Saturday night saw the second heat of Metal 2 The Masses Ireland take place at Fibber Magees and with 4 new bands to the competition (of the 5) taking part, it was a night of new discoveries and crunching rock and metal.
With the straws drawn, Dublin metal troop Outbreak is selected to open the night and kick things off with power and passion they do. They say they draw their influences from many aspects of heavy metal but I can definitely hear lashings of Trivium in their sound. With a good crowd in early again this week, the band are clearly happy to be up there letting them hear their ball busting anthems. Craig Murphy’s rough vocal is a real positive for this outfit and his delivery helps earn them a few new fans. Second band of the night are the Tipperary terrors zhOra who return after appearing in the 2016 final. There’s been a lineup change with Alan from Nautilus now assuming bass duties. zhOra proceed to decimate with their malevolent fury. Drawing heavily from early Mastodon, their songs capture, entrance and unsettle the listener with an air of disquiet. Colin Bolger’s face is etched with the pain and anguish of his message. zhOra play as if every show is their last and the performance is sublime.
Sandwiched into the middle slot for the evening is Galway atmospheric punk stoner group, Between The Lines. While their modus operandi mentions nothing of punk, I really pick up elements of said vibe from their set. Lead singer Mac is almost like a young Paul Di’Anno fronting a heavy rock band. Between The Lines deliver an extremely interesting set that moves from swathing grooves into lacerating riffs without compromising song structure. They are an intriguing band and I urge people to check out their debut eponymous release.
Penultimate act of the night is Order Sixty Six and unfortunately they are delayed by almost half an hour due to a backline malfunction. With every single amp/head combination attempted, the band finally get a sound from the bass and begin their assault on the Fibbers faithful. Don’t always judge a book by its cover. I was expecting up tempo hardcore with snarling, screaming vocals. Order Sixty Six are hardcore but at the slowwwww end of hardcore/deathcore. Think Cro-Mags without the thrash and you’re close. The dual vocal from Ryan and Ross is lower than guttural and even though there is no discernible difference in their style, it does mean that there is no quarter given to the ears as they pummel with an acerbic attitude. Order Sixty Six are a young band who will hopefully benefit from this years experience and I’ll be watching to see how their sound develops moving forward.
Closing the night is Creep and judging by the audience, they brought a lot of fans tonight. “Are you ready for some grunge?” asks singer, Jason McGuinness. His question is greeted with a roar of approval from the front rows and Creep duly deliver. This band is a beast. Their riffs are solid, the rhythm section is slick and their songs are tight. Despite histrionic bassist James’ attempts, the star of the show is McGuinness’ voice. At his low end he echoes Staley but when he goes into his high register, he demands your attention. The calibre of this band is strong and their set is absolutely stunning. Creep definitely have their eyes on the 13th May final.
While the votes are counted, Dead Label return to the stage in Dublin for their first show of 2017. Hot on the heels of their Download Festival announcement, they treat the crowd to a set filled with “old” favourites, brand new tunes (Bloodletting is furious and something of which Machine Head would be proud) and even a Sabbath cover on the night of the ‘The End’ in Birmingham. 2017 is shaping up to be a massive year for the Celbridge trio. Get on this juggernaut or get the fuck out of the way.
Heat two was another belting showcase in Dublin. On the night, the crowd vote went to Creep and the Judges’ vote was awarded to zhOra.
PlanetMosh caught up with both bands in the aftermath and here’s what went down:
For people hearing about Creep for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
For those new to Creep the best way to describe ourselves would be a mix of classic metal, 90’s grunge, hard rock with just a hint of a punk like edge in there for good measure! We started out back in 2010 as a bunch of teenagers looking for some local gigs, over the next few years we recorded a few demos, played all the main rock and metal venues in Dublin with the highlight being two shows we played in The Academy 2. The band went on a hiatus around the end of 2013 and stayed quiet for a few years before getting back together early 2016 where we started to actively gig again and went on to play at Longitude Festival! We pride ourselves on being one of the heavier acts to have played the festival. Right now we’re writing some new material and looking to release an EP later in the year.
This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. What is it that made you put in an application to play this year?
The main reason that this year is the first time we’ve out our name in the hat for Metal 2 The Masses is the fact that we were on a hiatus the last few years, but once we were up and running again it was something we had set our sights on right away, especially after seeing the success that it brought to other Dublin bands like Psykosis over the last few years.
Creep was 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?
It felt absolutely amazing to get through to the next stage, especially by getting the fan vote, it gives you the confidence that you can win over the crowd and get that all important vote! In regards to the semi finals we will be looking to debut a new song or two as well as surprise the crowd again with some “interesting” stage antics like the first round!
Your sound is firmly planted in the streets of Seattle. Is grunge more than nostalgia and do you feel it is just as relevant in 2017 as it was in the early 90’s?
One of the first things we set out to do when we started the band back in 2010 was to have a sound that was different to everyone else that we were gigging with, at the time all the bands we played with were either an indie band or full on metal, we wanted to try something somewhere in the middle so we went down the grungy route. Grunge is a genre that will always be relevant: it obviously peaked in the 90’s but the likes of Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Soundgarden are bands that stand the test of time and will always be an influence for young bands. You can also see somewhat of a grunge revival with the amount of tribute acts playing shows around Ireland right now which shows that the love for the genre is as strong as ever.
Where can we find out more about Creep?
The majority of our activity is on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CreepIreland/?ref=bookmarks but you can check out some of our recordings on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/creepireland We also like to have some fun on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/creepireland/?hl=en
How big a deal it would be for Creep to play Bloodstock?
If we did get to play Bloodstock it would cap off an amazing two years going from being on a hiatus and virtually non existent to sharing a stage with some of the biggest names in metal. It would be proof that you should never say never and with a bit of hard work anything and everything is possible!
zhOra – Colin
For people hearing about ZhOra for the first time. Tell us about yourselves and the addition of Alan to the line-up?
This is your second time playing Metal 2 The Masses. What is it that made you come back to play this year?
Unfinished business! We can smell the mud stained fields of Derbyshire in our dreams. They tantalise and titillate our senses. Bloodstock needs more zhOra. We plan on giving this everything we have.
zhOra were the judges choice on Saturday night. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
We were absolutely delighted to progress and now have the opportunity to continue our battle. We were humbled to gain the judges vote and plan on upping our game even more for the semis. By then we will have some more Irish shows and a short U.K. tour under our belts. The cogs will well and truly be oiled. Lock up your daughters!
I have to make a quick mention to your merch/album artwork. Where can we purchase prints and can you introduce the PlanetMosh readers and other bands to Dabulga Design?
Dabulga Design is the other side of me. I have up until now created all of our artwork along with art for many bands here and abroad. I live to create. Put simply it is my lifesblood. For anybody interested in checking out the strange images that bleed from my minds eye please visit www.facebook.com/dabulgadesign.
Where can we find out more about ZhOra?
To hear tunes go to zhora1.bandcamp.com. To feed your eyes visit www.youtube.com/zhoramusic. To see sexy pictures and keep up to date with our upcoming shows visit www.facebook.com/zhoramusic.
How big a deal it would be for ZhOra to play Bloodstock?
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.