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Metal 2 The Masses Ireland – Heat 7, 25/03/2017 – Summary & Interviews

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Call To Arms

Saturday evening at Fibber Magee’s in Dublin saw the culmination of the heats for Metal 2 The Masses Ireland 2017. The seventh event in nine weeks brought together the final four acts looking for a place in the Semi Finals. On paper I assumed it was going to be a close affair and was not disproven. Below is a short summary along with interviews conducted with the successful bands.

Up first tonight are sophomore M2TM renegades Call To Arms. Given that CTA made it all the way to the final last year, I was interested to see how they would up their game for 2017. The first slot to date has always felt like a kiss of death but tonight they take the challenge and slap it square in the mush. You can tell it’s been a while since the lads have played live on stage as it feels a little disjointed but by the third song they have locked in on the core groove and raise their own high standards bar. As always, Dean Donnelly is the epitome of how a frontman should engage; enigmatic and commanding, he takes his charges through the assault course like a heavy metal drill instructor. Call To Arms air some new material which is beginning to show a more mature side to their sound. All in all, they put in a good shift that kicks the evening into overdrive and their fans let them know that they delivered. If they make it to the next stage, I feel they are going to have to set the aforementioned bar much higher and break the fucking thing.

Svet Kant

Svet Kant return to have another stab for Bloodstock with their very unique progressive metal.  Not for everyone but I find them to be utterly compelling. The complex twin leads matched with staccato rhythms are enthralling. I’ll be brutally honest, I would much prefer to hear Santi’s clean singing included in songs a little more moving forward because when they appear, that’s when I really get hooked on their music. The Opeth influence is strong but meld atop a fury of almost Meshuggah-esque lines makes for one of the more intriguing bands on the scene. Shout out to enthusiastic drummer Darragh who solidifies the entire bands sound with an all-encompassing flurry of percussion. The guys soar through their thirty minute slot with aplomb and leave as many people with approving nods as they do bewildered faces.

Sixth Extinction

Sixth Extinction are the penultimate band of the evening. Having travelled from Tipperary they are here to follow in fellow natives zhOra’s footsteps to the semis. Frontman Liam is a beast of a man cradling the microphone stand, clad in plaid, at times contemplative to the groove. His voice has more gravel than a Roadstone quarry and bears a close comparison to Ryan McCombs of Soil. Crunchy, catchy songs full of hooks and memorable choruses is the order of the day and the crowd are fully invested in the performance. This is turn of the century heavy metal and in a scene that is littered with apathetic metalcore, Sixth Extinction are a refreshing release. Dave Fogarty steals attention as his dreadlocks are dangerously close to decapitating punters in the front row. This is a serious performance from a very affable band. Sixth Extinction could do well this year if they get a good semi final draw.

Xerosun

Closing the evening are tech metal exponents Xerosun. With more strings than the London Philharmonic, solos, dropped tuning riffs and soaring vocals abound. Xerosun are a band littered with talent and their songs show it in spades. It’s been almost a year since I last saw them play and Martyna has blossomed as a frontwoman. She is personable and powerful when addressing the crowd and her vocal range is a joy to behold. Her clean singing parts work perfectly but are completely bowled over by her deathly growls which feel summoned from the fiery gates of Hell. Xerosun finish their set to a cracking reaction from the great crowd packed into the venue. For this reviewer, they are the band of the night.

The heat stages have come to an end and for the 30+ bands it has been a pretty fantastic exhibition of Irish metal from all corners of the country. Metal 2 The Masses has grown into one of the “must be part of” events on the calendar and I’m excited to see what the 2017 Semi-finals have in store.

On the night the crowd vote was awarded to Call To Arms and the judges’ vote was Sixth Extinction. The one wildcard slot for the semi final was granted to Xerosun.

In the aftermath, PlanetMosh caught up with the three bands who progressed to the next stage.

Call To Arms

Call To Arms

For people hearing about Call To Arms for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?

We’re a hungry five piece metal band from Dublin. Every show we aspire to play better and harder than our last. We were established in 2013 and every year since then it’s gotten better and better. We plan to make 2017 our year by competing in M2TM, releasing more music and expanding our audience internationally. We’re the kind of band that you won’t want to be playing after, because we bring a crowd and there ain’t many that go as hard as we do.

This is Call To Arms’ second time playing Metal 2 The Masses and it’s great to see you back. Did making it to the final last year give you a taste and a determination to return for the 2017 competition and what have you learned over the last year?

M2TM last year was unbelievable. Last year was a transitional year for us, coming from all ages shows into the 18+ scene. There were people that doubted we would succeed but we knew we would prove them wrong. We still have the taste of the final in our mouths and want to go further and beyond. We realised from last year that promotion is a big thing and we just wanted to go all out with it this year, via online promotion and creating funny handouts that will stick in people’s minds. We practice more to hone our craft and once again; we want to be the band to represent Ireland at Bloodstock.

How has the M2TM experience been for you and would you recommend it to other bands?

Metal 2 The Masses has been some of our favourite experiences over the last year. The shows are always jam packed and it’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with new musicians and listeners that you might not meet otherwise. We’ve gotten to play with some of Ireland’s best bands of varying genres. It has been a major catalyst in helping us grow as a band, transitioning from playing all ages shows. If you are a heavy band in Ireland, entering Metal 2 The Masses should be a no brainer.

Call To Arms 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?

Receiving the crowd vote is always a humbling experience for us. To know that people are appreciating what we do and are happy with the direction that the band is taking is a great feeling, especially as we are playing all new songs. We have tried to expand our promotion of the shows with some free merchandise alongside new t-shirts. We’re trying to reach as many people as possible and get them to vote for us and it seems to be working. We will take some time to think about our promotion for the Semi Final and get straight back into rehearsals this week. We want to put on the best show possible in the Semi and hopefully make it into the final.

Where can we find out more about Call To Arms?

We share most of our important information via Facebook, as most bands do these days. https://www.facebook.com/CallToArmsIRL

We also like to post regularly to our Instagram account, where things are a little less formal. https://www.instagram.com/calltoarmsirl/

Our latest single “The Reaper Never Sleeps” (which is accompanied by a lyric video created by Very Metal Art) is available at the following outlets;

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trQJ13Behkc

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/3lULWo8HKJ3aNinj1uDdir

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/the-reaper-never-sleeps-single/id1203032190

Bandcamp: https://calltoarmsirl.bandcamp.com/

Sixth Extinction

Sixth Extinction

For people hearing about Sixth Extinction for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?

How’s the form everybody!! We are a 5 piece band based in Clonmel, Co. Tipp, we like to throw out as much groove as we possibly can to get involuntary headbanging!! We enjoy what we do and hope ye do too! Within the band we have a heap of different musical influences and think that owes to our sound!

This is Sixth Extinction’s first time entering M2TM. What made you decide to participate?

We have been watching the event for the past couple of years and wanted to enter to pit ourselves against the quality acts that this lovely little island houses! Some power house bands have come through M2TM to play at Bloodstock and have represented Irish metal so well we think its gauged a lot of interest in our scene, so with the reputation it has, we thought it would be a great opportunity to get our name out there and grow our footprint if we could!!

How has the M2TM experience been for you and would you recommend it to other bands?

It’s been a great experience so far! We would recommend other bands to enter, we didn’t expect to get past the heat stages with the calibre of bands we were up against but playing the event has sprung some life into our page with likes, views and messages flying in! It’s well organised, everyone knows the craic and even with having everything timed it was a relaxing atmosphere, as our metal scene tends to be, like a big brotherhood, everyone’s in it for each other.

Sixth Extinction 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?

Ah man it felt mental, we all looked at each other trying to figure out did Kev say what we thought he said!! We really didn’t expect is it so came as a bit of a shock! Great feeling though, a lot of work has gone into refining the sound and the style so we were delighted to be awarded the decision to go through! I think after the buzz of the heats you can expect to see us turn it up another notch and really try to deal out some whiplash to the fine people of Fibbers! We have an arsenal of songs we want to unleash on people so just have to pick the right set for the night!

Where can we find out more about Sixth Extinction?

You can check us out on our social media pages. We’re on Facebook and Instagram. And on those the links to our youtube and bandcamp links can be found for our videos and EP. We have exciting news coming very, very soon so to keep up to date with all our carrying ons they would be the best place to catch it!!

www.facebook.com/sixthextinctionband

Xerosun

Xerosun

For people hearing about Xerosun for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?

We’re a five piece metal band based in Dublin with members from Wales (Gareth Jeffs), Poland (Martyna Halas-Yeates and Damian Dziennik), Czech Republic (Davy Kuchar) and one Irish founding member of the band, Fiachra Kelly. We are quite an experimental metal band, for those who were there to see our set, they could see Martyna shifting from clean vocals to growls, the guys using nine string guitars, six string bass topped by synth work, keys and a mixture of suitable drumbeats. We tend to mix and match, take our inspiration from all musical styles and feel that it’s hard to put a finger on us in terms of genres. To us it’s a way to express ourselves, we tend to leave the genre labels and comparisons to the public, magazines and reviewers.

It’s good to see you back in M2TM this year. What made you decide to return?

We had fun doing it last year first and foremost. We also believe we are well suited for UK festivals such as Bloodstock as we have played many UK shows in the past and have built up a loyal following because of it. It would be nice to see all of those collective faces in the one venue.

How has the M2TM experience been for you and would you recommend it to other bands?

Our experience with it was surprising to say the least, you never know what to expect going into it. It is well organised and the quality of bands each year gets better and better. You also get great promo out of it, you get to play in front of people who might not have heard you before and you get the chance to play at one of the biggest festivals in the UK.

M2TM gives bands like us a possible route to realise our dreams so to answer the question, YES we would absolutely recommend bands to enter. Additionally, it’s important to have fun with it and have no expectations.

There was only one Wildcard slot up for grabs over the seven heats and the Judges awarded to Xerosun. Don’t forget, last year’s winners Ten Ton Slug were a wildcard band. Keeping that in mind, how did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?

We feel honoured and grateful that the judges awarded us with a wildcard and we’re happy to be back in the competition. We had a few people saying it to us on the night but we didn’t think we would get it.  It’s a great feeling to be given another chance of getting the slot at Bloodstock. As mentioned, Ten Ton Slug were a wildcard band, like Snowblind the year before. We’re very happy to be a part of the semi finals but we know we’ll have to present a stronger performance.

Where can we find out more about Xerosun?

You can find us on:

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/xerosun/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/xerosun

Our website

http://www.xerosun.com

Spotify

https://tinyurl.com/jj2k33d

And subscribe to our youtube channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/xerosunband

 

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 / EHT for their continued association and support.

Steve D
Dublin based editor, photographer and reviewer for PlanetMosh