That familiar buzz of excitement is in the air with this being the first semi final of 2016 and more importantly, the fact that every one of the bands tonight are all worthy of taking to the New Blood stage at Catton Hall, just adds to the emotion that we are all in for one hell of a ride! With the nights running order sorted, the bands ready themselves for battle and await their calling..
Opening up the nights show is Antidotes, who sound sharp and tight. Crunchy riffs come cascading front the venues P.A with a battering ram style pounding from drummer, Donal Bowens. A wall of bangers keep the front of the stage busy with out breaks of chaos and even a wall of death! Antidotes deliver punch after punch with each song and the crowd is lapping it up! Vocalist / guitarists Stephen Cannon commands the performance with ease, as he switches from clean to growling vocals. As far as an opening performance, Antidotes have set a high bar for the rest of the evening and as they thank the audience for their time and ask for their votes it is apparent that tonight is going to be a very difficult show to judge.
The mighty Ten Ton Slug take their place on stage for the second performance of the night. Brought back into Metal 2 The Masses on a wildcard judge’s decision, it becomes apparent that these guys have what it takes to go all the way! Chugging out heavy-as-fuck riffs that could deafen the biggest of whales, Ten Ton Slug just own the stage from the get go! Vocalist Ronan O ‘hArrachtain is just made for this role! His devastatingly powerful vocal range shakes the building from the core to the rooftops of Fibbers!
Ten Ton Slug have the ability to harness atomic doom-laden riffs, which are dripping with a glaze of melody and groove. Tonight’s performance is second to none, with the band sounding tighter than their previous appearance back in February. Regardless of the outcome of the Bloodstock final in May, Ten Ton Slug are a band that you simply need in your life!
With a swift changeover and a now packed Fibber Magees, Two Tales of Woe gut the venue like a fish from the first few notes! They have a sound that is deep, warm and smothered in Southern inspired doom n’ groove. The clarity of each band member is apparent right down to drummer Kelvin Doran’s handy cymbal work that flutters throughout the bands set. All eyes are drawn to vocalist Carl King who commands tonight’s operation with confidence and gusto, all the while hitting an impressive vocal range. Two Tales of Woe are on form tonight and have a look of determination in their eyes, that has resulted in the bar being set to a very high place for the rest of the bands who have yet to take the stage tonight.
With an unfortunate late start, Enshrined are forced to cut some of their set, which is a great shame as their outstanding performance in Heat 7 just a week previous was high on my list of bands tonight. Either way as soon as they tore into the first song, they generate attention from all over the venue. As Sam Gorman launches vocal air strikes upon the punters, the floor becomes a hurricane of bodies and beer! As Enshrined march through tonight’s set, the bands energy and stage presence translates to the audience in abundance; creating a captivating overall performance and one that is hard to compete with. These guys are made for Bloodstock and with a flurry of votes pouring in, it looks like the might be in with a chance!
Finally, tonight’s last band takes to the stage and being one of the only thrash bands in this years campaign, Saint Slaughter has a hungry look about them. Their previous performance back on February 6th displayed a band that have come a long way in the last few years and tonight is no exception. An explosion of tasty thrash riffs, courtesy of the awesome fretwork from Jeff Hernandez, (who has to be the finest guitarist in this years campaign) come thick and fast. The pedal work from drummer Tom Moylan would have Dave Lombardo grinning from ear to ear, as each track is executed with buckets of passion and visceral concentration. Saint Slaughter gives 100% and closes the show for the first semi-final of the year! An excellent lesson in some good old violent fun!
With all voting slips in, the deliberation of who would be the judges votes begins with some very tough decisions to be made. The outcome of the night resulted in the crowd vote going to Two Tales of Woe and the judges vote narrowly going to Ten Ton Slug!
Tonight’s display of Irish metal has been outstanding to say the least! Five fantastic bands; each sounding very different from each other, but share a common love for heavy music is a great thing to witness indeed! The overall support that each of the bands are giving each other tonight and every other night of the Irish Metal 2 The Masses has been very heartwarming to say the least and long may it continue.
The next semi final will be taking place on April 9th in Fibber Magees. For more information, just click on the graphic below. Doors 7.30pm | Admission €5.00 with one voting slip per person. Performing live will be: AeSect, Black Svan, Minus Ten Thousand Hours, Nautilus, The Tailor Made and Vendetta Love!
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography
© OVERDRIVE 2016
METAL 2 THE MASSES IRELAND SEMI FINAL A 19/03/16