Tonight see’s Heat Two of Northern Irelands Metal 2 The Masses taking place once again in Voodoo Belfast. The Distortion Project once again hosts Four more hungry bands as they take their place on the hallowed stage ready to battle it out for a place in the business end of the competition. First up are the mighty Lock Horns, one of Northern Irelands finest Metal acts to light up the Voodoo stage and make their mark on 2019’s road to Bloodstock.
Lock Horns https://www.facebook.com/LockHornsOfficial/
Shit’s about to get real as Lock Horns take the stage at 8:45, last years finalists,this quartet are a serious outfit with banging tunes and the intensity and purpose to take this one all the way in 2019. Vocalist Alex Da Costa looks like a caged animal as he grips the mic stand. These guys deliver really purposeful riffs that are beautifully balanced and immediately set the bar high which announces a new standard in heat two. A seriously tight band they start and stop on a dime, hefty thunderous riffage infused with guttural vocals and a catchy melodic backbone make Lock Horns a polished act. A savage sound and all round brutal performance keeps the audience more than engaged, as Alex Da Costa screams out into the crowd without the mic and can still be heard, you know these guys want it. As the breakdown on the last song of the night you can see Lock horns have made an impression on the Belfast crowd and that there are more than a few fans in the room.
A change of direction for sure, Saturnine offered more of a Stoner, Fuzz, Psychadelic, Rock infused vibe to proceedings a fresh faced band only formed in Oct 2018. Unlike Lock Horns you could tell these guys have only been together as their sound justs didnt quite seem as refined as tonights openers. The style seemed to flip with each track and it’s clear they are still trying to find their feet as a new band. Initially there was’nt enough going on to engage, the band seemed to plateau early but eventually they found their stride and started to mix it up a little more with intricate guitar work meshed in with a solid melodic backbone in certain tracks. One to watch as they have the foundation there, maybe just a bit too early for them to claw their way out of the tonights proceedings.
So Long Until The Séance / SLUTS https://www.facebook.com/slutsband/
And now for something completely different, SLUTS are an eyeful, a crazy assed rollercoaster ride that you simply cannot ignore. The guys hot the stage adorned in Goth/Emo makeup all looking the part and then we have the Satchel-esque guitarist in neon yellow toger stripped skin tight jeans adorned with a HH Strat with a Floyd Rose, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore, within 30 seconds you know these guys can live up to the hype. Thank god for that! powerful vocals, blistering guitar work and banging tunes make you wanna get up and get involved as these guys lit up the stage with larger that life charisma and musical ability. They offer a breath of fresh air in a competition often consumed by Sludge / Doom etc and would light up the stage at Bloodstock just as much as they did tonight in Voodoo. A seriously busy guitarist and charismatic vocalist mean everyone in the room is glued to the stage, the room is bouncing and the guys get a great reaction from the crowd.
Last up but certainly not least were newcomers Diamir, again a recently formed band from only 2018 these guy’s were the unknown quantity to the heat, when you see a keyboard being setup front and centre on the Voodoo stage you know you’re in for somewhat of a diversion in styles. This four piece took their place and as the lights went down the audience waited with bated breath. Boom! Hefty melodic infused riffs with well delivered vocals and intricate guitar work just demanded your attention, but will the M2TM faithful in the room get the message? In the vein of the likes of Opeth, and the mighty Danish prog masters Vola these guys banged out a set of first class tunes. Guitarist John Wilson playing a Tele stye guitar armed with an EVH head and a plethora of pedals brought a wall of distortion made quite the impression and certainly announced himself and an intelligent player and no bedroom warrior. As a package these guys are uber talented, each track had peaks and valley’s that were intriguing and engaging throughout. Frontman Peter Devenney delivered a quality performance from start to finish and was backed up with a solid backbone both on bass and drums. A Metallica-esque riff closed off their set as many were left scratching their heads with a major spanner thrown in the works.
As it was the two more established acts Lock Horns and SLUTS proceeded onto the next stage of M2TM, Congratulations to both, but I have to say I am genuiely disappointed Diamir couldnt proceed. Another night, another heat they certainly would’nt have been out of place on the Hobgoblin Newblood Stage at Bloodstock 2019.
Photography: Mark McGrogan