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Sunday 3 March 2019

Bloodstock Metal To The Masses Heat 3 Review

Metal To The Masses South Wales - Heat 3, Fuel Rock Bar, Cardiff

After the frenetic first two heats I was confident that heat 3 would be a) a quieter affair and b) easier to call than the previous rounds. Ha! What I fool I was!! Another superb turnout from the South Wales Metal community and four excellent bands who took to the stage and turned it up way past 11.

Swansea new boys Grym (7) may have drawn the uncomfortable opening slot but decided that this was their moment. Kicking off hard, the band, who have an unorthodox look and style roared into their first track, capturing the attention with some heavy groove laden metal. Regardless of the quality of their interview answers, the band didn’t let up from start to finish, changing pace and routine, with some sleazy hard rock bookended by two raucous and aggressive songs. Their set including the snarling I Don’t Care and the gnarly biting Swamp Monster which ensured massive applause from their army of supporters, casual bystanders and curious spectators. The band polled a solid number in the vote which reflected their energetic performance and deserved to get through to the semi-final. From what we understand, this was their first gig together and whilst the band individually are no strangers to the scene, their cohesion impressed.

The classic thrash sound of Caerphilly band Excursia (7) hit the stage next, with another small army of supporters cheering their every move. The band have been around since 2016 and are improving on every showing. Technically tight and with lots of hair to windmill with (I’m only jealous!) the five-piece hit their stride early with Hand Of God and raced through their set. A decent sound allowed the twin guitars of Sam and A’dan to cut through the wall of noise whilst frontman Lewis dominated the front of the small stage, his vocal roar akin to that of a disgruntled brown bear. The band’s influences clearly on display through their t-shirt choice, this was a straight up thrash fest and they possess some solid songs. Despite a few ropey finishes, some inevitable nerves and Lewis struggling to know where to position himself when not singing, the band gave it everything and should not be disappointed at not getting through to the last eight by the narrowest of margins; they have time on their side, and we should see much more of them soon.

Drawing third place on the evening’s running order, the metalcore of RCT’s Beyond Sorrow (7). Supported by a large contingent of vociferous (and drunk!!) fans, resplendent in their new white t-shirts, this was one full on power drink fuelled melee. The band’s sound isn’t my favourite style, and at times I felt the band were somewhat disjointed, but they countered that with a high energy performance. Frontman John Christo dominates the stage, his split clean and guttural vocals snarling and spitting. The band were clearly pumped for this set, with tracks from their 2017 Hyperion EP including a rampaging The Beast Within provoking the first real front of stage action. Christo is a watchable frontman, pouring every ounce into his performance, including a couple of forays into the crowd!!!! Technically tight, Beyond Sorrow did enough to snatch the wildcard slot but whether their performance will be enough to get them into the last eight I’m not sure.

The final slot can be a winning position, or it can destroy you. Being a one-man project is always going to be incredibly tough in a battle of the bands, and Sounds Of Insane Music (6), the creation of Elliot Cadmore, pushed as hard as he could. His combination of progressive death metal isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, but SOIM drew a healthy and supportive crowd. There can be no doubt that Cadmore is a technically excellent musician, with all the music recorded by him, but at times the static nature of his performance, despite his best efforts, left the show a little limited in the viewing options. Full marks for bravery and effort, this just wasn’t SOIM’s night.

So, there you have it. Congratulations to Grym and Beyond Sorrow, commiserations to Excursia and SOIM. A huge thanks to all involved, including Fuel (including the superb sound) and the Agrona brothers Alyn and Tim who continue to shine (Tim’s bonce looking particularly lovely under the spotlight!!) with their organisation. Heat 4 looms large and promises to be another meaty evening. See you there!!

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