The Metal 2 The Masses Ireland juggernaut rumbled into Fibber Magees in Dublin on Saturday night for the second of three semi-finals to determine the second third of the Final line up. PlanetMosh was there again to check out what went down and see who would step up to the plate and beat the sliotar out of the park.
Of the three semi-finals, tonight’s is the one where I honestly did not know what to expect with such a mash of genres going up against each other; but that is the pure fun of the whole Metal 2 The Masses franchise, everyone is accepted and everyone is included. First up this evening are The Tailor Made who bring their cauldron of aggressive alt-punk and pour it from the stage ramparts upon the early arrivals. I was very impressed the last time I saw the guys but tonight, there is something amiss. The band asked to swap their slot in the random draw for the first slot with one of the other acts. Unfortunately, one of their guitarists hasn’t made it to the venue on time and they admirably plough on without him. To give the lads their due, their enthusiasm and vigour (especially from Stephen and Joseph) more than compensates and they set an early standard for the night.
Black Svan take to the stage after TTM and proceed to rip into a metallic fury. Last year I thought their semi final appearance was the best I had seen them play but tonight surpasses that performance tenfold. The band is on point, with all of the guys bouncing (musically) off each other. They are tight and heavy as fuck. On top of this heaviness, the intensity of Keith Caffrey really gives the band the focal point their music deserves. His voice is the most powerful clean vocal in the competition and contrasts fantastically with the harsh vocal delivered from bassist Kenneth. Tonight Black Svan put on a show which was 30 minutes long and easily 30 minutes too short. The Drogheda demolition squad is one of the hottest bands in Ireland at the moment with a sound that no others have mastered.
The grunge challenge is brought by Vendetta Love in the third slot. Imagine a world where Alice in Chains is fronted by Kurt Cobain with Slash as lead guitarist and you get a close idea of what the VL modus operandi is. Shawn Namaste is a star. It’s that simple. Star quality is not something you learn, it’s not something you walk into a store and buy, you are born with it and when that star is let shine it can light up the world. New bassist Neil has fit perfectly into the band and tonight they bring us to Seattle (via Portlaoise) and lay down a seriously strong set of songs that gets many heads banging. They close to a very appreciative response from the Fibbers faithful.
Finalists from last year, Nautilus return and once again take us twenty thousand leagues under the sea. They are the heaviest doom band in this year’s showcase and tonight they send out aural waves of delicious, sludgy, polluted filth. The twin riffs from Cathal and Cloaky owe as much to Neurosis and Crowbar as they do to the groove of Corrosion Of Conformity. Throw the rumbling backline from Connor and Alan on top and the cacophony is complete. Nautilus are the epitome of doom and once again, the large crowd lets it be known that they are one of the favourites of the evening.
Minus Ten Thousand Hours were always going to be the unexpected package. They blend so many styles that they cannot be pigeon-holed into a specific genre. It’s refreshing to see a band that pushes the envelope without being ridiculous yet still maintains a level of WTF in their performance. As a three piece, they need every inch of the stage this Saturday night because Dylan and DJ do not stop flailing about for the 1800 seconds that they have been allotted. The audience is clearly here for them as the first pits of the evening break out and chants/sing-a-longs are dutifully reciprocated with full voices. They finish with instruments flung on the ground and Dylan prostrate on the ground with every ounce of energy spent. This is a statement of intent; do not be in any doubt, Minus Ten Thousand Hours are a massive curveball for this year’s final.
Finishing off the sextet of metallic mayhem are tech giants, AeSect. Having traded places with the first band of the night, they benefit by playing to a fuelled up crowd and that fuel fires up their performance. The guitar work from Dave and Aidan is uber-efficient and tight. The new man Aidan (bass) and not-so-new-now Mark are a maelstrom of power at centre stage. Mark commands the crowd, hangs over them while clinging to a ceiling rafter. AeSect tear the venue apart, with riff upon riff of technical aggression. There’s blood spilled, there’s walls of death and there’s metal galore. Tonight AeSect prove why they are one of the strongest metal bands in the Irish scene.
This Semi Final was indeed a mish-mash of styles and genres but in the end it turned out to be a surprisingly heavy evening filled with a strong sense of support and togetherness. An evening where everyone involved was proud to be part of the Bloodstock Family.
On the night, the crowd vote went to Minus Ten Thousand Hours and the (really close) judges vote went to AeSect.
Check out the photo gallery below from Steve Dempsey – 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.