Saturday 1st December was the second year Dublin was to be subjected to a beating. The dealer of this beating was Robbie McCabe of Eye Hate Tony Promotions. Seasons Beatings 2 was an all day gig with a long line-up of a variety of Irish metal bands. So, let me just paint a picture of what seasons beatings is usually like…wait…I don’t remember – that says it all really. This year there were FREE vodka jelly shots and an abundance of them (most of which were consumed by me) so nobody stood a chance. I’ll stop just short of coming across like Shane McGowan and get on with the review, shall I?
The evening kick started with three piece Demented Blue. Now, these guys had only recently become a three piece having parted with their vocalist a few days beforehand so they were performing as an instrumental band. They had a kind of Grungy sound but still maintained a heavy element to it sometimes verging on a Motorheady theme. The Bass was a prominent feature in the set up and while it was good it was at times a bit too funky for me. They have a great Drummer who was the centre focus tying it all together. They had some good riffs and apart from a few timing mishaps they were good but they should probably aim to get a vocalist as I don’t know if their set-up at the moment is engaging enough without lyrics.
Five piece Seventh Age were the second band to take the stage. They’re slightly inconsistent with what genre they are. I’m all for mixing genres and originality but in the case of Seventh Age I’m not sure that they pulled it off, the vocals don’t really fit in with the rest of the music, and it doesn’t make for a smooth set. They would do well to stick to their thrashier influences like Megadeth. They came off comical sometimes but this was appeared to be accidental and they lack confidence in their work – don’t try and sell me bread and tell me there could be mould on it ‘cause I ain’t gonna buy it then. They had a couple of mishaps but they handled them well. Their guitars were also out of tune. Now, it sounds harsh but there is a silver lining, it’s not all bad. They have the right ingredients they just need to decide on what they’re best at and stick at it. Also, word to the wise – St Francis Giotto is the only person who can pull of fingerless gloves and even he was pushing it.
Next up were Thrashers Atominated. Now as you probably know because it is well documented in the annals of Metal – I love thrash. I would wave my Dunnes Stores knickers at any thrash band, any day of the week! That is not an invitation, it’s just a statement of fact. It’s obvious from Atominated’s spirited performance that they really love thrash too. They have all the attire to be identified as a thrash band with the bullet belts and the high tops. Naturally there was a Megadeth T Shirt present (and not the only one of the night). They have their own approach to Thrash and it seems they also have a wide variety of influences. They even seem to have been illuminated by some of the work of their fellow Dublin thrasher, Psykosis.
As the venue started to get fuller and rowdier, Zero Tolerence took to the stage to show us what they are made of. This is another band with a lot of influences that are sometimes a bit too easily identified. With that said, they have a big enough range of influences to make what they do original. They played Temper Temper which seemed to be a real crowd pleaser. They have a kind of nu metal meets groove and ‘oh hey there’s slipknot’ sound which works for these guys. Drummer Ryan Cummins is probably the band’s best asset with bucket of potential. Vocalist Rob Wallace is comparable to other singers in the metal genre but he manages to come off original in the particular mix. Although they look like they’ve been handpicked from five totally different bands, I think these guys get it and they have all the right ingredients. It’s good to see a band with vivacity given the state of the scene at the minute.
Exzeltic were next and it was so hard not to shout ‘what’s up blonde ambition’, when Neil Coburn gets on stage with his six string bass guitar… I showed some restraint…this time! Tracks like Atomic Demolition really demonstrate the level that these guys are at and it’s probably fair to say that Exzeltic are at the top of the thrash food chain in Dublin with a handful of others. They are genuinely enjoyable to watch and with guys like these around, hopefully it won’t be long before there’s a bit more life in the scene again. The Drummer provides a really great foundation and pair that with some impressive and melodic solos and you’ve got a nice aul cocktail. A band you can really destroy your neck to.
Belfast natives, By Conquest or Consent were up next. They have no shortage of charisma as a band and they have that kind of death/metalcore appearance going on but don’t be fooled because there’s still an element of groove that will flick you in the face. By Conquest or Consent were one of the first bands to really get the crowd going and I would like to say ‘Kudos’ to the karate kid up front even if I did fear for my face getting the “wax-on, wax-off” treatment at one point. There were some nice vocals with the cleaner styles mixing in well with the heavy. Speed is a definite strong point for these guys. Laden with breakdowns – we know how I feel about them, but again it works for some and not for others and I’m
happy to say there was nothing tedious about their set.
It was time for some good old passion thrashin’ with Dublin four piece Edenfire. These guys have featured in previous reviews and they are a well-known and well respected band with a lot of experience of the scene. With the band sporting Testament, Evile and Motorhead T-shirts etc if you like thrash, when you see those names you know you can rest easy – all is in order here. There’s something for everyone with Edenfire – a truly accessible band. Songs like Corruption capture the mood some people may find themselves in these days (HACK TUUU to the bankers, eh?). The bellowing growls of Dan Monaghan and Tony Murphy seize the crowd and make them listen. Drummer Steven Maloney has great precision and is a real asset to the band. They had some new material on the night, illustrating that behind the consistency remains creativity.
Death of a Salesman took the crowd next. I’ve seen this band a few times and although their style wouldn’t be my favourite under the metal umbrella. However, I still think they‘re great at what they do. They have a great energy on stage and really appeal to the crowd with that. There is nothing worse than seeing a band perform something that they don’t believe – this band believe everything they feed you and the crowd laps it up. The vocal range of front man Aiden Thompson is vast with everything from screaming to gruntish squeals. They are another band with an abundance of breakdowns. They dedicated a song or two to organiser Robbie McCabe on the night which I’m pretty sure had all the girls (of which there were about seven) questioning who this Robbie is. It has to be said there are a lot of bands of this style out there today but between the two bands: Death of a Salesman and By Conquest or Consent there seems to be a great authenticity about them.
Dead till Friday played next. I had never heard or seen these guys play before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. They had a much different style and approach to a lot of the other bands on the bill. One of the songs they played, Nothing left to Lose was a real demonstration of their style being melodic and more hook oriented. They are a bit harder to place and to compare than some of the other bands which can be taken as a positive. Again, a good vocal standard with this band. Lots of energy and interaction within the band which always makes for an enjoyable performance.
Groove Metallers, Dead Label were second last on the night. These guys have had a lot of success this year which is great to see an Irish band achieve. They are a band that appears to be getting progressively heavier which is a natural path to take. Their first Album Sense of Slaughter is, in my opinion, an expression of anger and a furious questioning of the meaning and justification of certain things – a let out so as we don’t all get milled into the back of a Garda Van. Now, with new material it’s clear that that anger is still being utilised but to construct and create in different and enigmatic ways. Front man Dan O’Grady does not hesitate in unleashing his fury onto the crowd and that’s how one relates to Dead Label. O’Grady has a vocal style similar to a combination of Sean Beasley (Dying Fetus) and Hernan Hermida (All Shall Perish). Tracks like Catechism, Reign and their new one, It Burns Within really resonate with the crowd and leave a lasting impression. Drummer Claire Percival would give any dude a run for their money any day, her style reminds me a bit of Ken Owens with a lovely amount of double bass in there and great fills. Combine the vocals and drums with the great, hook – laden riffs provide by Danny Hall and this is a three piece to watch out for.
Finally, Psykosis, the thrashers I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, ended the night. These guys are one of the best bands to see live with an unmatched intensity and an obvious love for what they do- they are a pleasure to watch. Psykosis are bringing a bit of life back into the scene which is much needed. As I said before, these guys are comparable to bands like Overkill, Slayer and Hirax but they don’t hide behind any of their influences. The nature of these guys on stage with their zeal and their questionable mental health is the essence of thrash and probably all metal in general.
There is nothing pretentious or shallow about Psykosis. Front man Grant Walsh does a great job onstage and to reiterate, he is like Chuck Billy without the belly and a little less Native American!(They aren’t going on hiatus so he can go on a vision quest any time soon) Drummer Shane Byrne beats the living daylights out of the drums and rightly so. He’s like a mixture of Charlie Benante and Jon Allen back there! Their sets are always memorable and I think everyone is really looking forward to seeing what these guys have to offer when they record.
Seasons Beatings 2 was a great night for all who attended. Great bands and a well-organised night made for some very happy metal heads. A big ‘Thank You’ is due to Robbie McCabe for putting it all together and to Denise Dempsey for taking pictures of all the smelly rockers!
For more pictures of Seasons Beatings go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dramatic-Snaps/125569804268577?fref=ts