A lot can be said for the current health of the Irish Metal scene right now. An amazing amount of bands are surfacing from all parts of the country, dripping with hunger and riffs that would have Mr. Iommi grinning from ear to ear. The Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses was a perfect example for Overdrive to take stock of just what kind of bands are out there. What we witnessed over the last twenty weeks was nothing short of amazing. A staggering amount of unique artists, who have dedicated their lives to supporting and contributing to the growing number of outstanding Metal bands from all over the country is a statement of how healthy the scene is and long may it continue.
The six bands that performed on Saturday night are all worthy of playing Bloodstock or any other major gig for that matter. Aesect, Alpheidae, Dead Label, Killface, Psykosis and Theories Divide each took to the stage and leveled the venue in their own way.
Upon arrival at the venue, there was an electric current of excitement, anxiety and as always, the tear jerking comrade that we are so very lucky to have amongst the Irish bands taking part. To see all the band members laughing, hanging out, swapping stories and generally ripping the piss out of each other meant only one thing, regardless of who wins the Metal 2 The Masses tonight, the true winners are all involved in the Irish scene that continues to gain strength, courage and quality bands.
Supporting each other and helping out when we can is first and foremost, the most important ingredient when it comes to our beloved genre of music. The music has shaped our lives, molded our views on the environment around us, influenced our decisions on how we look, think and have given us an escape from the frustrating corrupt mess we all have to deal with on a daily basis, thanks to the fucktards who continue to run this planet into the ground. So, yes it’s important to support each others music, which will in turn keep venues like Fibber’s and hundreds more up and down the country open for years to come.
With short straws pulled, the line up is agreed with 1.Killface, 2. Aesect, 3. Dead Label, 4. Psykosis, 5. Alpheidae, and finally 6. Theories Divide who are all ready to get down to business. And just in time, as our most honored guest of the night, Mr. Simon Hall (vocalist of Beholder, Bloodstock official judge and an all round incredibly loveable bastard) enters the venue, hungry for Guinness and ready to get some audio Metal porn rammed into his ear holes!
Killface take to the stage with such aggression and fury that their fist song “Within The Labyrinth, Madness Evolves” is worthy of an encore! Killface are tight as fuck and proceed to destroy all that stand before them, all the while attracting the punters who are lingering at the back of the venue towards the stage like moths to a oil lamp. With only 3o minutes for each band to do as much damage as possible, Killface have used their time with bone shaking results leaving huge boots to fill for Aesect who are up next.
A brief introduction from Simon on stage, keeps the crowds busy as he tosses out some free T-shirts and announces a raffle for the night, where tickets for Bloodstock can be won. This generates a buzz of excitement around the now packed venue and creates a perfect atmosphere for Aesect who make their way through the crowd carrying their guitars like vikings carrying swords into battle.
An intro tape commands the crowd to the front of the stage as Aesect suddenly launch into their blistering performance. The first pit of the evening opens up and leading the charge is non other than man about town and Aesect vocalist Shane Keirnan. Aesect just command phenomenal stage presence and generate frantic organised chaos in the pit. Bodies are being flung, lifted, dragged and spun in glorious madness as Keirnan pushes for more. Each song comes blasting out of the house P.A with precision, clarity and astounding ability. Finishing off their set with stage dives and huge grins from ear to ear, it’s safe to say that Aesect just upped the level on tonight’s performances.
With another super fast change over and barley time to get the beers in, Dead Label take to the stage and fucking annihilate straight off the bat! Again, for any of you who have not heard Dead Label, they are a three piece machine that have the ability to pummel you into next week in a matter of seconds!
Tonight is no exception, Fibbers is packed and lapping up every minute of the performance. Front and center in the crowd are members from all the participating bands knocking back the beers and getting involved in the true spirit of Metal 2 The Masses. A truly great sight to see. With what seemed like only a matter of minutes, Dead Label are wishing everybody the best of luck and as they leave the stage the chat around the venue confirms that they have most certainly knocked the hot shit out of everybody in attendance tonight!
The sight of white, hairy chicken legs in multicolored bermuda shorts with hi-top trainers can mean only two things. You are dreaming that you woke up in Scott Ian’s 1986 wardrobe while he was changing, or your about to see Irish Thrash Metal beer drinking legends Psykosis get down to business! Luckily it’s the latter of the two. Psykosis take to the stage and instantly have the place stomping around the main floor, spilling beer and head banging like lunatics!
The four piece blast through their set list, all the while keeping the humorous stage banter rolling. Old school denim jackets littered with patches, pollute the front of the stage as bodies scale the ceiling of the venue back towards the sound desk and back again. Psykosis are on fire tonight and look as happy as pigs in shit on stage!
Alpheidae are up next and with the majority of the venue getting in the rounds of beer and the other half draining it out in the glamorous Fibber’s toilets, the opening sounds of the five piece creates a bustle from the back of the venue as the punters rush to get as close to the stage as possible. Armed with a set list that highlights the bands unique sound, Alpheidae hammer through each song with such intensity and determination that has the attention of the entire venue in a matter of minutes. Vocalist Calvin Singleton’s tone reaches depths of the unholy at points as he battles the unforgiving on stage heat. The Metal 2 The Masses army of fans soak it all up and hold on to the monitors all the while pounding the stage with their fists in approval.
The final band of the night and in some cases the most terrifying slot of the evening is left to Theories Divide who come out the cages and take the heads of the first four rows of punters. A mass of black T’s with the bands logo on it are infest the front of the stage and it becomes clear that a lot of people have come out to show support for the guys tonight. Theories Divide waste no time in whipping the crowd into a whirlwind of sweat, beer and zero bullshit. This is a band that love what they do and enjoy it more than most. The four piece spend their thirty minutes just charging at full steam and looking for blood.
As with every band tonight, the roars of approval are defining as each performance finishes. The sweet smell of unity and respect for each band is thick in the air and dripping down the walls. Each and every band performed with outstanding passion, heart and soul. The unfortunate task of picking a winner fall’s on the head of Simon, who seems clearly blown away with all the bands of the evening.
However, there can only be one winner and with a short speech from Simon thanking all involved for the support and effort, the time has arrived for the winner to be announced. With no drum roll required, Mr. Hall bellows the winners for the Irish Metal 2 The Masses as Psykosis, who just explode with surprise and emotion upon Simon’s announcement!
A deafening roar fills the venue and as members of the crowd share hugs and beer, we have sadly found ourselves at the end of Overdrive‘s fist year running the Metal 2 The Masses. We are humbled by the support we have received and especially want to thank each and every band for taking part in this extraordinary journey since January this year as well as photographers, sound-men, security, venue staff and the Overdrive Team.
Our plans for Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses 2015 have already began with many improvements to make this a much bigger and better event for all involved. Our main focus is on the Irish Metal scene and how we can maximize the exposure for each band and ultimately generate interest from not only local press, but interest from labels and promoters outside of Ireland.
Words – Oran O’Beirne
Photography – Steve Dempsey: Down The Barrel Photography