And so it is almost upon us again… the annual Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses competition, with it’s reward being the much coveted and desired chance to play the New Blood stage at Britain’s favourite bespoke metalfest alongside the likes of Slayer, Mastodon, Twisted Sister, Venom and a host of other legendary metal acts.
And what better way for the Belfast end of the contest to kick off than with a showcase gig featuring three of the local acts who have graced Bloodstock’s stages over the past couple of years?
Openers By Any Means pummelled the aforementioned New Blood stage into submission this past summer. This line up of the band has really embedded itself in terms of its equilibrium, with drummer Gavin tight and precise, while vocalist Paul Docs is both coherent and confident, with a clear enunciation of BAM’s hardcore message. Yorkshire-born guitarist Paul Anthony as ever is the stalwart stage right, pumping out his grunting, growling riffs, which in turn are underpinned by Chris McDowell’s dense, rumbling bass lines.
But, the guitarist is struggling this evening: he is suffering a serious dose of the ‘flu and literally gasping for breath, causing him to, uncharacteristically, stop a couple of songs short. But, demonstrating the respect he has for his music, his bandmates and his audience – and the pride he has in the same – he soldiers on to the end of the set… and through a well-deserved encore as well \m/
‘Help I’m Trapped In 1999’ kicks off Rabid Bitch Of The North‘s set in suitably retro style, as the trio – who were one of the showstoppers on the Jagermeister stage in 2014 – evoke the NWOBHM era in their typically tongue-in-cheek style.
A Bitch set rarely throws any surprises, as this is a triumvirate of musicians who are true to what they believe in and deliver accordingly, However, this evening, with the sun now having disappeared over the horizon outside, they do bring us something new: the debut of a new song, ‘Chance’, which frontman Joe McDonnell describes as being about “a bunch of fuckers who tried to fuck me over but I ended up fucking them over”. It summarizes the band’s ‘Us Against Them’ uncompromising, don’t give a flying frig attitude and earns the band a suitably rapturous reception in the sound of several snapping neck bones.
The lighting of candles and incense, the placement of skulls on the top of amps and the switch to red lighting can mean only one things: the imminent arrival of Belfast’s favourite talcum- and boot polish-covered black metal annihilators – and the winners of the 2015 M2TM in this part of the planet we call Mosh – Overoth.
The quartet do not disappoint with their ferocious wall of darkened articulation of the genre, as they evoke the ‘Kingdom Of Shadows’ and expose its hollow soul, while simultaneously drinking its ether dry. Their dense, throbbing rhythms are overtopped by equally thickened and blackened melodies, which in turn swoop and soar with the intent of a Satanic archangel on its mission to retrieve a lost soul as the band deliver in another masterclass in precise, accurate yet passionate and soulful BM.
And, so, the quest to find the next band from the Northern Irish metallian battalion to grace the Bloodstock stage is underway. Many contenders have already thrown their hats into the ring, but there is still room for more to make their intentions known before the competition proper kicks off early in 2016. As we say in these parts, “if you’re not in you can’t win”… so if you think you got the muscle to hustle with the big boys in Derbyshire next August, get in touch with The Distortion Project just as soon as absolutely fucking possible!
Photos, by The Dark Queen, from the PlanetMosh archive.
All content © PlanetMosh 2015.