Tonight saw Heat 2 of Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses held at The Exchange, Bristol. Although held on what I’d call a ‘school’ night, for a Monday the turnout wasn’t bad at all. 5 bands were lined up but only 4 were able to perform with the later kick-off of 7.15pm.
The drill for the night meant that each band had a 20-minute slot to show the crowd what they had to offer. Voting slips were given to everyone on entry and it was time to crack on with the night and for the bands to impress.
As the crowd had their beers to hand, the first band introduced by Mortishead hosts were Mithra – a five piece band from Glastonbury, Somerset who are relatively fresh to the Metal scene only forming in 2016 and who already have a debut EP Covenant Contract under their belt. With their versatile sound, they had the toughest task of being the first band to perform and they had to make it their mission to set the precedent.
With influences from the likes of System of a Down, Joshua Longworth on vocals roared to the crowd with back up from Ali Fewell on guitar. Their vocals were strong and the live mix was spot on. It still felt a little early but the crowd began to move as Mithra warmed up the night. Unsure if it was down to nerves, Josh seemed somewhat distant, having no real interaction with the crowd, missing a prime opportunity to let the audience know what they were about. Soldiering on, the band undeniably fit the bill with Henry Stone on bass blasting them with an unexpected yet phenomenal piece of slap bass and burning up those frets. But as Mithra’s time was up, was their performance enough to influence the crowd?
After a 20 minute break, the next band up on stage were Panic Switch, another five-piece Metal band from Cheltenham who’ve been around since 2005 gigging all over the UK. After some time out in 2009, they were back with a vengeance and zealous to make their mark and gain some brownie points.
Leading Panic Switch on vocals is Alex Vujakovic, who could seriously pack a punch with his lungs. His presence on stage proved invaluable to the crowd with bags of energy that just kept on filling up. This guy meant business and the crowd had started to take the bait. Throwing out a mix of modern and Thrash Metal tracks, Panic Switch left the crowd geared up and the competition had started to get fierce.
Once another break was over, Body Harvest were next in line and I immediately had a wave of hair envy. Bristol based, this four-piece band hit their listeners with an extreme form of Death Metal and had originally formed in 2011 as Vyral. Inspired by other Death Metal bands such as Morbid Angel mixed with some distinct deathgrind sounds; they broke into the Metalcore scene in 2012 with a new line up and band name. Their debut album Futile Creation has been commended and the band have supported some well-established Death Metal acts. 2018 has started with Body Harvest releasing a new single and their first Headline UK tour.
Starting their set with what sounded like an excerpt from a film, the band stood on stage with their backs to the crowd. The sound that followed was immense. Loud, intense, hard and fast, the floor turned into a mob of frenzied teens. Me – I was hooked. Bassist Dan Shaw Odell didn’t disappoint displaying the most fervent moves whilst playing bass you could ever imagine. Undoubtedly the most dynamic set of the night so far, the sound kept on pounding as vocalist Jake ‘Mettle’ Ettle-Iles invited the crowd to form a lively pit. Each song was played with precision with one featuring the tightest, clean intervals. This is what the night was all about and the competition was reaching its peak.
But the night was not over yet with one more band to play – Proteus – and I could already sense that they needed no introduction with votes already being cast before they were even on stage.
With an obvious following, the crowd gathered for the last time as the band members hit the stage looking clean-cut and ready to give it their all. But despite the band being on the scene for a short amount of time, they’ve wracked up an abundance of support. Based in Gloucester, this five-piece band lead by Shane Pargeter on vocals, wasted no time in getting the crowd rumbled. The need for more substance as the set went on left me unconvinced but I had twigged that the crowd already had their minds made up. Time was up and Heat 2 was over.
After a final break, Mortishead rounded up the crowd and praised them for their support on what turned out to be a busy night at the Exchange. The votes were in and the atmosphere turned into anticipation.
Three bands were about to go through to the semi finals even though only four bands had performed during the night. The first band disclosed was Proteus, which came as no surprise. Second came Body Harvest with Panic Switch in third place. Although in fourth place, Mithra didn’t seem phased by the result and took it on the chin and I had no qualm that they’d be back for another stab in the next M2TM competition.
So, Body Harvest, Panic Switch and Proteus will now go through to the next round in the semi finals following in the footsteps of Voluntas, Pilla and Redshift
The competition is about to get hotter, so don’t miss the next round – it’s gonna be a scorcher!
Review & Photography – Emma Painter : Pacific Curd Photography