SATURDAY (14th December) was the last offering from The Distortion Project's RockD of 2013, and the Limelight2 reverberated with a feast of thrashing and some series groove.
As a result of work and personal commitments Sinocence were not able to land up for the show, but Donum Dei, Bakken and the awesome Astralnaut laid down tracks and attitudes to give 2013 a great send off for RockD.
Donum Dei are relatively new in terms of the metal gigging circuit, but they put on a fearsome set of straight forward thrash, with flurries and time changes. Stuart and Thomas stuck close on guitars with Stuart's lead work impressive and energetic.
As far as energy is concerned Dean on bass provided the stage presence of the night, bounding across the small stage - the band has the right attitude; play as if you were in front of an Odyssey audience.
The sound was nailed down Alastair in a set that nodded to early Metallica, with a dash of Testament and even at times a flavour of Tank - which no doubt given the age of the players is 'before their time'.
Bakken have added their own unique take on the thrash template with an album chockful of tracks that are given extra legs in the live setting.
Mystic Moghul and Sasquatch are especially impressive on stage, even though Simon suffered equipment problems with leads and sound drop outs. Still, as any band worth their salt knows, you just got to keep playing and Bakken are more than worth any amount of Sodium Chloride....
With Simon leading the line, Mark-Antony worked the sound textures in perfect synch as Niall and Adrian kept it all tight all of the time.
With this consistency and considerable talent we are thinking that album number two should be underway to capture that intensity imbued in the band with their live shows.
Astralnaut are awkward buggers at the best of the time when it comes to reviewers struggling with the setlist. Last time we saw them one of the songs was just called 'New Song'...
To make matters more complicated this time they débuted yet more tracks, which thankfully they later provided the titles of - with the proviso that these titles may change...if the music wasn't so good we could have got really frustrated.
But as said the music is really sound and really grounded. The new tracks have been soaked in the deep southern groove; given a dose of poteen and they're now an Armagh groove mash-up of southern US groove with a Norn Iron twist ofdelight; down-tuned and doomy glory amidst the twisting sounds of metaphorical lows and literal highs.
Opening with four-tracks that look set to make it on to a forthcoming e.p. Egocentric, Neopium, Mac Tire and Parasitic take the Astralnaut sound and add depth, at times slowed down and as heavy as a Coca Cola Christmas truck rolling over baskets of puppies...you know it's wrong, but somehow it works....not the puppy deaths of course, just the sheer weight of these new tracks.
With Emerald Lord of Pleasure and Back to The Bog rounding things off this was a perfect way to wrap up another year of RockD with Thomas roaring out, Gaz leading the guitar attack, backed up by Pearse's intense rhythm work, tight in time with Jon Joe's bass rumble and Stephen's pounding of the tubs - it all rocked the foundations of The Limelight.
Astralnaut continue to grow in live stature and with more recorded material due in 2014 should be a truly promising year for the band.
All in all the Saturday gig was a great closer to RockD 2013.