Eight first round heats, three quarter-finals and four semi-finals finally led us to this – the Grand Final of the Sheffield Metal 2 the Masses competition 2018.
The King is Dead
2nd | Round 1, Heat 1
Bye | Quarter-Final 2 (event cancelled, all bands progressed to Semi-Finals)
1st | Semi-Final 4
Kicking off this year’s final were Leeds / Sheffield five piece The King is Dead.
Being first on can be a double-edged sword, but these guys came out swinging. Tight, high energy riffery was a staple of their set, and they certainly set the standard for the bands that followed. I really dig TKID’s general sound, which evokes garage rock, punk rock and alternative rock / metal, without really falling into any of those categories.
Stand out song: Papa Lazzaroach
This State of Ours
4th | Round 1, Heat 2
1st | Quarter-Final 1
1st | Semi-Final 3
Second on were Rotherham based alternative metal five piece This State of Ours.
These guys have come a long way from their first round performance; I don’t know of a band that has improved so much over such a short space of time. They were well supported last night, and deservedly got one of the best reactions of the evening (and the competition). The heavy metal conga was an epic visual too!
Stand out song: Another Light
1st | Round 1, Heat 7
1st | Semi-Final 1
Next on were one of the returning finalists from last year, post-hardcore/alternative metal quintet Sobriquet.
Some technical gremlins delayed their start a little, and I think it took them a couple of songs to truly settle down and get into their rhythm. That being said, their trio of songs to close (Auto de Fe, Golgotha and a new one) were brilliant – up there with any other trio of songs played last night. I also thought it was ballsy / showed supreme confidence to close with not just a new song, but to have it be its live debut… and that’s before we get into the tricky timing signature. It was the right decision though, as it is monstrously good!
Stand out song: the new one (it seems to have different names depending on who you ask, haha).
2nd | Round 1, Heat 4
2nd | Quarter-Final 1
2nd | Semi-Final 2 (Wildcard Winners)
Our penultimate band last night were our semi-final wildcard entrants, Psython.
A quality thrash band that’s not afraid to incorporate elements of others genres, these purveyors of ‘Reyt Metal’ have been one of the tightest bands throughout the competition. Smashing through their half hour in no time at all, their high octane shreddery won over a lot of fans, and the band seem generally take aback by the reaction they (rightly) received.
Stand out song: H.A.T.E.
1st | Round 1, Heat 5
1st | Semi-Final 2
Rounding out the competition bands were symphonic metal veterans Aonia.
Despite being a guitarist down, this was an excellent showing from the six of them. Their set time absolutely flew by as they put on one of the most well rounded and professional sets of the competition this year. There were the odd technical gremlins with one of the mics (I think!) but, for me, it didn’t detract from their quality performance.
Special Guest Headliner:
Providing the soundtrack to the final deliberations were last year’s Sheffield (and overall) winners Ba’al. Recent line-up changes meant that this was a rare instrumental show, featuring tracks from their EP, as well as their latest release, Thy Sorrow.
This was a mesmerising set, one that totally captivated the audience. Tasty riffs littered the set, and they left the crowd baying for more.
Firstly, I am glad that I didn’t have to pick a winner from that group, because the standard of bands on the night was insane!
If you really twisted my arm, I would have said either Psython or Aonia. However, I would have been happy with any of the five bands being chosen, as they all put on sets deserving of victory and each band having a unique selling point.
Massive congratulations to Aonia, who were declared the winners! They will go on to play Bloodstock this year, and have the chance to win a bunch of goodies along the way.
Commiserations to Psython, Sobriquet, This State of Ours and The King is Dead – you all did the region proud and can hold your heads up high. I really hope all four of you enter again next year.
A few final words
Thank you to everyone that has been following the blog, especially those who shared it along. I’ve really enjoyed documenting the (vast majority) of our tournament this year.
- Jake – Sheffield wouldn’t have had this tournament without you. And thanks for letting me pretty much design the layout / voting system. I got to play with spreadsheets! Yay!
- The Mulberry – for hosting all the nights, allowing us to have some premium nights for the later rounds too.
- All the staff, particularly the sound techs – Alex, Pete, Dan, Steve et al, this couldn’t have been done without you guys
- Tez for working the doors, helping bands set up
- The judges – Steff, Jake, Stich, Dario, Joe – you all did a cracking, objective job.
- And, of course, the bands and the audience. This is all for you guys and works because of you guys.
In addition to the finalists, there were some cracking bands that didn’t quite get there that I just want to give quick shout outs too:
- Arkdown – man these guys came back tighter than ever, and were very unfortunate to not quite make the final.
- Lowdrive – I don’t think I’ve seen such a band so ready made for success. It was a shame they had to withdraw from the semi-finals, but these things happen. I suspect these guys are gonna explode into the stratosphere, but we hope they return next year.
- Bleating Apocalypse – stepped up during the toughest of the nights (nothing like a dying soundboard to get the stress levels up). These guys took it upon themselves to keep the crowd entertained. It was very much appreciated. They are also bloody good, haha.
- Spiteful Embrace – I love that these guys rocked up all the way from Hull to play in our comp. Some of the loveliest bunch of guys you’ll meet, and they are really sodding good live too.
I’ll probably stop there, before I end up just naming everyone haha.
I really hope to see all the bands from this year return in 2019 – I think we’ve got a nice thing going here, with plenty of quality bands, all capable of representing Sheffield / South Yorkshire / the nearby region.
Actually, on that note, if bands are interested in entering next year, let Jake / myself know – we’re keeping a list of bands to tag / let know when entries open next year.
That’s about it, I think. Congrats one more time to Aonia. See you at Bloodstock!