Metal 2 The Masses // Heat 5 // Northern Ireland

So here we are, back at it again in Belfast on a cold, wet Friday night. Sadly we are one band short as Delusional Silence came down with the China flu, threes years on, no lessons learnt, still licking handrails at will like a game of Russian roulette, one of the lads lost his battle and now has a wee cough. #bless #prayfordelusionalsilence

So anyhow, we are here, the sheeple have turned up in their droves to support the three bands who were NOT out licking handrails and we have quite the eclectic mix tonight, three very different bands, three very different audiences, how this one will pan out by the end of the night is anyone’s guess. Let’s do this.

Up first are Nora Iron’s Cursed Sun, one of the longest-established bands on the local scene and no strangers to M2TM over the years, a vastly experienced band with great stage presence and a solid cohesive sound which has been honed over the years, these guys know how to deliver a powerful performance. Tonight is no exception, the guys experience shines through,  a tight intricate band with a powerful vocal display and a great backline, packed with savage rhythms,  big hooks and gnarly breakdowns, everything you’d want from a modern metal band with Andy on vocals doing his very best to whip the Belfast crowd up into a frenzy early on, getting his ass down on the floor with all the sheeple, in their faces dragging them kicking and screaming into the energy of the set. #toughcrowd

Up next we have Imperial Demonic, a black metal 5 piece and a solo Solo project of Cameron Ahslund-Glass

(Darkest Era, Overoth, Celtachor) with a thunderous sound, punishing drums and frontman Andy Heathen with a commanding presence scaring the bejesus out of anyone who would dare get close enough to him, the intense backline provided intricate guitar work and solidity to allow the quality of the songwriting to come through over the thrashing guitars. Personally, I am not a fan of Black Metal, as the frantic nature of the style of songwriting just is too much for my peanut-sized brain. Still, I can appreciate any band and any genre when it is done well and Imperial Demonic are a quality band through and through who knows their audience. A fiercely intense set from start to finish means I must lie down in a dark room to recover before the last band of the evening.

PxBx closes off tonight’s proceedings, and this is a new project and new faces to the competition for 2023. New faces to M2TM but not to the local scene as the band is made up of three local leg-ends, one Mr Johnny McKee, promoter/rockstar, Mr Steven Donnelly, promoter/rockstar and of course animal on drums aka Andy Bowden of Steven VX & The Art Rats & Victim Royale. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this project and I’ve seen Steven and Andy in other projects doing their thang but this was a whole other level. As 11 pm arrived Steven was up on stage with Andy behind his set and Johnny was pacing the floor mic in hand like a meth head looking for his next fix, Steven was in full flow and looked like the very meth head who just stole all of his mate’s last fix and it just hit , and wee Andy’s pills had just kicked in and he was chewing the face off himself ready to unleash unholy hell! That kinda summed up the next 15 mins as they fuckin wrecked the joint with a barrage of sonic abuse that just made you feel dirty, the crowd wrapped around Johnny on the floor as he pushed and pulled them through a spitfire of hardcore/grindcore vocals, Steven thrashing his way to hell, throwing his freak around the stage and Andy just slammed those skins like his life deepened on it. Mouths open the crowd aghast just watched in disbelief as they tried to make sense of this chaotic trio, and before you know it those 15 minutes or so have flown by in a blink of an eye and voodoo was left quaking in their wake.

A crazy night’s music, three contrasting bands, three very different fanbases no doubt hoping for their bands to get through.

As it is the old guard, Cursed Sun & Imperial Demonic make the cut with PxBx just too much for 2023!


Review + Photos by Mark McGrogan // Mark ‘N’ Load 

@flashartmark // #flashartmark

Band Promo Bookings – E:

Congratulations to Imperial Demonic & Cursed Sun on qualifying from tonight’s Metal 2 the Masses NI Heat 5! Final Heat next Friday 31st March.

A big thanks as always to James @distortionproject + Voodoo Belfast for hosting.





%d bloggers like this: