Bloodstock // M2TM // Heat 4 – 5 – 6 – Round-Up // Belfast // Northern Ireland

Old age kicking in, I originally forgot to post heat 4, by the time I had realised I forgot it was close to heat 5 and I said I’ll combine the two, that fell on Mothers Day weekend and the inlaws were up and once again my old man brain failed me and on Tuesday of this week, I realised once again I had forgotten to post it! God help us all if you’re relying on my brain to keep you updated on all shizzle M2TM! Anywho, this is how I saw it all pan out.

Heat: 4 

So we’ve had a short break, recharged the proverbial batteries and are back at the haloed ground that is Voodoo Belfast.

Somehow we are racing towards the middle of March, how that happened I do not know, and we are racing towards the end of the heats with only two more to go after this evening concludes.

Tonight we have four more bands looking to make an impression on the competition. Up first are Belfast ragers Nihilanth, from the off there is no quarter given, a blistering set that just hits you right between the eyes makes sure that everyone here knows they will need to be on their game to keep up with these lads.

Savage groove-laden riffage, powerful vocals and gnarly technical songwriting make for an impressive opener to tonight’s festivities! There’s no let up at all, track after track there is savage intent behind every thrash of the guitar and when you see somebody crowd surfing you know it’s all gone down well.

Up next Rhino’s – a bitchin duo rock the fuck out of Voodoo, from the first song to the last this crazy duo resonate with the audience, celebrating International Women’s Day with all the ladies in the room, upfront people are dancing their asses off to the frantic sounds being tossed out from the stage. Rhino’s are a very different proposition than we are usually faced with at M2TM, more punk rock than balls-to-the-wall metal but there is just something that works with a raw, visceral two-piece. The clarity that you bet with the guitar laying down the riffs, the merging of the drums against the wall of distortion, it’s a beautiful thing. Rhinos have this joint rockin’ and it’s great to see, front to back heads are bopping, the ladies shaking their asses whilst Rhino’s spit out lyrics like bullets in quirky succinct tracks. This is an unexpected surprise!

Quiet Neighbours are up next and are another new band to me and I think M2TM too, their sound is as thick as treacle, fat as yer ma’s ass and as heavy as yer sister n’ laws lasagne. The dark hefty vibe is a serious contrast to the upbeat, uptempo set of Rhino’s, now there’s nothing wrong with that at all, it’s what makes M2TM a truly unique event, you can have 4 contrasting bands doing their thing with 4 completely different fanbases all tuned into them, so it’ll be interesting to see as the set progresses how the room adjusts to their sound. It took a few tunes but the guys eventually grew into their set, a few slow burners to start it off which for those around me tossed out “Very Deftones Vibe Going On Here” but then the lid was lifted and they showed a little more personality in their songwriting with one track, in particular, making me pay real attention, a band with real promise for sure. It’ll be interesting to follow their journey and see their progress over time. Fo shizzle. Alas youthful exuberance meant they ran over their allotted stage time by a few mins and sadly in this game that means “Step Into My Office, Yer Fuckin Fired!”

So tonight’s closer is Impulse To Resist, previously here in part as Asphyxiation, so these guys have some pedigree and right from the go they unleash unholy hell on the Voodoo faithful who are here and are still mad for it, and mad for it they are, the pit is having a total rager, bodies flying all over the show as the brutality being pushed from the stage keeps the energy levels through the roof even though Cinderelley ran for her pumpkin carriage a long time ago. Just as well she would have shit her pantalones at the sonic assault being unleashed in her honour on International Women’s Day.

Congratulations to NIHILANTH and Impulse to Resist on qualifying from last nights Metal 2 the Masses NI Heat 4.

Heat: 5

So in a blink of an eye it’s Friday night once again and you know what that means? M2TM baby ! Now with heavy metal lineup to make the mouth water taking place a near 100 miles down the road with Priest,Saxon and Uriah Heap playing the 3 Arena we have a totally different affair up here in Voodoo Belfast.

Four bands all hoping to make their mark in the competition in 2024. Tonight though we have a selection of bands who have graced the stage/competition before with only one fresh faced pack of mo-fo’s here to try and grab the attention away from the more experienced bands, and they’re up first! Cannibalised Seagulls is the name and metal is the game, these young whipper-snappers hit the ground running slamming out filthy riffs and have Voodoo in a complete rager from the off. Now clearly looking around the room there is a large number of young looking rockers in tow, so CS have brought their legion with them to represent, fair play. The riffs keep coming, the crowd is energised, so we’re off to a blinder! But there are three experience bands to come so it’ll be interesting to see how the big boys tackle the room and what the energy is like in comparison when they hit that stage.

Up next are PureSonic Outcasts, a local four piece who love a thick wall of distortion and fuzz slamming down on you. The bass-lines are hefty, the guitars riffs weighed down against the guttural vocals all enveloping you in a brutal sound. The guys have a plethora of tunes to toss out at the Voodoo faithful so they can mix up their set and keep you on your toes, a blend of slow burners and hard hitting fast-tempo paced numbers mean you never quite know what you’ll get next, but you do know you want to hear more. Once again bodies are flying up front which is always a good sign!

A brief breather and we’re ready for one of the manic bands of the competition! Indominus are back and these guys always slay it live, I reckon they’re sponsored by Redbull cos the energy is always off the charts with these guys live. The heftiest of the four bands this evening, the young whipper snappers who were giving it large earlier are having their faces melters off them upfront and centre with Indominus battering and bruising them throughout. As always a solid performance from these guys means it’s hard to take your eyes off them, the screaming harmonics, wailing vocals and hefty backline make for a killer set.

ForeignWolf wrap up M2TM Heat 5 and as expected they bring a polished performance to Voodoo once again, a highly experience band immediately you are hit right between the eyes with a tight, well executed set that showcases all the qualities these guys bring to the local scene, harmonising vocals, great individual work from band members, strong lead vocals, FW are a band that know how to deliver live and rarely disappoint, tonight wqs no exception.

Congratulations to ForeignWolf and INDOMINUS on qualifying from last nights Metal 2 the Masses NI Heat 5

Heat: 6 

It’s crunch time kids as we have arrived at the final heat of 2024, and for this one you could say the heat of death !

Two previous finalists taking part in Teras and The Boat Sank, joining them the highly experienced Saffron Gorman and The Black Eagle Band and Triggertone. This has been one heat I have been looking forward to for a while and I know I’ll not be disappointed. The only thing is that fo shizzle nothing is guaranteed and anyone could find themselves out if the competition! #totesemotes

8:45 and Saffron Gorman and The Black Eagle Band is up first and what strikes you immediately is the fact that Saffron is to be fair the best vocalist in the competition. A highly experienced frontwoman it has been quite a few years since I last saw her live with her previous band Saffire. She’s lost none of her vocal ability at all and looks at ease as she belts out track after track, around her a solid and technical band from blistering guitar solos and big hook anthems, they have all the qualities needed to turn more than a few heads in the competition. It kinda felt like a set of two halves with the introduction of what looked like a 7 string Ernie Ball / Musicman Kaizen? If I am right, mid way through the set and then a sonic change to a more modern metal, groove metal vibe which added further girth to the set. But we have two or more big hitters still to come and I am confident that after this performance they will know that they will have to deliver.

Up next Triggertone and I don’t think I’ve seen them in M2TM before so looking forward to this, their sound is a million miles away from Saffron’s with more of a thick grungy-post-rock vibe, slamming riffs courtesy of a solid 3 piece so you get all that girths goodness from the clarity a single guitar and bass bring. The opening track has a bitching but if drum work also that demands your attention, these guys definitely have a vibe all their own and have their sound locked down.

I have to say I really digged tbeir set and sound, honed in, every song was part of a carefully curated set to make its mark and it did just that. They grew as the set went on and the only disappointment for me was the fact they had to play a short constrained set as I defo would like to see more, well played !

Up Next last years finalists The Boat Sank, this trio and an animalistic bunch that deliver the heftiest of riffage and ram it right down your throat, from the start of the set to the very end you’re dealt a back breaking collection of tunes that leave you feeling battered and bruised. The rooms gone fuckin nuts and the young whipper snappers from last week who have returned and wreaking havoc up front living their best lives to the full.

Their sound is just monstrous, relentless and something to behold live in the flesh, if gnarly is your thing then The Boat Sank is right up your street. Its a rare thing an instrumental band can demand the attention quite like TBS can, it’s a lethal sight to see and clearly they’re still driving that message home “The Boat Sank, Get Over it”  a blistering set as always fuckin awesome !

Last but not least Teras, a band who have really garnered attention over the last year or so since they made their mark on M2TM, they seem to be everywhere now, gigging their cute little asses off here there and everywhere they are a band In demand. One of the few noticeable female fronted bands in M2TM (along with Harrison on vocals) they Interchange sharing vocal duties on a whim, the set seems fast and furious, angst laden, wailing screams that pierce your eardrums, harmonising vocals all wrapped up in slamming riffs and a banging backline.

Hunter wearing MY tutu looking like a million dollars giving it everything on stage, she’s like a caged animal unleashed for the very first time, raw emotion draping fromher pores, her ability to deliver a performance with or without an instrument on stage separates her from a lot of musicians in the competition, and I think is one of the reason so many others on the local scene love what Teras bring to the community. As a package they work so well together – the duelling vocalists, the sonic tapestry they weave across a set tells a story all of its own. They’re a band doing their own thing and you’ve got to respect that. Two new band members also bring a new flavour to the live set, The room is bouncing from the energy coming off the stage and it’s being tossed back tenfold, this is what M2TM is all about.

What can I say, it’s been a ride for sure just getting here to this stage, tonight really was a showcase in quality bands from the local scene here in Northern Ireland and we should all be immensely proud of the pool of talent we have on tap here right on or doorstep. It is far to easy to be complacent about what it takes for this scene to thrive but nights like tonight, the young blood moshing upfront from the first song to the last, the young bands coming through trying to push the older more established off their perch, it’s all gravy baby, more of the same please!

If anyone in the competition is looking to update their Band Promo Photography hit me up as I will be looking to get busy with the promo work over the summer months, just DM me and i’ll look at availability in the diary.

Congratulations to The Boat Sank and Teras on qualifying from last nights 6th and final M2M heat. First semi-final this Friday 29th March sadly I am away and i’ll be soaking up some rays in the med #hardtimes but I’ll be thinking about y’all.