Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, January 31, 2014

Killswitch Engaged by Battlecross and Menshevik in Belfast

AN AUDIENCE, pumped and primed by support acts Menshevik and Battlecross greeted headliners Killswitch Engage as returning heroes to a packed Limelight1 on Belfast's Ormeau Avenue on Thursday night (30th January). But that is only half the story.

While the sold out show always promised to be a stormer it carried a mix of styles - not least by the headliners - that managed to reach out to most present.

Menshivik - Let the revolution begin
Menshevik - presumably named after the early 20th Century Russia revolutionaries - brought a punk/hardcore flurry fighting for attention of the audience gradually making their way into the venue. 
A powerful vocal attack from Dempsey - complemented by his ventures off the stage - was only held in check with the solid performances of Pitcher (guitar), Hawcroft (bass) and MacDonald (drums).
Their politically driven hardcore/punk attitude might have been at odds with some of the metal fans in attendance, but it would be hard to fault their commitment and their desire to win over new followers.

If Menshevik were the hardcore in the metalcore of the headliners, there is no doubt that Battlecross brought the metal.

It was a searing set of swaggering thrash, sounding like the souls of a thousand thrash acts had been harnessed to showcase the Detroit crew's dedication.

Drawing from last year's release War of Will the quintet are clearly on a mission to win over fans across the UK and Europe.

Let the Battlecross
adulation begin
Force Fed Lies, My Vaccine, and Beast summed up their attack, as Kyle Gunther stalked the stage with his mannish facial hair shaming many a male present. And his growl had the right balance of menace and tunefulness to carry the crowd.

Indeed, while it was clear that many there already knew the band's material they certainly drew more into the Battlecross fold through the sheer exuberance they displayed in their craft.

Hiran (interview coming soon) and Tony kept things balanced in the twin guitar attack, while Dan was all exuberance on bass, yet locked into touring drummer Adam throughout the time changes.

As they exited with Push, Pull, Destroy it was clear this is a metal band that are destined to be very well received when they play Download later this year.

Dutkiewicz attempts to swallow mic
while undertaking backing vocals
Also scheduled for a Download slot are Killswitch Engage - a band that have emerged in recent years with a potency many might have felt had begun to fade. Not so. Disarm The Descent proved they are still a potent and leading force in what is an increasingly crowded metalcore scene.

Jesse Leach is clearly enjoying himself, reveling in the new material and delivering blistering interpretations of older songs.

Adam Dutkiewicz delivered his usual codology, belying the real talent he has in his arsenal, despite being more sartorially subdued than in previous years.

Always, In Due Time and The Turning Point sat comfortably with so-called classics; and it is apparent that the audience was here to hear all the songs new and old. The Disarm the Descent material already well known and lyrics were shouted back to Leach.

Leach giving it all to Belfast
Touchingly Always was introduced by Leach as a tribute to all those no longer with us, saying "I know there has been a lot of conflict here" as he raised a glass. That was all that was needed to be said and he put it in a fine...

It was Leach's first visit to Belfast (and indeed any part of Ireland north or south) but the rousing welcome was more to do with his onstage personality, oozing charisma as well as professionalism and passion.

That's not to say that Leach and Dutkiewicz were the only stars in the band.

Joel Stroetzl, Mike D'Antonio and Justin Foley, form the core of Killswitch; they are the power behind the hardcore and the rhythm of metal.

Rose of Sharyn, My Last Serenade and encore My Curse are now elevated by this line-up beyond crowd pleasers to classics for the children of the 90s and many older fans drawn to the Killswitch cause.

They are now a band assured of a fanbase; and a fanbase that may yet grow further. They represent the finest parts of what is labelled metalcore, yet they have evolved beyond mere labels.

All photos copyright Belfastmetalheadsreunited/Nadia Traynor

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