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A Battle of the Bands

Soundtrack: Destiny Potato, Lun (2014)

You get used to playing to empty venues in the hope of getting better gigs. It’s not the most motivating experience, but is par for the course for bands these days. Even hometown shows can be a struggle, with most of the audience being friends and family who must get bored of paying £5 to hear the same songs by the same bands every few months. Friday night was one of the good ones…

Organised by Bloodstock Festival and Hobgoblin, Metal to the Masses gives underground and undiscovered bands the chance to play the New Blood stage at Bloodstock Festival. Back in February, edenfalls won Swindons heat 1; Friday night was the Swindon Metal to the Masses final….

The Vic was packed, and the crowd were engaged. We were kicking off the night, and had half an hour to convince the judge from Bloodstock that we were good enough to warrant a place on the New Blood stage – both the music and the presentation of it had to be right. Needless to say we went for it and had a great time. Our standard pogo jumping during beatdowns followed, and Danny even managed to get a small wall of death going in the crowd. It’s not surprising that having a room full of people makes playing infinitely more enjoyable. But almost in a flash, it was over. That was it.

We were followed by Ursus. They had a few mic issues, but that’s what live music is all about! It didn’t phase their singer Jamal Miah, and they played a tight set as always.

Our good friends Ghost of Machines were up next, who were kind enough to provide guitar & bass cabs and heads for anyone that wanted to use them. Ever the showman, Billy fronts the band with confidence and plays to the crowd.

The final competitors up – Heriot. These guys are one of the most intense bands I’ve seen in a long time; captivating to watch. Their guitarist was on holiday, so drafted in was Ben Connett from Sleep Inertia. You would never have known he only learnt the set a week before.

The time had come for the judge to deliberate and make a decision. Special guest headliners Outright Resistance filled this time nicely. If you want to see some high energy metal, check this lot out. Paige frequently jumped down from the stage, running amongst the crowd and making the most of the whole room to perform. They ended their set with a cover of Limp Bizkits break stuff, and it was the perfect ending to a great night of live music.

Back to more important things; the winner of a place on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock Festival…. Heriot! And they fully deserved it. It’s hard to take your eyes off them, and I’ve no doubt they’ll fit in perfectly at the festival. Playing to a crowd that may have never heard of you before – let alone seen you – isn’t easy. You have 30 minutes to make them remember you. I have no doubt that Heriot will do just that.

Dom Whittard

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