First up on the final leg is Nautilus, a doom-based soundtrack to crumbling mountains. With a now packed venue the band feed off the electricity that hangs in the air and deliver their crushing, slow-paced jam to the growing crowd. As we know from last year, Nautilus has gusto in spades and today is no different. They kick us in the guts from start to finish, because they know that this is the last chance saloon.
Describing their M2TM 2015 journey as something like a roller coaster with no track, they have thoroughly enjoyed every chance to play in front of tonight’s Metal hungry crowd. When asked who they would like to see go to Bloodstock 2015, and their answer was Snowblind. Out of the bands that didn’t make the final 6, they would have liked to have seen Corr Mhona or Alpheidae progress to the final stage. Nautilus have plans for a new full length album which should hopefully be released by August/September. Keep your bloodshot eyes wide open for Nautilus as they plan to steamroll through the Irish Metal scene, leaving behind them a trail of destruction and a lot of empty beer cans!
Nautilus is a tough act to follow, The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back have their work cut out for them. But the bitch of it is, they don’t make it look like work. It’s effortless, and they have fun doing it. Fibber Magees gets turned not just upside down, but also inside out! (I will admit I had a Shawn Crahan moment involving a table and a bar stool). The drumming and singing fuels a pit that I haven’t seen in Fibber Magees for a while complete with crowd surfing and complementary beer shower.
Even a few of us from Overdrive got in on the action there! TDWHSB informed me that they’d have liked Alpheidae to go through, and I don’t blame them. They are all friends in this competition, and when the BOA supremo Simon Hall takes the stage for the first time this evening, he says he loves it that competing band members get in on the action and support the other groups (with a nod to members of Nautilus, who are losing their shit in the moshpit… one of the benefits of being on first, I suppose!) TDWHSB firmly state that the best thing about this competition is hearing people sing their songs. Steven Tyler from Aerosmith said the same thing… it shows that no matter how high on the food chain you are, the buzz is still the same if you remain true to your roots. These guys are going places. Fact.
Next up to show their moxie are Snowblind. Describing their trek through the competition as quick, with great crowds and great craic, they aim to get another EP out by the end of the summer. They would pick Animator to win if they didn’t, win tonight, but were very disappointed that Corr Mhona didn’t get this far. As with all of the other bands in this clash, they are all mates. And their mates turned out in droves to get down and dirty with the band. The pit opened up, the seas parted, and the crowd was split into two. Cue the wall of death!! Solos are all over the songs, and their off-beat but perfectly timed tempo changes heighten the breakdowns when they happen. This is just fucking insanity. Plain and simple. Their sound is effortless and is dripping with hints from Iron Maiden galloping bass lines to Budgie to Motorhead. To say that they don’t level the place is an understatement. Having tried out with Metal 2 The Masses in 2013, Snowblind are a band that are simply outstanding at what they do and I have no doubt in my mind that they will be snapped up by a label in the very near future.
Fourth in line to chamber the round in the barrel is Theories Divide. These guys got to the final last year as well, and they are Overdrive familiars. Now, when I say that the other bands were good (and I mean good), Theories Divide were the band that everyone had to beat, because these guys took no prisoners. They weren’t just a band, they were consummate professionals from start to finish. You would swear that they were doing this all their lives. Comfortable and easy going lads off-stage, once on the stage they are fucking monsters. I sat down with them before the gig, and when the hands stopped trembling, they put it to me that of all the bands tonight, TDWHSB or Vile Regression should get to the Bloodstock stage.
They would have chosen Negative Result (last years entries) or Alpheidae to get to the finals at least, but that didn’t happen. They lost a man along the way, citing creative differences, which is a hard line to walk when it’s a friend, but this is music – this is where dreams are made. And it’s a dream to get to Bloodstock for Theories Divide. Their next gig is in Waterford on May 30th, so anyone around should check them out. But bring a helmet. As soon as these guys hit the stage, their personalities change. Their facial expressions change. It’s like Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-type shit! Every single man on that stage brought 100% to that show. This was where it either ended or begun for them. The crowd interaction was incredible – everyone was just losing their shit left, right and center to these guys. They don’t even know how they got here, only that they wanted something bad enough to put the weeks and months of relentless practice in. It poured out of them during their show and the fans knew it.
“Re-gress-shun! Re-gress-shun! Re-gress-shun!” fills the venue. So far, it seems that the decision to pick a band may cost Simon Hall a few night’s sleep. Vile Regression take the stage to plough through the mighty and meek alike, that so far, amazingly showing no signs of tiredness. National Buckfast Day may have had a hand in that. The guys knew that they had to up their game tonight and as they tore Fibbers a new arsehole there was not a still body in the venue! When asked who they would liked to have seen progress to Bloodstock they picked Snowblind to go through if they didn’t win. And out of the fallen bands that didn’t make it to the last night, Black Svan or Corr Mhona were more than able. Like last year, these guys are tough on themselves, they like to push the envelope; to chase the horizon and really put themselves to the test to be the best they can be. They stand in front of us, weapons at the ready……..and unleash Hell itself.
The carnage that this band caused was shocking. Fibbers nearly fell over… the thunderous sounds of a booming bass guitar coupled with a crashing drum snare with double kick pedals, guttural vocals and some of the best shred work I’ve seen all night. It was fantastic to watch and seeing the fans react to the music was something that will stick in my mind for a while to come. Even the Overdrive crew got into gear and showed some of the younger kids how it was done back in the day! This was the final, so why not enjoy it like everyone else? Vile Regression’s music was heavy as hell, and it was violent. The singer’s commands to the audience to “Fuck shit up!!” did not go unheeded, and that was exactly what happened.
As Animator take to the stage, signaling the last performance of the evening, the crowd wait patiently for a line check and with Overdrive boss Oran O’Beirne’s introduction the venue explodes like a fucking power keg! With hints of bands from Nuclear Assault, Pantera, Exodus and Metallica, this band are versatile and well capable of wowing the crowd. Supporting Sodom earlier this year in Dublin’s Voodoo Lounge, this gig is a walk in the park for these guys and they could do it with their eyes closed. Guitarist Ryan effortlessly plays lick after lick while Darren and Barry keep time so tight that one slip up would be noticed. Vocalist James demands the attention of the audience like a storyteller around a campfire and the crowd cannot rip their eyes away from the marvel before them. Playing the hits that supporters came to see nothing could compare to the intrigue that was brought on by this band’s anthem Destination Animation. The sheer excitement of the band and their fans alike has gained them a room full of followers. Finishing the night on a high note the crowd stick around to chat to and congratulate the band on their incredible show of ability.
Catch Animator supporting Nuclear Assault on Sunday July 19th in Dublin’s Voodoo Lounge. Get more information on this link.
The next 15 minutes are excruciating as Simon Hall made his decision. With the time now approaching 1am, finally Overdrive’s Oran O’Beirne approached the mic to say a few things about the journey from September of 2014 when Overdrive and Jetrocker Events began working on this years campaign. It’s hard to imagine all the bands that have played this years events since January and now the moment of truth is upon us!
As Bloodstock official Simon Hall takes to the mic, it’s visible that this has been a very difficult decision for the man and I would not liked to have been in his shoes! As the entire staff and capacity of Fibber’s hung on his every word, Simon dropped a bomb by informing us that there will be two bands playing at this years Bloodstock Festival. With wide eyed gasps of surprise throughout the venue, the first band announced was Snowblind who will be playing the Jägermeister stage and Animator who will be performing on the New Blood Stage!
Nobody saw that coming and to have two bands chosen to play this years festival was kind of mind blowing and a testament to just how rich in talent the Irish Metal scene really is.
So there we have it folks: 6 bands, 1 decision, albeit a tough one to make. This is where it could all start for 1 lucky group, so hats off to each band who put themselves through the mill. Props to the Oran O’Beirne and Gavan Duffy of Overdrive for having me on board to do the interviews, reviews and other tom-fuckery. Cheers to Kev Kirwan of Jetrocker Events for artist booking, event production and general day to day running of the 2015 Ireland Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses. Not forgetting Robbie McCabe of EHT Promotions for his help with show production and stage management. Not forgetting all the staff of Fibber Magees for their patience and tasty refreshing beverages. A huge shout out to Steve Dempsey from Planet Mosh and Down The Barrel Photography for his relentless dedication to Irish Metal and his outstanding ability to make us all look half decent. Thanks to Simon Hall from Bloodstock Open Air for being a fucking legend, and thanks to all you hardcore Overdriver’s for taking this journey with us. See you all in 2016!
Review by Shaun Martin and Karyn Corrigan
Photography – Steve Dempsey : Down The Barrel Photography © 2015
Overdrive © 2015
SEE THE ORIGINAL THRASH / FUNK METAL BAND MORDRED SMASH UP FIBBERS BEFORE THEY HIT THE STAGE AT BLOODSTOCK. MORDRED INFLUENCED RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, ANTHRAX, KORN, LIMP BIZKIT AND FAITH NO MORE TO NAME A FEW! THIS WILL BE THE BANDS ONLY SHOW IN IRELAND IN 2015! HIT THE LINK BELOW FOR TICKETS!
Get the full gallery from the night below! Please ask permission to use photography.