Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sludge fest, thrash-tastic Saturday with Gama Bomb, War Iron, Owlcrusher, Defyed and much more

SATURDAY night's all right for rocking, never mind what Elton John may say about fighting. And Saturday March 8th was a day filled to the brim with rock and metal

While Darren and Dawn Shields-Pettitt were doing a fantastic job with all the bands at Blazefest once again raising money for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children there were rumours of earth tremors in Ormeau Avenue.

At Limelight2 The Distortion Project's evening show the sludge and doom was causing earth tremors. at such a peak that the Royal Geological Society were monitoring reports that the tectonic plates underneath all of Ireland were reverberating.

While the vagaries of public transport meant we missed Maw, by all accounts the two-piece were superb.

Owlcrusher's down-tuned doom sludge threatened to liquefy internal organs not already fried by alcohol. Songs merged into each other in a hypnotic drone that was strangely entrancing.

A dazed audience then faced the prospect of Okus, with a technical take on powerful doom and elements of modern metal. Their set was varied and ultimately a powerful statement of potential.

Reports that the earth's tilt and magnetic field were changing emerged by the time War Iron's Black Fleet had powered through the foundations of the venue and the audience's soul.

War Iron are a band that don't believe in fucking about with those nancy boy six strings, and instead have two bass guitars to keep the bottom end booming with evil intent.

Procession of the Equinox and Of Prophecy and Alchemy rounded off the set, producing a strange glow amongst the audience. For such a doom-laden, bottom ended set, what it did produce were a lot of happy punters including the Belfastmetalheads Black and Death Metal editorial assistant (Zakk) who gave the show a knowing nod of approval.

As if that was not enough for a weekend of gigs (see the review of Friday night's Jizzy Pearl's Love/Hate here and review of Sinocence and Blazefest on our colleague Mark Ashby's pages) it was then a measured move on to the Voodoo where proceedings stepped up into full throttle.

A full-on take on thrash and hard, humourous metal lay in wait.

Acid Age opened proceedings with a set that merged technical prowess with short, sharp blasts of old school thrash. The band have undoubtedly set themselves along a path that pays homage to the founders of the movement and incorporates the more modern thrash scene.

Scimitar appeared to have as band that as grown up a lot since their early shows. Again there was much technical prowess on display and also song arrangements that took the thrash/metal template a little further making each element of their set distinctive.

The inclusion of Defyed, on the face of it, seemed a little out of place, as they are more recognised from appearances on hardcore line-ups.

However, mixing the elements of metal and hardcore clearly works: at times it appears as if Soulfly and Hatebreed have been bred into their songs. Wayne is ever more confident and Steve is possessed by demons of metal wielding his bass as if it was a trophy from a human hunt.

An international audience (with Scottish, Irish and Filipino members...) awaited Gama Bomb's appearance. Tales of zombies, robotic cops and William Defoe were all to the fore - as one would only expect.

If you like thrash and want a band that straddles early 80s thrash and contemporary rock influences but clearly with their own 'take' and identity then you will find it all with Gama Bomb.

A well-balanced set, with a mixture of classic Bomb songs with recent tracks from The Terror Tapes  clearly were both crowd-pleasing and relevant to where they are in 2014.

With the band writing a new album it is clear that Gama Bomb deserve to be much more widely heard - one listen to the live thrust of 'We Started The Fire' should, in a just universe, convince all to bow before the Gama Bomb attack. At the Voodoo the adulation of the audience clearly showed that when you 'get it' you get hit hard with the Gama Bomb bug.

Heads spinning we then headed to meet up with some of the audience from Blazefest before a welcome taxi collected us.

To round up the evening we found ourselves with a taxi driver from Iceland who pointed out that there was never any problems with rock and metal fares compared to 'the rest', that Icelandic radio played rock and metal all the time, the island being the youngest country in geological terms and there are so many 'quakes that they pass unnoticed was an appropriate conclusion to an evening that started with such earth shattering power.

No comments: