Sheffield Metal 2 the Masses 2018: Quarter-Final and Semi-Final Line-ups


The Story So Far…

Qualified for the Semi-Finals: Arkdown, Sour Tusk, Bleating Apocalypse, Lowdrive, Aonia, Soul Shredder, Sobriquet, Firegarden

Qualified for the Quarter-Finals: The King is Dead, Crimson Tide, Exemption, Deltanaut, Grave UK, Psython, Gorilla Warfare, Air Drawn Dagger, Burn Down the District, Spiteful Embrace, This State of Ours, Rancidium, Zero Point Zero, Thrashsquatch, Empusa, Discordian, Coyote Mad Seeds, Dissension, Epitaph, Dislocator

With the first round now in the books, it is time to turn our attention to the later rounds of the competition.


A reminder of the format:

The eight First Round winners have progressed directly to the Semi-Finals. They have been split across the four evenings set aside for that round. Each Semi-Final will contain four bands. The two remaining slots in each Semi-Final will be decided by the Quarter-Finals.

The Quarter-Finals are four nights, with five bands per night. Pending availability, bands have been kept as separate as possible from those that qualified from the same First Round heats.

As previously communicated, the weight of the fan vote decreases by the round. In the Quarter-Finals is it ⅓ fan to ⅔ judge. For the Semis it is ¼ fan to ¾ judge.

Now for the exciting bit – finding out who is in which QF / SF! Please see below for the answers:

Thursday 15th March 
Gorilla Warfare*
Grave UK
This State of Ours

* Gorilla Warfare have withdrawn due to logistic issues. This will be a four band Quarter-Final.

Sunday 18th March
Coyote Mad Seeds
The King is Dead
Zero Point Zero

Thursday 22nd March
Burn Down the District
Crimson Tide

Sunday 25th March
Air Drawn Dagger
Spiteful Embrace

Friday 6th April
+2 Quarter Finalists

+ Special Guest Headliner set from: Regulus


Saturday 7th April
Bleating Apocalypse
+2 Quarter Finalists

+Special Guest Headliner set from: Forgotten Remains


Friday 13th April
Soul Shredder
Sour Tusk
+2 Quarter Finalists

+ Special Guest Headliner set from: Raised by Owls


Saturday 14th April
+2 Quarter Finalists

+Special Guest Headliner set from: hoofKnuckle




Sheffield Metal 2 the Masses 2018: Round 1, Heat 7

A Small Update

Due to scheduling conflicts, anthemic rockers Fear Lies and melodic metallers Steal the City have withdrawn from the competition.

Combining this with the respective availabilities of the bands that have finished 4th so far, this meant that Rancidium, Zero Point Zero and Thrashsquatch have all qualified for the Quarter-Finals. Additionally, in the two remaining heats, the bands that come 4th will definitely qualify for the Quarter-Finals.

The Story So Far…

Qualified for the Semi-Finals: Arkdown, Sour Tusk, Bleating Apocalypse, Lowdrive, Aonia, Soul Shredder

Qualified for the Quarter-Finals: The King is Dead, Crimson Tide, Exemption, Deltanaut, Grave UK, Psython, Gorilla Warfare, Air Drawn Dagger, Burn Down the District, Spiteful Embrace, This State of Ours, Rancidium, Zero Point Zero, Thrashsquatch

Round 1, Heat 7

The penultimate heat in the First Round saw five bands battle it out for one Semi-Final and three Quarter-Final spots.


Kicking things off were young upstarts Kxntinuum. Of all the genres we have had represented so far this year, deathcore is probably one that appeals to me the least. Saying that, these guys did okay and those down the front partook in some rhythmic headbanging in time to the downtempo chuggy riffs. I only had a couple of issues with the set – namely that Charles’ guitar was too quiet in the overall mix (some of the technicality was lost) and the other being that they weren’t the tightest unit around. Both of these things can be resolved with experience.


Next up was Chesterfield/Sheffield quintet Empusa. Those that read my blog last year will know that I was impressed with Crucifixiation frontman Danny. Well, this is where he is now, and, man, has this enabled him to show off his skillset more! His low death grunts are excellent (with good diction!), and he can transition to high end metalcore/black metal shrieks at the drop of a hat. Musically, the band are sort of death metal / melodeath, with smatterings of metalcore here and there. The set was excellent and I was blown away by some of the riffs/tunes.


Next up was the latest out-of-town band to enter the competition, Huddersfield’s Discordian. These guys were quite interesting – musically, they were dancing the borderline between modern heavy metal and metalcore. However, the musicality and melodious tones of the clean vocals from frontman Will would not have sounded out of place on a 30 Seconds to Mars track. Additionally, there were times when he had a more shouty delivery usually found in acts such as Rise Against. To me, this made them more of an intriguing prospect than a lot of run-of-the-mill metalcore bands around at the moment.

Coyote Mad Seeds

Trio Coyote Mad Seeds were the penultimate band of the evening, and their brand of southern / hard rock brought a definite stylistic change on what had come so far. They remind me of quite a few bands I’ve seen over recent years – a dash of Trucker Diablo, a pinch of Scorpion Child, a handful of The Treatment – though not quite like any of them either, and with their own flavour too.

I had managed to check out a couple of tracks from an EP of theirs that’s available on Spotify currently (apparently they played the whole thing tonight, plus a new one) and I recognised and enjoyed hearing them live (particularly Get Outta My Way).

Live, these guys are tight. Definitely one of the tightest bands we have seen so far this year.


One of returning finalists from last year, Sobriquet drew the closing slot for the evening.

For those that haven’t seen them before, Sobriquet are a high energy band that mixes aspects of Incubus, Placebo and Tool with a general post-hardcore sound. Its uptempo and brash, but not without plenty of melody. It’s infectious.

As with any of the returning bands, I was looking forward to seeing how they had improved since then. A small criticism I had of theirs at times last year was (like Heat 1’s Arkdown) that they could be a little tighter live. Well, (again, like Arkdown) they certainly showed me! I had heard that they had tighten up greatly by the time their EP launch happened last year, and that certainly played out last night. This was a really strong set, easily matching their best from last year’s tournament.

My Thoughts

For me personally, it was very close between Empusa, Coyote Mad Seeds and Sobriquet. In the end, Danny’s vocal range and delivery sufficiently blew me away for me to give them the nod. I genuinely can’t remember who I voted second, but it was one of the the other two, followed by the other.

The Result

In what turned out to be a close heat, Sobriquet won and advanced to the Semi-Finals. Empusa were second, narrowly ahead of Coyote Mad Seeds and a little more ahead of Discordian. Those three will all progress to the Quarter-Finals.

The eighth and final First Round Heat takes place on Sunday 25th February. It features: Dislocator, Dissenssion, Epitaph, Firegarden, InFall and Strange Bru.

Metal 2 the Masses Sheffied | The Grand Final

After six first round heats and three semi-finals, last night was The Grand Final of the Sheffield branch of the Metal 2 the Masses competition at the Mulberry Tavern.

It had been a fantastic tournament up to this point, and the final did not disappoint.

Symphonic / Power / Operatic Metal
Winners of Heat 1
Runner-up in Semi-Final 3

Being first on can be a bit of a curse, but the extended sound check allowed for the septet to have their strongest sounding performance in the competition. It was nice to see uniformity in the stage apparel across the band too, and the light up corsets were a neat touch. This was a great start to the evening, from a band that’s now pretty much the complete package.

Winners of Heat 3
Winners of Semi-Final 2

I’ve seen these guys a number of times in the past eighteen months or so and they rarely disappoint. Whilst tonight they don’t quite reach the heady heights of their earlier round performances, this phenomenally talented trio still impress on-lookers with their funky brand of rock’n’roll.

Alternative Metal
Winners of Heat 2
Runners-up in Semi-Final 1

It’s worth remembering that this entertaining alt. metal outfit were a last minute stand-in in the second week of the comptition. They took the opportunity by the horns and rode it all the way to the final. Performance wise, after a bit of a shaky start they nailed the last three tracks and put on a very enjoyable, energetic show. I can’t wait to see how these guys progress from here.

Post-Metal / Sludge / Doom
Runner-up in Heat 5
Winners of Semi-Final 3

Archelon were the first part of a sludgey hypnotic double header of doom. These guys have been consistently one of the better bands in the tournament, and they continued that trend with a monstrously heavy set. Their consistency is all the more impressive to say they were performing without their bass player!

Post-Metal / Sludge / Doom
Winners of Heat 6
Runners-up in Semi-Final 2

Ba’al had a tough act to follow, but they saved their best performance of the tournament for the final. Their mid-tempo brand of sludgey doom got many heads banging, including my own, as they knocked it out of the ballpark.

Metalcore / Contemporary Metal
Winners of Heat 5
Winners of Semi-Final 1

One of the most popular bands of the tournament, these energetic contemporary metallers drew the closing slot of the evening. Unphased by the excellent bands playing immediately before them, they proceed to slam through their pitworthy setlist with great confidence.

Guest Headliner:
Stoner Rock / Hard Rock / Heavy Psych
Winner of Metal 2 the Masses Lincolnshire 2016

It’s always a pleasure to watch one of the more talented bands from our area, and they were a perfect choice for guest headliner. If you’ve not seen them live, you’re truly missing out on a cracking stoner rock act.

The Result

I thought it was a tough choice for the judge to make, but I agree with the decision to name Ba’al the winners. They saved their best performance for the final, and were the best band on the night. Congratulations chaps!

For the record, I had it being between them and Archelon, but there could have been argument made for other bands too.

It was also noted that two other bands on the evening (not named) are being put forward as potential acts to fulfill other slots on the Bloodstock bill.

A Few Final Words

Thank you to everyone that’s been reading and sharing my blogs on the tournament. It’s been a pleasure doing them, and I’m sure I’ll do the same again next year. Before I sign off, I just wanted to congratulations Jake, Craig and the Mulberry staff for putting on a very enjoyable, fair, and diverse tournament.

A quick shout out to all the finalists: Aonia, Delirium, Sobriquet, Archelon, Ba’al, Arkdown. You guys all put on a heck of a evening and I wish you all the best.

There were also some cracking bands that didn’t quite make it all the way, and I just wanna give a quick shout out to a few that I was particularly impressed with:

Probably the band with the most pure talent in the tournament. They were ever so unlucky to not make the final (lost a tie-breaker to Ba’al for second place in the semi-final – oh how different the final would have been!). I’m glad they got as far as they did and I really hope they enter again next year.

Gorilla Warfare
One of the most fun bands of the tournament. I had the pleasure of seeing their last show of their current incarnation recently, and I look forward to seeing what arises from their ashes.

Sour Tusk
Loud, brash and talented two piece stoner rockers that were unfortunate to have been drawn in what was probably the toughest opening heat. I hope they try again next year, as I’m fairly sure they’d have made the semi-finals had they been in a different heat.

I also think NormaliserElecorn, Grandmother Suplex and The Mechanist have loads of potential, and I hope they’ll all consider entering again next year.

Whilst we’re doing awards/lists, I may as well list my favourite sets of the whole tournament – because who doesn’t love a good list?

My favourite sets of the tournament – in no particular order:
Delirium – Heat 3
Bovidae – Semi-Final 2
Ba’al – Final
Archelon – Semi-Final 3
Aonia – Semi-Final 3

There’s been some quality performances / shows, and credit where it’s due, Jake, Craig and that gang have put on a great tournament.  I hear plans are already underway for next year’s offering!

Speaking of next year, I can’t wait to see which bands enter. Selfishly speaking, I hope some of the other kick arse bands from our region – such as Skyligers, Deltanaut, Firegarden and Deadblondestars – put themselves forward for it.

And that’s about it, I think. Congratulations once more to Ba’al, and thanks to everyone for entertaining me for the past couple of months! Cheers!