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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Battling it out at Old Ironsides
Lead singer Brandon Garrett of HellHeart showcases a high-octane performance at the Old Ironsides Battle of the Bands event Saturday, March 25, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

Editor’s note: Jemezzy Ba’be, the frontman of the band Diversity of One, which we feature in this story, has died.

On Saturday, March 27, some Sacramento residents became spectators of Wacken Metal Battle of The Bands. The show was not for the faint of heart.

It was the first round for four metal bands: Killed By A Dolphin, Antapex, Diversity of One and HellHeart. Brad Dial, a lead guitarist from HellHeart, said the next round for the winners will take place in Crockett (Contra Costa County), followed by two more rounds in San Diego and the final one in Germany.

The battle took place at Old Ironsides in Sacramento’s downtown. Although it’s a fairly small venue with a small stage and low ceilings, the space was enough for the audience, which consisted of about 50 people, most over the age of 30.

“I love this place. The sound is always so good here,” Dial said about the pub.

Each band came with their own little trailer. They brought all their own instruments and some promotional items with their logos such as T-shirts, water bottles, posters, stickers and keychains. And some bands had plenty of their fans in attendance.

From the start, everyone started shaking their heads to the music. And with each band, the vibe got stronger. The most intense was with the music of the last band, HellHeart, which became the winner of this round.

The music, songs, costumes and the way of acting on stage of each band were so different from each other.

James Jameson, vocalist for Killed By A Dolphin, performs at Old Ironsides in Sacramento Saturday, March 25, 2023, for the metal battle. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

Killed By A Dolphin performed first. They had an unusual appearance on stage in cloaks with hoods. Their frontman had eye lenses that made his eyes look lifeless. People waited for their appearance for more than an hour and began to dance and shake their heads from the first beat of the drums.

The bands each performed for about half an hour. And when they were installing and removing their instruments, the audience had a chance to go to the bar, talk and share their impressions of the concert.

Singer Christian Elera of Antapex belts out screams during the metal battle at Old Ironsides in Sacramento Saturday, March 25, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

The second band, Antapex, had better interaction with the audience. They asked people to raise their fists in the air and, before each song, they called out its name and told the main idea of that song. They performed anti-government and anti-religious songs, and songs about love.

Valentina Melnyk, one of the spectators who came there with her friends, shared her opinion about Antapex. “They have cool music, but not singing. Only a scream, and the words are not clear,” Melnyk said.

Frontman for Diversity of One Jemezzy BaBe hypes up the crowd during the Battle of the Bands at Old Ironsides in Sacramento Saturday, March 25, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

The third band, Diversity of One, showcased a nontraditional form of metal rock music — they combined rap and rock together.

“One is an acronym. Our true full name is Diversity of Our Nation’s Evolution,” said Michael Cooper, stage name BMC, a bass player from Diversity of One band, which is based in Sacramento.

They came on stage not only to perform, but also to share their goal: “To change the world. To represent diversity,” Cooper said.

Cooper also said that their music is still a hobby for them, although they have already recorded and released a catalog of 28 songs. All of them have regular jobs, but had they won the battle, they were ready to quit their jobs and start making money with their music.

“The vibration that you give off and this energy tends to get off on people, it just kind of gravitates towards it,” Cooper said.

By that time, the crowd became bigger. They were waiting for the last band to perform. HellHeart came with their fans. The vibe changed, people began dancing more. And even a mosh pit, when people slam into each other, took place among the band’s fans.

The members of HellHeart band looked the most confident. The singer even put his foot on the judges’ table, and the guitar player walked from the stage to the audience. The music they played also differed from the music of other bands. They screamed, but they also had a regular vocal style as well.

“We bring an old-school metal core vibe with some more modern influences, and we are really passionate about the metal core in general,” Dial said.

HellHeart band was formed in 2017. They are from the Central Valley and rehearse in Turlock. They already have a large fan base, as was displayed in Old Ironsides.“We brought a lot of people that we know. And that was really great to see some new fans,” Dial said.

Both Dial and Cooper said they enjoyed meeting other bands, playing with them and being supported by members of bands who were not represented there that night.

“I know there are people in the building tonight that are from other bands who didn’t get selected,” Cooper said, “but they are starting to support us.”

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