Metal 2 The Masses 3 – Towers, Proxist & Overoth
Thursday 12th March 2015 – Voodoo, Belfast
The Distortion Project-sponsored Metal 2 the Masses hit Voodoo, Belfast last Thursday night, this time for Heat 3. Sadly for any stoner rock fans planning on attending, Baleful Creed had to drop out due to vocalist Fin Finlay contracting a nasty bug, so we were left with three bands: Overoth, Proxist and Towers.
Up first it was time for a bit of good old fashioned death metal in the form of Overoth. Without uttering a word they charge straight into set opener ‘The Forgotten Tome’, displaying a real skill for muscular and commanding death metal with just a touch of the melodic. Vocalist/bassist Andy delivers an intense performance and indeed the entire band are focused and solemn for the set’s duration – you’ll find no silly between-song banter here.
Sonically they are as tight as the proverbial drum tonight, with thick, sludgy riffs and relentless chugging grooves flooding the venue. They play a mix of old and new songs including brand new track ‘The Forlorn’. It’s final number ‘Sigil of the Empty Throne’ that’s the real highlight of the set though, with its techy twists and turns that really raise it above the ordinary. Its suitably atmospheric outro leaves the delighted crowd in no doubt that this band is a real contender tonight.
From death metal to groove metal: up next was Derry’s own Proxist, who clamber onstage and proceed to blow the last of the cobwebs out with brutally heavy grooves and snarling, screaming vocalist Darryn McCartney. Imagine Pantera fronted by Cancer Bats’ Liam Cormier and you will get some idea of the sonic boom that this band creates.
McCartney is the consummate frontman: his performance is intense and animated – he is red faced and sweaty after just one song – whilst between tracks he is amusing and endearingly goofy, chatting amiably with the crowd. He dedicates new live number ‘Escape Design’ to “Belfastians!”, which raises a laugh, then informs us that ‘Desensitised Generation’ was featured on an EA game (“not FIFA or anything, though!”).
For all of the shits and giggles, it is obvious that when they play, they are entirely serious about their music. A slightly chaotic air hangs over the stage which is a whirl of flying bodies and flailing hair, whilst dedicating ‘Grave Digger’ to Distortion Project head honcho James Loveday demonstrates both their appreciation of and determination to capitalise on this chance. In short, a fun and jolly set that took nothing away from the strength of the songs (which seriously rocked).
Following two such substantial acts was always going to be a challenge but melodic hardcore mob Towers – by far the youngest band on the lineup – seem determined to have a stab at it. They open their set with ‘Hollow’ and immediately display a maturity beyond their tender years: their music is tough, beefy, proper hardcore, much to the crowd’s delight. Vocalist/guitarist Daniel Zenker Ovalle possesses a deep and surprisingly harsh voice which blends perfectly with the ruckus the band creates.
Although their inexperience sometimes peeks out (Ovalle occasionally misses the mic whilst looking at his guitar, for example), they amply demonstrate that they are a talented young band with a bright future ahead of them.
And then…disaster strikes: a lone drunk decides to be their cheerleader. He starts leaping about, knocking into people and causing them to shrink away from the stage; at one point he even rolls into a table full of girls and sends their drinks flying! Having succeeded in clearing the area in front of the band with his antics he then climbs onstage, grabs the microphone off a bewildered Ovalle and begins berating the crowd for not supporting the band ‘properly’. Shit…
Eventually the door staff step in and he is removed, but the damage has been done – the band have completely lost their momentum. They cut short their set (leaving out a cover of ‘Ace Of Spades’) and abruptly leave the stage following final track ‘Spacehead’. A crying shame, frankly.
The results are therefore predictable, with Overoth taking first place and Proxist a close second. Worthy winners of course, but one can’t help but hope that Towers put this disastrous night behind them and perhaps try again next year.
Heat 4 sees M2TM return to the Limelight on Easter Saturday (April 4th) with Sinocence, Conjuring Fate, Scimitar and By Conquest or Consent vying for the chance to play at Bloodstock. Come on down and see for yourselves the level of talent the NI rock and metal scene has to offer.