With Metal 2 The Masses season well and truly in bloom, Saturday night brings battle hardened templars once more to Fibber Magees on the quest for the Holy Grail of a place on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock Festival. The best thing about these heats is the opportunity to see bands for the first time and tonight is no different as I get to witness (and photograph) 3 of the 5 for the first time.
Ainriail open the proceedings at Heat Three with a distorted cacophony of mid tempo Sludge. A two piece comprising of Tommy(drums) and Eric (bass), they lay down a sickly low end rumble that builds into crashing bass chord-driven platform. When Ainriail hit their groove they pique my interest, yet it subsides when they get a little lost in slower meandering phases. The twin vocals give them different dynamics but I feel their strength lies in their more deathly style delivery. Ainriail, would benefit strongly with the addition of a guitarist, but hey, this is their vision and it is uniquely different to many of the bands on the scene.
A late addition the the showcase, Svet Kant take the second slot for the evening. This experimental 4 piece is fronted by Santi Kodela and they are an exciting proposition. His soft vocal, exudes essences of Serj Tankian while on his solos, his guitar tone is reminiscent of Mikael Åkerfeldt’s. Experimental is the key word with this band as they blend many genres and I am taken aback by the twin lead flurries that abound in their set. Svet Kant are an intriguing band with a lot to offer.
Twisted Wrath take to the stage at the halfway point tonight and proceed to sonically tear into the crowd. One member less, (as was the case at last year’s Anthrax show), Patrick has ditched his guitar to fill the bassist role in the band. Twisted Wrath deliver magnificent time changes in their choppy thrash creations. Colin Dunne’s riffs are infused with the spirit of Jeff Hanneman. They simply bleed Slayer. Playing a selection of songs from their three EP’s they get heads banging around the venue. While they have lost none of their venom, I do feel that on stage they need the extra guitarist to maintain their impact while Colin shreds blistering solos. A solid performance but it just doesn’t feel like their night tonight. Twisted Wrath are a quality outfit and I hope I’ll see them back in Dublin soon.
The Tailor Made are a revelation; It’s that simple. When they start, there is an almost indie / grunge / alt-rock vibe to their sound but it is embellished with a flagrant Punk disregard for convention. Lead singer Joseph is a fireball of energy, and that’s before he has even sung a single word. His zest is more than equalled by bassist dynamo, Stephen. They bring the biggest crowd of the night and their fans are intent on letting us know they are in attendance. To date, The Tailor Made give us the most explosive performance that I’ve seen at M2TM in 2016. As if to exemplify their intention, during the first song, guitarist Phil, crashes his guitar head repetitively on one of Tom’s cymbals. To the point that the stand falls over. Unpredictability, power and fine songs, The Tailor Made are my find of the night and it will be interesting to see where this noisy adventure will take them.
Closing the evening are thrash metal upstarts, Saint Slaughter. Broken strings hampered the guys in last year’s competition and tonight they are the epitome of focus as they strive to erase the memory of 2015. With Darragh O’Connor added to the line up on bass they deliver thrash anthems fuelled with a gallon of Metallica fuel (sic). The fact that as I write these words, in my head I am singing the chorus of ‘We were born to fuck, drink and rock n roll’ is testimony to the catchy nature of their songs. Last year, I alluded to the talent lead guitarist, Jeff Hernandez. His six-string work is dazzling and when the band lock in on a galloping beat they are the musical equivalent of a herd of buffalo racing through the venue. Tom Moylan is an octopedal whirlwind of fury at the back. If lead singer Eoin learns to take control of the crowd and engage with them when he is not singing, they could become stronger prospect. Also, to bring up a recurring theme for the evening, I think that Saint Slaughter could really benefit with a rhythm guitarist. These are just small points and definitely do not detract from the fact that in the space of a year, Saint Slaughter have really matured and developed their sound.
All in all, Heat Three was another cracking night in Dublin. The crowd vote went to The Tailor Made and the Judges’ vote was awarded to Saint Slaughter.
PlanetMosh caught up with both bands in the aftermath and here’s what went down:
The Tailor Made
1. For people hearing about The Tailor Made for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
Just a group of 5 Dublin lads making noisy songs from a habit of listening to them ultimately! Fans of Rage Against The Machine would mostly dig us but we aim to appeal to a broader spectrum of rock and roll with confident songwriting. Our roots mainly lie in headbobbing groove and headbanging speed dynamics, anything that gets the crowd to move. Our work ethic so to speak is to enjoy ourselves on stage and writing so that it resonates with others because that’s what this whole music thing is about right?
2. This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. How was your experience in the first heat?
Playing at Metal 2 The Masses was a great experience for us. Looking back at the gig we felt that we stuck out from the other bands because our style of music isn’t quite the same as that of the other bands. After watching the bands that were on before us we were not sure what the crowd were going to think of us, so we did what we do best and explode with energy. Jumping around and crashing cymbals with headstocks are essential to our gigs because we find that the visual aspect of a gig plays a big part in gaining the interest of the crowd. Everybody was dead friendly and easily approachable so if we had any questions about the night they got answered perfectly. Hopefully through our time in the competition we get some new faces coming to the gigs and following our music. Overall the experience has been amazing and we’re sure it can only get better.
3. The Tailor Made were the people’s choice at Heat Three, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
Getting through to the semis was a great surprise seeing as we were humbled by acts like Twisted Wrath immediately before our set and seeing many people we didn’t recognise there, leaving both judges’ and crowd vote hanging in the balance… But it’s great having this chance to tighten our set and secure the holy grail of the judges’ vote, because we know you can only get so far with the help of your mates. When it comes down to it our playing needs to be at a level where we are deserving of the Bloodstock set prize. And we have no problem doing what’s necessary to make that happen. Expect us to be a whole lot tastier at these semis as there will be no holds barred…
4. Where can we find out more about The Tailor Made and is there material on the way?
All of our music can be found at thetailormade.bandcamp.com. We also have all of our social media bases covered. We’ve got Facebook (www.facebook.com/thetailormademusic), Twitter (@the_tailor_made) and Instagram (thetailormadeirl), so you can keep up to date with all things Tailor Made.
Yes! We’ve been writing like maniacs over the last few months and have a lot of cool things planned out for 2016. We have some songs online, but we’ve been holding out on our best stuff, so stay tuned!
5. You offer a very different package to a lot of the bands in this year’s competition. How big a deal it would be for The Tailor Made to play Bloodstock?
Well we are all fans of various styles of metal music but we strongly feel metal music itself can be saturated with rehashes of thrash/black/death metal from time to time and a punk/hard rock relief is sorely needed. Playing Bloodstock would be fantastic for us exposure-wise and a great experience to beat the daylights out of our instruments abroad in front of some fresh faces. Also sharing a bill with SLAYER duhhh.
1. For people hearing about Saint Slaughter for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We’re a four piece thrash band, from all over the place. I’m from Meath, so’s Darragh, Tom’s inner city Dublin and Jeff lives in Belfast, but he’s originally from Venezuela. The band came to be back in early 2014. I’d left a previous band in December, I’d actually planned on quitting playing music, but the itch resurfaced and I wanted to get back into it. I spent ages searching for band members and bands I could join, and I seen a post on Gumtree or something looking for people with similar influences to mine by Jeff, who I’d previously gigged with before in my old band. We met up and jammed, and shortly after Tom came along and joined us, cementing the foundation of Saint Slaughter. Darragh’s the newest member – he filled in for us at a gig in New Ross with a week’s notice and killed it, so we asked him to join us, and here we are! Our influences, as it goes, are pretty varied, I’ll go from thrash to stoner rock to radio shit, at the moment I’m listening to a lot of Down, Clutch,Testament and this awesome Canadian “hyperthrash” band called Nylithia. Tom started off as a death metal drummer and still worships Death but nowadays he’s pretty much the only true “thrasher” in the band, haha, his choice bands at the moment being Havok, Destruction, Warbringer and Revocation. Darragh’s pretty eclectic too, he’d like a bit of everything, from Burzum and Gorgoroth to Lamb of God and Megadeth. He’s got a black metal band (Horrenda), an industrial death band (Axial Symettry) and a vaporwave project (32X) on the go as well as us! Jeff’s got a classic rock influence in his solos, stuff like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, but he loves his heavy shit, stuff like Pantera, Testament, Lazarus A.D and Chimaira.
2. This is your Second time playing Metal 2 The Masses. After the hiccups during last year’s heat, how was your experience this time around?
Man, last year threw me. We had our interview beforehand, and “a string breaking” was the main worry we had, so when it happened, it was like we jinxed ourselves. In fact, we were all set to bring a second guitar this time around just in case the same thing happened, but luckily, Jeff restrung his guitar and it held up perfectly! The only bad part about this year was waiting so long to drink prior to playing, but jokes aside, seeing all the brilliant bands before us just revved us up to play as best we could, and I guess that paid off!
3. M2TM Ireland has always had a strong thrash metal presence (two of our previous winners have been thrash). What is it about the thrash scene in Ireland that makes it so special.
I think the thing about the Irish thrash scene is that it’s very small and quite niche, so you have those fans who come to every gig and love every second of it, but thrash also has this innate appeal to everybody. It’s the energy that bands give off live that can take kids who’ve just started listening to like, say, Slipknot, and they’ve snuck into a bar and this maelstorm of riffs and drumming hits them and they think “yeah, I could get into this”, then three weeks later they’re sowing patches onto a denim jacket. Thrash is addictive as hell, and even though our scene here is pretty small, you got something for everybody – Psykosis bring the party, Animator bring the riffs, Scimitar bring that evil vibe like Slayer used to, and Crossfire have got that old school speed metal meets technicality. I could go on for hours about all the bands we’ve got here!
4. Saint Slaughter were the judges choice at Heat Three, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
Getting the judge’s vote was, to put it simply, amazing. When our name was called out, we were all shocked and ridiculously happy. Well, all of us except Darragh, who’d been telling all of us not to worry about it, so props to him for being the level-headed member of the band. It was such a huge step up from last year – our plan this year was to go in, hopefully not have anything bad happen again, and leave with a few more people knowing us and the music we play – and to be chosen by the judges after all the talent on the night? Really humbling, and a big honour. Expect us to kick it up another notch once we play the semi-finals. Whether we win or lose, we’re coming away from this more people knowing our name, and as long as people remember us, and we see a few new faces coming in to check us out and bang their heads like maniacs, that’s all we can ask for.
5. Where can we find out more about Saint Slaughter?
At the moment, you can find out more about us from our Facebook page. We’ll also be on Twitter fairly soon, none of us (aside from Darragh) really use the platform personally, so it’s something we need to jump on. You can also check us out on Youtube, where you can find our demos and a couple live videos, and on Bandcamp, where we have said demos available for free as a download. We’re currently recording our debut E.P under the working title of “Inglorious”, and we aim to have that out by March, so keep your eyes peeled for info on the release date, the album art, preview tracks, all that good stuff!
All photos by Steve Dempsey of Down The Barrel Photography
Bands are welcome to download their photos from his Flickr Page.