First on the rack are local heroes Alpheidae who waste no time is hammering out both old and new songs to get the blood pumping. As always, it’s a hard job to be the first band on a large bill, so they have their work cut out for them. It doesn’t fase them though. Front man Calvin Singleton, bellows from the stage with a ferocity that would make you wonder why he isn’t leading a pack of wild animals. Guitarist’s Jake Brady and Ros Coghlan, also share amazing dual tapping harmonic solos that are heavenly to the ears of guitar aficionados all throughout the venue. They play a new song just finished that day, called “Pray for the Sun”. Awesome tune, I might add. Singleton sports a “RUN BLIND” slogan on his back, ushering those to accept change, and to face the unknown. The beats are crushing and are worthy of a much larger stage. Alpheidae are no stranger to M2TM qualifiers and know what to bring to the gig in terms of attitude and stage presence. They deliver both in spades.
Find out more on Alpheidae on this link.
The next band up are Within Without, also from Dublin. They are a little lighter than their predecessors, but their stage presence is brilliant. Hard rock born from the fury of watching possessions take over people’s lives, their songs are fast, headbangy and thought provoking. Their bassist however, is a fucking lunatic. There is not a doubt in my mind that he was the most animated and mobile member of any band on that stage tonight. His timing was perfect, despite the intricacies of the songs and never missed a note all night. The singer is also quite mobile and is thoroughly enjoying the experience, as he moves from one side of the stage to the next. There was, however, a technical difficulty with his guitar (the cause of which is still unknown), but that doesn’t stop the ride! Said guitar is simply discarded and the show goes on. That is the sign of a true performer – don’t let anything get in the way of putting on a good show! Fantastic!
For more on Within Without, hit this link.
Next in the firing line is The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back. This is something that can only be described as organised chaos (if there is such a thing). These guys come out of the gate like a bat out of hell and they don’t take the foot off the gas until after the last note is played. This is hunger, ladies and gentlemen, and nothing else. They want to get to Bloodstock, and they’re well on their way. They could actually play anywhere. Alpha-male vocal dominance is the only way to describe frontman Stephen Cannon’s approach. The riffs are downtuned and chunky, enough to make even the most seasoned orchestra-goes stomp their foot. These guys were a big hit during the heats, so they were welcomed with fervor when they appeared, when they played and the crowd were still cheering after they had finished (my ears are still ringing).
Get more of Devil Wants Her Swagger Back here.
Corr Mhóna are next, bringing an Irish approach to the atmospheric doom metal genre. Singing in Gaelic from start to finish, they show just how versatile they are in terms of musicianship and originality. Gothically dark and lively at the same time, their unique brand of tunes are gripping, as you find yourself lost (and trying to remember what certain words are in Irish). Their set is slow and heavy in parts, and fast and heavy in others. In other words, they are a brutally heavy metal band and deserve the right to be where they are now. With such a small contingent of bands in the international arena speaking in their native language where English is openly used, you have to hand it to them, as thy have their work cut out for the, Of course, they know this and deserve every chance to prove themselves worthy of a Bloodstock spot – theirs is a niche area and from what I hear, they are masters of it.
More information on Corr Mhóna, can be found here.
Following CM closely are Lace Weeper, from Wicklow, another M2TM high-profile band. There is a good turnout to see these boys in action, and their hard-rock approach is eminent of early 80s and 90s hard rock legends such as Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. They have a metal groove in their sound as well, and the audience love it. The singer is well aware that he is the current focus of everyone’s attention and revels in it – enveloping himself in the role and not afraid to get in people’s face about having a good time and moving around to the music. Depending on the song in their set, the theatrics are appropriate -the movements on the stage are proportional to the tone of the song: if its fast, they jump around a lot – if not, they don’t. It’s a simple setup, but effective. Thankfully, there’s only 1 quiet song so the crowd don’t stand still for very long. A little bit of a feedback issue was present, but quickly taken care of by the resident maestro of sound Jean-Claude.
Get your fix of Lace Weeper on this link.
The 6th band on the bill is Nautilus – a Stoner, Swampy, Doomy metal outfit also from Dublin. These guys are also M2TM veterans, and are very well-known around the city and outer fringes of the Pale for their shows. The songs they sing are sludgy, but the drum section is the backbone. Ripping the song into digestible chunks of fury is the bass section, providing the guitars the opportunity to shred their way through a multitude of growls, roars and blood-curdling screams. Everyone is on their feet and moving, despite not being around for most of the night. It’s easy to see why they are the crowd-pleasers that they are. They let the music speak for itself. It also sounds a little evil, but that’s just my opinion. Overdrive caught up with them last year at M2TM can safely say that they are even more of a fine tuned machine than that of last year.
Get all you need to know on Nautilus, on this link.
Last (but by no means least), is the mighty Vile Regression., battle-hardened from many a competition. They know to bring the big guns to Fibbers, and have plenty of ammo. Their sound is a furious mix of groove, thrash and old-school heavy metal, and it is poured over the crowd relentlessly. The pit is a maze of flailing elbows, shoulders, and corpses – and I’m stuck in the middle of it. You can’t help but feel helplessly enthused by VR’s music. It fills every corner of the room with its intensity and the pure ferociousness of its delivery is enough to make your hair stand on end. Every cymbal crash and every solo is perfectly times and suited to the type of genre that VR have at their disposal. Song after song insist on turning Fibbers into a heap of smouldering rubble, and as M2TM ends for yet another night, the devastation as clear as people limp or crawl away from the battleground….. Except that they are smiling.
With the night’s performance closing well past the midnight hour, the judges huddle together for what can only be a painful discussion of who will be graduation through to the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Irish Final on May 9th. Rather them than me! Tonight was just a blistering offering from some of the very finest Metal bands Ireland has to offer!
Crowd Vote – NAUTILUS
Judges Vote 1 – VILE REGRESSION
Judges Vote 2 – DEVIL WANTS HER SWAGGER BACK
The next semi-final is April 25th at 7.30pm. Turn up and support the music folks – the winner will represent Ireland as a newcomer on the metal scene. Your country needs you!
Admission is only €5 and each punter will receive an official M2TM voting slip.
Photography – Steve Dempsey; Down The Barrel Photography
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