Blackwork kick things off, and it’s hard to tell whether it is the venue or the band, but it’s nearly impossible to pick out the songs underneath the muddy sound. It improves as their set goes on and there are hints that if this was stripped back and allowed to breathe, it could be good, but tonight probably doesn’t show them at their best.
If the competition were judged on the number of people wearing each band’s t-shirt, then Ifreann would be the clear winners, which is all the more impressive when you discover this is their first ever show. It’s a fact that doesn’t come across in their set. This is thrash metal, but it’s delivered with a big dollop of fun. There’s a real gallop to their sound, and you can’t help but bang your head. If they are this good on night one, then this band have one hell of a future.
Runemaster are (as their names suggest) heavy metal from the Norse school of thought. It has to be said that this sort of thing isn’t really my style. The punk fan in me conflicts with my Norwegian background and tends to leave me thinking it’s a bit silly. However, Runemaster are on the better side of the spectrum. There are bands like Manowar in there, but there’s also Celtic Frost and a real stomp to the music. They are one of the two bands who make it to the finals and based on this set it is well deserved.
I’m going to be honest with you, by the time Satiracy hit the stage I’m pretty drunk. In fact, having spent the afternoon in the pub, I was pretty drunk when Blackwork came on, so this by this point I’m past pretty. I’d like to pretend that I can maintain a level of professionalism but my notes didn’t get much further than pointing out that guitarist Tamara Jordan ‘can fucking play.’ They join Runemaster in the final, so I’m going to assume my memories of their melodic metal being great are trustworthy and let’s just leave it there.
With the help of a couple of glasses of water, I’m at least standing up straight when Ramage Inc hit the stage. They are the most progressive band we’ve seen so far, and there is a big old slice of Devin Townsend in there which is always a good thing. It’s a nice change from what we’ve had, and they end the night on a high note.
This was another good night from Heavy Scotland. The final takes place on the 25th and will see Runemaster, Satiracy, Corrupt the System and Lucifers Corpus go to war for that spot on the main stage. If it’s as fun as the first two nights have been, then it is one you won’t want to miss.