Majora with Vancouver's Metal Battle Judges (left to right): Alex Bruce (guitar/vox), judges Mark McKitrick and JJ Caithcart, Tony Woollven (bass), Mike S. (judge) Max Desjardins (drums), Brittney Slayes (judge) and Dustin Carpenter (vox/guitar)

Photo Gallery/Gig Review: Wacken Metal Battle Canada – Vancouver Round #2 (Majora, DropDeadFred, Meridius, God Said Kill)

Majora with Vancouver's Metal Battle Judges (left to right): Alex Bruce (guitar/vox), judges Mark McKitrick and JJ Caithcart, Tony Woollven (bass), Mike S. (judge) Max Desjardins (drums), Brittney Slayes (judge) and Dustin Carpenter (vox/guitar)

Majora with Vancouver’s Metal Battle Judges (left to right): Alex Bruce (guitar/vox), judges Mark McKitrick and JJ Caithcart, Tony Woollven (bass), Myk Shaflik. (judge) Max Desjardins (drums), Brittney Slayes (judge) and Dustin Carpenter (vox/guitar)

Five bands were originally scheduled for the second local qualifying round of Wacken Metal Battle Canada 2016 but only four made it to the field of combat, thus squaring the odds for the remaining battle-hungry competitors who each fought bravely to the end, with only Victoria’s inventive hard rock quartet Majora standing in triumph – congratulations to them!

Competitions like Wacken Metal Battle bring acts at varying points of their musical careers to the stage and offer both a valuable learning experience for bands as well as a showcase of local artists for audiences (that said, turnout may have been challenged by round one’s scheduling on a Wednesday evening and round two coinciding with Slayer’s show in Seattle.) A noteworthy highlight of Sunday’s battle was Port Coquitlam’s God Said Kill performing an innovative set of technically complex, melodically dynamic and djenty music, which energized the remaining crowd and left judges at a loss for words. The outfit’s ambitious new music has experimental elements that challenge and perplex the listener and one hopes to see the outfit play many more local shows to further develop both its following and its live sound, since repeated exposure would likely help listeners begin to unravel GSK’s complex knots of riffage.

Meridius and DropDeadFred each played a strong set and, in this reviewer’s estimation, a full performance with the focus and energy of Meridius’ last three songs would likely land them a win in future battles (our apologies to DropDeadFred for the dearth of photos from their set due to technical difficulties.)

Tomorrow night’s third qualifying round at the Red Room will determine which of its five bands will continue along with rounds one and two winners, Process and Majora, to the final regional round at the Rickshaw in May.