Review – Metal to the Masses quarter final 1 at Firebug, Wednesday 24th April 2019

Photo: 28 Double by Kevin Gaughan

with GÜNK, Gallows High, BlackHawkDown and 28 Double

Reviewed by Aleksandra Brzezicka.
Organised by Metal 2 the Masses, Leicester and Resin events

The doors of Firebug opened up this Wednesday to all metalheads and fans of the heavier sound for the first quarter-final of this year’s edition of Metal 2 The Masses. GÜNK, Gallows High, BlackHawkDown and 28 Double were there to fight for a slot at Bloodstock Festival.

First on the bill, GÜNK, took the stage by storm with their grunge/hard rock, roaring distortions and sick bass solos. Lewis Haynes (vocal/guitar), Thomas Greene (bass) and Connor Hines (drums), surely influenced by a mix of Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Metallica, generated a sound that’s got a purging rage of heavy metal, dirty grungy riffs and psychedelic breakdowns.

Thumbs up for Bittersweet, the out soon track, full of clashing notes, colliding bangs and soul-wrecking screams sounding like the instruments got into an argument. GÜNK gave it all at the end, finishing off with destructive waves of noise that woke me up faster than a sea of coffee.

GÜNK Photo: Kevin Gaughan

After making it to the semi-finals last year Gallows High came back to the game. Starting off a bit messy, they’ve managed to get on with their stage smashing apocalyptic sound and complexity of layers upon layers that make them stand out on the heavy metal/hard rock scene. Even though, female-fronted five-piece got the means to possess with their occasional psycho-church like sound, progressions from the haunted ballad moments to the abrupt bangs, this time it felt like they didn’t live up to their potential. Emma Wale’s vocal scale has the ability to amaze though here and there it didn’t make it’s way through the rowdy riffs and blunt noises. In the end, I got the chance to see the true face of evil in Speak of The Devil. I liked what I saw.

Gallows High Photo: Kevin Gaughan

BlackHawkDown, started off with thunderstorm energy fuelled Falling that forced the audience to fall for them. With no time to catch breath, they jumped straight into screaming/howling Calling. Being a bit of a lovechild of classic Metallica’s vibe and Pantera’s sharpness, their music is melodic enough to shout along with Ben (vocal) and full on aggressive to be an expression of eternal pain, anger and a glimpse of hope, like in Freeman, best tune of the set.

They played most of the tracks of their EP, Prefix, and finished with Too Late for You, fast and furious with a funky breakdown and rock ‘n’ roll riffs that made everyone raise raise their fists in unity.

BlackHawkDown Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Last but not least, 28 Double, five-piece groove rock/metal band from Derby, smashed the stage straightaway with Crossroads, a high-energy song. Rob Tallant (guitar/backing vocals), Josh Woodhouse (drums), Nick Ward (vocals), Gav Archer (bass), Kieran Agnew (guitar/backing vocals) created the unique cross-genre sound with captivating vocals that makes you wonder why you haven’t heard about them before.

Hard dirtiness of riffs in Grind, the sharpness of sound compromised with smooth vocal in 28 Double and new, energetic bullet aka Witness, made the show both a diverse and consistent experience.

28 Double is the band to listen to live. Come to the next gig.

28 Double Photo: Kevin Gaughan

28 Double (not surprisingly) and Gallows High got to leave Firebug in the glory of victory as they made it to the semi-finals. GÜNK, BlackHawkDown, see you next year?

If you would like to share this review, please help us by using the share buttons below instead of a screen print – thanks!