It’s hard to believe we’re here already, the first of three Semi’s that will see a plethora of hard rocking, passionate bands fight for a select number of places in this years final and a chance to play on the hallowed Hobgoblin New Blood Stage at Bloodstock 2019. We’ve seen some great performances thus far, but all of that is forgotten and the slate wiped clean as four heat winners face off once again at Voodoo Belfast for another nights debauchery.
When you see a white Charvel So Cal lying on the stage you kinda know you’re in for a Rock-tastic set. Delusional Silence is a fusion of various styles and influences from the likes of Iron Maiden through to Judas Priest and beyond. Catchy riffs and addictive melodies make for a high impact and entertaining set, their guitarist with his blistering runs is a busy man, rarely choosing a riff over a run but it makes for a kick ass start to the evenings proceedings. A frontman with Dread’s could visually confuse the issue but the music is loud and clear, it’s a full on Rock-Fest and it’s going down well with the Voodoo faithful. The set is packed with interesting songs that keep everyone clearly focused on the stage and with the guitarist taking to the floor for the final song you know these guys don’t lack confidence.
“We’re THVS and we play pop music” Shit couldn’t be further from the truth, back once again THVS return with real intent to push their way into the final anyway they can. Fuckin mental, chicken oriental is the only way to describe it. Absolute passion from the off with a savage intensity they slammed their way across a blistering set that signalled their intent from the off. Front man Michael Smyth is like a man possessed, soaked in sweat he can barely see whats in front of him, but that doesn’t matter because they have 30 minutes to make it count, and make it count they do. It’s everything you want from a to see from a band in a competition such as this, inhibitions out the window and a full throttle performance to push themselves kicking and screaming into the final.
As before Nomadus have the biggest sound in the competition, a gargantuan beast packed with riffage and intensity in abundance, they return to bring their back-breaking set once again to Voodoo Belfast. Fantastic drum patterns and killer double bass pummel the room and meshed with that wall of distortion it’s a powerful statement to all watching on. From start to finish their set is purposeful and intense, tight executed beautifully, tonight’s result will indeed be an interesting call.
Closing up tonight’s proceedings are our only Melodic / Symphonic Metal act in the competition, once again their songs are hefty and envelope the room whilst Rebecca Feeney’s vocals are on point. Their songs are intricate and hefty in sound and once again go down well with all in the room. Their song writing is compelling, heavy, powerful tracks with an elegant edge with Rebecca’s vocals and a strong melodic quality that makes Ravenlight easy on the ear. A band with real quality within they would go down a treat on the Newblood Stage.
A hard call to make, four very different bands, four very different performances who all played out of their skins. As it is THVS & Nomadus take the two slots and are our first finalists for 2019. Congratulations to both, but especially to all who made it a seriously tight Semi-Final.
Semi-Final 2 takes place April 5th once again hosted by Voodoo Belfast and as always The Distortion Project, Ketos, Lock Horns, Victim Royal, Towers and Wildheat will take to the stage to claim their places in the final in May. Bring it on.