Metal 2 the Masses Heat 5 – A Little Bitter, Shrouded, Cursed Sun, Dead Addiction
Saturday 18th April 2015– Limelight 2, Belfast
Last Saturday was your last chance to see who would go through to the semi finals of Bloodstock’s Metal 2 the Masses competition, so we hope you were there!
There was a bit of a different vibe at Heat 5, as two of the bands had brought along their own local ‘cheer squads’, as it were; the Limelight was certainly filled with a lot of unfamiliar faces. But, hey, the more the merrier, right?
Up first was self-described ‘rockmetalproggrunge’ act A Little Bitter. This description proved to be very apt as they were indeed a mix of hard rock, metal and grunge, with proggy touches here and there – and a spirited and lively mix it was, too. Vocalist Jonny Armstrong possesses a fine, booming-kinda-hollering voice which blends effortlessly with the band’s razor sharp riffs and bass-heavy, wall-shaking beat.
Their entire set was catchy, groovy and hugely enjoyable, as evidenced by the lavish enthusiasm piled on by the crowd. They’ll need to up their game sartorially if they win though: tatty tshirts and long shorts? C’mon guys!
Up next was Shrouded, a melodic death metal band consisting of three longhaired youngsters and someone’s dad. Innocent-faced chief vocalist Dani Kansanato has quite the demonic growl on him – we’re guessing he wasn’t in the choir at school?
The band are, despite their youthful appearance, a very solid act, as well as being remarkably confident and self-assured onstage. There are a few vocal slips and the odd newbie mistake, but the potential is simply oozing from them. To see such proficiency and enthusiasm for such a thorny subgenre is both impressive and heartwarming; they would undoubtedly go down a storm at a festival such as Bloodstock.
Third act was groove metallers Cursed Sun. Fronted by the charismatic and intense Andrew ‘Jones’ Cassidy, all baleful glares and ice blue contact lenses, these guys simply blew us away tonight. A tantalising mix of groove, thrash, nu-metal and even hardcore, they were technically tight as a gnat’s arse and musically thrilling. ‘Jones’ completely captivated the audience, whether he was leaping off the stage to be amongst them (even pausing at one stage to headbang with a few!), doling out gruffly witty banter or delivering a viciously powerful vocal performance. This band are quite simply electrifying live, and are crying out for a bigger audience (and stage!).
Last but certainly not least were Dead Addiction with their pleasing mix of bluesy hard rock and Eighties-tinged metal. Their sound has gradually changed from the straight-up metal they began with, but will that influence people tonight?
‘Temporary’ vocalist Niall Graham (yep, he’s still there!) was in fine form, all sleek and sinewy moves and raw vocals. The band also sounded fantastic – this is clearly a very talented bunch of musicians.
Tonight they air a new song, ‘Frozen Dream’, which sounded almost folky; it had a real ‘sea shanty’ vibe to it, evidence of that change in musical direction.
Disaster struck just before the end of their set when drummer Stephen Engelen smashed his snare. Luckily another appeared from the crowd like magic and they were able to soldier on, receiving a huge reaction from the crowd despite this issue (and a few duff notes from Graham).
After a tense wait where it became obvious that it was a close call, the inimitable Mr. Loveday stepped forward to announce the final two heat winners: first through was A Little Bitter, with second place going to Dead Addiction. Were we surprised? Somewhat. Ah well, ce la vie!
The first of the semi finals will go ahead at Voodoo in the city centre on Friday the 24th of April at 8pm, featuring Sorrowfall, Donum Dei, Conjuring Fate and tonight’s two finalists. The judges vote will count for 70% of the total next time, so the results will depend less on the audience. See you all in the pit Friday, then!