A HEAVY rock group from Darwen has won through to the final of a global ‘battle of the bands’ competition.

Fear The Fallen, a five-piece band that has been in existence for four years, is through to the online voting stage of Hard Rock Cafe’s ‘Hard Rock Rising’.

The band, featuring singer Christian Slater, guitarists Sam Crowther and James McNeill, Rob Upton on bass and Matt Dearden on drums, has already successfully navigated the regional stages of the competition.

The band has twice performed on the main stage at Darwen Live.

And from April 28, they will be among 81 bands worldwide whose songs are uploaded to the internet for the public to vote on.

The top 12 from there go through to a panel of expert judges, which will decide the winner and two runners-up.

Christian, 27, of Richmond Park, said the added exposure of the contest had ‘opened lots of doors’ for the band.

He said: “We have had little opportunities before but nothing has ever really panned out for us.

“After we won the regional final at Manchester quite a few doors opened for us and it has been a real eye-opener.

“We are going to do a show for Hard Rock later this month and next month we are doing a live festival in the middle of Manchester in front of 20,000 people.

“We have always been a pubs and clubs band so to go from that to this is pretty scary.”

Christian, who works for a renewable energy firm in Leyland, said although the excitement was building he and his bandmates were keeping their feet on the ground.

He added: “We are not getting carried away yet.”

When the online voting launches, people can visit the Hard Rock Rising Facebook page and download Fear The Fallen’s entry, which will then register as a vote.

The competition winner will get to perform at the Hard Rock Live Rome music festival this summer.