Where to start with this incredible evening! A huge turnout of support and 6 talented unsigned bands, showing just how alive and exciting the local music scene is right now. There is such a supportive vibe here at the iconic Purple Turtle tonight for the Metal 2 The Masses London Grand Final, unfortunately facing uncertainty as to whether or not the venue will remain open. This sadness however was overcome by the unity of the bands, spectators, venue staff, Simon Hall the man himself! The hard work of promoter Mick Wood (Monsta Ents). Tonight was really a show of how we stand together to support our venues and the local music scene.
Up first and having one of the hardest slots of the night kicking off the show we have Skarthia, unfazed they do so with crushing riffs, and mixing it up with some more melodic moments. They have a intense stage presence and front man Avichai Myers demonstrates what an awesome range he is capable of. The only thing I was disappointed with was I couldn’t hear the backing vocals for the first half of the set, luckily by the last track ‘Demolition’ I could hear more and wasn’t disappointed, a killer track rallying support from the crowd, they really set the bar high for this competition.
Up next was 5 piece Outright Resistance; whipping up the first pit of the evening with their heavy metal groove and leading the crowd in a fury of head-banging, bringing full on brutality and heavy breakdowns to the show. Great overall performance and I was a big fan of their show of support for LGBT community, and anyone in need. Another solid performance tonight and they really affirmed just how tough this competition was going to be.
Third on we had the heavy thrash of Halberd the guys deliver a high energy performance with fast riffs and a good measure of blast beats. Front man Casey Marshion does a top job commanding the crowd and head-banging insanely like he has been in training with George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. It was just a shame some elements such as some of the guitar work was lost at times in a wall of sound.
Next to take the stage was the brilliantly quirky Wretched Toad a big contrast on what we have had so far. These guys work together so well on stage and provided my favourite bass-lines of the evening, provided by Tom on bass. Front-man Gerry is a vocal powerhouse, I’m sure even without a microphone he’d have the walls shaking with that voice and incredible range. Highlight for me was possible one of the best song names I’ve ever heard with Weird Faced Hedgehog.
Fifth up tonight are Overthrow, straight in kicking off with their heavy assault of thrash and killer dual guitar work, they really had the crowd behind them, managing to incite the biggest pit of the night and even a random crowd surfer during their set! The 4 piece put on a fantastic show captivating the crowd and leaving us all wanting more, a really strong contender and heating up the competition more so.
Last up tonight is 4 piece Wychhound, another band tonight that you can’t pigeon-hole into a set genre, with elements of stoner-rock and metal. Its nice to mix it up again tonight with Wychhound offering up clean vocals, so all night we were treated to a lot of variation of musical styles. They bring the show to a powerful again again leaving the crowd asking for more.
Results time I will admit I don’t envy Simon Hall having to pick only one band. To have 6 such talented and varied style of bands, you know he is genuine in saying if he could have them all playing this year he would do. Firstly the winner of the Empire Guitars M2TM London Competition. One guitarist from all the bands that entered the overall London competition was chosen for their talent they had shown. It went to Jon Spriggs axeman for Wretched Toad who is now the proud owner of his own custom Empire Guitar.
The moment we had all been waiting for to find out who would be crowned champion of M2TM London 2015. Judge Simon Hall informed all that he in fact has two contracts for bands to perform at Bloodstock 2015! One band will be performing as his special guest, and the other the champion of the London competition. The special guest spot very deservedly goes to Skarthia and winner of M2TM London 2015 goes to the fantastic Wretched Toad. What made this really special is seeing the genuine respect and support of all the bands involved, from those competing this year and in previous years who came to show their support. Another mention has to go to all the people involved in making tonight run like clockwork on all the changeovers, and all the hard work and dedication of promoter Mick Wood.
I caught up with Wretched Toad and Skarthia after their victory and I will leave you with what they had to say!
“We Wretched Toads are blown away to have won this! We’re truly proud to have been able to take part in Metal to the Masses, with such an incredible standard of bands and fantastic crowds at the Purple Turtle every single show. It just shows that Metal is alive and well in London, with so much support for unsigned bands and for the metal and alternative scene in general. We would like to thank everyone involved – all the killer bands, the staff at the purple turtle, all the radio coverage from TBFM, PlanetMosh and the interviews with Bowtell alternative and especially Mick Monsta and Simon Hall for their dedication, hard work and enthusiasm for unsigned bands -and most of all for giving us this incredible opportunity to play our music at this amazing festival! We couldn’t have done this without you all! We now look forward to ripping up the new blood stage at Bloodstock open air, it’s going to be croaking incredible!!”
“To be playing Bloodstock is an honour and we are privileged to be doing so. To get through after facing the level of talent and true quality in this competition is incredible. Every band has been superb and not just on the stage. We made some friends, booked some shows and grew as a unit throughout this crazy journey.
Our thanks goes out to everyone who has helped us from the ground up, those who came along for the ride and those who are soon to be part of it. To all the people behind the scenes, the staff at the Turtle, Ricky Bowtell, the amazing people that make up The Pig Pen, Danny Felice and Simba Bhebhe, the TBFM gang, Dave Bedlam (who now owes us an interview via piggy-back, did you even think we’d forget mate?!), to Simon Hall for this great honour, the fans who came down and those that listened at home and finally to Mick Wood for being an incredible fella, putting on the best M2TM London has ever seen.
We are saddened to see the Purple Turtle go but we know it is not the end for the scene nor Metal 2 The Masses London, we encourage EVERY band to go for it next year. Now our work begins to bring Bloodstock a show they’ll never forget, it promises to be the heaviest, fastest, fiercest, most skull crushing performance to date. We recommend you bring a neck brace, because after we’re done you’re going to need it.”