BACK when Helfast '13 was announced there was an immediate sense of anticipation - a plethora of hot bands and headliners Stormzone on a high after supporting Saxon.
But could the promise be delivered?
Thanks to the efforts of The Distortion Project, Blink Music Management, and Paradise City the line-up itself was enough to draw a sound crowd into Limelight2 on a bright Saturday evening.
The vagaries of traffic jams and public transport weekend service meant we missed openers Altus, Rabid Bitch of the North and War Crux, but by all accounts they all delivered sound sets with War Crux noted by many as showing a definite step-up in terms of their performance.
But settled down after the journey and refreshed we were ready for Triggerman...
It is a tribute to any band when you gain new fans on the strength of your performance alone, and on Saturday several people had smiles across their chops and were asking how to get hold of more information and more of Triggerman's sound.
As usual Bap's Preacher Metal laid it down - truly the Riff Holds Sway. Valhalla, I Got the Lurgy, Thon Strange Brew and Hail to The River Gods were an awesome tribute to what stripped down metal can achieve: no fancy shit, no ballsing about - just laying it down like it has to be laid down.
Charisma comes from the soul, where metal beats dark and hard; Triggerman are the epitome of that dark but beautiful heart.
And, Stormzone know that when it comes to laying it down it takes a special attitude and a special delivery.
Opening with Where We Belong was a statement of intent: they belong in front of a metal crowd and this is where the crowd belong, heads banging, fists pumping, and five people who know that this is what is needed.
With a back catalogue many bands would envy Stormzone played it straight down the willing throats of all in attendance.
By the time Fear Hotel was playing the 130+ fans were helping Harv tell that the exit was indeed "on the right".
Headbanging ensued throughout the set, and Night of the Storm, segued into Greatest Sacrifice and it was then a headlong charge...pounding rhythm section and searing solos and as usual Harv the manic metal jester holding it all together.
Stormzone have evolved throughout the years getting tighter and punching their way to the premier league. Simply we can't wait to hear new album, Three Kings.
Helfast may have been a slight gamble for all involved, but it paid off. Heavy metal and hard rock has a unique, etheral quality that brings people together; and the ability to leave fans gasping for more.
Raise a glass and throw the horns in tribute to all involved - Helfast was simply a blast!