Devon and Cornwall Metal 2 The Masses Final Review!

Metal 2 The Masses has always been a highlight of the year in the South West Metal scene. Giving bands the potential to play Bloodstock festival, and gain some recognition at a national level, has made this competition such a success. This year delivered some of the finest bands from across the South West, and made for a tight battle. Here’s what went down on the night.

Opening this jam-packed line up were Gymir, a folk metal band from Weymouth. For the first band on tonight’s bill, Gymir gave it their all. A class act, and one that was intent on proving their right to be in the final. They delivered a well-constructed set that was certainly well-rehearsed and of a high calibre, but if anything, I think the set needed a bit more energy from the band to get the crowd going. I think with the direction in which the genre is progressing, Gymir might be a little late for the style now taking to the New Blood stage at Bloodstock, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the more niche areas of the metal scene.

 

Next up were Battleborne, a band who I had previously seen supporting Sworn Amongst back in February. Again, another good performance. Perhaps a little sloppy in places but they certainly created an energetic vibe that got the crowd moving. It was clear to see that they had brought a fair few fans with them, which spurred on guitarists Ryan Evans and Zeke Furness during their lead sections. A fun set that was well deserving of the final, but like Gymir, maybe a little dated style-wise for the New Blood stage at Bloodstock.

Third band of the night were Cybernetic Witch Cult. Wow! By far, the best band of the night so far. A really solid, energetic performance that got the crowd moving and head banging. They class themselves as being ‘groovascious’ and they sure brought that to the Cavern, a really full-sounding band, considering they only have one guitarist. Great musicianship, and it was clear that they gelled as a band. The crowd loved it, the band loved it, and I could have easily listened to them for a lot longer. I wouldn’t say these guys were quite ready for Bloodstock, but I wouldn’t say they were far off. Definitely a more experimental approach that would be welcomed in the coming years.

Another band that I had also seen previously were up next. Reign Eternal is a 5-piece from Exeter. Probably the most melodic/modern band on tonight’s line up, and one that I think could do with a little time harnessing their style. A good performance, but material wise I think it is in need of some adjustment as to defining a style. In places I found myself lost as to what style they were going for. By no means a bad performance, they were well-rehearsed, and strong both instrumentally and vocally, just a little time to focus on their own style and they will be ones we will be hearing a lot more from. I look forward to seeing them develop.

5th on the line up, were I band in which I had seen many times before. Vipera need no introduction around these parts, and hold their own with their talent alone. In the previous times in which I had seen Vipera, I had always found their old school thrash style to be a little bit dated. Tonight was an exception. It was clear that since the last time I had seen them, they had been working on plenty of new material that was much heavier, and took a much more modern approach. From the first song it was clear that they were going to be up there tonight, and could be on course to top it. They played a flawless set, which really embraced the crowd and got people moving. I think the only thing missing from the band is a second guitarist, or maybe a backing track. They played great but I think their sound could be improved if they had the fullness that you get from a second guitarist. It’s my only criticism, but one that could be holding them back at the moment. However, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them again, and I would highly recommend catching them. A great live band.

Now, to finish off the night were a band who I had never seen before, LOFT. A 5-piece from Cornwall, and boy did they bring the party. Of all of the bands I had seen throughout the evening, it was clear that LOFT were a level above the rest. They had it all. A front man who dominated the stage, riffs left, right and centre, and a drummer who had no issue in smashing the skins, whilst keeping the entire band in check. LOFT, quite frankly, are Bloodstock ready. They will fit in perfectly at Bloodstock and will be one of those bands you go home thinking, ‘they were great’. A very professional sounding band, that have certainly polished their performance and defined their style. I do not have any criticism, constructive, or otherwise, for LOFT. They nailed it, and hopefully we will be seeing them on the Cavern stage again very soon.

 

Yet again, Metal 2 The Masses has unearthed some new talent from the South West. All of the bands were great, and I think a lot of them show promise for next year’s competition. The competition now continues around the country, searching for new talent across the land, and beyond.

Review by Sion Roe Photography by Rob Nankivell

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