It’s heat 4 of 7 in Dublin tonight at the Metal 2 The Masses Ireland showcase; the half way point, the fulcrum of the heats but will it be the pivotal heat about which all others will revolve. PlanetMosh is here to see if Alpheidae, Devolted, Emigra, Ten Ton Slug and zhOra are ready to step up to the challenge.
Opening the evening is Galway’s Ten Ton Slug; a groove laden behemoth of sludge. This five piece hit the ground running with riffs spawned from the swamps of Louisiana. Frontman Rónán is a fantastic presence with a bestial voice and an in-between song banter that is warm and entertaining. I’ve seen the guys before and am not surprised when Ten Ton Slug set a very early high standard and definitely leave the remaining bands with food for thought. For M2TM Ireland, the early turnout is akin to one of the finals; testament to the pulling power of the line-up and the delicious stomp that is churning from the Slugs. Top notch musicianship from a band that deserve your attention.
On this damp Saturday night, Alpheidae return to the Fibbers stage for their third consecutive year. There’s been a slight change of personnel with Leon Bourke now trading licks with Ros Coughlan, but that has not detracted from their focus. As always, lead singer Calvin is the linchpin of this band. His anguished delivery is backed with a steadfast belief in what Alpheidae stands for. ‘City Of Knives’ and ‘Altruist’ are the highlights in a set that ends with Calvin grasping an overhead bar and hanging over a sea of raised hands. Alpheidae are a clear crowd favourite in Dublin and continue to be a strong prospect for a slot at Bloodstock.
zhOra bring ‘Remission’ style Mastodonic slabs of concrete and drop them from a stealth bomber tonight in Fibbers. Compared to the band that played two years ago in M2TM, they are a different beast, a Leviathan if I may. Every band member seems as if the music is flowing through their bones. Vocal duties are shared and at times it feels that they are jamming with an organic fluency. Colin Bolger’s almost maniacal faces perfectly exemplify the passion of the delivery from the quartet. Their army of fans travelled from Clonmel tonight and play their part with the most intense pit of the night. Blood was spilled. Make this note for the Semi final: zhOra should come with a health advisory notice –“This band will destroy you”. zHora could very well be a dark horse in this year’s race.
Devolted are another band who have returned for a third time (The big D were semi finalists last year). They are the band that bring fun to the event every year. Not to detract from their abilities, the foursome are a band that clearly enjoy being on the stage and share this joy with their fans. The Metallica influence is evident throughout their set which features songs from Devolted’s new EP ‘Broken Kings’. Rafa, once again dressed in his leopard print suit, cuts a pretty slick bass line that matches the backbeat from multi-colour mohawked drummer Dominik. “We’re not sure Dominik can get a visa for Bloodstock or Metaldays coz he came here on a door”, quips Rafa to the “Ladies and genitals. Megaphones and confetti canons are now part of the show but I wonder if they detract a little from the bands performance rather than enhance it. Overal they play a good set, but I don’t think they can match the voraciousness of earlier acts tonight.
Cork hardcore outfit Emigra close the evening just as the witching hour commences. There haven’t been too many hardcore bands in M2TM over the last few years and it is great to see the scene represented tonight. They deliver a punchy set fuelled with angst-ridden vocals and bruising breakdowns. Lead singer Xander stalks the stage, in the face of those gathered at the frontline. They do suffer a little from a later time slot and it seems a lot of the crowd have voted and scarpered for last buses/clubs. The guitarwork from Daniel and Szymon is acerbic and punches harder than a seasoned heavyweight. Their set is cut just as they start their last song (they had run over he 30 allocated minutes). With the demise of Irish hardcore heros Frustration last year, maybe the time is right for a new king to ascend. Emigra are fucking ready.
Massive respect to all the bands who really did give us the aforementioned fulcral heat.
The crowd vote on the night went to Alpheidae and the judges’ vote went to zhOra. I would be very surprised if the one wildcard spot went to one of the other bands from this heat.
In the aftermath, PlanetMosh caught up with the two winners.
Alpheidae – Calvin
1. For people hearing about Alpheidae for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
Well, we are a Dublin based quintet, with Zach Parkinson on drums, Gavin Wynne on bass, Leon Bourke and Ros Coghlan on rhythm and lead guitar respectively and Calvin Singleton on vocals. Alpheidae formed in August 2013, and since then we’ve worked our very hardest to get where we dream of going, and won’t stop until we get there.
2. This is your third time playing Metal 2 The Masses. What is it about the competition that keeps bringing you back?
The Metal 2 the Masses is an awesome competition, not just because of the overall prize, which is essentially fulfilling any band’s vision, but because the process of playing is a great way to get a starting band’s name out. We played in the M2TM competition in 2014, when we were just nematodes in the Irish metal scene, and having made it to the finals in our first time we received such a great reception and continued to climb the chain since.
3. Alpheidae have a great following and were the people’s choice at Heat 4, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
With such immense competition from the likes of Ten Ton Slug, zhOra, Devolted, and Emigra, we really weren’t sure whether we would get through at all! All the bands put out an amazing show. We were ecstatic to find that we had won the people’s choice and we will continue to better ourselves and deliver only the best because if the fans want more they can have it!
4. Where can we find out more about Alpheidae and tell us a little about your debut video for ‘Altruist’?
Alpheidae are on practically every social media site you can imagine; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. You can find out music on Soundcloud, and within the week of our M2TM heat, we released our debut video for our single ‘Altruist’ and can be found on our YouTube channel. It’s the first song from our upcoming EP ‘I in All’ which we hope to put out before Spring ends. ‘Altruist’ was also the song we opened with for Heat 4, simply because we feel that it is heavy – straight to the point – Alpheidae in its essence.
5. How big a deal it would be for Alpheidae to play Bloodstock?
I don’t think we can really sum up in words how big it would be.. Exciting, fearful, ebullience and possibly the most life changing experience a band could have.
Links to Alpheidae online
YouTube (Altruist): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o40fclIou2Y
YouTube (Band Channel): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX-Di0tcbmsNU4_qMuqyW-A
zhOra – Tom
1. For people hearing about Zhora for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, four functional alcoholics rubbed their weary heads together in an effort to find cheap drink and a near-constant source of pats on the back. It was in this shuddering moment of clarity that zhOra was born. Torn from the gaping maw of adulthood and fiscal responsibility, the beleaguered quartet fumbled onwards into numerous Public Houses to ply their wares. And it’s been grand ever since like… Actually I was lying at the start there, it was only three years ago.
2. This is your Second time playing Metal 2 The Masses. After a break of one year, how was the experience this time round?
In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary “I’ve shit out worse.”
But in all seriousness it was a blast. We exiled ourselves from the gig circuit for a good long time to work on writing and rehearsing new songs and I think it’s been a great decision. After a while it’s easy to get desensitized to the music you’re working on and the little things can become huge issues because of that tunnel vision. We’ve all got a bit ratty with each other here and there over the small things but that’s just a product of stress and a very non-sexy kind of Cabin-Fever. Vocals are one thing we’ve been working on a lot which obviously, are more personal. I mean everyone knows how they want to sing or scream and when it doesn’t come out right the first couple of times you can get up in that lovely brain of yours and get a complex about it. But you just have to move on. On the night the four of us screamed our little Tipperary hearts out and that was very sound altogether thanks very much one pint of Carlsberg please.
Overall, it was nice to play with our mates, competition or not. You get up on stage and put on your “serious hat” but afterwards it’s just any regular night, which is the only way to treat things like this.
3. Zhora were the judges choice after you levelled 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?
Some time ago, I and some choice friends made the journey to Hellfest. 2013 if memory serves correctly. Ah, and what a good year that was. It was a very good year for small town girls and soft summer nights. But I digress. Sometime, within some day of our drunken stupor, a very good friend of mine thought it would be quite a ripping good laugh if, when he felt the need to urinate through the perimeter fence, to exclaim “FEELS GOOD MAN.” That’s as close as I can get to how it felt.
We’re working on getting one of our most favourite new songs called Turmoil ready to be played live. Another one with the four of us singing and as many time signatures as is humanely possible. It’s an absolutely insane song. Plus, it gives us great enjoyment seeing people not knowing when to tap their feet. I’ve actually seen Pancho become sexually aroused by this but that’s something for him and his Therapist to discuss and I’ll thank you not to tell anybody on the Internet about it.
4. Where can we find out more about Zhora?
Our Pornhub link is down unfortunately but if you’ve got that unquenchable zhOra thirst try
5. You recently released the artwork for your new album ‘Ethos, Pathos, Logos’. Can you tell us a little about the album and when it will be released?
The artwork was the first that we haven’t done within the band. Credit where it’s due, our artist Jake Kobrin did an incredible job and it suits exactly what we wanted. After all, a cover for a 60+ minute concept album need to look like you fell arse over tit into a vat of acid.
We spent the best part of two years putting this record together. So obviously, it’s more involved and thought out than our last two releases but that’s not the only thing about it. A fifth of a decade is a long time. Life doesn’t generally pause in between that really. We’ve all had our own personal crap that happened and that gives you impetus to keep pouring into it. Catharsis and that. Plus on the other side we wrote horrendously filthy, technical riffs and songs because that’s what we needed to do. Everyone gave an incredible performance, no matter what the capacity was. I think everyone can stand back and honestly say there wouldn’t be many things they’d change about it and that’s a fucking rare thing. UP TIPP!!
All photos by Steve Dempsey of Down The Barrel Photography
Bands are welcome to download their photos from his Flickr Page.