Bloodstock Open Air M2TM // Semi Final II + III // Northern Ireland

Bloodstock Open Air M2TM // Semi Final II + III // Northern Ireland

The finishing line is in sight, it’s hard to believe but we are close to 5 months into the year and we’ve had a plethora of bands across the doors of Voodoo Belfast.

As always the place is packed with metal heads ready to party! 4 bands tonight who made a real impression on the competition and none more than the young lads from Impulse To Resist! The band again with their brand of gnarly metal opened up tonight’s Semi with serious intent.

With the younger bands, you get a younger more excitable crowd and these seem a little unhinged tonight, we all love a good mosh but the bodies are flying! Seems like there’s a bit more angst in the air tonight than usual. They’re calling for everyone to come up to the front but the fronts are like a fuckin warzone and not quite everyone’s cup of tea #calmdownladies

The music is hefty as fuck, the crowd are dogging it, and the bands are feeling it, so it’s everything you’d want to see from a band who aren’t just here to make up the numbers. So fair play, they’ve been working hard on the material, it’s a savage set. Sonically I like their sound, they’re a band with real potential and make a strong impression but the finishing touches just aren’t there yet, each song ends with a loose feel rather than a definitive end, too much fuckery on stage. If you take part in a competition like this there’s shit at stake and when you step onto a stage like The New Blood at a festival of the reputation of Bloodstock you need to be a serious outfit. You’ll soon know the men from the boys when you’re there.

Up next are Gozer The Traveller, another band we have seen over the years and one who has grown In stature. Musically the guys have a sound that they have made their own, the frontman and vocalist sharing duties, all while keeping it together. I look around the room and the people in it, a guy is dancing in front of me like a little girl, and there are ladies up front bouncing around like it’s 1999, so Gozer is resonating with the Voodoo crowd. This is cool to see, this is the beauty of music though isn’t it, the variety on offer, the sub-genres within the genres, and the vast array of people out there all looking for something to scratch that itch.  If it’s still itching in the morning get a good topical cream or touch base with the doctor #imhereallweek

As the set progresses the lunatics in the asylum once again are getting restless and the bodies are travelling across the floor, all good craic all the same but Gozer I say GOZER ran over by 2 mins! In Japan that would mean certain death. #justsayin 

So, The Boat That Once Floated (Sank) are back, one of the gems of the local scene, in a short time these crazy kids have built up a healthy reputation as a formidable force, a rare thing for an instrumental band.

I am looking forward to following their journey to see how they are going to evolve. That is of course if they can manage to steer their way through WW3, the End Of Times #redheffers and of course the Diddy Trial! There has been a bit of steady growth in the genre I guess over the past few years with so many international bands making their waves, Russian Circles, for example and our very own ASIWYFA. So a new addition to that list is welcome in my books. The Boat Sank is of course a monstrous beast, not for the faint-hearted. The beauty of the band is its simplicity, great musicianship, and great so songwriting all executed perfectly. The 3 lads just are in sync, Chris’s drums take your breath away and the layers both the guitar and bass play live just do exactly what it says on the tin, I’d love to see these 3 ladies doing their thing at BOA. They wouldn’t know what hit them.

So one of the quirkiest bands we saw en route to the Semi was Mr Pink who wrapped up tonight’s competition. Defo is more an outright rock outfit than metal, they turned quite a few heads when they played in the heats. Hopefully, they can do the same this evening,

You get intricate guitar work against a wall of wailing vocals, thunderous bass and slamming drums, all wrapped up in a melodic hook that just fills you in. The roar of approval at the end of the first song tells me that they ain’t just here to make up the numbers. Their second song of the night is a banger, signalling their sound, (Now who’s the psycho) I think it’s called …. This one has the ladies up shaking their tushes off.I for one am delighted to see bands like Mr Pink here and paving the way for more bands of various sub-genres of rock and metal entering the competition. We are Rick in quality bands in N.Ireland and the more we can showcase the better. Thankfully we have hard-working promoters here on the local scene offering their years of experience to the fledgling bands, Mr Loveday @ The Distortion Project, Jonny McKee @ Livefreetourbooking and Philip McCarroll @ Soni to name but a few helping fly the “Fleg” for N.Irish musicians. Imagine a world without them #bless

So yeah the lunatics are back dancing “The Macarena” I think …. Defo one of the weirdest nights thus far.  The set ends with their guitarist on the floor rocking the shit outta that Tele and the place erupts! Jaysus h what a night.

Congratulations to The Boat Sank and Mr Pink on squeezing their cute little tushes through to the final – well played ….

Semi Final III 

So here we go, once again fighting the good fight for Metal in Northern Ireland. Voodoo Belfast, Friday night, M2TM let’s do this! Now to my surprise, one of the bands had to pull out of tonight’s Semi #shockhorror Teras, reducing the semi to four bands. Four bloodthirsty bands are all about to bring the noise!

Up first our young whipper snappers Snake Neighbourhood, a chaotic four-piece who have grown immeasurably over the last while to become a real force on the local scene. Youth on their side and a face for radio they have built up quite a sizeable following and their devotees have turned out in force tonight. They get stuck right in, banging out real head turners, gnarly vocals, slamming riffs, and Hawaiian shirts to make Tommy Bahama proud, there seems to be a focused intent tonight about their set, heads down, bobbing away to the groove, less antics and a more present  performance #noice

As they play their “fan favourite” the place explodes and a circle pit opens up on the floor then chaos ensues, the craic is 90 and   As an opener, you can tell this is going to be one crazy night!

Up next was the filthy Indominus – one of the gnarliest bands around on the local scene. These crazy kids live for the live stage, living out their best lives for 30 minutes at a time before they go lie down in a dark room and contemplate what they have just done! As always from off , the thickest riffs, like trying to breathe in treacle itself,it is relentless, a punishing sonic abuse being tossed out from the stage. Down below it doesn’t take long for the energetic fanbase of Snake Neighbourhood to realise that the party ain’t quite over yet, Indominus whenever they play bring the fucking walls in on top of you and it is appreciated all in the room. Chaos ensues down on the floor, bodies flying, birds in the mix, topless sweaty dudes stage diving all whilst the tracks get heavier, gnarlier and fatter. Genuinely one of the most honet bands who give everything anytime they hit the stage, blood,sweat and tears no bullshit here!

The penultimate band this evening are Astralnaut – it took me a few seconds to remind myself of their previous heat but here they are in all their glory reaching for the stars …. Right away they show the qualities that got them through to the semis. Intricate songwriting, thickly layered riffs, hefty weighty vocals pushing done on their gargantuan sound, the room shaking as the air moves through the crowd. Ashley the set goes on the sound seems to get bigger and bigger enveloping everyone in front of them, there is no escaping it, the heft bearing down on you song after song with brief melodic intermissions you will no doubt feel battered and bruised after this performance.

Tonight’s closer is Nihilanth, now by this time the room can look a little sparse, those who have their favourite bands vote and run but there is still a healthy crowd here tonight and as the set kicks off more and more bodies enter the room. They are liking what they’re hearing, a behemoth sound, groove-laden and more technical than some of tonight’s bands and heavy as fuck. Huge breakdowns, and screaming vocals with a smelling backline. It is going to be a tough one to call, four quality bands, two places left, an absolute killer set by the closing band throws mass confusion into it as I ponder how this will all play out…..

As it was, congratulations to Nihilanth and Astralnaut on going through the last M2M Semi-Final, I seriously couldn’t have called it.


As a brucie bonus, our very own Acid Age will be kicking off the entire Bloodstock Festival this year, having secured the opening slot for the Thursday on the Sophie Stage!! 8th – 11th August 2024. M2M NI is the first of this year’s regional finals and we will be welcoming Simon Hall back to pick the winner once again.

Fuck yer wedding, save this date M2TM GRAND FINAL – FRIDAY MAY 10TH 2024.


Be there or be square.

As the dust settles on another year’s heats I have to say a BIG thank you to all involved who keep me sane across many, many months, the lover-ly James Loveday, aka Mr Distortion Project, all the kids at Metal For Life  The kids in Skypilot for letting me bitch about the used guitar market in N.I. and all the staff at Voodoo Belfast as always.

,The Distortion Project

Voodoo Belfast

Bloodstock Open Air Festival