So, after all the battling, sixteen bands falling by the wayside on this quest, we have our three grand finalists for The Eagle's Battle Of The Bands! On Friday, musical war will be declared as metal's Seed Of Sorrow, acoustic's Cryptic Keys and mystery's Bite Night engage in the melodious equivalent of a punch up in Rose Street Car Park for the grand prize on offer: a professionally recorded song and video (and don't forget the National BOTB chance!).
Of course, I've been writing about these bands for the better part of a month now, so instead of doing my usual preview of the bands – which would be simply repeating myself by now – I'm instead going to write about the reasons that each band should win it. I've even sourced new songs for you to listen to (apart from Bite Night, who clearly hate me)! Let's have a look at our finalists, and what each of them are bringing to the table.
Most likely to cause: neck-cricks
Metal's last stand in the competition, Seed Of Sorrow are definitely the most abrasive of the three bands left. Yet they're also the most interesting, a maelstrom of pure malevolent fury barely held together by the rage of their howling lead singer. I'd describe them as a lot of fun, but obviously they would hate that – they're awfully serious. But still, they're the heaviest thing left and a band all metalheads should be throwing their horns at. If they won, it would be a rewarding validation both of their music and of the criminally-underrated Highland metal scene, which has thrown up some great bands in this competition alone (R.I.P. Hired Guns). Also, they have a song called Clown Puncher. Do the other bands? No. No they do not.
What We Said: Very Lamb Of God-y at times, they've got some properly heavy chugging riffs, complete with pinched harmonics, and a very angry man screaming like his foot's been caught in the door of hell itself.
Most likely to cause: toe-tapping
Considering the amount of acoustic acts that we've seen over the course of these heats, Cryptic Keys have already achieved a massive amount by striding to the top of that folk-tinged pile. There's little doubt that they deserve it – their songs are just fabulous slices of acoustic pop, and as I say every time I write about them, their vocal harmonies are sublime. There's a real momentum starting to build behind Cryptic Keys, and if they win this competition this could be the start of something quite wonderful for them.
What We Said: Their melodies are catchy, the guitar-playing is sublime, their vocal harmonies superb and their song “Jumping Trains” is building up quite the head of steam on the ol' social media.
Most likely to cause: chin-scratching
This will be Bite Night's third gig. I think this bears repeating. Of all the bands left, Bite Night are the newest, and rawest, band in the competition. Now of course, this also means that of all the bands, I know the least about Bite Night, because of their selfish obstinate refusal to have any online presence whatsoever (because, as I said previously, they probably despise me). Yet, they're here. They're in the final. And I'd love them to win because they're just so mysterious.
What We Said: A Black Isle-based band, they remind the listener of Dire Straits/Eric Clapton-esque rock, albeit a bit heavier. Imagine the guitar riffs coming out of that hallowed combination?
And if you'd been paying attention, you would know by now NO ONLINE THINGS OKAY?
So that's your lot. I've really enjoyed bringing these previews to you all, so thanks to everybody who's been reading along throughout. It's been a long month, but we have three very different bands to choose from, each with their own very legitimate claim to be the winner. The final's on Friday 31st at 9.00pm. It's going to be heaving, so get down early, grab a pint (or spirit, or wine, or whatever) and prepare yourself for a night of great music.
You'd better super-glue your socks to your feet, because otherwise they might just be blown off.
If you're an aspiring musician currently beating your chest with rage having not entered, don't worry – we have our own contest where you can win a slot at Belladrum Festival! For more information, go to http://www.whatson-north.co.uk/Whats-On/Lead-Stories/The-hunt-is-on-for-a-Highlands-superstar-10122013.htm.