Friday night was the final of the Scottish leg of Metal 2 the Masses, the prize a spot on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock Open Air festival. Six bands took the stage at Ivory Blacks in Glasgow city centre to battle it out under the watchful eye of M2TM judge Simon Hall. For all of them this night was the result of months of hard work and having won through this far they had only a short set each to prove themselves worthy of such a massive prize.
First to perform was Glasgow death metal band Blood Thread, Metal to the Masses veterans having taken part in previous competitions. The almost sell out crowd were up for it from the very start and a circle pit opened up almost immediately, no mean feat in Ivory Blacks where even a small pit takes up most of the floor! Blood Thread are in their own words, “heavy as fuck,” and as the singer roared his way through the set they proved that to be true. It was a set full of energy and passion and they showed no sign of nerves at opening the show. They’d have been forgiven for some nerves, as they had to play with a stand in drummer, but you’d never have known. He did a great job and kudos to them for the hard work they must have had to put in to make that work.
Next up was East Coast heavy metallers Edgeville Hellride. At this point I thought I was seeing things but no, this band seemed destined to win by divine intervention as Jesus himself appeared in the crowd to cheer them on. The band themselves looked to be having an absolute ball and played a set that had the crowd bouncing throughout.
What happened next can only be described as bonkers. As Greenock band Transcension appeared on stage the entire front row was suddenly replaced by a line of screaming girls, the volume levels doubled and the buzz in the room became palpable. Within seconds a huge circle pit had opened up, the girls were
singing every word, bodies were surfing onto the stage to play air guitar with the band, the crowd was roaring, “Trans – Cen – Sion, Trans – Cen – Sion!” and the band themselves looked completely unperturbed, as if this sort of thing happens at every gig. That said, the bass player enjoyed himself so much he fell off the stage, but tried to ride it out by lying on his back continuing to play. Well done to him for not losing track!
Anyone following that had a hard job, as the girls drifted back and the energy dropped a bit, as if the entire place was worn out from the adrenaline of
Transcension. East Kilbride boys Not the Messiah aren’t daft though, they’d brought their own screaming girls and bundles of energy. The band did well to keep playing when the singer broke his microphone and kept things going until he got sorted out. Needless to say, Jesus was loving it, although as Simon Hall pointed out afterwards, they’re Not the Messiah, and neither is he, he’s a very naughty boy. (©Monty Python!) The reaction from the crowd was really good and they were one of the most popular bands of the night.
Second last were Dundee band Millsyeck, who were
quite different to everyone else in that they were far more rock and less metal than the others. They clearly have experience in playing to crowds, as the singer chatted away between songs, and even indulged in some crowd participation which got a good response.
So to the last band of the night, who’d waited hours and had to watch their competition ripping the place apart. I’d have been a nervous wreck but instead they bounced on stage looking like it was the most fun they’d ever had. Blackened Ritual are an old school thrash band from Perth. After the chaos during Transcension’s set I wasn’t sure anyone could match that intensity but yet again Ivory Blacks roof came off as Blackened Ritual played an amazing set. The
screaming girls were replaced with headbanging blokes, not as pretty perhaps but equally enthusiastic. As people surfed onto the stage then fell over as the place was so hot the floor was slippy singer Tom jumped up on the amps and played to the crowd with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen on his face. As they finished he told the crowd that it was the most awesome night they’d ever had.
So that’s that. Six bands done and now Simon Hall had a decision to make. As he went for a drink and thought about it, special guests Fallen Fate entertained the crowd with their blistering sound. No strangers to the scene, the veterans delivered a sledgehammer blow to the crowd and they loved every second. After a rapturous reception for the Fallen Fate guys, Simon took to the stage with yours truly in tow, to photograph him with the crowd and the deserving winners – Blackened Ritual! They looked absolutely stunned to have won, and the “most awesome night ever” suddenly got a whole lot better. They couldn’t quite believe it, but it’s true. Blackened Ritual will play Bloodstock this year, and they deserve it. Well done to all the bands who took part and made it a brilliant night, and to Simon Hall and promoter Fede Valls who put on a night to remember. Metal is clearly alive and well!
Full photo gallery on the PlanetMosh Flickr account