Metal 2 The Masses // Semi Final 2 // Northern Ireland

So we are back once again at Voodoo Belfast, our home from home since January of this year when M2TM kicked in.

As per the usual M2TM drama one of the bands has had to pull out of this evening’s Semi-final leaving us with The Boat Sank, Imperial Demonic and Insidious Void. It’s an interesting lineup, with a stoner, grunge, experimental garage rock (instrumental) band and two of the local scene’s darkest black metal and blackened death metal bands to battle with, it was going to be a crazy night for sure. As it is The Boat Sank is opening up with the two brutal black/death metal bands finishing off the heat, I’ve got Samaratin’s number on standby just in case, but I think I’ll be fine! Tonight also we have Words That Burn up as guest headliners to bring their “je ne sais quios” to proceedings. A seriously talented band, Modern Metal/Metalcore to the core, we last caught them @ Bloodstock 2021.

The one and only instrumental band in the competition The Boat Sank, opened up this evening’s proceedings, and these guys are in fine form, reminding us from the off that they are absolute beasts. From the animal behind the drums to the two thrashers up front, these guys just bring a tonne of heft with them. Slamming tracks that fill the room hitting each and every person in the chest. We’ve had a few bands take a crack at instrumental tracks over the year but I haven’t seen anyone deliver it so cohesively as these guys, unassuming onstage they are a relatively new band to the local scene but you’d never know it. A mighty performance by the trio left mouths on the floor and an unnerving feeling that tonight may not go as expected. #whoknew?

So time to catch our breath and take in what we just saw before one of Norn Iron’s most powerful Black Metal bands took to the stage, Imperial Demonic do what they do so well. It is an onslaught of the frantic nature of black metal, that incessant picking, drum patterns and screaming vocals that just paralyse the audience into submission as they are all transfixed by the band’s performance in front of them. As powerful as the performance of their heat, they deliver once again with a blistering set that drives home the quality of this band. Passionate, and technical, and tonight a bass player down, I hadn’t even noticed till it was pointed out to me, a killer set just reminds us again why they are here tonight in the semi-final.

Closing off the semi-final we have Insidious Void, a seriously brutal, hefty blackened death metal band that always brings a wall of pain down on those who are brave enough to stand before them, this trio sound like a horde with a gargantuan sound that just pummels you from start to finish. They are well worthy of their place in tonight’s semi, an ever-consistent performance, hefty and driven they beat those riffs down your throat and make you throw them back up so they can do it all over again. A savage performance for sure end’s a killer night’s music and we still have Words That Burn to come. Time for everyone to get the votes in and as to be expected nothing is ever quite as it seems.

Words That Burn hit the stage at 11:15 while the votes get counted, these guys are a killer outfit from down south with vast experience and a really honed-in sound. A fusion of modern metal/metalcore with a great melodic sense fusing hefty guttural vocals and clean, they absolutely slay their set. Dynamic on stage they never stand still, the pent-up energy from waiting around all night is clear to see as they just slam it on stage. With a new album just recently released Cut Throat Culture, Words That Burn is a band on the rise and one to watch for sure moving forward.

Time for a quick exit as I am off shooting a wedding In the morning, As I wake up on Saturday morning I see that The Boat Sank and Imperial Demonic have progressed to the final and I have to say it was an impossible one to call, any of the three bands were deserving of a place in the final, and as always at this late stage some big hitters have to drop out, only one will win, so out of six bands in the final five will have their hearts broken on Friday, May 12th. This is the tough part of the competition for sure, but looking around tonight there was a room packed with Nora Iron metal royalty with lads from Cursed Sun, Skypilot, The Crawling, Slowmatic’s and more all in the room supporting their friends up there on stage, that is the beauty of the Northern Ireland metal scene, it is a massive community that goes over and above for each other so regardless of broken hearts on May 12th, as the big man Darius once said’ there’s a lot of love in this room”.

The last semi-final takes place on April 28th be there or be square.


Photography: Mark McGrogan

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