From 1st March 2016
Leicester’s metal scene in 2016
Metal, as a form of rock music, takes place in Leicester/shire regularly.
This page focuses on the bands and gigs that form part of our local metal scene.
See below for gig dates and reviews ↓
24th June 2016
We were at The Shed with Awaking Athena, No Ill Will, Icons and Borders.
About Metal 2 the Masses
Metal 2 The Masses aims to get bands to play at the Bloodstock festival. A series of heats is underway; at each event the audience gets to vote for the bands (these votes are added to those of the judges) and selected bands go through to the quarter finals. At the end of the semi-finals, the winning bands get to play at the De Montfort Hall where judges from Bloodstock will pick which ones they want (in consultation with the local judges) for the festival. The heats have been held at Duffys Bar and attract mainly local and regional bands but similar selection events are being held all over Europe. The finals will be held at De Montfort Hall on 4th June. Further gigs will be held at Firebug.
Scroll down for details of Uprising, the finale show on 4th June.
Sunday 17th April
Quarter final 1 of Leicester Metal2the masses
at Firebug with Shotgun Suzie, the Midnight Dogs, Garganjua, Nagasaki Birth Defect
See all of Kevin Gaughan’s photos from tonight’s gig:
|Metal to the Masses Quarter Final 1 at Firebug, Leicester, 17/04/16|
Sunday 3rd April
Heat six of Leicester Metal2the masses at Fireug from 5:30 p.m.
on the line-up: Scattering Ashes, The Five Hundred, Latex Kixx, Wounded Cross (Down of Anubis were to have played but have withdrawn due to illness.)
Scattering Ashes are a Coventry based Heavy Metal Band. Formed in late 2010, the band has worked relentlessly, both on the live circuit & in the studio, independently releasing an EP and 2 albums, the most recent of which ‘Ending Eras’ having received considerable critical acclaim.
The Five Hundred
From Nottingham, The Five Hundred, Formerly known as DAOR, The Five Hundred are a five-man musical wrecking machine dedicated to pulverising eardrums and rattling bones across the metal landscape. Dealing in an array of down-tuned riffs and barbed hooks, the UK/Gibraltarian quintet unleash an avalanche of crushing groove and belligerent aggression, broken up by some searing leads, haunting vocal melodies and devastating, earth-shaking breakdowns.
Wounded Cross were formed in 2013 by bassist Ian and vocalist Graham. The vision for the band was originally a doom band in the vein of Saint Vitus and Black Sabbath… but over time more rock influences seeped into the mix. Guitarist Tommy and drummer Paul joined the band shortly after, adding their hard rock and metal influences.
See all of Kevin Gaughan’s photos from this show
|Metal to the Masses Heat 6 at Firebug, Leicester, 03/04/16|
Sunday 27th March
Heat 5 of metal 2 The Masses was held at Firebug
with Morning star, Temple of Lies, Fractions, Netherhall and Nagasaki Birth Defect.
Morning star is a band we have seen before. The band from Rugby have played in Leicester several times before. For example, they were at The Shed in Auigust 2013, when we said: The Rugby fivesome go to some lengths to stage their songs and all credit to them for this because the end result is always very entertaining… Their set sparkled and the room was filled with the huge vocals of lead singer Beth Tysall. [Music in Leicester]
Temple of Lies is a Leicester band that has featured in this magazine before. On the band’s Facebook page they wrote: Last night’s METAL TO THE MASSES competition was absolutely mind blowing. Every single band brought something different to the table and helped to make it the fantastic experience that it was. The band was at Resin’s Christmas party in December last year.
Fractions is a metalcore, progressive band from Leicester, founded in 2011. On the band’s Facebook page they say: ‘Fractions was formed after the disbandment of two bands, Phat Jerusalem & Method In Madness.
Adam Kyle & Chris Johnson (formerly Phat Jerusalem) grouped together with Lee Geary (formerly Method In Madness) to create a new project, which has become Fractions.’ Now that is interesting. I used to like Phat Jerusalem from years back and Method In Madness.
Netherhall is from Birmingham. They posted: ‘We had a great time yesterday performing In Leicester! We didn’t make it through but even so, every band was brilliant and what’s more important is that the packed out room proved the unsigned metal scene is still alive and kicking!
Nagasaki Birth Defect is a Leicester band whose name is well known in the metal circles of the city. The band played at The Shed in 2013 at a show organised by Music First Promotions and at the old Lock 42 venue.
Going through to the next round were Morningstar, Fractions, and Temple of Lies.
See all of Kevin Gaughan’s photos from tonight’s show:
|Metal to the Masses Heat 5 at Firebug, Leicester, 27/03/16|
Sunday 20th March
Heat 4 took place at Firebug. On stage will be two bands we have covered before: Final Coil and Hells Addiction. With them Ubiquitous, Garanjua and Beckon Lane.
The two bands selected by the voters and judges to go through were: Final Coil and Garganjua.
Heats and the other gigs were previously held at Duffys but forthcoming events will be held at Firebug.
As with previous gigs, the show attracted a full house. Nice to see a large number of people supporting metal in Leicester.
Final Coil is a band we have covered before. In October last year we featured the band’s Closed To The Light release. We wrote about them on October 16th when they were at The Shed. reviewing that show I wrote
I have been following this band since 2010. In April 2011, Kevin Gaughan wrote of them ‘As you would imagine, they had a strong guitar sound which was sublime, often at a medium pace, but with oodles of grungy, distorted guitar – the guy can sing, too!’ [Arts in Leicester magazine]. Today they were no less magnificent. A colossal set of magic proportions. [Music in Leicester]
We saw them at Glastonbudget in 2015
Musically this is a band with a mature sound. Finely executed songs are delivered with gusto and precision. Long have I effused about them crediting them with making music of a high standard. Lashings of emotional appeal, cleverly orchestrated instrumentation, engaging stage presence, Final Coil is a band of high calibre and one whose performances I always relish.
Another band that I have followed for a long time is Hells Addiction. A different style to the one we heard previously but with no less impact; a set laced with flourishing guitar solos, forthright vocals and truck loads of traction. They played The Rocker, a tribute to Lemmy. Massively impactful songs fuelled with high octane, they powered out amazing music.
What fans look for in this kind of music is impact, drama and the theatre of great sounds, I would say. It’s about what it does to you that counts. It’s about having a good time with the music, revelling in rhythms, being blasted with beats by music that is raw, immediate and compelling. That’s how I see it. Even so, there are other ways of appreciating bands.
Ubiquitous is not a band I have seen before, as far as I can remember. Tonight, the three-piece band played without a drummer but somehow they still managed to get that machine-gun drum sound into their music (I don’t know how they did that) but the result was a set fiercely volcanic sounds. The band’s lead singer delivered what I call a ‘deep throat’ vocalisation (some might call it ‘screamo’ but I don’t think that’s the right word any more) backed up by another member of the group and by a guitarist whose fingers moved over the strings to give pretty amazing results. I also watched the fingers of the bassist flying up and down the frets; dexterous work indeed. Someone said they thought the band’s music was “metal punk cross-over”; or perhaps “death metal re-visited”; deft and cunning changes in tempo and rhythm, compelling beats, strongly inventive sounds; it’s more than an old man can easily appreciate.
There was no doubting the drama of the opening song by Gargantua (a very apt name I thought). What came from the stage was dark and threatening, collosal, thunderous, explosive, majestic… and coloured with lengthy instrumental passages, cunningly woven chords, massively moody colours of musical theatre.
Fuelled with technical wizardry; the band produced a set of pieces of symphonic proportions. Stunning.
A pre-recorded opening track heralded the appearance of the first song by Beckon Lane. I noticed they had a singing drummer. The lead singer put some soaring melodic lines over the taughtly constructed backline. There was plenty here to be cheerful about – bouncy beats, zesty breaks, punchy rhythms, rocket-fuelled drumming, and a momentum that was driven. As one of the band members said “Tonight has been ridiculousy good”; I think we would all agree with that.
Becon Lane’s music delivered compelling melodies, cunning modulations of rhythm, ear-licking phrases that all came together extraordinarily well. No shortage of fizz and energy to what they did; a set of well constructed songs; it added up to a band you could rockout to.
In case you think that going to gigs and writing about bands is easy; let me disabuse you. It’s easy enough to gush excitedly about bands you know well and have heard many times before. But, you have to take what comes off the stage, whether you know it or not. In this business you have to listen to every kind, style and genre of music and try to get it, as best you can. I am not a musician and cannot hear with a musician’s ears. Pretty much all that I heard tonight, I liked and was impressed by. I think I can say the same for the audience; a large group of people stuck around through all five bands; from what I could see they all had a good time. That’s what it’s about.
We look forward to the next round of metal to the masses.
See all Kevin Gaughan’s photos from tonights show
|Metal to the Masses Heat 3 at Firebug, Leicester, 20/03/16|
Sunday 13th March
Metal 2 The Masses Heat 3
Conjurer is signed to Holy Roar Records. A post-cludge band, they started in 2014
Damage Protocol play post-punk/metal and are from Leicester; they describe their music as a ‘multi-genre mixup.
Firenado, establlished in 2013, is a thrash/groove band from Coventry. ‘Flamin’ hot death thrash with more groove than you can shake a dead squirrel at!’
Shotgun Suzie, from Coventry has its own record label – Shotgun Records Ltd – and was founded in November 2015. They describe their music as hard rock with ‘balls of steel’.
Noise Abuse was the first band to play. From Leicester, they play Grindcore/PV.
Conjurer and Shotgun Suzie progressed through to the quarter finals.
Sunday 6th March
Metals 2 The Masses at Duffys
Duffys Bar in Pocklingtons Walk saw four bands performing: The Mire Deep, The Loved and Lost, Blood Oath and Fear Bound.
Opening the show The Mire Deep, from Nuneaton, started its set with deep, fearful, pounding chords that heralded the lead vocalist’s low, gravelly voice, supplemented by shining guitar work and relentlessly forceful beats. Heavy metal in all its glory.
From Worcester and Bromsgrove, The Loved and Lost gave a different sound with the strong voice of their female lead singer. The five-piece band showed a commitment to stage presence, getting good reactions from the crowd. This band pumped out some pretty explosive sounds, driven by the energy of the singer and pulling in the audience to participate. Exciting stuff.
Leicester’s Blood Oath illicted a forest of horns for an exhilarating performance that burnt with the fuel of big, seismic forces that cantered down the straight with stupendous speed. Full of drive and commitment, the vocals were angry and the backing volcanic.
Fear Bound, from Cambridgeshire, offered us some sepulchral singing, demonic drumming and scintillating string playing. Its set of songs flowed into the room like a river of incandescent lava, fuelled by waves of testosterone and driven by angry, aggressive vocals.
On the votes cast by the audience and the judges, Blood Oath and Fear Bound went through to the quarter finals.
Generally, this was a splendid night of music giving us bands of a high standard and the fans were treated to a great, metal experience.
Horns in the air stuff.
See all of Kevin Gaughan’s photos from tonight’s show.
|Metal to the Masses Heat 2 at Duffy’s Bar, Leicester, 06/03/16|
Metal 2 The Masses
Leicester’s new competition kicked off on Sunday February 28th, when 30 bands entered and the first five up for the challenge were:
Two bands will progress to the next round with a further three from the first heats going through on a wild card
(these will be chosen after every band has played every heat)
Kevin Gaughan was there to take the photos; he told us:
Midnight Dogs – ‘Rock with Rhythm – one of the best stage performances I’ve seen in a while – great to see the lead singer putting 110% into his performance- hip swaggering rock music’
When the Wolf comes Home – ‘Synchronised screamo provoking a more curious reaction from the crowd – they weren’t backwards in coming forwards and put on an octane-fueled, ball biting performance.
My Legacy – Semi-screamo with great vocals. At this point, the conservatively proportioned bar was heaving at the seams with hairy, windmilling moshters – these doods will definitely not have any dandruff left by the end of the gig. This band’s music was laiden with solid heavy rock rhythms and were most definitely mosh-tastic!
The Relinquished – Small but committed pit of windmills, sung like it was the last gig on earth, with passion and aggression. This band are a grower, I was curious at the start, but loved them by then end and wanted more. Great lead guitar skills from the lead singer, could have sworn I saw flames coming from his guitar at one point!
It was great to see Duffy’s Bar heaving when I walked in at 6.30 (unfortunately missing the first band, Awaking Athena), but the night ran like clockwork. You could set your watch by the precision timing of the event. The crowd were great, enthusiastic, friendly and the beer was cold, wet and brown.
The voting seemed fair, with each member of the crowd being allowed to vote as well as a panel of judges. The result seemed fair, with The Midnight Dogs and My Legacy going through to the quarter finals to be held at Firebug.
A ball-achingly great night, god only knows how Duffy’s bar’s still standing, and I can’t wait for the next one on 6th March. Huge well done to Resin events for organising the event.
|Metal to the Masses heat 1 at Duffy’s Bar, 28/02/16|
James Hickling was also there and he said:
Metal 2 The Masses has once again exploded into Leicester’s ears, and it’s first heat was fought on the 28th February 2016 in Duffy’s Irish Bar. Guitars howled, the walls shook and up-and-coming bands battled like Vikings do in Valhalla now that Lemmy has gone to stir things up. Five bands entered with a chance to prove themselves with a thirty minute set, all with vastly different styles, and two survived to go on to the quarter finals. The whole competition will culminate on June 4th at the De Montfort Hall, the victor there going on to play the NewBlood stage at Bloodstock. If they prove themselves further, the chance for a highly coveted slot at the Wacken festival in Germany beckons. The stakes don’t get much higher.
First up were Awaking Athena, a Loughborough born metal band. With a heavy sound and an attitude to match, they oozed menace and matched their mythic name with considerably ambient metal, sounding like an ancient beast snarling awake from some hellish slumber. The front man stalked the small stage and attempted crowd interaction throughout, creating a great atmosphere that was lapped up by the early evening crowd. Awaking Athena were the right side of brutal, refraining from falling into complete sonic entropy and instead remaining melodic and fierce. Their guitars were something to be admired, and although the band seemed a little sheepish in the middle of their set, they stuck with it and proved themselves a relevant and mighty force. Head-banging was almost an involuntary response. Besides, any band with a track called “Legion Of The Serpent” that sounded like a throaty chainsaw was chewing rust and was about, I quote the singer: “Satan’s hordes walking the earth and all that type of stuff”, has my recommendation.
Continuing the already high standard of the night, The Midnight Dogs strutted their stuff next. The most seasoned looking of all the bands of the night, they definitely showed their experience with a bouncing and punchy set. Evading the double foot drums, they instead opted for narley guitar licks and weren’t afraid to flash lengthy solos, which was backed up by one of the most competent and tight rhythm sections I’ve witnessed in a long time. The bassist looked as though he was having the time of his life, and laying down a wall of sound like that, who could have blamed him. Confidence was the name of the game, and all members of the group looked enthusiastic and lost in the moment. Cue fantastic posing and bouncing about. The singer merits special mention, clearly leading the charge and binding all the elements of the band together. The Midnight Dogs also drew a big crowd, with a large number of fans wearing t-shirts and shouting along when choruses came around. Although probably the tamest band of the night, these lot would look and sound at home amongst established and world famous bands, prestigious company that they are surely worthy of keeping. They were a great experience.
The middle band of the night, and my favourites, were When The Wolf Comes Home. Although the front man suggested that “we may sound emo for thirty seconds here” at the start of the set, what followed that half minute was an aural assault worthy of nightmare. Screeching, sporadic guitars went from spiky to platonic in seconds, creating a bizarre sense of space and danger. The growling vocals coupled with the cataclysmic rumbling of the rhythm section shook the foundations of the building. They quite literally sounded like a pack of wolves, fangs showing, ready to tear something apart. However, between the seething rage and volcanic anger of the tracks, the band seemed pleasant and were cracking jokes. Like all the other groups on show tonight, they seemed to be having the time of their lives, jumping about and arching in ecstasy as they spawned a choking atmosphere of menace. Perhaps they were too brutal for a few of the audience members, who seemed slightly taken aback. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the crowd adored them and recognised their immense, unique sound. Savage stuff.
Up next came My Legacy, who are something of revered local heroes. From the moment the first tune battering-rammed the assembled audience, the air was filled with cheers and chanting. It’s easy to see that these gentleman are already contenders for the highest brackets of the competition. The band find themselves somewhere between melodic and brutal and are not afraid to indulge in some sludgy riffs to the get the mosh-pit swirling. The running theme of the night, that of tight rhythm sections, was not veered from. The engine room was potent and thumping, giving excellent platform for the guitars to ascend to dizzying heights. Whilst all of this madness was ongoing, the front man controlled the stage with a natural power and an unmistakably comfortable aura. A true talent. There also plenty of to and fro with the audience, which was very welcome. My Legacy’s vibe was a celebratory one: they clearly loved playing, and the audience loved hearing them do it. A particular highlight was their track “Icarus”, a growling, yet harmonious tour de force. I really do recommend that you keep your eyes on these guys: they’re going places.
The fifth and final band, The Relinquished, ended things suitably. Their rather formulaic thrashing chords and thunder-drums had moments of brilliance, especially when the singer was given room to spit out his guttural growl, but they were the least noteworthy group of the night. That isn’t to say that their energy wasn’t palpable, especially one track that broke down into a spoken monologue over a lovely winding riff. It was the most experimental track of the night and left a good impression. There was also some impressive spiralling guitars at moments that brought a broad smile to my face, and the crowd were clearly loving it (one dude who was about six foot three whipped his shirt off and started going crazy- respect to that man). However, overall, The Relinquished seemed to possess a lot more potential that they quite managed to put across. This is not to disregard them. They were pumped up and put on a great show.
After the smoke settled, there was a real sense of euphoria in the room. Although a struggling industry, in that pub, in rainy Leicester, live music was very much alive. Handshakes and embraces were readily exchanged between the gathered fans, and there was smiles all round. Metal heads flock together.
The votes of the competition overseers and the (frankly fantastic) sound engineer were combined with audience opinions to determine two winners. It was reportedly a close run thing, but the two survivors were The Midnight Dogs and My Legacy. Worthy victors both, but this is not to take away from the stellar performances of the other three bands whom provided firm resistance. Props to all of the bands to providing a fantastic evening’s worth of shock-and-awe volume, and for what it’s worth, I enjoyed When The Wolf Comes Home the most. There was something rather terrifying going on there, and I loved it.
If this first heat of the competition is anything to go by, this year’s Metal 2 The Masses is more than worth lending your ears to. They may end up bleeding, but you’ll love every second. Roll on heat two.
Simon Yarwood posted on Facebook: ‘Congratulations to My Legacy & The Midnight Dogs who both progress to the quarter finals for Metal 2 the Masses’
Resin Events are expecting some stellar performances for the chance to play De Montfort Hall main stage in the final on June 4th. Simon Yarwood told us:
Thirty bands are competing for that coveted Newblood Stage spot at Bloodstock Open Air Festival , most band competitions get bad press and usually for good reason but M2tM has a huge reputation for being the fairest and most “Best band” one there is , with a panel of independent judges all from the industry and representing Bloodstock Festival checking out every band it isn’t about how many tickets you sell. Heats are at Duffy’s Bar and Firebug through Feb/March/April and Semi-Finals in May with special guest bands that have excelled at Bloodstock ,the grand final is to be held on the MAINSTAGE at DeMontfort Hall on June 4th, we have named this event UPRISING and the final will be part of an all day three stage rock and metal party something we hope the city will get behind , the headliners and evening bands will be announced for that very soon. Our areas winner will go on to play Bloodstock Festival and have a host of other prizes including press packages video or artwork photoshoots magazine features this list is ever growing
Something for Leicestershire to be proud of?
More about Metal 2 The Masses Leicester
Quarter finals are on: Firebug April 17th 24th and May 2nd
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Uprising ready to go
Resin Events, in association with Firebug and Andy Wright, present UPRISING – a full day of metal over three stages, featuring a host of the heaviest bands on the touring circuit along with the final of the East Midlands Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses.
Motorhead axeman Phil Campbell will be bringing his All Star Band to headline the event with a barrage of Rock N Roll classics along with Motorhead tracks as we raise our beers to the late great Lemmy Kilminster … anyone remember 2013 when Phil and the band played “Killed By Death” on the Bloodstock Jagermeister Stage?
Special Guest – To Be Confirmed
Madmen Acid Reign are back in action! After a lengthy hiatus and after a monumental return in 2015 they’re set to bring their brand of obnoxiously humorous Thrash back to Leicester. Time to get ya Thrash pants back on kids!
Quite possibly the heaviest band on planet earth Conan will destroy all in their path. With primal monolithic tones guitarist Jon Paul Davis, Bassist Chris Fielding and drummer Rich Lewis will leave the De Montfort Hall in a state of euphoric doom!
Swamp Delta Featuring Robber Byker of Gaye Bikers on Acid and Screaming Delta Anderson, The Porkbeast, Denizen Blink Cyclone and not forgetting Rob Vomit all formerly of Crazyhead, Swamp Delta are a 21st century Urban Bastard Blues Band from South Wigston Swamp Delta Zone. This promises to be something special.
The band that puts the X in Extreme Metal, Aghast are a four-piece extreme metal band from London, formed after a drinking competition and subsequent visit to the medical tent! With their full on show this promises to open up the pit and lay down a barrage of force!
Reading based Morass of Molasses bring a warmth of sludge based swamp blues that’ll render you void of controlling your limbs as you involuntarily bang your head and sway to the hypnotic sounds. Not to be missed.
Leicester based Mage are local heroes and a true testament to band brotherhood. With 3 full releases to date and an army of support for their stoner/doom sounds they have vowed to remain “Goddamn Heavy” in honour of the recently deceased guitarist Ben Aucott. Blaze up and come worship at the alter of the mighty Mage.
THE BLOODSTOCK METAL 2 THE MASSES
Taking place from 3pm this will see the finalists battle it out for a coveted slot at this years Bloodstock Open Air Festival. Playing on the Hobgoblin Newblood Stage this offers bands a massive leg up to be seen in front of so many metalheads, to network with media and bands from all over the globe and to reach the next level for the band. Not only that but they get to play with acts such as Slayer, Anthrax, Mastodon, Behemoth, Twisted Sister, Gojira and loads more … see the Bloodstock website for more.
With heats being held at Firebug throughout the build up why not get along and see who the contenders are .. THE COMPETITION IS FIERCE!
Feeling the energy of later day giants such as Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots – Resin are a five piece band that offer this and so much more. With their unique twist on the 90s grunge vibe their music is perfectly suited to an acoustic setting. Emotive and always looking to expand boundaries Resin’s headline set promises to be one of the highlights.
James Cull and Rhett Barrow will also be bringing their acoustic flavours to the stage.
With plenty more bands still to be announced, we’re also offering a Burlesque Acts, Comedians, Real Ale Bar, Food Court, Mini Market, Gaming Area and loads more!
Uprising takes place on 4th June at the iconic Leicester De Montfort Hall.
Spread the word – The UPRISING is ON!