Metal 2 The Masses Ireland kicked off with aplomb on Saturday night at Fibber Magees in Dublin. The opening night is always one of those, what’s the crowd gonna be like? kind of nights and thankfully, the support was in full force as the throngs gathered to check out the latest additions to the Bloodstock family.
Metal 2 The Masses has truly grown from strength to strength and 3 of tonight’s 5 bands are debutants for the showcase. First up are Corkonians, Pethrophia. These guys play a technical brand of death-thrash and they set the evening off at a belter of a pace. Lead singer and erstwhile comedian Chris is the focal point and his deathly growls make quite an impact. Pethrophia are a good opener but their performance feels a little disjointed at times.
Raum Kingdom follow and in complete contrast to their predecessors, proceed to paste layer upon layer of sonic harmony with a gargantuan sound akin to Neurosis / Deftones / Tool. Dave Lee’s vocal delivery ascends from the darkness onstage to hypnotise and beguile. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, they are one of the bands of the night. Drawing the middle slot for the night are Freemen. A completely new band for M2TM Ireland and they’ve brought their fans. From the start, their delivery is punchy as they blast their riffs into the faces of the punters. There are a lot of similarities to the song structures of Disturbed and it is being lapped up by the front rows. Lead singer Prospero is definitely an emotion driven frontman as he feeds on the crowd and special mention also has to be made to the guitar work of Mirek. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this band and its progress in M2TM 2017. Penultimate performers on the night are folk metal troopers Na Cruithne from the west of Ireland. It’s my first time getting to see this crew and they do not disappoint. There can be something gimmicky about a lot of folk metal bands but when it performed with as much passion and commitment as on show tonight, it is a joy to behold. Na Cruithne absolutely own the stage and get the best reaction of the evening. Every single member of the band is a presence, unashamed of being up there playing music they love and it’s this enthusiasm that rubs off on the masses. Without a doubt, Na Cruithne have to be one of the early frontrunners for the competition.
Final band of the night are Dissension Rising from Kildare. Fronted by the colourful Danni Carroll, they are a classic rock band that have been making a name for themselves outside of Ireland. They are a little hampered by technical issues on the night and while it does stall momentum, it doesn’t deter them. ‘Heaven knows she’s tried’ comes across as a tight, well oiled pop rock tune. There’s no denying that guitarist Keith Garrett has star quality. His solos and riffs are very mature and lay a platform around which the band can and will evolve. Dissension Rising are young band that could succeed if they step out of a generic comfort zone.
All in all, Heat one was another cracking opening night in Dublin. It was probably the best attended opening night and testament to the movement that is building in Ireland. Metal 2 The Masses Ireland is becoming a platform for the Irish metal community. On the night, the crowd vote went to Freemen and the Judges’ vote was awarded to Na Cruithne.
PlanetMosh caught up with both bands in the aftermath and here’s what went down:
For people hearing about Freemen for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
Freeman is a metal band born in 2013 and reborn in 2016 in Dublin, when a guy from Italy with a passion for singing stumbled across three musicians from Poland. The band includes vocalist Prospero Luglio, bassist Zbigniew Sliwka, guitarist Mirek Dybal and drummer Maciek Rola.
Before Prospero and Maciek joined Freemen, the lineup consisted of vocalist Marlo Freeman, then replaced by Domenico Olivetti, and drummer Artur Stark. Even though the band still keeps the original name (inspired by former vocalist Marlo Freeman), we are currently trying to find a name which is more unique and which best represents both our musical style and personalities.
This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. What is it that made you put in an application to play this year?
After spending one year rehearsing, having fun, drinking beer and gigging around, we thought this was the right time to finally gain more exposure. We knew that Metal 2 The Masses has always been hugely popular amongst metal bands so we took the plunge and eventually embarked on this adventure. We believe that we should grab every opportunity and attempt every venture that comes your way. We are very positive about what we do and since there is no harm in trying, then we keep trying…
Freemen were the crowd favourite on Saturday night. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
The reaction from the crowd on Saturday was amazing. The venue was packed and there was an overflow of energy coming from the crowd. That can be somehow shocking, especially for a garage band like us. Having fun has always played a vital role in our music and we did not expect that kind of reaction from the public. We will be more prepared next time. Expect a few shock absorbers on the stage, just in case.
Where can we find out more about Freemen?
During 2016 we have been more focused on creating the right sound and trying to figure out the direction we were aiming to. For this reason, we did not spend a lot of time promoting ourselves on social media. Most of the information about Freemen can be found on our Facebook page. The page content mostly includes live recordings but no demo or studio recordings. Hopefully, we will soon be able to record a few demos and eventually increase our online presence.
How big a deal it would be for Freemen to play Bloodstock?
We definitely think big but are humble at the same time. On the day of the Heat 1 we were nervous. The strange thing is, we were not nervous because we were not self-confident. We were nervous because for a moment we thought that we could make something real happen. We thought that maybe we could have a chance, even though the other bands might have been far better. It took us some time to recover from Saturday’s gig. So, all in all, how big a deal would be for Freemen to play Bloodstock? Well, to be honest, it would definitely be something we will never forget, assuming we will ever survive at all…
Na Cruithne – Ciarán
For people hearing about Na Cruithne for the first time. Tell us about yourselves and what does Na Cruithne mean?
We’re a Folk-Metal band based in Galway and the idea has been around since 2011. We had quite a few teething problems at the start but have gradually built up momentem over the years. We take a lot of influence from the trad scene in Galway, which is arguably the best in Ireland. The name has a few meanings, it refers to some of the first inhabitants of Ireland who later made their way to Scotland where the Romans referred to them as the “Picts” and built Hadrian’s wall to keep them in the North. The name “Picts” is likely a reference to the tradition of donning warpaint before battle, a tradition we try and keep going. “3753 Cruithne” is also the name of Earths second moon.
This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. Ronan played (and won) with Ten Ton Slug in last year’s competition. Was this a deciding factor when entering?
We were due to play Metal 2 the Masses last year and unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute so we were very grateful to have a second chance. We’ve done a lot of gigs with Ten Ton Slug and it was great to see them win last year, it definitely gave us a boost for this year, we’re happy to fly the flag for Galway, along with Between the Lines, this time ‘round.
Na Cruithne 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?
Yeah it was a pretty big deal for us. There was a kick in our step on the way back to Galway for sure. By the time the Semi Final rolls around we will have released our first Album “Gairm an Fhiantais” recorded by John Moffatt along with 2 music videos, one of them animated by Tia Friedel who also does all of the artwork for Na Cruithne. The important thing for us is to have the craic when we’re playing, we were able to do that on Saturday and it payed off. Regardless of what happens in the semi-final we’ve already done ourselves proud.
Folk metal is something we’ve never had in the competition and on Saturday we witnessed one of the best reactions on an opening night to your set. How big a deal it would be for Na Cruithne to play Bloodstock and do you think they could handle you?
We’ve played a handful of gigs in Dublin but this one was definitely the highlight. It was also a big deal having Jean Claude at the helm with the sound as it can be tricky getting a good sound when you throw Fiddle and Bouzouki in with your standard Metal set up. Having a good sound really helped us to loosen up when we were playing. As for a gig in Bloodstock, it has a pretty impressive line up already and it would be huge for us to play there. We saw first hand how many doors in opened up for Ten Ton Slug and it’s a great opportunity for unsigned bands. I think Na Cruithne would be able to rally a pretty good crowd at Bloodstock.
Where can we find out more about Na Cruithne?
Check us out on Facebook (Facebook.com/nacruithne) and band camp (nacruithne.bandcamp.com) . We also have a Youtube page “Na Cruithne Official) which is where you’ll find the music videos for “Bultúr Marú” and “Fhoinnuisce” in late February/March.
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 Promotions for their continued support.