It’s a cold March Saturday night at Fibber Magees in Dublin and that can only mean one thing; it’s time for the penultimate Metal 2 The Masses Ireland heat where 4 bands are set to play their hearts out for places in this year’s semi final on the road to Bloodstock 2016.
First up tonight are the deliciously named, The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back. No strangers to M2TM Ireland, they have returned for a second time following on from their appearance at the final in 2015. From the off, they make it clear that they are here to aurally kick the living fuck out of anyone willing to stand in the venue and it is a sight to behold. Bassist, Dylan Scully’s windmilling ferocity is like a dynamo that spurs on his fellow band members. Vocalist Stephen has a rough delivery that is as caustic as acid thrown into your lungs. Their influence drawn from Slipknot is not disguised but this is a good thing as they pull it off with aplomb. ‘Monster In Me’ is a highlight and tonight they seem a lot more focused than they were at the showcase last year. If TDWHSB make it to the same stage this year, the remaining bands are going to have a battle on their hands.
Drawing the second slot tonight are Xerosun. It’s their first time at M2TM and the Dublin 5 piece treat us to a technically robust set filled with venomous virtuosity and top class professionalism. Xerosun are a band who have been around for a long time and it shows in their performance. There can be no denying that the star of their show is lead singer Martyna. Her deathly growl rivals ALL singers in the genre, male or female, and her delivery is precise and direct. Add to that, the drum patterns blasted by Damian Dziennik and the power of the band is pretty much the musical equivalent of a melodic steamroller rumbling along Parnell St. Tonight, the guys do themselves proud and the competition is a better place because of them. With a high profile tour of the UK announced, 2016 could easily be the year that sets Xerosun on a formidable path.
The third band of the night are Drogheda’s Black Svan. Another returning act, they are the epitome of how hard rock/metal with a clean vocal should sound. Tonight is definitely the battle for lead singer supremacy. Keith Caffery is one of the most visually imposing figures as his piercing stare cuts through members of the audience. You can feel the intensity of every lyric he sings as he stalks and crouches about his platform. Tonight we are at his altar and his oration is captivating, especially on ‘Dream Forever’. The groove laid down by Mo, Kenneth, Jagger and James is tight and clinical. Even a slight bass amp hiccup after the first song doesn’t cause them any momentum issues. Black Svan are the real deal and easily step up to the plate and bat the metal ball out of the park tonight.
Closing the evening are Dublin’s Crossfire. I’ve seen these guys many times over the last few years and tonight is the best performance that I’ve seen them play. They have matured from their younger incarnation and the twin leads from Kevin and Matt are hook laden and catchy. Yes, they still wear their Metallica influence like badges of honour but when they lock in on a riff, it gets heads banging effortlessly. Kevin’s almost black metal vocal is harsh and acerbic and suits the angular nature of their songs. As this band improve, they are becoming a band that have the ability to ascend within the Irish Thrash hierarchy.
In the end, it was another fabulous night of metal and the crowd vote was awarded to The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back. The judges’ vote seemed to be the tightest call of the series and went to Black Svan.
PlanetMosh caught up with both bands in the aftermath and here’s what went down:
The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back
1. For people hearing about The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We’re a metal band drawing influence from every sub genre of metal from thrash to death metal, nu metal to industrial, there’s a bit of everything in us. A mutt of metal so to speak and we’re heavy as fuck!
2. After making it to last year’s final, what made you come back and give Metal 2 The Masses another shot?
Despite the obvious of winning the competition and getting to play one of the greatest metal festivals in the world we came back because last year was so fun. The gigs are always great, the people running them, the photographers, the other bands, it’s just a great vibe and brings the scene alive when it’s going so we definitely didn’t want to miss a chance of being a part of it again.
3. TDWHSB have a great following and were the people’s choice at Heat 6, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
It felt good of course because there was some serious competition but yeah it’s always great to progress. In the next stage we’re gonna up our promo game somehow. We will be tighter, heavier and ya may get to see another new song off our new album.
4. Where can we find out more about TDWHSB and tell us a little about your debut video for ‘Monster In Me’ which you released last year?
Merch and music is found all through our Facebook and other social media such as you tube, band camp etc. We’re just about out of t-shirts at the moment so not much merch available. Will be a new batch with the new album. ‘Monster in Me’ was our first video, we shot it in Muzzle rehearsal studios. We honestly had no idea what we were doing we just kinda planned it all the night before and went for it. But it didn’t turn out too bad for our first and has been quite successful.
5. Last night, it felt like you really wanted it on stage. How big a deal would it be for The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back to play Bloodstock?
Yea man we want it bad! There’s no denying it. It would be a massive deal and possibly a career starter because it’s such a great opportunity. Also just to get to go over and rock out along side such great bands would be a dream come true!
1. For people hearing about Black Svan for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We’re a metal band based in Drogheda. Est in 2009, in our 6 plus years we’ve had a worldwide album release; 16 minutes, we’ve toured Europe and played support to the likes of Diamond Head, Kerbdog, Fozzy and Stuck Mojo. We’re metal with groove, melody and aggression. For fans of Soil, Disturbed, Drowning Pool and Godsmack.
2. This is your second time playing Metal 2 The Masses. What made you come back in 2016 and how has the experience been compared to the previous year?
We thoroughly enjoyed our experience last year, networking with other bands and the exposure that you get out of a competition like this. We’ve come back more focused and stronger than ever and we aim to go all the way this time.
3. Black Svan were the judges choice after Heat 6, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
It felt great to get that recognition from the judges, especially this year as the calibre of bands had gotten even higher. As always you can expect us to stay true to our riff heavy roots with a few surprises thrown in.
4. Where can we find out more about Black Svan?
Www.blacksvan.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Our album is available on iTunes and Spotify.
5. Have you begun preparation for a follow up to the crunching ’16 Minutes’?
Yes we are currently very busy behind the scenes, but we are keeping our cards close to our chest for now.
6. What would getting to the final and having a chance to play at Bloodstock mean to Black Svan?
We’ve been in this position before and we’re very grateful to be here again, so we’re going to work really hard to make that dream come true, cause underneath it all who the fuck doesn’t wanna play BLOODSTOCK! – Keith, Jagger, Mo, Kenneth, Jay a.k.a BLACK SVAN
All photos by Steve Dempsey of Down The Barrel Photography
Bands are welcome to download their photos from his Flickr Page.