The Story So Far…
Qualified for the Semi-Finals: Arkdown, Sour Tusk, Bleating Apocalypse
Qualified for the Quarter-Finals: The King is Dead, Crimson Tide, Fear Lies, Exemption, Deltanaut, Grave UK
In contention for a wildcard: Clawback the Day, This State of Ours, Black Moon Rising
Round 1, Heat 4
With Starve to Survive withdrawing from the competition, Heat 4 became a four band affair. As before, this meant even the band coming in last position will have a 50:50 chance of progression.
Semi-finalists last year, Gorilla Warfare have returned after a sort of hiatus (I believe there is only one original member in this iteration, and all that songs have been written from scratch).
Fans of their funky bass driven tunes from last year won’t be disappointed. What they have changed is mostly lyrical – gone are the jokes about bananas – with an almost sleaze rock vibe coming through in the compositions.
Tonight, I thought they put on a solid show and one or two of their songs (particularly towards the 2/3 mark in their set) stood out for me.
Hailing from Chesterfield, Thrashsquatch definitely won the battle of the band names before a note was played. These young whipper
snappersthrashers were apparently playing their first gig in Sheffield and only their second or third gig ever.
Musically, they were a fun mix that consisted of mixing aspects of crossover thrash with riffs that wouldn’t be out of place in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
Whilst a bit rough around the edges, I really dug quite a few songs in their set. The whole band give off an amiable vibe, and they just looked like they were having an absolute blast playing on stage. I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on them.
Up next were local rockers Lowdrive. Featuring former members of Warrior Soul, Goat Leaf, Flip the Pyramid and Indra, this quartet play a sort of a riff driven hybrid of stoner/desert and hard rock. To me, they sound sort of like if you mixed aspects of Kyuss with Black Spiders.
I’ve seen them once before (supporting All Them Witches at Corporation last year) and thought they were pretty decent then. Now? Flipping heck, they do this well. This was a slick and professional performance – one that would befit any stage. One of the best sets of the tournament to date.
Self-proclaimed bringers of ‘Reyt Metal’, local thrashers Psython brought the evening to a close. Slamming through their half an hour set at breakneck speed, they were impressively tight as hell (particularly the drummer – damn!).
If you’re all for the high octane end of thrash (with a dash of contemporary heavy metal and just a hint of extreme metal) then these guys will float your boat. Frontman Bing has a cracking voice, keeping up with the high tempo when needed, but also afforded the time to open his pipes occasionally to hit some Dio-esque notes.
This was also one of the best sets of the tournament so far.
For me, it was too close to call between Lowdrive and Psython, but I slightly preferred the former over the latter.
In the smallest winning margin to date, Lowdrive were victorious, with Psython just a point behind in second place. In a very good, fun heat, Gorilla Warfare weren’t far behind in third, pipping Thrashsquatch by just a couple of points.
This means that Lowdrive head straight to the Semi-Finals, with Psython and Gorilla Warfare making the Quarter Finals. Thrashsquatch will need to wait and see if they are one of the top four 4th placed bands.
Next up is Heat 5 on Sunday 11th February , and contains the likes of Air Drawn Dagger, Aonia, Burn Down the District, Death of Man, Rancidium, and Sinners Sermon.