First up is The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back. Finalists in last year’s competition, TDWHSB waste no time in reminding Dublin who they are, and why they are here. From the very start, TDWHSB throw down the training gloves and unleash wave after wave of brutality. Frontman Stephen Cannon looks like he will pop an artery with his ferocity and sheer dominance on stage, as the double-bass bombs engulf the audience. The only people I pity are those that were here later in the night, as they missed out. TDWHSB have worked hard and do work hard to make their music their best. The stage charisma is obvious from every member of the band and the talent is unmistakable. There is a wall of death during their sixth song ‘Monster in Me’.
Unsurprisingly, Cannon’s voice does tire a little bit, but in fairness he’s only human. I’ve heard greater singers sing less and tire easier. It’s unfortunate that TDWHSB were in first, because if this room were filled and that set-list was played, Fibbers would have been reduced to ash. They get 9 songs into their set (impressively), and their next gig is on St Patricks Day in Fibber Magees again, where another round of brutality will be revealed.
Second on stage is Xerosun from Dublin. This extreme modern metal band is a 5-piece nuclear explosion. I had never seen them before, so when you look up the word “surprise” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of me. They basically hit me like a rock in the head. Fronted by Martyna Halas-Yeates, she ranges from melodic and harmony to stomach-piercing guttural growls in a heartbeat.
The pure flow of energy is quite natural from them, and their sound is clear as daylight. There is a quintessential partnership between both guitars and the band is clearly in with a serious shot of getting the BOA. Their sound is dirty and raw, and the crowd interaction is higher than that of the previous band, but that’s no surprise as there were only half as many people there then. That doesn’t take away from either band, as their respective sets are in no way related, but they’re still damn good at what they do. Xerosun lap up the audience’s approval and it is well due.
Black Svan are another band who didn’t quite make the cut last year, but their performance here tonight was incredible. Brutally heavy and tight as hell, they form a very workable reliance on each other. This is a grade-A class in teamwork kids… pay attention. There is a slight technical hiccup with the bass amp and it costs them valuable time. They put their heads together and quickly fix the problem, with minimal time wastage. So back to work. The riffs are chunky, hard and fast, and that’s exactly how metal should be. Most pleasing to the ears. I had to wait ‘til now to get a guitar solo! Three bands into the night and it only happens now! It’s balls-to-the-wall old school metal at its finest. Their work ethic should be a taught class, because other bands would freak out at the thought of equipment malfunctioning – but the show must go on. And on it went. It’s a shame that tonight’s bands only get 35 minutes. I could listen to these bands for hours.
Crossfire takes aim at Fibbers for the last band of the night and let rip. Another 2015 entrant, their thrash metal assault starts with a metal version of the theme tune from The Terminator. It’s welcomed quite well, if I may add. Fibbers is now starting to swell in numbers of attendees and it’s not before time. As Crossfire get through their setlist, we can hear several nods to thrash titans Slayer, especially in their 3rd song “Bonded by Beer”, and the heads start to bang more rhythmically and gradually getting more violent. Frontman Kevin O’Connor proves his mettle among the bands tonight as an energetic front-man not fazed in the least by the powerhouses that have played before him.
The guitar solos flow, and its music to my ears (that’s a crap music joke by the way). I take my hats off to both O’Connor and his axe-man counterpart Matt O’Brien – if I was able to play guitar like that I wouldn’t have bothered my arse with college. They do the thrash scene superior justice with their music tonight, as I’m a big thrash fan. I feel it’s an improvement on last year – their sound is clearer, they’re tighter, and faster… just how thrash should be played.
It was another nightmare scenario for the judges to decide one band out of 3 to pick. TDWHSB easily ran away with the crowd vote. The judge’s vote narrowly went to Black Svan (and I mean narrowly). Six heats down, and heat 7 is Saturday March 1th with 5 more bands itching to grab the bull by the balls and throw down to get to Bloodstock Open Air 2016. Admission is only €5.00. Each band gets one vote per punter and you can have bragging rights when you said you saw “that band before they made it big”
Heat 7 will see the completion of all bands performances for 2016 Metal 2 The Masses Ireland and will be taking place in Fibber Magees on Saturday March 12th. The line up includes Call To Arms, Damage Assessment, Enshrined, Minus Ten Thousand Hours and Pethrophia. Click on the graphic below for more details on the event!
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography
Content – © OVERDRIVE 2016
PHOTO GALLERY – BLOODSTOCK METAL 2 THE MASSES IRELAND – HEAT 6