FROM across the globe they came, purveyors of technical death metal - Canada, Brazil and Italian acts producing a devastating tour de force of precise execution of the art of death on 16th January in Belfast's Limelight2.
Kataklysm, Krisiun and Fleshgod Apocalypse are on an extended UK and European tour - and they all seem out to prove a point: that point being that they can deliver no matter where and when they play and despite the distances involved in bringing this tour together.
Fleshgod Apocalypse emerged like revenants of a baroque orchestra reborn into the 21st Century, playing backing to a demented opera of rabid young fans.
Replete with a backing, masked opera singer, matching guitars and basses with faux violin like scrollwork and a mysterious Francesco Ferrinni on an upright piano style keyboard they were quick to make an impression.
Drawing material from their back catalogue and new album Layrinth, Minotaur and The Elegy stood out in their brief set. With so many of the younger fans clearly devoted to the band the evidence was there that Fleshgod could have developed into a potentially big time act.
Playing on a cramped stage as openers the sound was at times messy with so much going on, but there is no doubt of the muscianship, with Cristiano Trionfera's playing particularly notable.
From the six-piece extravaganza of Fleshgod, Krisiun brought a triple dose of mayhem as the three members produced a monstrous sound.
Clearly rooted in the post-NWOBHM harder sound, the Brazilians may not have had an album out lately, but that didn't stop them from delivering as if they were fresh young pups rather than a seasoned act.
Alex Camargo growled like Tom Araya with throatache as he played his bass like a man possessed by the ghosts of gigs gone by, locked into Max Kolense's drum terror.
The familial relationsip may be a factor in their technical precision, with Moyses Kolense's guitar playing showing exceptional dexterity as well as pound upon pound of riffage.
From opener Ominous to closer Kings of Killing this was a heady progression of metal, interspersed with a brief drum solo and a rather excellent cover of Venom's Black Metal, Krisiun may be relatively unknown to some of the audience despite releasing almost 10 albums, but they quicky gained new fans with Blood of Lions and Vicious Wrath stand out songe on the night.
Kataklysm have carved out a name for themselves amongst the death metal intelligenstia, and new album Waiting For The End To Come (review here) seemingly raising the bar yet further. Reports from those present at the soundcheck were promising, and that promise was quickly delivered in a potent set from the Canucks and Quebois.
After the headlong opening the sheer power came through with Like Angels Weeping and the tremendous Like Animals, as Maurizio Lacono harangued the crowd into action.
Like a healty proportion of death metal artists Kataklysm are overtly political in their world view, no less when the crowd were given a lesson in the screwed up nature of the global economic crisis before launching into Kill The Elite.
Iron Will and Elevate were simply death metal delivered by a band at the top of the game - Jean-Francois Dagenais shredding with Stephane Barbe's bass a sledgehammer backed by the pneumatic drill like drumming of Oli Beaudoin.
Kataklysm have been implicitly promising fans a step-up in their self-styled Northern Hyperbeat and the evidence of this Distortion Project presentation in Limelight2 they have now delivered - they were quite simply the epitome of a band rooted in their chosen genre but prepared to evolve within that genre.