by Tommy L
In certain situations silence has been described as deafening. On the other hand, I’m sure the potential to cause damage to hearing must be far greater with hard rock. With this year’s showcase being split (roughly) by genre, tonight’s line-up was for all those with a penchant for devil worship and headbanging. My first taste of the metal mayhem to follow came in the form of self-professed doom-rockers: Mister Doom. Having reviewed these as recently as last month the contrast is frankly phenomenal. The previously ragged collection of riffs have been fine-tuned into a lean, mean, filth-spitting machine. Emerging from a cloud of smoke and brandishing some gargantuan riffs, their showmanship can certainly not be faulted. When you see their energy as they interchange positions on stage, there’s also little doubt that the band fully believe in what they’re putting together. Still, improvement is relative; the actual quality of the band’s songs is not. Without the excuse of being under-rehearsed, some of their shortcomings were further highlighted. Too many guitar solos went astray and the incessant timing changes, although now tight, serve more to annoy than inspire. Although not without promise, their epic, metal dirge is likely to alienate at least as many people as it attracts, and surely a second guitar player is essential if the band are to progress musically. Following on and entering like a ‘Goldie Lookin’ Chain’ tribute band were the Isle of Wight’s, ‘death-reggae’ misfits: ‘Mista Mushroom’.
Lining up in matching tracksuit tops featuring the band’s logo they certainly looked the part, and boasting an impressive nine members they certainly filled the stage. Aside from their uniformity and numbers they also had plenty of guts, poise and much more than just the odd half-decent song. Right from their carefully choreographed introduction, confidence flowed out over the crowd in the form of their ska-tinged compositions. Cocksure, and with more than enough quality to back it up, the set has to be one of the highlights of this year’s showcase. So, having had bands describe themselves as ‘doom-rock’ and ‘death-reggae’, we now were presented with a band who were surely the sound of death itself. Call me presumptuous, but I’ve got a feeling that Cymbiotic may have heard the odd Napalm Death or Slipknot record in their time. With every shuddering bass note or vocal growl the foundations threatened to collapse, sending us all to the hell from which these guys had come. If you want subtlety you’ll be disappointed. If you like your music louder, harder and heavier than anybody else’s, these are almost certainly your boys. An incredibly even showing from each of the band’s followers essentially nullified the audience vote, leaving the result up to the judges. The tension in the room was finally relieved when ‘Mista Mushroom’ were announced as winners. Keeping up the Isle of Wight’s presence in this year’s competition is no mean feat but, based on their display tonight, there’s every chance of them still being in with a shot when the final comes around.