So here we are at the third heat of the Bloodstock Metal 2 the Masses Northern Ireland battle royale. A different venue and a different reviewer. As the crowd who have braved the freezing wet weather arrive the news breaks that, unfortunately, Baleful Creed have had to pull out last minute due to their singer and guitarist Fin Finlay having been stuck down by a bad bug. And so there were three… but, the show must go on and, as normal, the running order was decided by names pulled out of a hat.
Overoth take to the stage first. As the first chord of ‘The Forgotten Tome’ blasts through the speakers, a few members of the audience jump (one of them my companion for this evening lol) at the ferocity of this death metal quartet. The aggression and passion of frontman Andy is evident from the very start of their set. There is little crowd interaction from them apart from welcoming everyone and introducing their songs, but the moodiness and style of this band doesn’t leave much room for this. They have a great balance of melody and death that blinds seamlessly in all their songs, and during their set they air for the first time a new song, ‘The Forlorn’, which brings a new angle to this band: a much softer melodic guitar intro leading into an old fashioned thrash style, which they perform brilliantly. The lighting darkens to an eerie feel for their last song, ‘Sigil Of The Empty Throne’ – a fast heavy in your face track and, with a tight energetic performance from all members, they finish asking for the crowd’s vote.
After the high bar set by the first band, ProXist are up next. Opening to a half empty room, vocalist Darryn McCartney automatically starts with banter to intice the crowd back to the front. With the first song ‘Termination’ this high energy hard core quintet respond to the gauntlet set down to them. With the enigmatic in your face growl of their frontman, and the musical brilliance of this band, the crowd quickly fill the room again.
They have a great interaction and rapport going with the crowd, and again they change the mood of their set with ‘Desensitised Generation’. This is very melodic track and the vocals completely change as well; with this song we can hear the great quality and range of McCartney. As they announce their last song, some of the crowd banter back and the exchange between is hilarious as the singer asks who’s that shouting only to dedicate the final song ‘Strength’ to “the crazy ginger bitch”. Another brilliant performance finishes leaving the crowd anticipating what was coming next…
After their sludge intro, Towers open their high energy heavy metal start. A very young quartet, they show that age doesn’t matter as they have the same high level of professionalism as the first two bands. ‘Hollow’, their first song, clearly allows us to hear the influences this youthful band have, with it’s NWOBHM feel. They have great passion and love for their music and it clearly shows – but their inexperience begins to show when a drunk member of the audience (clearly unaware that it’s a competition) begins to shout and antagonise the audience, forcing most to leave the room, and the band to cut and finish their set, clearly shaken. Nonetheless they did perform strongly and got a warm response from those still here. This is a band with a great future and one to watch.
The night wraps up with the winner being announced as Overoth, with ProXist a close second.
The fourth heat of Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Northern Ireland takes place at Limelight 2 on Saturday April 4, with Sinocence, Conjuring Fate, Scimitar and one other band TBC throwing their hats in the ring.
Photographs by the author.