grabbed my interest was ‘Passion Operatics’. Can you give me an insight into the writing of it?
‘Passion Operatics’ was written to critique the fact that almost all pop songs nowadays just talk about the same two subjects: love and sex. We wanted to ensure that the track didn’t comment on this from an outsider’s perspective, but as the subject itself. Writing a song about lost love is nothing new, but what we tried to bring to it was something more poetic, even if it’s just a piss-take of what is overused in ‘music’ today.

In terms of writing the song, we will answer with what we always say to questions such as these: We write as we feel. We couldn’t give you a definitive answer because that would be far too easy. We considerably prefer to allow people to think, as opposed to be force fed the answers.

Your frontman, Gacy Zodiac, certainly has an interesting persona – where did the idea come from to have a punk from 2045 leading the band against conformity?
Correction: the LAST punk.

Hi, it’s Gacy speaking now.

You think I’m some kind of fictional character? Something that was thought up as a gimmick to slap a face on a group? Well you’d be WRONG. This is not a joke. Everything I and Black Wasp do on stage is real. We are giving you full force, uncensored, anarchist punk rock FROM THE STREET. Something that has clearly died out or is too lazy now to make a comeback. The real reason I’m leading us and our listeners down this path is because I have come from a world where it no longer exists.

Punk, rock, metal, and anything and everything that isn’t pre-produced, faceless pop is now outlawed in my world. They all just sit in blank clothes with blank expressions on their faces, and laugh or make fun of what they don’t understand, before you are eventually caught and thrown in jail for being an anti conformist. So if you’re asking where the idea came from…it comes from the fear of losing these art forms. These genres that once shaped a whole culture, which are now fading into silent obscurity, MUST be brought back before it’s too late. If I’m the last one able to change history, then I’ll take it and push it to the extreme. People are too scared nowadays to offend someone else, that’s not the world I want to live in, so I’ll change it as best I can.

Which three bands do you feel have influenced your sound most?
Fuck all the other groups, I thought we were talking about us here? Just kidding! (Or are we…?)

We are all influenced by a lot of different bands and styles that we try and incorporate into our music. Marilyn Manson has influenced a lot of our work, from lyrics to stage presence, G.G. Allin and the Murder Junkies have inspired Gacy’s wild performance and attitude and the band’s ‘punk not giving a shit’ vibe, and Guns N’ Roses have influenced [guitarist] Josh’s solos and classic tone in some of our songs because of their timing, sound, playing technique, writing and originality.

Where can we find out more about Black Wasp?
You can find out more about the rebellion against conformity on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialBlackWasp and our website https://www.officialblackwasp.org/

Finally, what would it mean to play Bloodstock?
It would be awesome to play at Bloodstock; it would be the perfect stage for a major brainwashing. To be honest, I think that it would be the only vessel large enough to carry our ideal world depiction through to the masses. People need to learn and we think we could teach them: Screw everything else, and do what you love at all costs. If you come to our shows, we advise you to only stand at the front if you can handle the extreme. (Also you may want to have a restraining order so Gacy doesn’t get too close!)

My thanks to both bands for taking the time out to speak to me.

Elliot Leaver
PlanetMosh's resident Iron Maiden fanboy and Mr. Babymetal. Also appreciates the music of Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Nightwish, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot and many others. Writing to continue to enjoy life away from the stresses of full-time employment.
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