Saturday night saw the 5th instalment of this years Metal 2 The Masses showcase at Fibber Magees in Dublin. With one band unable to play the playing field was reduced to 4 groups vying for a place in the semi final.
First up are M2TM returnees Antidotes. Fronted by Stephen Cannon (also from The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back) the band have had a line up change and are now joined on bass by Leigh Walsh. Since I last saw the guys their stage craft has really stepped up. Nodding their caps to Slipknot and Korn, Antidotes are a solid as fuck outfit and one of the more interesting modern metal bands in this years competition. With a good semi final slot, they could go further. In complete contrast to their predecessors The Virgin Convertors take to the stage (well, the drummer does) to the accompaniment of a hymn-like choral chant. It’s almost circus pageantry as the frontman stalks through the crowd. Hard clown masks and formal attire is the order of the day as they break into their very unique sound. It seems we now have a new genre of heavy metal; Waltz metal. I shit you not. They mix in a punk and slight black metal sound that at times is a little disjointed but when TVC lock in on a groove with the backing track adding that extra element, it is strangely compelling. Watching them on their merits along, they are onto something pretty cool and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here. They close with a bow to their converted audience.
The second half of the evening begins with another new band to this reviewer, Sectile. Apparently this is only their second ever gig and what a gig they deliver. The crowd is packed in to support them and they duly reciprocate the enthusiasm. Their sound is a convoluted mash of Godsmack via Alter Bridge with a dusting of Black-era Metallica. All the band are giving it socks and they are tight as hell but special mention has to be given to lead singer Gabriel Gaba. We’ve had a few clean singers in this years competition and this guy could stand toe to toe with the best. Singing through two channels, he switches effortlessly through a few octaves and on the high notes he grabs the attention of everyone in the room. The sound mix isn’t too flattering to their impact tonight and a few tweaks are needed for the semi final but with the large support they have on their side tonight, Sectile have a good chance of making it to the final. For a second ever show, impressive.
Closing the evening are the thrash trio Humanity Check. I’ve had this debate over and over when a 3 piece thrash band plays.. I really miss a second guitar. Look, it works for bands like Destruction and Sodom but these bands have a bass sound that fills the gaping hole when there’s a lead solo in the song. Only a few weeks ago, Sepultura sounded flat without that second guitar player and tonight I am left feeling the same at times. I really enjoy the songs that Jordan, Alex and Mike have put together and their enjoyment in ripping the stage up is clear. Humanity Check are a strong band and have the chops to make it in a saturated thrash scene. Tonight they deliver 30 minutes of almost relentless energy. Moving forward, they need to ramp up the bass or consider a 4th wheel on the machine. This is heavy metal, they’ll do what they feel happy with and at the end of the day, sticking to your guns is important.
The depleted heat 5 turned out to be another fun night at Fibbers. Fair play to all the bands for getting up on the stage and doing more than I could ever do on any instrument. Metal is always the winner at M2TM. On the night the crowd vote was Sectile and the Judges’ vote was Antidotes.
PlanetMosh caught up with Sectile and Antidotes in the aftermath.
For people hearing about Sectile for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We’re a rather recent foundation, only making things official in November last year. For several months beforehand it was an online collaboration between Mark (guitar), Cormac (bass), and Gabriel (vocals), generally due to the time it took to find a drummer. Since then we’ve picked up Zach on drums and Dan on guitar and we’ve all just been geeking out over bands like Opeth, Leprous, Hacride, Pain of Salvation, you name it!
Did I hear right that Saturday was your second gig ever?? This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. What made you decide to enter?
That’s right! We had our first gig in Fibbers last Thursday and this one was our second. Our guitar player Mark participated last year with a different band, so we decided we’d throw our names on the table this year. We really think M2TM provides an absolutely fantastic boost for bands in the early stages like ourselves and it’s also very exciting to share the stage with such talented acts. Also, half of us are pretty much in Fibbers every Saturday so the geographical convenience was definitely something to be considered there.
How has the M2TM experience been for you and would you recommend it to other bands?
It was one hell of a night last night, that’s for sure. We genuinely believe this is a crucial event to get involved in as a metal band, the place was pretty packed last night and we had an absolutely stellar time playing and watching the other acts. We’ve also heard plenty of success stories from bands involved in previous years, so if you’re an aspiring metal band you’d be crazy not to get involved!
Sectile were the crowds’ selection on Saturday night. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
It felt great, of course. There was slight apprehension amongst ourselves that our music was a little atypical, but we think a lot of bands go through this too. We’re delighted to get into this next heat and we’re really recognising it as a great opportunity to show our musical diversity as a band. With last night’s performance we chose a set-list that was solid and maintained a consistent high energy, and on April 15th we hope to show what else we’ve got up our sleeve.
Where can we find out more about Sectile?
Our facebook page would be the best place for videos and links to some of our home-brewed demos
We also have the usual suspects:
We’re in the middle of recording our debut EP at the moment which we’re aiming to have out before the summer. We’ll be sure to assault every inch of social media that we can with it once it’s finished.
Antidotes – Stephen
For people hearing about Antidotes for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We’re a melodic metalcore band based in Dublin who embraces riffs and well-structured songwriting to try and create heavy and catchy tunes. We have an EP coming out later this year which will be available on all streaming sites. We will also have limited physical copies and merch available soon.
This is not your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. What made you decide that Bloodstock needed some Antidotes?
Playing Metal 2 the Masses last year was an absolute blast so we decided to have another go this year. We’ve undergone a member change which has really transformed the band and we wanted to share the new chapter of Antidotes with the Irish metal community.
How has the M2TM experience been for you and would you recommend it to other bands?
As we’ve said before, we had a great time playing Metal 2 the Masses last year and its something we always look forward to participating in. We would 100% recommend Metal 2 the Masses to any band up for a good time.
Antidotes were the judges’ selection on Saturday night. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
It was incredible to get the vote from the judges. We always strive to improve and mature as a band so when we get the vote from the judges it means a lot, especially when the competition on the night was incredible. We know that for the semi-final we have to raise our game as the competition is incredibly intense with some of the best bands in the country. We’re gonna be better, heavier and hopefully we can impress everyone there.
Where can we find out more about Antidotes?
All photos by Steve Dempsey of Down The Barrel Photography
All bands are encouraged to download and use the photos where needed. Full permission is granted from Steve because that’s what this whole M2TM beast is about. Flickr Page.
Thanks to Overdrive, Jetrocker and EHT Promotions for their continued support