Posted on by Oran

Heat 3 of the annual Irish Metal/Underground showcase campaign gets underway in Ireland’s capital with another batch of hopefuls who are all striving for that coveted place at this year’s Bloodstock Festival representing Ireland on the New Blood Stage. 

With a general election in full swing today, as well as Storm Ciara, battering the country we were prepared for a quiet night with regards to punters but yet again, droves of Metal 2 The Masses patrons made their way to the venue for another round of excellent Irish underground metal.

First up tonight is non-other than Progressive/Experimental quintet Alta Cura who break open the night’s entertainment with aptly titled “Storm” and set the bar at a great height from the get-go.

Vocalist Dan Cusack controls the band’s presence with comfortable ease and proceeds to open up his impressive pipes to an already packed venue.

Having formed in the Summer of 2015 and evolved into the band we see before us tonight by 2018, Alta Cura cast an imposing occupancy on the stage and deliver a strong setlist with bangers like “Lapse” and “Soldier On” which blends an interesting mix of crossover elements from the likes of  Tool, Deftones etc.. do from time to time.

Band members Niall O’Leary and Daniel Phelan (guitars), Ambrose Burke (Bass)
and Martin Killeen (Drums) navigate through the show with impressive chemistry giving Cusack plenty of room to work the audience and do what he does best.

As they finish with ‘The Door‘ and ‘Return to Sender‘, they have no doubt, made a considerable batch of new friends tonight and already inspire a flow of votes before the audience has seen the remaining bands on tonight’s bill.

Next to hit the stage is Holocene Extinction who took part in 2019’s M2TM and to say that they have upped their game this time around is an understatement. Vocalist/guitarist Rich Power has a range that can go from clean to the very depths of hell in a positively downright evil guttural growl that casts a few stunned glances throughout the audience.

Drawing influences from the likes of Lamb of God to Avenged Sevenfold, Holocene Extinction march through their setlist with the foot on the gas from start to finish.

Drummer Samuel Cunningham works the kit and looks right at home doing so, while bandmates Danial Walsh (guitars) and Craig Ryan (bass) lock in the ferocious groove that thunders from the house PA.

The crowd are lapping it up and the band ease into their set with confidence giving it their all. But will the judges and crowd see it that way? We’ll find out at the end of the night. But so far so good and we still have three more to go…

No strangers to M2TM’s, rising Dublin Prog/Tech crew, Sectile finally get underway after a few technical issues with the setup and begin their Bloodstock 2020 campaign in true style and continue to rattle the ear-drums of all before them.

With their new debut full length ‘Falls Apart‘ due for release on February 28th, vocalist Gabrial Gaba reminds the audience to check out their recently released new single ‘Black Cloud‘ and proceed to perform the single to a very busy venue who stand agasp at Gaba’s vocal range.

With band members Zachary Newman (Drums), Marcelo Varge and Mark O’Reilly (Guitars), and Cormac Hennigan (Bass), Sectile have become one of Ireland’s most promising Progressive Metal bands and it totally shows.

Ending with ‘The Hunt’ the band exit the stage and leave the audience pondering over the level of quality that has just been on display before them. Votes are submitted by the punters almost immediately and during the bands’ performance but there are two more bands yet to take the stage and at this point, anything can happen.

Horrenda have been getting noticed by venues patrons long before they take to the state as they casually stroll about the venue in full corpse paint.

The first Black Metal band to perform at this years campaign, they waste no time at all before opening the gates and vomiting their cacophony of brutality upon the (mostly) unsuspecting audience who stare on with wide-eyed glee.

Horrenda (now a five-piece) has come a long way over the last 12 months and as they hammer through tracks such as “Nerve Gas“, “Doom Tranquility” and “Primordial Knowing“, is abundantly obvious that they are very much in control of all of their surroundings.

Vocalist Arron “Nomad” O’ Shaughnessy is in rude health as he stomps about the stage and taunts the audience (at times face to face) and is a glorious spectacle to see. They figuratively pummel the venue into submission and rip their audio carcass apart with their brand of raw Black/Death/Extreme metal.

Finishing off with “Axewound“, “Dian” and “Sluagh“, Horrenda just upped the game for tonight’s showcase and all we can do is hope that the audience do their thing and vote.

Wrapping up tonight’s showcase is Blackend Thrash/Grindcore outfit Aborted Earth who takes to the stage like they’ve been doing this for decades.

Vocalist Jamie Murphy gives thanks to the crowd for “sticking around” and with a glint in his eye and a sly smile on his face, Aborted Earth opens up the mayhem with “Deceiver” and proceed to skull-fuck everyone in the venue (all the way) into dust.

As guitarist Shannon Bowman, Darrath “Otis” O’Connor and bassist Darragh “Dazz” O’Connor rip out nasty filthy riffs for ‘Fallacy‘, ‘The Purist“, “Dictated From Birth” along with drummer Dan O’Connor going hell for leather on bangers like ‘Wombripper‘, ‘Dog on a Pike‘ and ‘Rid The Toxins‘,  the venue breaks out a manic pit that is a blur of Buckfast, teeth-grinding intensity and zero fucks given.

Finishing off with ‘Money Talks‘, Aborted Earth has smashed the roof on this performance and everyone knows it. A band that will drive over you or through you when you least expect it. Awesome stuff!

With all five bands having completed Heat 3 of Metal 2 The Masses 2020, it’s time to get down to the business end of things and check the votes to see who’s going to join the semi-finalists in April.

The results are as follows:

Crowd Vote – Sectile

Judge Vote – Aborted Earth. 

The next Metal 2 The Masses showcase will be taking place on Saturday, February 15th in Fibber Magees (main venue) with performances from:

A Night in The Snow


Immaculate Deception

Iona Death Cult

Restive Nation

Admission is Free with official voting €3.50 (one per person). Doors are from 7 pm with the official voting process opening from 8.30 pm until 12 pm. The two winning bands will be announced live from the stage at 12.30 pm. Click here for the official event page.

Check out the full photo gallery via our Facebook page below;

Oran O’Beirne

Photos – Down The Barrel Photography © 2020 2020. All Rights Reserved.