With the buzz from last weekend’s electrifying night still raising hairs on the back of the neck, we descend on Fibber Magees for the second heat of Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Ireland. Tonight’s showcase features (once again) 5 acts from different ends of the metallic spectrum who are all vying for a place in one of the semi finals in a few months.
First band up in this evening’s musical mud wrestle are the fantastically named Pedophile Priests. Hailing from Poland (based in Dublin), tonight they kick in and clearly mean fucking business. The aggressive three piece bring the death tonight. Lead guitarist and main vocalist Piotr ‘Niemiec’ Niemczewski is the obvious ringleader in the band. All the songs are structured around his guitar work. He moves between Chuck Schuldiner deathly growls and a cleaner vocal delivery. Personally I feel the clean vocal steals from the strength of the Priests. His raking solos are fantastic and intricate but a lack of solid interaction with the crowd pulls their perfomance into the mediocre category. I listened to their album twice today before the show and it gave much hope and promise, unfortunately, in the live arena, it felt a little underwhelming. The Pedophile Priests have a lot to offer, tonight just wasn’t their night.
Doom metal has been well represented so far at M2TM this year but there are few bands that can match Cork’s Soothsayer for sheer menace. Frontman Líam Hughes is by far, one of the most intimidating singers that I have seen on stage. Reminiscent of a prowling panther, he stalks the stage and the main floor like a man deranged. He is possessed; possessed by the music that his fellow musicians are creating. From the opening lines of “We are the Soothsayer”, Hughes sways and gyrates like a man with demons controlling his actions. Soothsayer’s blackened doom is deathly ferocious tonight and the crowd realise they are witnessing something special. The enigmatic frontman takes all the attention from the band who get on with the job of creating atmospheric aural landscapes that would be the musical equivalent of fog rolling across a moor. They close their performance with Hughes prostrate on his knees on the main floor, drawing invisible symbols on the surface. Unforgettable.
The centre slot tonight is for the guys in Jenova. This is my first time seeing Jenova and they’ve been on my radar through the social media channels. Melodic death metal is somewhat of a hit and miss category for many. When it is done well, it fucking rocks, but when it is not, it’s sloppy. Thankfully tonight, Jenova allay any fears and pummel the living fuck out of the venue. For a band who are playing their third show ever as a unit, the tightness they exhibit puts many bands to shame. Guitarist Cormac is a live wire as he whips and flails his head with reckless abandon, all the while mouthing the lyrics along with the front man. Said frontman, Brian Harrington, also descends to the pit to engage the crowd in a more up close manner. They announce about how important getting to Bloodstock is for them. You can actually feel the hunger. These guys want it bad. They receive the best crowd reaction of the evening. This isn’t the last you’ve heard of Jenova at M2TM. They’re definitely ones to watch this year.
Bisect are unlike any band we have had at M2TM over the last three years. Their mix of hardcore thrash and grind is a bit of a mystery to many of the punters here tonight but they plough on as if their lives depend on it. Decked in a DRI t-shirt, Phil, the lead singer is very direct in his approach. They are a solid band with a definite agenda with their music. Pulling in so many different styles does detract from the continuity. Just as they settle into a chunky groove, they about turn into a Discharge-esque punk attack. Special mention to the killer bass playing from Maciej. Bisect are a multinational combine who bring a discordant cacophony to our Saturday evening.
Portlaoise’s very own Vendetta Love close the evening. The grunge rockers are the least extreme act tonight but that does not detract from their own unique heaviness. They have a strong Alice In Chains feel to their sound. Lead guitarist and singer, Shawn is a bonafide rock star. It’s something that you cannot teach someone. You either have it or you don’t. There is a charisma in his stage presence, his voice and his guitar playing. A good friend mentioned to me that these guys are the best rock band in Ireland at the moment. On tonight’s evidence, I have to agree. Initially their first two songs are a bit sluggish and disjointed BUT as soon as the third song kicks in, they find their groove and absolutely nail the performance. Bassist Eamonn takes the lead vocal for the penultimate tune and that just gives Shawn an even bigger platform to shine with his solo (he even soldiers on with a broken string). As the Saturday slips into Sunday, Vendetta Love bring a little piece of Seattle to Dublin and the crowd voice their appreciation in spades. Cracking gig.
The crowd vote on the night went to Jenova and the judges’ selection was Vendetta Love. Both bands join Two Tales Of Woe and Nautilus in the Semi Finals.
PlanetMosh caught up with the guys in the aftermath
1. For people hearing about Jenova for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
Jenova is a metal band with roots in death metal and hardcore, but all our members bring in their own style and influences, including black metal, prog, thrash and classical. We don’t play to entertain, but to express ourselves and expose the problems in our society.
2. This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. How was your experience in the first heat?
We had a great experience in the first heat. The venue was packed, all the bands playing had something cool to bring to the competition and the amount of support we were getting after the show was unbelieveable. It was great playing with great bands like Soothsayer, who really pushed us to play better after we saw their set.
3. Jenova were the people’s choice at Heat Two, 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 like all those long rehearsals, demoing, months long member searches, and band stresses is finally paying off. Also winning the crowd vote was great assurance to us that people believe in us and are digging the music. This was only our 3rd gig so when you see Jenova in the semi-finals you can expect to hear new songs, and an even tighter set, and you’ll see an even more vicious and hungry performance from us.
4. Where can we find out more about Jenova and is there material on the way?
Our main source of communicating with our fans is of course Facebook (https://facebook.com/JenovaIreland/), but you’ll find us uploading previews on instagram (www.instagram.com/jenovaeire). We’re going to be recording more demos soon and we’ve talked about ideas for our first EP once the demand is there. We’ll be uploading new demos on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ2hYvXFVLXZNNzsrn7PV9A) and Soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com/jenovaeire).
5. Brian mentioned from the stage how big a deal it would be to play Bloodstock. Tell us what it would mean to you?
Well one of my (Cormac) main goals is to bring Jenova to the UK market and playing Bloodstock alongside some of our favourite bands like Behemoth, Slayer, Satyricon, Rotting Christ would be a huge honour and step up for us. Personally I’ve been to Bloodstock every year since 2012 and have been exposed to so many incredible bands which influenced me and Jenova, so it would be a huge moment for me to play. I also have a big group of friends from all over the U.K. and Europe and we all try to go to Bloodstock together every year for a weekend of mayhem (often it’s the only time a year we see each other because of the distance). They’ve supported me through thick and thin, introduced me to so much incredible music and helped me a lot as a person, so getting to play for them all at Bloodstock could be the best moment of my life.
1. For people hearing about Vendetta Love for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We’re a 3-piece band who like loud, heavy, honest music. We wear our hearts on our sleeve and we think this is reflected in our songs and our live shows. We like to do things our way and when people come to a Vendetta Love show we invite them to do things their way and we’ll all have a good fuckin’ time.
2. This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. How was your experience in your first heat?
It was fuckin’ awesome. Really well organised and good vibes all around. We’re looking forward to doing it all again in the next round.
3. It’s very rare to see an Irish band with such a strong connection to the grunge movement. What is it that inspires you to be a little different than the rest of the scene in the country at the moment?
Firstly, it’s a huge compliment to be thought of as different! We really just play what comes natural to us, what we like to hear, and if that sets us apart a little, then that’s really cool.
4. Vendetta Love were the judges choice at Heat Two, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
We’ll just be doing what we do man. It’s going to be raw, it’s going to be gritty and it’s going to be loud as fuck.
5. Where can we find out more about Vendetta Love?
You can check us out on Facebook, YouTube and Soundcloud. Our main medium is our Facebook page. you can keep up with us and our upcoming gigs, news, releases and general madness.
All photos by Down The Barrel Photography
Thanks to Jetrocker.com / Overdrive / EHT Promotions for their continued association.