Sunday 16th September was the fourth heat of Molten Magazine’s Battle of the bands. The fourth stage of the competition was held in The Pint, Dublin. In each heat four bands will battle to win prizes and opportunities that most people would sell their mother for. Prizes for the winners include : A slot playing at Portugal’s SWR Festival next year, a spread in Molten magazine and a music video produced by dead parrot productions – just a few of the offers at stake. Given that it was a Sunday night and most people were at home nursing the Saturday hangovers and probably recovering from the shock after checking their wallets (you weren’t robbed, it was that unnecessary shot of Jaeger you had), there was a pretty disappointing turn-out for this. No to be disheartened – all the bands gave it their all. I’ll be honest; I wanted fights to the death, fire, pyrotechnics and people being carried off on stretchers… I quickly came to terms with the fact it was a Sunday and this wasn’t going to happen (shakes fists).
First up was Awaken Dominion, hailing from Mullingar. Their style wouldn’t usually be my thing, however I did enjoy their set and I couldn’t deny that these are a talented bunch and hard working from what I hear. Playing first was a bit of a disadvantage to Awaken Dominion as it meant they played to the least amount of people; the order was picked randomly thought so there was very little they could do to influence that. They have that While She Sleeps, Miss May I sound to their music with it touching on the heavier side of Metal core and Groove. The vocal style of combining singing and screaming doesn’t really appeal to me but it works for these guys. As I mentioned before Awaken Dominion got the short end of the stick performing first; but regardless of who was or wasn’t watching they gave it their all on stage. There was some pretend duel/fight on stage with one guitarist and the bass player and I thought my dreams of carnage had come true – they didn’t but I appreciated that moment. Something that always makes me happy is proper use of breakdowns and I’m happy to report that Awaken Dominion are not the type to resort to using unnecessary breakdowns in their music. They managed to create that tumbling Meshuggah-ie sound at one stage with some lovely shredding of the guitar as well. I know I may be preaching to the converted when I say this, but I think bands like Viatrophy would be a good source of inspiration for this band and any fans of Viatrophy should check these guys out.
Next up was Brutal Death metal band, Guttrench. Playing second on the heats they had slightly more of a crowd than the previous band but even with that there was probably more tumbleweed than people, unfortunately. However, Guttrench didn’t let this affect their performance I’m delighted to say. Now, if you’ve ever wondered what became of cousin it from the Adams family, ponder no more because he is one of the guitarists in Guttrench. Even though it is glorious, Guitarist Dave McEvoy’s hair is not the only thing to be admired in Guttrench. These guys headlined Carnagefest not too long ago and they are definitely one of the most talented, heaviest bands in Dublin. If you’ve just recently come back from a warzone, it’s probably wise to give seeing Guttrench a miss as Drummer Rob Redmond can blast to the point where you think there’s a hail of bullets heading your way! The speed and aggression they play with; naturally creates that heavy, death metal sound but the vocal abilities of Dean Brennan give them an edge and added brutality. I’ve compared his voice to those in bands like Cannibal Accident and Dying Fetus but he could definitely give them all a run for their money. When I think of Guttrench the first thing that comes to mind is proficiency, and then the next thing is testosterone.
Third to play Molten Battle of the Bands were Taibhse. They got off to a little bit of a shaky start but managed to pull it together a bit as they went along. It’s hard to place them in any particular genre but they have a thrashy, hard rock sound. Taibhse played to a bit more of an audience as it was later in the evening. It may have been nerves that got the better of them on the night, but Taibhse didn’t have the strongest set out of the four bands. However, they improved throughout their time on stage and I appreciated the energy of their vocalist and the quirky themes of their songs – one being about being too fat for Valhalla. The band hasn’t been around that long and they are still probably getting used to each other and their material – there’s plenty of potential there.
Last to take the stage and the winners of heat four were the unhinged thrashers, Psykosis! If you are a huge thrash fan like me, you’ll love Psykosis. They always put on a great show, always giving it everything so for all you thrash heads get yourselves to a Psykosis gig FAST! I’ve mentioned their style in previous reviews and they can be likened to bands like Overkill and Hirax, with those high pitched screams. One of the great things about Psykosis is their drummer whose style can only be compared to that of Animal’s from the Muppets – maniacal and out of control (in a great way). They commit to the madness and it pays off, I genuinely think they get out on day release for their gigs. Given that one of their songs is about newborns with drills and killing people, I think I rest my case about just how mental these guys are. They’re definitely deserving of their win and hopefully they get even further in the competition.