First up tonight is Road Rash. Pardon my selfishness, but I can only think of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild” when I think of these guys (and girl). Brought together by a love of metal and motorbikes (they design and build their own), they share the same love of atmospheric, doomy metal. From the heart of Roscrea in Co. Tipperary, they applied to BOA2015 to realise a dream to play alongside some of the biggest names on the scene.
Although they are the first band on tonight, their enthusiasm doesn’t falter, as they make damn sure everyone knows why they’re here. They are influenced by a wide variety of musical tastes, from The Doors, to black metal and everything is between, (with some classical thrown in there too), and topped off with Electric Wizard. From the word go, the atmospheric tones are apparent. It’s excellent stuff! Their riffs are hard and catchy, and as I sat down with them after their gig, I could hear it in the way they spoke that it would be an awesome event if they were to get to BOA2015.
Enthusiasm goes a long way, rather than just going through the motions. These guys have enthusiasm is spades. They like to be pushed outside their comfort barrier, making themselves work to create music they are proud of, and after hearing it first-hand, they should be very proud indeed! They are currently in the middle of writing an album right now, and aim to hit the recording studio in the summer. A band that has buckets of potential and well worth checking out.
For more information on Road Rash, hit this link.
Second band tonight is Snowblind, from Dublin who took part in the 2014 Metal 2 The Masses. They are no stranger to the BOA selection process, as they have spent the last 2 years trying to get to that stage. That’s dedication, ladies and gentlemen. They lads want to hit BOA hard to show the world that they are here ready to kick your ass and want to let every person know it!
Fresh faced and hungry, they take the stage and blitz the place. There are hair whips everywhere. From the starting second, it’s just 100%, hammer down, ad foot on the gas. This is a band that deftly wants to get to the new blood stage. I can hear crushing guitar riffs, bone-breaking drums and bass, and guttural growls from the stage. They are after releasing an EP and want to have another later in the year. Influenced by the likes of Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Dream Theater, and Gojira, their music speaks for itself as I watch Fibbers get torn a new arse.
Really pleasant guys to chat to as well, because nobody wants an interview with a self-obsessed poser! I’m blown away be the ease of their conversation – it’s like I knew them in school (which I didn’t), but the jokes flow like old friends. The singer will rattle the earth if he gets a chance to speak at the festival, and it’s really hard to not like these guys, but it’s the job I have to do. This band will go far. I hope they stay at what they’re at, because Ireland needs them.
For more information on Snowblind, hit this link.
Third in line is Devolted, another BOA2014 devotee. There is a saying that is currently doing the rounds on the internet. It goes “yay, look upon the field in which I grow the fucks I give; you shall see that it is barren”. That is a certainty with this band. The only thing they care about is music. Its heavy, its old school thrash, and it’s executed superbly by al 4 members. The singer, dressed in a leopard-print suit, carries out his duties without any difficulty whatsoever. He’s comfortable; all the guys on stage are comfortable and it shows.
Hailing from both Ireland and Poland, this inter-European ensemble has their roots in The Big Four, and it pours out of them like a river. Hitting the BOA2015 queue for band recognition and following the launch of their EP a few months ago, Devolted are one of the dark horses of the underground metal scene in Dublin. Influenced by the likes of Slayer, Metallica et al., they also cite Motorhead and Danzig among their heroes. Kudos to them for the job they did tonight, as their guitarist only joined them 5 days ago. Listening to them play, there’s no difference in hearing him play if he was with them for 5 months!
For more information on Devolted, hit this link.
Excellent band with excellent sound and a most excellent playing style, which belongs on-stage. The riffs are thick and fast, the melodies are glorious, and the drum section knows the tunes like the back of their hand. I caught them at last year’s M2TM, and they were a little loose around the edges. This year, they were superfluous. I can’t say in this article if they got through or not, but I want to see them again!
Fourth band up is Chemical Sacrament. They are very heavy and very fast – they remind me a bit of Exodus at times and a nice bunch of lads to chat with as well. From Dublin and Kildare, they’ve been together about 3 ½ years. As far as originality goes, I love their riffs. The lyrics are low and angry, infused with a “fuck you, buddy!” attitude. I get the feeling they like to play around with different styles and different genres in their tunes, which is awesome.
For more information on Chemical Sacrament, hit this link.
Metalcore, black metal, power, thrash – you name it, it’s in there. It’s fantastic to listen to. The point of applying to BOA is to have as much fun as possible trying to achieve as much as possible doing it. Gigantic Mastodon fans also (and Lamb of God, which makes me very happy indeed), they make a plan of reaching as many people as possible with their hellish booming sounds. They have a location for their first album recording studio (a secret location), and are gigging as much as possible to fund it. They are an awesome band that is very much worth the effort to go and see. Chemical Sacrament is their name – you heard it here first folks: this is one band that will not disappoint. They write constantly, and draw their influences from far and wide. It shows in their music that they not only are huge fans of metal, but also very talented songwriters; their chord progressions and harmonies work very well together and the wordings of their songs are structured to make the dead want to get up and mosh and fuck shit up!
For more information on Chemical Sacrament, hit this link.
Enshrined are up next and are by far the heaviest band of the night. They are so heavy that the drummer came out from behind the kit asking for a weight to put in front of it! Boasting Dublin and Kildare roots, they’ve been together for about 3 and a half years. As they progress, the crowd gathers to see who’s making all the noise. The band unfortunately sounds out of tune for some of their songs, and I get a real Killswitch Engage vibe here.
It’s a real shame that the sound is making their set suffer. But the show must go on! Their reason to apply to BOA is to break out into the metal scene and play with some of the big dogs in the yard. I say yard, because that’s what the metal scene is in Dublin right now: not as big as it should be! It needs bands that want to go out there and wreck the gaff, and Enshrined are one of those bands. They lay music because they like to play music – nothing more. To make a career of it is a dream. And there are good gig possibilities in something like BOA. They are constantly writing new tunes and aiming for another single release in the summertime. Trivium, Lamb of God and Machine Head are big influences here, and you can hear some of those driven, crunchy riffs echo throughout the set. It’s a tragedy that the tuning lets them down, as I really think that if they tighten up those machineheads, it would be a killer set and it would murder their competition. But hey – it’s not like this is their last gig ever!
For more information on Enshrined, hit this link.
Last, but by no means least is Conscriptor. The point of applying to BOA is exposure and meeting new people and new bands. They know that they are good, and the bands around them are good, so if they want to get to BOA, they better up the ante and not be just good, but be the best. It forces them to be the best, because if they aren’t, they’re going nowhere. Never truer words spoken!
They start their set hard and fast and heavy as hell, but the dwindling crowd isn’t there to pay the dues that Conscriptor deserve. Currently writing an album, along with an EP due in the summer, they never stop working. The drumming is perfect and the singing suits the type of music they are playing. It’s angry and loud enough to convey that these lads know what they’re doing. I can’t help but feel that one of their guitars fell out of tune though, but this was quickly rectified. It (slightly), tarnished what I thought was the best band so far. They are also a dead sound shower (I seem to be meeting nothing but legends tonight!). After the interview had ended, they left me with parting word: “if it’s not at 500bpm, then it ain’t worth fuckin’ playing!”
Amen to that, brother!
For more information on Conscriptor, hit this link.
The performances for the evening were staggering and leaves me feeling very proud indeed of our beloved Irish Metal scene in 2015. Roll on heat 5.
Judges vote – Snowblind
Crowd vote – Devolted
With another successful heat bagged and tagged the focus is now on Heat 5 which takes place on Saturday March 7th. Hit the graphic below for all the details.
Photography – Steve Dempsey: Down The Barrel Photography
Check out the full gallery below;
For more information on Bloodstock 2015, click on the graphic below.