The Siberian weather conditions that hit the UK this week, along with Skid Row in the bigger Limelight 1 and Strangle Wire playing Voodoo conspired to keep the numbers low at the latest Belfast heat of Bloodstock’s Metal 2 The Masses competition. Those that braved the conditions were treated to a mixed bag.
Rule Of Six were the first band to grace the stage. They came on to a Star Wars themed intro which might have seemed like a good idea at the time but when you have five guys standing around on stage for about a minute and a half it just looked awkward. Rule Of Six peddle an Iron Maiden-esque brand of Metal that initially gets the head bobbing, but without Maiden’s charm it quickly grows tiring. Their 4 guitarists seem to mimic each other so closely that the need for so many isn’t immediately apparent and leads to a fairly cluttered sound. And any band treading the same path as Iron Maiden needs a singer with an impressive range and unfortunately in Dave Briggs Rule Of Six do not have that as the vocals failed to hit the epic heights that the music was reaching for.
The second band of the day were Newry’s Rusty Taste Of Sweetness, taking their second shot at the M2TM competition. Aside from having quite possibly one of the worst band names about (sorry guys), they have a sound more suited to the likes of Download than Bloodstock. Having added a second guitarist since their last appearance RTOS have beefed their sound up but are still a far cry from what this competition is looking for. In Anna Gonzalez they possess a voice that has the potential to be something special but is falling short at present. On their slower numbers her voice starts to shine through but when she pushes it things start to waiver. Musically they strive for an American radio Rock sound and the newer material does show signs of improvement, but they lack a cohesiveness and stage presence that is expected at the next level.
The stomping riffs of Skypilot are next up. With a sound that at times touches on the likes of Black Sabbath, Kerbdog, Deftones, and Tool they throw their epic soundscapes out with ease. Having been about for over 15 years, Skypilot have the crowd in the palm of their hand, and once they lock into their groove they don’t let up at any point. Not only are they the musical highlight of the day they also show the other bands on the bill how to interact with the crowd. Self-deprecating and funny, they chat to the audience between songs without ever breaking the flow of their set. Skypilot show that you don’t need breakneck speed or ripping solos to bring the heavy and easily get the biggest cheers of the day.
Periapt are the final act of today’s heat. They immediately launch into their grunge tinged metal and it becomes immediately apparent that these guys are all very accomplished musicians. Their rhythm section is locked in and drives the band forward, allowing the riffs to breathe. However, as tight and professional as they sound, Periapt are not the most entertaining band to watch. There is very little in the way of movement or interaction with the crowd and some of their riffs start to sound eerily familiar. Anyone familiar with God Eater on their Soundcloud page will know that Periapt are in possession of an epic singer in Nate Fairgreave. But again, a flat delivery renders their attack quite toothless. Maybe it was the lack of numbers in the venue, but the band just don’t seem like they are firing on all cylinders today.
The small crowd and fact that we need to make way for the venue’s usual Saturday club night means that the votes are tallied up fairly quickly. The Distortion Project head honcho James Loveday takes the stage and informs us that today’s winners are Skypilot, which comes as no surprise as the result is greeted with cheers. But when he announces that the second band to go through are Rule Of Six there is a brief moment of silence from the crowd before a smattering of applause breaks out. James uttering the word controversial may well be the understatement of the day.
Bloodstock M2TM Belfast Heat 5 will take place on Thursday 8th March at Voodoo, Belfast, courtesy of The Distortion Project. Competing will be Cloakroom Q, Cursed Sun, Victim Royal, and Wintriness. Special guest headliners will be Ten Ton Slug.
Review & Photography – Liam Kielt : https://www.facebook.com/LiamKieltPhotography/