Heavy metal is in rude good health; groove, intensity and an awesome display of power were on display from a trio of bands gathered in solemn dedication to the genre and to toast the launch of Interrogate's new platter at The Limelight on Saturday.
Scarred for Life is the band's new offering (review to follow...and pin back your ears if you haven't heard it already: subtlelty and brutality make a heady mix!).
Opening proceedings at rockD in The Limelight were No Grace Given, delivering a riff packed set, with Steve Rice commanding proceedings, dominating the stage with presence rather than histrionics.
Triggerman are all about grooving with Bap leading a beer-soaked preacher metal revival meeting through the halls of Valhalla via hard rockin' heaven.
And then there were the Pole dancers...yes pole dancers, and we're not talking about Polish folk dances. Three lythe ladies kept a largely male audience in rapt attention. Much kudos for facing the audience with humour and some quite frankly unbelievable machinations for an increasingly testosterone fuelled crowd.
But Saturday night was all about Interrogate. Although facing some challenging circumstances coming into the show, this was an important gig for the crew. Despite a slightly truncated set Andy, Darren, Mark and Steve took to the stage eager to deliver an intense interrogation for any doubters.
New material off Scarred for Life merged seamlessly with more familiar tracks off the Unbroken EP.
Kicking off with the invitation to 'Tear this place down' from new CD opener Victim the pace never relented. Andy is increasingly confident in using the entire range of his vocals, supported by Darren's growls.
By the time the groove of Panteral Grey was trotted out Darren and Steve's rhythm pieces has become increasingly tight. What was secure before, now is so airtight that you couldn't slide a slip of paper between them.
Andy's foil in Mark's guitar played tempo against weight - and an increasingly involved crowd nodded, headbanged and generally had a helluva good time.
Interrogate are maturing into a band deserving of more exposure. Triggerman continue to defy conventions that say that metal is one dimensional, and No Grace Given stare out with potential to flay.
These three acts are proof that the local scene is alive, kicking and screw the mainstream pop world that's populated by that cunt Cowell and his non-entities.
The band may not be metal, but it is worth recalling the words of Belfast's Stiff Little Fingers:
"I believe in the power of guitar and drum
I believe in the hope held in a song
I believe that the music makes you strong
I believe in the power of guitar and drum"
Interrogate, Triggerman and No Grace Given make that belief worthwhile.