One band had to drop out due to an emergency, meaning we have five bands for this sixth and final heat.
First up is an interesting quintet. They play a sort of post-metal, with aspects of more mainstread prog rock and a touch of math/tech about them too. Vocalist divided his time between clean and growling vox about 50/50. The lead guitarist was the standout of the bunch - pretty damned tight, and was particularly swish at finger-tapping solos.
The only band I'd seen from this heat before, and one I was looking forward to seeing again. They are a Doom/Sludge/Post-Metal act. And they are heavy. They start off well, and are tight throughout the set. I didn't catch the name of the track, but they finished with a 12+ minute epic that nearly destroyed my neck.
Describe themselves as 'pop mosh'. Basically, they are pop punk but with heavier bits and some flourishes of tech thrown in every now and then. I can take pop punk in smallish doses or if I'm in the right mood, otherwise it's no usually my bag. Trying to be objective, these guys did what they did well and - despite fearing my overuse of the word so far - they were another fantastically tight act. They got the crowd going a bit too.
Suffer in Anguish
Describe themselves as Deathcore/Metal. To me, in the live mix, this basically meant that at times they sounded deathcore and at another times death metal. Deathcore isn't really my thing, but these guys were really good at what they did and totally won me over. They finished with a brilliant cover of Sepultura's 'Roots' that sounded crushingly heavy. They also might have the most polite frontman I've come across in a long while - he was the first in the entire tournament that I recall thanked not just the booker of the tournament, but the sound guy, bar staff etc. It might sound like a small thing, but it went a long way.
Mancunian sort of trad / heavy metal. These guys seemed to divide opinion, but I quite enjoyed them. Front man reminded me of a sort of punkier Blaze Bayley, and he had an air of showmanship about him (at one point, he got the crowd to kneel down to take a 'Viking prayer' with him). There were some nice riffs, though I'm not sure exactly how memorable the actual songs are (I got a free CD, so I guess I'll find that out when I play it).
Results: Ba'al won, Outta Peak came second and Suffer in Anguish came third.
I agree with Ba'al and SiA going through - I had them as the two best, in that order, ahead of the others by a decent chunk. Outta Peak were good at what they did, and they might do it better than Cain/Elecorn do their own genres, so I guess I can't argue too much.
It turns out we won't have a 7th heat after all - the logistics of fitting it in before the semis just doesn't work out.
The official semi-final line-up is yet to be announced, but I spoke to the event organiser and the tentative line-up (pending band availability) is:
Semi final 1 - Sat 8th April : Sobriquet, Gorgeous Morgue, Gorilla Warfare, One Year Dead, Arkdown, Outta Peak
Semi final 2 - Fri 14th April: Bovidae, Horizontal Faults, Delirium, Mothcob, Normaliser, Ba'al
Semi final 3 - Sat 15th April: Aonia, Crucifixiation, Grandmother Suplex, In My Restless Dreams, Archelon, Suffer in Anguish
The venue are also looking into getting guest headliners for all three semi finals too.