With guest judges Dead Label, (who will be playing at this years Bloodstock) here tonight to offer their ears and opinions on tonight’s performances, there is also a truck load of local bands hanging out and enjoying the atmosphere. Members of Aesect, Red Enemy, Nautilus, Vile Regression, Call To Arms, Between Horizons, Subsist and Saint Slaughter are milling around the main floor, sucking down cold beers and talking shop. It’s a great site to see!
Taking to the stage tonight to open proceedings is Devolted, who are no strangers to Metal 2 The Masses. With his trademark leopard skin suit, vocalist/bassist Raf welcomes the packed venue with a mighty roar of “are you fucking ready for Devolted?” to which a near deafening response is given. The four piece blast through their set with the confidence and swagger of a headlining stadium act. Three songs in and drummer Dom (now topless) stands on his drum stool baiting the crowd while the rest of the guys, work up a tremendous sweat as they throw everything into their performance.
As the venue get’s steadily busier, a sizeable crowd force themselves to the lip of the stage to witness the sheer brutality of Enshrind. This Dublin four piece just explode with energy and address the crowd better than any main stage festival act. Singer / guitarist Sam Gorman holds centre stage like a hungry lion, spitting and screaming lyrics to the organised chaos that Enshirned do so very well. Guitarist Conor Spierin is a blur of intense wind milling as he pushes his guitar the limits. Die hard bangers populate the front of the stage giving 100% to the band and as they take Metal 2 the Masses to the next level before finishing their set, all which can be heard throughout the entire venue is the chanting of the bands name!
Animator are up next and as always, open up a can of supreme arse kicking Thrash quality! Every time this band performs, they seem to get better and better! Complex riffs that are served with perfection, precision and deadly force is the name of the game and Animator are delivering all three tonight to a crowd that are lapping it up as fast as the band are dishing it out! Animator are without a doubt, one of the cardinal Thrash bands that Ireland has to offer and how they are not signed to a label at this point is mind boggling! Catch the guys as support for Nuclear Assault on July 19th with Gamma Bomb and Psykosis.
Continuing with the nights line up, see’s Megacone take to the stage and launch into their eccentric, quirky and mesmerising virtuoso performance. There is a mysterious unpredictability to the bands compositions and as they twist and turn through a maze of tempo changes, flocks of punters move towards the stage and wallow in the warm hazy glow of their prog journey through time and space. The band offer moments of intense heaviness and equally balanced melody, similar to the likes of Russian Circles, Tool and Animals as Leaders, but all the while keeping a totally unique and refreshing feel to the music.
Welcomed back to the Metal 2 the Masses stage to thunderous roars of approval is none other than Black Svan, who levelled the place back on the first heat in January. You will be hard pushed to find a more focused band that literally live for their music. Powerhouse vocalist Keith Caffrey sounds insanely good as he pours his heart and soul into his performance. The band sound huge and when they blast out their monstrous riffs, not a single head in venue can be stopped from nodding along to the groove. With Fibber’s now rammed with punters, Black Svan put on one hell of a show that shows just how insanely good these guys are.
Sporting a new bass player, Theories Divide kick off their set with a level of determination and intensity that literally causes aftershocks to the back of the venue to the unsuspecting bar flies. Vocalist Gareth Quinn looks possessed as he commands the stage with brutal force. Considering the line up changes, Theories Divide sound on point and fully charged. As finalists from last years M2TM, we knew what to expect from the guys, but were unprepared for the passion that translated from the stage. Theories Divide has a hunger tonight that drives them forward at a steady speed taking out anything in their way.
Our final band of the evening is the mighty Snowblind, who have more than proven themselves in the past when performing live. As the main floor in Fibbers opens up like the gates of hell and bodies are being flung left and right, it’s hard not to find yourself dumbfounded by just how excellent Snowblind are. The three members make one unholy racket that has the force of a 1000 tornado’s. Factor in the mind boggling time changes and galloping rhythm’s laying under their majestic mountain sized riffs and you might just come close to perfection in its loudest form.
After what can only be described as one of the most nail biting semi-finals we have had to date. A record number of votes came pouring in and when we did the count and had our discussion as to how we could possibly pick the finalists. Taking into account the stage presence, the pre-promotion and the overall performance of each band, we came to the following decision.
Crowd Vote – THEORIES DIVIDE
Judges Vote . – SNOWBLIND & ANIMATOR
The 2015 Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Final will take place in Fibber Magees on May 9th with performances from ANIMATOR, THE DEVIL WANTS HER SWAGGER BACK, NAUTILUS, VILE REGRESSION, THEORIES DIVIDE and SNOWBLIND. Tickets will be available from the door on the night of the performance with early bird prices at €5.00 between 7pm and 8pm and €10.00 there after.
Please click on the graphic below for the event page where you will find more details.
Tickets for Bloodstock are now on sale and selling faster than Dave Lombardo’s right bass drum kick, so you better get your arse in gear and bag one before they all sell out! Click on the graphic below for Bloodstock Tickets and information.
Words – Oran O’Beirne
Photo’s – Steve Dempsey; Down The Barrel Photography 2015
Check out the full gallery from the M2TM semi-final B below.