Saturday night at Fibber Magee’s in Dublin can only mean one thing. We’re back in front of the stage at Metal 2 The Masses Ireland. Tonight is the Wildcard final; Something new for 2015, where 6 bands who did not progress to the Semi Final by crowd or judge vote in their heats get a second chance at a slot in the penultimate round. These bands were selected by the organisers based on their performances during the heats and tonight is their opportunity to drink deep, once again, on the road to Bloodstock Open Air 2015.
First up are blackened thrash outfit, Chemical Sacrament. As I alluded in the previous review of these guys, when they are playing full on black metal they area force that makes a strong impression. They are clearly a group of friends who are just enjoying mixing together whatever genre that takes their fancy, be it Thrash, Death or reggae (yeah, I said reggae). Over the 30 minutes, they kick the arse of the evening into gear and extract a good reaction from the crowd. With time and focus, these genre-mashers might just create something memorable. Enshrined are second on the bill and take the energy levels up about 3 levels. Guitarist Conor is a windmill of energy and a pretty blistering guitarist to boot. They describe themselves as a form of melodic death, personally I get a much stronger metalcore vibe from them. So let’s call it Death-core. Tonight, their delivery is much tighter than at their heat and about half way through the set, the moshpit finally opens up for the first time of the evening. Their performance is slick and well received and their 30 minutes flies. Thrash metal has very much been the order of the day in this year’s showcase and Exzeltic take to the stage with an air of confidence that shines through their performance. Frontman Adam O’Reilly is grinning from ear to ear, with reckless abandon as they proceed to pummel the shit out of the PA. The power of their brand of Thrash induces much headbanging and fist pumping from the gathered punters. With songs layered with many differing structures, Exzeltic are a hot proposition and well worth checking out.
Hailing from the Royal county, Alabaster return with the energetic fury of an avalanche. Conor Donnelly has a growl that would strip the make up off a 70 year old hookers face. When Alabaster hit their groove they take on a formidable stomp that crushes all who are there to witness. Check out their latest single ‘Kicking down the ladder’ here. Second to last is Corr Mhóna who are playing their first of two gigs this weekend (The second being at the Siege of Limerick). There is no other band in the competition quite like this group of musicians. Tonight their crafting of black atmospheric metal is sublime and leaves many in the crowd with an intrigued look on their faces. This is why, this reviewer loves this band. They challenge the crowd’s perceptions of metal and encompass a range of styles with inexorable belief. Their sound is steeped in our heritage and tonight they balance light and dark that evokes an air of sorrow and anger. The “World Premiere” of Dealg is a treat in the set. Bringing the evening to a close the Conscriptor lads rip into a half an hour of frenetic acerbity. Bassist Niall Meehan, puts many to shame with his fretwork and Partick Pardy on guitar is relentless throughout the set. Formed only last year, Conscriptor have been building a strong reputation on the local scene and on tonight’s evidence, they have done themselves proud. A tectonic thrash thrill to guarantee a large number of bangovers on Sunday morning.
Tonight the level of support between the bands has been commendable and another reminder of the comradery that bonds the Irish metal community.
The crowd vote on the night went to Corr Mhóna and the judges’ vote went to Enshrined.
PlanetMosh caught up with both bands in the aftermath and here’s what they had to say.
Corr Mhóna – Paul Quinn
For people hearing about Corr Mhóna for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We are a pair of brothers from West Cork, Ireland. We have been into metal since we were kids, and decided to get a band going about 6 years ago, after many years of bullshitting about it. Our band merges a lot of different styles, with black, death and doom being the most prominent. We also sing in the Irish language.
This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. How has your experience been on the road to Bloodstock?
It’s been great! Ireland is so small, even though we are in Cork, it is easy to head up for the gigs in Fibbers. We have really enjoyed having the chance to play our music to a new audience, something that Bloodstock and festivals in general are all about.
Corr Mhóna were the Crowd choice at the Wildcard Final, 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 was very satisfying getting to the semi-finals. We don’t want to sound arrogant, but we really believe in the music we play, and we hope that our audience feels the same way, be they fans or new listeners. So we are proud and hopeful to be in the Semi-finals of the competition. In the semi people can expect choral singing, screaming n’ growling, clean and heavy riffs, agus go leoir rud as gaeilge!
Where can we find out more about Corr Mhóna?
You can find out more about Corr Mhóna on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/corrmhona), Bandcamp (https://corrmona.bandcamp.com/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/corrmhonaband) and you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Enshrined – Conor Spierin
For people hearing about Enshrined for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We’re a band from North Dublin that’s been together nearly 3 years now and we’re a band that aims to be a Metal band with no strings attached kinda deal because we take influences from so many of the subgenres of metal and even many genres outside metal we just aim to express ourselves and not to sound like a certain genre but for the questions sake “Melodic Death Metal” is a label we seem to get quite often. Our biggest influences include Gojira, Metallica, Machine Head, Sylosis, Lamb of God, Hatebreed, Trivium, Pantera, Death, Kataklysm, Black Sabbath and then even the likes of Jimi Hendrix and The Clash. The list could go on forever so I’ll leave it at that we all have a lot of contrasting influences. But yeah writing and expressing ourselves is just one of our favourite things to do along with playing live. Regardless of circumstances we always give our very best at a live show and try bring across that same expression from the songs.
This is your first year at Metal 2 The Masses and you’ve just played the wildcard final which was new to this year’s event. How has your experience been so far and how is this year’s competition shaping up?
It’s an insanely cool competition for one obviously it’s just such an amazing opportunity for Irish bands and secondly it really does draw out the crowds and carries along so much support which is such a great thing to see. Every band plays their hearts out up there and for the most part it’s great to see they always have a decent crowd at this. The organisation of the competition is great as well it runs so smoothly and even little things like the backdrop on stage add a nice touch it’s a really cool competition and we’re so glad to be a part of it and to play with some of these other bands for the first time because they’ve all been amazing there’s so much talent floating around.
Enshrined were the judges’ choice at Wildcard, 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 wildcard was a really big deal for us because we knew we had messed up a good bit on the night of our first heat so we were so grateful for it. And then to get through to the semi final is unbelievable we’re just over the moon with it and just can’t thank the judges and our supporters enough for the opportunity. And the other opportunities we’ve been getting too like we’re gonna be supporting Evil Scarecrow in Voodoo Lounge in an all ages show on April 11th which is amazing we can’t wait for that one and there’s some amazing bands on that bill and it’s our first all ages show in a long long while so yeah we’re looking forward to that and it’s just another great opportunity we’ve gotten from having good support and the help of the likes of EHT Promotions behind us. As for the semi final of this you can expect more of our blood sweat and tears to go into that gig we’re gonna give it our everything as we will at Evil Scarecrow but yeah either way no holding back for the next two shows we’re still gonna exhaust every avenue now the next week to see where we can take our live gigs to the next level.
Where can we find out more about Enshrined?
Too find out more about Enshrined I suppose first I should say our Facebook page, it has links to all our music and things like that so: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Enshrined/394445123942795
Other than that come to a live show to see what we’re really about and definitely do not be shy to come talk to us! We’ve also music up on a few different platforms but most recently for any Spotify users you can check us out here! https://open.spotify.com/artist/6v8rDcL6PmGL1XSRZI643Q