THIS was heavy metal, and this was the six of the best Northern Ireland heavy metal on display, this was Belfast Music Week, this was The Distortion Project 13th Birthday and this was the Ulster Hall rocked to its very core.
Despite a thin crowd six bands came on to the vast stage of the Bedford Street venue with verve, vigour and no need for Viagra as they stood erect in the name of metal.
To the obvious delight of those that got off their backsides to attend this was six bands fulfilling dreams of playing in one of the metal meccas; and playing it as if the hall was filled to the rafters.
Opening proceedings at an obscenely early hour Rabid Bitch of the North delivered it old school metal style, three musicians leaning into a meaty slab of monster riffs and punchy rhythms; it was if the 80s hadn't gone away.
Skypilot's considered, yet heavy riffage merged into a melange of Clutch and Tool; all pretence that prog metal might bring dispelled by the entrancing weaves of musical metal collages.
Representing the dark side of the metal family Zombified brought the extreme death metal on stage in a flurry of right and left combinations of neck breaking, thorough and precise death as it should be played...as if blood-splattered corpses littered the floor of this venerable venue.
With barely a pause the riff then held sway as groove monsters and maestros of all-round Legenderry cool Triggerman brought summoned the river gods and bought thon strange brew to Belfast - total excellent personified.
Sinocence brought a dash of thrash and old school to the hall with their usual pananche; from Long Way Down to having Raymie Haller of Sweet Savage joining them for a blast of Killing Time, this was a band flexing their collective biceps built up with touring and playing wherever and whenever was appropriate.
Stormzone have become a force of nature; a conjuration of the weather gods brought this five piece together to rain thunder upon us; from Davey Bates and Graham McNulty's rumbling of elemental terror, to Davey Shields and Steve Moore's riffs and manic soloing and held together by charismatic Harv Stormzone know that the big stage is where they belong.
To say it was a fitting closer to six acts of all round 'immenseness' would be an understatement.
However, two things were to put a dampener on the night, otherwise lit up by six bands giving their all, illuminated by a tremendous lighting rig and set-up.
Firstly the sound was appalling - at times too muddy, and other times bright and sparky; and usually getting it the wrong way round.
A bigger crowd may have helped dampen down the reverb that was killing a lot of bands' dynamics. Where was this crowd? Lost on the back streets of Belfast? Too lazy? Too self-absorbed? Washing their hair?
Wherever they were: the thousands who have enjoyed the smallest to the largest gigs The Distortion Project has laid on over the last 13 years; the hundreds of bands that The Distortion Project have given an opportunity to ply their trade; and the thousands who had the chance to show that metal is alive - they were the ones who missed out. They are the ones who this weekend should hang their heads in collective shame.
To James Loveday and each and every band and fan who were in the Ulster Hall we raise the horns and a pint - for those who brought the metal, we salute you!