Metal 2 The Masses // Heat 6 // Northern Ireland

How did we get here? Heat 6 and the final heat of a crazy run of heats that brought a tsunami of distortion our way and out of it, a raft of bands all chomping at the bit to get the semi-finals started.

It’s Friday, March 31st and four bands await to take the stage once again at Voodoo Belfast, out of the four bands there are some we have seen before and a few fresh faces, nothing can be taken for granted, the public vote is always important and it will be interesting to see how the audience’s allegiances are split this evening, the youth of 12 Gauge Outrage and their take on old-school thrash against the Death Metal of Indominous set against the Hardcore/Punk/Thrash of R.P.C (Radioactive Puppies Of Chernobyl) vs Belfast Rockers Mindsweep.

Quite the eclectic feast! What else can you do but drop yer drawers stand their butt naked and take it all in. Let’s do this!

Up first we have Wexford’s finest 12 Gauge Outrage, they are taking to the stage at 8:45 to get this shizzle started. A shy Voodoo crowd watches in from a distance as the band encourages them forward and after their opening number, I feel there is an element of trust between everyone here that being front row doesn’t mean you’re a superfan of the band or cheating on anyone else, so the Belfast massive move forward and all is well. 12 Gauge Is a solid outfit, with a collection of decent hefty riffs. Interchanging vocals from all 3 gents upfront, and singalong big choruses when needed they definitely have made an impression on the Belfast crowd. It is their third attempt at M2TM here in the north so It’ll be interesting to see how the votes are split after all four performances.

R.P.C are up next, an unknown quantity to me for sure and one of the fresh-faced bands, so a quirky 3 piece with its frontman in his boxers on stage, a female bassist with quite the rock chick look, and a beast of a drummer behind them keeping it all together as the chaos ensues from upfront.  A frantic-sounding band, anarchic in nature and as feisty in the flesh they rip Voodoo a new one with their own brand of sonic abuse, it turns out they’re one guitarist down this evening due to a severe masturbation injury! Yu go gurl! #prayforrpc. As they wrap up their set with ‘Drugs Are Bad’ I can’t help but agree as R.P.C’s frontman takes to the crowd once again for another walkabout before they call it a night leaving the Voodoo crowd wondering wtf did I just witness.

Mindsweep takes to the stage at 10:15, a hard-rocking five-piece from Belfast, new faces to the competition and as always it’s great to see some fresh blood taking part and establishing themselves in the local scene. The guys have a melodic quality to their sound, clearly intense storytelling in the lyrical content and their frontman probably has one of the best clean vocals I’ve heard in the competition for a while. One of the band’s stand-out tracks was ‘Slainte’ with its big rousing chorus and its beak mid-song to allow the vocals to shine before a big crescendo ending, it’s good to see something different in the heat for sure and a band that can only go from strength to strength, I think they would benefit from additional vocals to help add further harmonies to the overall sound, as good as their vocalist is and he is good, thickening up that end could really help the melodic quality of their songs shine through.  Three bands down and it’s time for a bit of heft to close off this evening’s proceedings.

Indominus are here to bring a little chaos to proceedings, the death metal four-piece are here and not just to make up the numbers, they cleary are here to do some damage. Right from the off they unleash a barrage of riffage and violence that has not yet been seen this evening, a powerful start gets rudely interrupted as their guitarist suffers a minor technical issue which delays the party, but that was short lived and it didn’t seem to throw the guys at all as they get stuck right back in with a barrage of brutality that was badly needed this evening. The guys gave it their all, great energy, great stage presence and passion that you want to see at this level, a hunger from a band that just says we want this!


An interesting night, four very different takes on a bands musical journey that reminds me I should really stay at home more often on a Friday night, I jest of course! Where else would I be but at Voodoo Belfast in the company of a bunch of like minded lunatics getting my freak on over the local music scene.

So from here we move onto the Semi-Finals in April, details to follow but keep up to date with James at The Distortion Project for all details, but for now i’ve been Mark, you’ve been lovely. I’ll see you all then.

Photography: Mark McGrogan

@flashartmark #flashartmark

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