Tomorrow night’s remaining six bands will play one of the most important shows of their career in front of one Simon Hall, the ‘all-seeing, all-hearing’ booking agent for one of the UK’s and Europe’s premium Metal Festivals.
And one band will be chosen to represent Ireland on the New Blood Stage in Catton Hall, Derbyshire over the weekend of August 8th-11th.
Let’s take a closer look at the final six bands that will be taking to the stage in Fibber Magees tomorrow night for the 2019 Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Ireland Grand Final.
Brutal, death/tech post metalcore intensity is a given when it comes to AeSect. A Dublin-based five-piece that have stormed through this years heats thanks to their razor sharp and catchy-as-fuck arsenal of riffs. More info here.
A three-piece sonic destroyer describing themselves as “Stripped down metal from the core members of Galway metal band Negativ Result.” These chaps throw down chunky roundhouse riffs that pack a serious crunch and drenched in large offerings of groove. More info here.
Grunge/stoner hard rock beasts that are simply brimming over with outrageous talent, personality, and swagger. Creep’s distinctive sound is that of a post-grunge haze of Sabbath bong juice woven through a delicate and infectious echo of the infamous “Seattle Sound”. A band that are going places, fast. Just try and stop them. I dare you….
More info here.
The biggest question we’ve heard this year has been; “Where did Fornoth come from?” and my answer is; “What matters is Fornoth are here, NOW!” This band is a hurricane of galloping, melodic, dark and interesting arrangements and in the same light, uplifting and captivating in every way. They are an entity of power and to experience them live is like stepping into a fast-moving freight train. Get ready for mass windmilling and synchronized head-banging.
More info here.
Galway three-piece Organ Blender dives deep into the nasty blackened caves of underground extreme metal without losing the clarity, melody and intelligent arrangements that most bands of their ilk tend to do, over and over again.
Taking elements of early Carcass, Death and buzzsaw Thrash to the cleaners, Organ Blender has been one of this year’s big surprises and I know that they will no doubt up their game tomorrow night for what is definitely, the biggest show of their history to date.
More info here.
Think colossal musical arrangments that were created by the Gods themselves (the cool Greek ones with weapons and stuff) and that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Old Season.
Six humans that are the architects of complex, thought-provoking, giant sonic thunderous anthems, delivered with the sharpness and precision of a trained killer. Bloodstock was built for a band like Old Season.
More info here.
We spoke to all the bands ahead of tomorrow night to get their feelings about the Irish metal scene, taking part in Metal 2 The Masses Ireland and more…
AeSect – (Tony) This is my first M2TM as a performer, so it has been an amazing experience for me personally. I’ve been attending the events for many years now and had previously supported AeSect each time they had played. It feels great to now be a part of this band and the competition.
For M2TM this year we have a new sound and I feel that with me at the helm, we have the edge now! Each heat we have played has been full of top talent and it really shows that metal and heavy music is well and truly alive in Ireland.
Black Shuck – (Ian) Well it’s been a really good experience for us (being in the final) but even just the crowds we got to play in front of and the bands we have met in our heats makes it a great experience for any band.
Creep – (Paul) It’s been amazing so far. It’s great to see so many amazing bands under the same roof. It’s the bands third year doing it, my first and I have loved every second of it.
Fornoth – Thanks, we were not expecting anywhere near this response and it’s really confirmed the appeal of great riffs and old fashioned heavy metal which we love. Crowd reactions have been – for want of a better word – insane.
As a result of our low expectations, we were quite lax with invitations to our heat, but the reaction of crowds who had no idea of us has been overwhelming.
Seeing our impact, we began to consider how we could branch out musically from our original influences – we’ve learned a lot and if you look at our set from our heat compared with our current set, you can see the evolution.
Old Season – We’ve really enjoyed it all so far! Playing to different (and overall, younger) crowds than we usually would is a good experience.
When they don’t really know Old Season or our past material and just listen to the music fresh, but still enjoy it, that’s great. It’s also good getting to know the other bands a bit and treating it like a mini-festival in its own right.
That said, it can be a bit hectic running on stage and getting everything set up without eating into our set! Luckily JC on sound is no-nonsense as always and doesn’t waste any time, though I wish we could find a way of having our drummer’s kit set up and just lifting it onto the stage in one go!
Organ Blender – It’s been a great experience taking part and meeting new people in the scene from all over the country!
AeSect – (Tony) I have become a fan of so many bands during this competition, but the stand out acts for me so far have been Scathed, Organ Blender & Black Shuck. These bands have shown us great support, especially Scathed who all came out to our last heat, even though we were up against them in the competition, this to me is what metal is all about, the comradery!
Black Shuck – (Ian) Fornoth would be the stand out one for us. Dirty Power were also very good.
Creep – Dirty Power. I was really impressed with them. I loved their unique style. They will go far. Also, Imrama…
Fornoth – Yes! We’ve all been pleasantly surprised at the range and quality of the bands performing this year. Most of us were relatively alien to the local scene before this year and now that we’ve seen what it has to offer, we’re glad to be part of it.
Bands such as Black Shuck and Organ Blender have really enlivened our enthusiasm for the up-and-coming local music.
Old Season – Quite a few! From our heat, I remember really enjoying Screaming Giants and Scathed, and of course, Creep who co-won our semi-final. Must be said too that every band we’ve shared the stage with so far has been extremely tight and given everything.
Organ Blender – First time I got to see AeSect play they’re set, awesome band! Also ‘The Virgin Converters‘ caught me off guard, got some Mr.Bungle vibes off them! Very engaging live performance.
AeSect – (Everyone) The Irish Metal scene has copious amounts of talent right now, especially in the younger generation. Musicians are utilising technology and really using it to their advantage to make great music at home to bring to the stage and are not afraid to experiment with different sound and genres. Virgin Converters are a prime example of a band that brought that and more to M2TM this year.
Black Shuck – (Ian) I think it’s in a really good state if you look at all the high-quality metal band’s playing at the moment, Ten Ton Slug, This Place Hell, Dead Label, Grey Stag, Bailer. Just to name a few.
Creep – I think it’s incredible. Being able to play with so many top bands is awesome. I would love to have an outdoor festival somewhere, with a list of these bands, because it would be just as good as the other festivals held in Ireland, maybe better.
Fornoth – I think that it’s an interesting environment to be in: there are plenty of bands that bring something unique to the table, but that is often drowned out by the general desire for what’s safe and immediately rewarding.
There are a lot of pseudo-cover bands and I think that this is not just down to the bands themselves but also audiences and venues not willing to stick their head above the parapets.
A lot of acts are cookie-cutter crowd pleasers because that’s what sells tickets.
The fact that Ireland is such a small country means that although we have a good proportion of great, novel bands the outright numbers aren’t enough to really make waves on an international level.
Old Season – As far as talent goes, there’s no shortage of it! So in that regard, it’s in a healthy place, but sadly with venues like the Tivoli closing recently it can be a real kick in the teeth to everyone who makes this scene what it is.
Obviously, it would be great for us to have an equivalent festival to the likes of Bloodstock, but I don’t know how feasible it would be in a country this small, metal doesn’t really pull in huge crowds unless it’s an iconic band like Maiden or Metallica. Luckily, we do have the Siege of Limerick, which for years has consistently been one of the best things about metal in Ireland.
Organ Blender – It seems to be growing steadily, more and more quality bands are popping up all over the country. Its noticeably bigger than say even 5 years ago. Competitions like this and local gigs are what keeps this stuff alive.
AeSect – (Tony) We should be supporting our own homegrown talent a bit more! What I mean by this is that when an Irish act has been announced for a major band support slot, don’t be the asshole who only goes for the main act because you don’t know who the local support is. As the saying goes “your favorite band was once a local band”. That’s just my 2 cents though!
Black Shuck – (Ian) It’s getting better but people are very hesitant to support local band’s because they aren’t the big four so local gigs can suffer if it has a cover charge.
Creep – (Liam) Metal as a genre in Ireland is unreservedly swept under the rug by mainstream media because there are so many metal fans in this country that have nowhere to listen to good Irish metal. There are very few venues that provide it.
Fornoth – To elaborate on this, metal is advancing in the same way as many industries in Ireland: the homogenisation of culture is working against innovation and the wholesale vending of chant-along metalcore or Metallica-worshipping thrash is getting tiring.
If there was one thing we could change about metal and its place in Ireland then it would be to challenge that malaise, and will need a concerted effort from bands, venues, and audiences to push out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves so we can’t claim to offer an easy fix here…
Old Season– I suppose the main thing would be domestic press actually acknowledging metal bands, if you only got your music news from the mainstream press, you probably wouldn’t even know we had a metal scene!
Organ Blender – I think some people might see it as a negative until they see a show first hand and feel the energy.
AeSect – (Tony) Do it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by entering, even if you don’t make it to the very end! In this competition, expect to meet great people from all over the country and see a lot of the other great talent that this small island has been hiding from you. It really is a no brainer, whether you’re a well-established act, or a newcomer, everyone should aim to play M2TM at least once.
Black Shuck – (Ian) It has to be top of the list for any metal new or old, great gigs and great bands.
Creep – I would strongly recommend it! Whether or not you don’t get through your heat, the exposure you get is incredible. You get top class Photography from Steve (Dempsey) from Down the Barrel Photography and get to play in front of a huge crowd. There is no reason why anybody shouldn’t do it.
Fornoth – Metal 2 the Masses is a pretty singular opportunity for even unknown bands (as we were at the time we applied for consideration) to get known and acquire experience playing in front of a large crowd.
It is, of course, a huge confidence boost to all involved, the response is phenomenal and it’s always encouraging to see crowds willing to support the Irish metal scene.
More than anything, it’s a great resume of the national scene as bands from across the country don’t always get the chance to gather like this and it’s a great way for bands to network outside of their normal circles.
Old Season – I would definitely say do it! The worst possible outcome is you play a gig in Fibbers, and chances are it’ll be packed too. Just treat it like a showcase gig without worrying or stressing too much about the competitive element and put your best foot forward. If you’re a young band, in particular, win or lose it’s a good opportunity.
Organ Blender – I’d tell them to do it in a heartbeat. It’s a great way to interact with people and bands in the scene. Judges give feedback in written reviews on ‘Overdrive‘ from which to hone your skills, this is vital to any band. As a new band, this competition helped us out greatly.
The 2019 Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Grand Final takes place tomorrow night (Saturday, May 18th) in Dublin’s Fibber Magees. Doors from 7 pm and admission of €10.
Special guests Ten Ton Slug will be performing after all six finalists and you can also win full weekend camping tickets to Bloodstock Open Air and Pre-Sale Passes to Volbeat with Baroness and Danko Jones in Dublin’s Olympia on October 4th.