Heat 5 of the Ireland chapter of this year’s Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses took place last Saturday. With a strong line up, it was definitely one of the must see heats of this run of shows. Unfortunately, one of the bands (Axial Symmetry) had withdrawn the night before and could not be replaced at short notice leaving us with five in heat 5.
After drawing straws, the running order was confirmed with Pursuit Of Ruin garnering the cherry popper slot for the evening. The guys travelled a long distance from Londonderry to play the show on Saturday and genuinely just love gigging. Their heavy constructions are of a crushing, in your face, demanding style that certainly made a statement. On the night, Lead singer Joey who reminded me of While She Sleeps’ Loz Taylor was excellent and I look forward to seeing this band real soon. To hear more, check out the ‘Self Destruction Imminent’ EP. Second on the bill was Animator, a Wexford group who are the tightest thrash metal band I’ve seen in a long time. Following a recent support slot with Sodom, they were on fire in the heat. Whether it is the singer’s voice, the galloping bass or one of the slickest lead guitarists in the competition, this band are always on point, unlike a lot of their genre worldwide who accept sloppiness as part of the scene. They closed with their anthemic ‘In God We Trust’ and Fibbers was left in no doubt that thrash is a strong part of this year’s showcase. For this reviewer, Animator are ones to watch.
The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back were an unknown quantity to me as a live entitiy. I’ve checked their EP out due to seeing their commendable constant online promotion and was looking forward to see could they match their performance to the talk. TDWHSB wear their colours on their sleeves, colours that are primarily of a Slipknot shade and the crowd at Fibbers on Saturday loved every second of their set. Bassist Dylan was extremely energetic but his intensity was matched by the ferocity of vocalist Stephen Cannon. This band is a riff driven beast that while pretty new, definitely has the chops to throw down with the best. The Devil may want her swagger back, but as long as these guys keep ripping venues apart, that bitch will be kept waiting. Penultimate act My Father The King, played their own brand of fuck off hardcore. They were enjoying every second on the stage (especially the lead guitarist who flailed, leapt and dropped to his knees with an anarchic abandon). On the night their music was rather ill fitted to the bill and they suffered with momentum and crowd interaction compared to other bands. My Father The King gave their all but made little impression on the night. Thrash hounds Exzeltic closed the evening with a tirade of furious tunes a la Metalli-Deth. A genuinely nice group of musicians that interacted well with their sizeable number of fans. They gave a strong performance and definitely live and die by the sword of Thrash and their solid musicianship was a cracking end to what was once again a varied evening that showcased the considerable talent in this country.
On the night, the crowd vote went to The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back and the judges’ selection was Animator.
PlanetMosh caught up with both bands in the aftermath and here’s what went down:
The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back
For people hearing about The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We are a four piece metal band based in Dublin but we’re a bit scattered as to where we are from. We cover Meath, Kildare, Donegal and Dublin. We are a band that work hard we are not going a long time (as TDWHSB) and in the short time we are we have accomplished quite a bit and made some noise while doing so. As far as what we are about its just heavy music. Our music is very riff driven and we just love creating those moments in music that make you want to bang your head jump up and down and kill!
This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. How was your initial experience of the first step on the road to Bloodstock?
Our first experience has been great so far especially since we got through. The event is run very well and professionally and all the other bands have been really sound and cool too. The competition is insane. So it has been good to feel the nerves coming on before playing again. And it’s just really cool to be a part of something with “Bloodstock” in the title. Whether we get through or not we were still a part of the dream. ha ha
The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back won the crowd vote at Heat Five, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
It felt pretty good to get to the semi finals. We had a good following of family and friends that night so that was on our side. We were delighted to hear we got through but that was only the beginning so we are not letting it go to our heads. The next round we will be bringing some new material that we have been working on we have about 3 or 4 new songs ready that we are going to throw in with some of our older songs to shake it up again. As far a performance we will just have to play better head bang harder and the rest is up to fate. We will also be working on more promotional ventures in the mean time.
Where can people get their hands on your EP/Merch? Links
We have an EP called “Sign Here” which is widely available free via your tube and band camp where it can be downloaded for a pay whatever you want fee. We are also in the process of making up physical copies which we do also give out free at our gigs. We make them up ourselves. And as far as merch at the moment our t-shirts are only available at our Bloodstock metal 2 the masses competition heats but will be made widely available after. They are limited so grab them while you can.
For people hearing about Animator for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
Darren: We have been playing together in various forms since 2006, but Animator has been around since 2010. We are based in the ‘Sunny’ South East of Ireland in Co. Wexford and we play thrash metal with lots of other elements and genres mixed in for a bit of diversity.
After skipping last year’s showcase, this is your second time playing Metal 2 The Masses. How was your experience of the first step on the road to Bloodstock 2015?
It was amazing. The talent on display in this years competition is overwhelming, so to be able to get through to the semi finals is really positive for us!
Darren: Also, this years competition, and last year from what i have heard and seen, is run extremely well. Between the constant promotion it gets from the Bloodstock Ireland Facebook page and Overdrive.ie, and the professional photos taken by Down the Barrel Photography at every heat, its some really great exposure for all bands involved.
Animator won the judges vote at Heat Five, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
Darren: It was fantastic to get the judges vote on the night. Its a step in the right direction for where we want the band to be by the end of the summer! As for the semi finals, we will be looking to expand on the set that we have and see what we can change to spice it up even more. Perhaps more new material too from our upcoming second album which will be recorded later this year. Its always a nice challenge to try and throw in the new material along with the tried and tested songs from our first album, Blacklisted.
4. Where can we hear your music and get your merch?
Barry: The easiest way to access our music and merch is through our facebook page:
Our debut album Blacklisted, can be streamed and downloaded for free from our bandcamp page too: