EACH week of this year's Metal2TheMasses has seen growing numbers attending, and the response from the crowd has been impressive - reacting to what they see on stage.
With voting split 50/50 between the judges and the audience sometime the acts that brings enough friends and family along can sway the matter, but on other occasions the sheer level of performance is such that everyone is brought along.
And, sometimes stage experience can make a difference...
Rookies Gozer The Traveller opened the Heat with a set of tracks that verged from stoner through to more commercial material that echoed QOTSA. A little static on stage they nevertheless gave the tunes all the space they needed.
A few more refinements to their set and more stage experience will help Gozer The Traveller tune up their sound, and decide what suits them best in terms of balancing their tracks.
Experience isn't a problem for A Little Bitter, and they proved on the Limelight2 stage why they are one of the most under-rated bands on the circuit. Energy, enthusiasm and musicianship melded with tunes that are both catchy and heavy.
Audaciously throwing in a new track ALB bounded through the set, live arrangements and meaty melodies played with a verve and a vivacity that many other bands could learn from.
From the melodic metal to the blackened death metal as Shrouded emerged, donned in cowls and determined to slay all in their path. This is a young band that has grown up very quickly in the space of a few months - and in recent months they seem to have set their sights and goals ever higher.
The melody within the madness was in twin guitar lines and the grunt was throughout in a set that displayed sheer excellence with added menace.
Munro closed proceedings with a technical metal set that exuded much promise. The precision of the playing and a set of songs that have been crafted well bodes well for this three-piece.
Like the openers more stage experience will help hone what is a band that deserves to gain more exposure as they push the progressive elements further.
Overall, Heat Four of Metal2TheMasses proved the diversity of the challengers for a Bloodstock slot, and showed that there remains an appetite to see bands push themselves. And, all for a fiver to get in, to enjoy...and vote.
Qualifying for the semi-finals are Shrouded and A Little Bitter.
Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Jamie Hunter