First on for tonight is Pursuit of Ruin. The Donegal 5-piece is most definitely BOA material, without a doubt. Their heavy Pantera/Lamb of God destructive energy belongs on a stage in front of a rabid sweaty crowd of headbangers that are ready for the long hall, as the energy levels that flow from this band is just relentless.
Dimebag-worthy riffs and bowel-rupturing growls emerge from the stage from the start to the end. It is brutally heavy! The drums are slow and crushing when they need to be, and pick up the pace at breath-taking speed, but yet, they’re not too technical. They don’t need to be. The whole band carries the songs really well – they fit the part. Influenced by the likes of everything from Thin Lizzy, Metallica, Scandinavian black metal, power metal and groove metal, they are currently recording their second EP and are aiming to have it released by the summer. Pursuit of Ruin are a solid, energetic band that deserve your attention. Catch them again at “Sinocence” in Fibber Magees on March 15th. I know I will be!
Second band to grace the Fibbers stage tonight are Animator, who last took part in M2TM Ireland back in 2013. Playing for the chance to get to BOA and the chance to whip up circle pits the length and breath of the New Blood tent, Animator are sharp, focused and ready for battle. Currently in the process of writing their (admittedly), difficult second album. They tell me they are showcasing some new material tonight and see what happens.
Animator are an old-school thrash/speed metal outfit, influenced by the likes of Annihilator, Gamma Bomb and Pantera. Watching them play, the solos are awe-inspiring and the drummer looks like he’s about to drive the kit right down into the depths of hell with the might of his stick work.
The guys put their heart and soul into this performance and it oozes out of them without any bother what so ever. Animator are as tight as a band can get, with ripping riff’s, perfect delivery from each member of the band and a set that is exactly 30 mins long. These guys are going to be a serious contender for the overall M2TM prize.
Third to face the hungry mob tonight, is The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back. There is a definite Slipknot vibe from these guys, with hints here and there of Jim Root and Mick Thompson’s guitar work. The singer has the Corey Taylor-esque vocal ability, that I can see fitting nicely on the BOA stage. At this rate, the judges will have the hardest night of their life deciding who is going through to the next round, as all the bands seem to be knocking it out of the park!
The drums are so heavy that the cymbal stands look like they’ll fall over. The guys have great stage presence – they are very comfortable with the style they are laying down and the crowd love them, so that’s most of the battle! The vocals switch between harmonious and hellish in a heartbeat. Very well-rehearsed and very loud, equals stardom! Influenced by the likes of Deicide, Limp Bizkit, Bring Me the Horizon, While She Sleeps, and of course Slipknot, they have an EP out now called ‘Sign Here’, and fundraising a Slipknot tribute band as well with the guys from Within/Without (who are also BOA2015 competitors ). They are also playing the Sinocence festival on March 2015, and are another huge addition to that bill, so make sure you get your asses down to Fibbers for that.
Their reason to play Metal 2 The Masses this year, is to fulfill a dream in of getting to the UK to wreck venues up and down the country. Let’s help them get over there and beyond, The Devil Want’s Her Swagger Back deserve everything and I have a feeling that this year will a defining year for them.
My Father the King, from Portlaoise, make their way to the stage with their brand of Hard Rock to shake the bones a little. When I was speaking with them, they admit that it took a while to think of a cool name. Their influences are from the likes of Therapy?, Kerbdog, and a host of other homegrown acts. They don’t care about fame, money, glory etc., they just want to play the damn show!
There are a few tech issues that aren’t their fault (like feedback from one of the amps), and it slightly hampers their evening, but you wouldn’t know it. They reveled in the fact that they just got up and played. Their stage presence and riffage has a dirty Seattle kick to it. The crowd has thinned out though, and to be honest, they’re missing out. In true Nirvana form, the guitarist animates the outro of their last song by taking off his guitar and ramming it into the ground (that’s old-school rock n’ roll behaviour kids – take notes!), in a sheer disregard for sound equipment.
The guys are heading into Red Lake Studios soon, to put the last touches to their album (name as of yet undecided), and they hope to have it out by the summer of this year, so keep your eyes peeled.
Finally, the last band tonight, Exzeltic take to the stage and let rip. These guys are heavy as fuck and get the attention of the venue, who approach the stage like moths to a light!
With influences from a wide range of styles including Gojira to Beyonce and everything in between, they throw it all into a meat grinder. What comes out the other side is a beautiful thing indeed. The precision here is incredible. They have obviously rehearsed these songs within an inch of their lives and it shows. The lyrics are short, brutally coherent and honest. They guitars are immense: note-perfect, every single time. They are currently writing their album and have yet to start recording it, but their deadline is next summer, with a tour to follow, so brace yourself. The ultimate word in that last sentence is T-O-U-R! Go see them, you will not be disappointed!
So that’s the night that was Metal 2 The Masses Ireland Heat 5 and I’m just glad that I’m not one of the judges as they had one hell of a decision on their hands tonight.
The overall outcome for the evening was as follows:
Judges Vote – ANIMATOR
Crowd Vote – THE DEVIL WANTS HER SWAGGER BACK
Hit the graphic below for more information on the event.
Edits – Oran O’Beirne
Photography – Steve Dempsey – Down The Barrel Photography
Check out the full gallery of the official Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Ireland below.