Battle of the Bands '09


A Thousand Sins have been together in the present line up since May 2008, however has existed in various different forms since the summer of 2003. Throughout 2003 and 2004 the line up was in fact the same as the current line up with Max Hopkins on Lead Guitar, Ben Cook on rhythm guitar, however with Simon Anderson on the drums, Adam Cattermole on rhythm guitar and Max Hopkins also singing lead vocals. Back then, the band was called Red Metal. The early band was influenced almost exclusively by Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne, setting the tone for their heavy music to come.


In 2005 Red Metal began to change and adapt to life at Comberton Village College. The first of these changes was the introduction of a new drummer – Ben Armitage. As Simon was no longer needed in charge of the percussion, he left the band on the condition that he would get hold of a bass guitar and re-join. Unfortunately that took the best part of 2 years and he missed the Candlelit Dinner Gig in February. Another initial change was the lead vocalist changing from Max Hopkins to Ben Cook, allowing Max to focus predominantly on lead riffs and solos.


Shortly afterwards, in March 2006, more changes took place. Knowing that they were in need of a stronger singer, Henry Jones joined the band along with Dan Mansworth to replace Ben Armitage on the drums. It was around this time that Simon Anderson finally re-joined as a bassist, just in time to prepare for the Summer Concert. In July 2006 Red Metal performed an Iron Maiden cover – ‘The Trooper’ – in the annual Summer Concert.
After that, things began to go wrong. In September 2006 both Dan Mansworth and Henry Jones announced that they were leaving the band. This left the four other members without a drummer and a lead vocalist. Over the next few months Red Metal was reduced to only three members, as Adam Cattermole was asked to leave the band due to the decreasing need for a third guitarist, leaving only Max Hopkins, Ben Cook and Simon Anderson keeping the band alive. Red Metal had halved over a period of a few months, but was nowhere near defeated as the Christmas Concert grew nearer.
By this time, influences had changed and Red Metal was becoming more of a metal band as opposed to a classic heavy metal band. Although they will never forget their roots in Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden, they began to sound more along the lines of Pantera, Motorhead and Slayer. In late November Dan Mansworth agreed to play one last gig with Red Metal: the Christmas Concert, where they would be playing a Slayer cover – ‘Raining Blood’. This would have been the last concert for a long time – if it had ever happened. On the day of the Concert the band was told that the song wasn’t appropriate and that they couldn’t play.


As the new year began, Max, Ben and Simon decided to stop spending time looking for new members and began to use a drum sequencing program (Rhythm Rascal) to compose and record drum beats. Also during this time queries began about changing the name of the band. Red Metal didn’t really sum them up anymore. This first name change proved to be fairly straightforward, and Max proposed the name: Black Axiom.
Over the next year Ben Armitage drifted in and out of the band and drummers such as Andy Lake (Newspeak) seemed interested in joining. By September 2007, Black Axiom still consisted of Max, Ben and Simon, but the music had been completely reformed. The band’s influences had changed once again, and now consisted of bands such as Pantera, Machine Head and Trivium. While these bands influenced the guitar riffs and solos (influenced heavily by Dimebag Darrell), Ben’s vocal performance was influenced more by bands such as Arch Enemy, Lamb of God and Devildriver.


Christmas 2007 saw the arrival of the 16-track multi-track recorder obtained by Max. This piece of equipment allowed Black Axiom to begin recording. Max would compose the drum pattern on the Drum Sequencer (Rhythm Rascal) and then the band would record guitars and vocals over the beat. This period of recording lasted for the first 4 or 5 months of 2008, along with more queries over the band name. After names such as Silence so Loud, Axis of Evil and Shadows of Sin were tried, the band finally settled on A Thousand Sins in May, just in time to welcome Adam Cattermole back into the band as a drummer.


In July A Thousand Sins performed a Pantera cover – ‘Cemetery Gates’ – at the summer concert, and during the following months began to get a set prepared. In November 2008 A Thousand Sins took Gamlingay Battle of the Bands by storm. Unfortunately it literally was a storm because the combined 900 watts of stack amps was too much for the venue-supplied PA system! However, the charity record label Gamlingay records were sufficiently impressed that they invited us to join their record label.
Ready to improve on their questionable performance at the Battle of the Bands, A Thousand Sins practiced hard over the next month in order to play at the Comberton Year 11 Christmas Dinner. That gig, however, was a great success.
Over the next 6 months A Thousand Sins perfected their set, and added many new songs in preparation for the Cambourne Youth Festival in July 2009. The festival turned out to be a massive success, and shortly afterwards the band officially joined the community record label: Gamlingay Records.


In November 2009, the band took to the stage again at the Gamlingay Battle of the Bands and delivered a fantastic performance. Only achieving 3rd place because of the questionable judging. 5 out of the 7 judges awarded us full marks for our performance, whereas the remaining two marked us low due to our musical style, rather then performance and skill. A Thousand Sins were very pleased with the wall of death which was held for the last song, and consisted of most of the audience. This would be the benchmark for all of our other gigs.

After our success at the Gamlingay Battle of the bands, A Thousand Sins began to be offered gigs fairly regularly in venues such as The Man on the Moon, and The Portland Arms in Cambridge, meaning that we had to up the ante to play a different set at each gig. We are now looking to play gigs outside of Cambridge in the near future.


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