SWEAT-soaked, beer-drenched, loud and proud - when Stormzone launched their new album Three Kings at the Diamond Rock Club the thermometer was set to melt, the beer was quaffed and the five members of Stormzone laid down heavy metal the old school way - loud, proud and majestic.
The Ahoghil venue was packed, and it was close to the sweat of the collective fans running down the walls as the heat rose for a night of pure metal fun.
Opening act, all the way from the homeland of metal in Birmingham, were Agincourt, an outfit determined to show that the ghost of metal still can send shivers down the spine. With their set drawn largely from their 2011 album Angel of Mons, this was the spirit of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal writ large.
Edge of Paradise and Queen of the Night were included in a set that proved that this type of music translates well to the live setting; what sounds adequate from a studio recording roars to life on stage.
The band took the opportunity to play a new track, Rainbow Man, dedicated to the memory of Ronnie James Dio, which was a highlight to the show along with the eponymous Agincourt sounding appropriately epic. The only niggle throughout the night was the need Richard E Toy's vocals to have some backing vocal support on choruses to lift the sound.
On an ordinary night the sounds of Agincourt would have delighted the Diamond, but the 27th July saw Stormzone announce their intentions with a set that saw the band ascend further than they have ever done before. This was no ordinary night.
Opening with The Pass Loning it was clear from the off that this was a special night for the band, feeding off the audience from the first riff this was a show when Stormzone transcended from the mighty force they already were to something special.
From Death Dealer through to Spectre each song brought forward a tightly coiled spring which when unleashed flattened any doubt any indifferent attendee and brought then to their feet, punching the air, and roaring appreciation.
This was a night when hyperbole does not even convey the sense of joy both on stage and in the audience.
Harv was the jester leading like a Pied Piper, Steve and Davey played as if joined at the musical hip, while the whole entity was held from tottering over the edge by the solid anchors of Davy's drums and Graham's bass.
Stormzone could have stumbled over the precipice into pretention and a presumption that the audience was on their side, but the intent was to play as if the crowd needed to be sought after like an elusive lover.
Fear Hotel and Where We Belong had the audience singing every word and new album tracks Night of the Storm and the ballad Beware in Time delivered with aplomb the latter adding a new dimension to the headlong race to metal glory.
Even the intro tape to The Pain Inside sounded superb in the over-heated setting.
This was Stormzone rising to a new level.
The Diamond Rock Bar bowed to the majesty of Stormzone as they brought a true heavy metal storm front to Ahoghill, flattening all in its wake.