Midlands Metal Crusade
Wolverhampton Slade Rooms
12th October 2013
It’s a cold, miserable day in autumn as the rain pours down onto the streets of Wolverhampton. However, despite the weather, there’s one place in the city that’ll be hotter than the Bahamas and filled with sweat dripping, half naked fans. Today is the first ever Midlands Metal Crusade and things are about to get heavy. For Louder Than War Sophie Sparham descends into the maelstrom.
Obzidian are first to take to the stage, warming chilly audience members who’ve been queuing outdoors, with their combination of prog and thrash styled metal.
Our World Below? are next up. Lead vocalist Dave Riley paces back and forth in anticipation as the drums count in the heavy sound of the guitars and the performance begins. His combination of growling and melodic vocals mixed with stomping riffs could make some think that this band may be the love child of ‘Killswitch Engage’ and ‘Five Finger Death Punch’.
As dramatic music begins to play, the members of Left For Red step, not so dramatically, out onto to the stage. ‘Let me see your horns Wolverhampton!’ L C screams, reaching out to the audience as the catchy riff of ‘Reborn’ begins to play. The singer’s wide vocal ability could put many power metaller’s to shame as he harmonises over the catchy rhythm section. The band finish their set with the new tune, ‘Kneel Before You Die’, which grabs the attention of both old and new listeners.
XVII start the first pit of the evening. These guys are pure no holds barred, full throttle metal, with big build ups and powerful screaming vocals. The band synchronize their windmilling, head banging as they play ‘Scorned’. Their brutal approach is slowed down by the track ‘Dream’. Its harmonious intro is probably the lightest thing anyone will hear all day – and that’s saying something.
Djent rockers Gehtika provide something out of the ordinary (or the asylum) for metal fans. The waistcoat wearing, face painted, five piece play out hardcore riffs with a Victorian gothic twist. As technical problems occur, the guys’ theatrical interlude entertains the crowd by making them call out animal noises and momentarily turns the Slade Room into a farm.
Eyes Of The Raven shortly follow after, dancing their way to the stage, backed by the theme of The Muppets. The drinks are beginning to flow now, as band members from Left For Red and Gehtika jump on stage, dancing around them, whilst they play out their set. The band play stomping melodies such as ‘Never Broken’ and the heart melting ‘Redemer’.
‘You hear that?’ the lead singer cries, ‘that is the sound of fear from all the other parts of the country, because the Midlands has the best unsigned scene that there is to offer!’
Destroyed Beyond Belief keep the party going, playing steady churning riffs, as beer is thrown back and forth amongst the crowd. The band play some great tunes including their cover of ‘Honour Never Dies’ which gives Hatebreed a run for their money.
Sirens sound and the floor vibrates as the legendary Breed 77 claim the Slade Room’s stage. Beer soaked fans, rush from the bar to the front of the stage as Drown shakes the venue.
Despite struggles this year and criticisms of Rui Lopez, the band’s new singer, Breed seem tighter than ever as they play their flamenco infused metal. The band’s catchy melodies and combination of distorted and acoustic guitars lifts the mood to breaking point.
‘This one is for you guys to sing,’ Lopez says, holding the mic stand out to the audience as The Cranberries’ cover ‘Zombie’ begins. By now, every member of the audience is jumping, losing themselves as they sing along with the band.
The band finishes with the brilliant ‘La Ultima Hora’, leaving their audience hungry for more.
Last, but definitely not least, Upon Descent finish off the evening with a powerful performance, running over the gig’s curfew in style.
This weekend has shown the sheer strength and power of the West Midland’s underground music scene. It is, as Eyes Of The Raven have said, a strong community that has so much more to offer in the coming months.
All words by Sophie Sparham. This is Sophie’s first piece for Louder Than War.