FOR a few short hours the Limelight2 in Belfast was turned into a mini-Bay Area bangers of thrash metal's heyday.
That thrash spirit was delivered by The Distortion Project in bucketloads with four bands delivering sets that could snap a neck.
Sinocence, Bull Riff Stampede, Psykosis and Bakken were on top form in front a diverse crowd ready to applaud, shout and generally get as much fun out of the night as the bands also had on stage.
From the off it was full-speed ahead with openers Bakken delivering a 'Deth inspired set of solos and riffs. Highlights included Mystic Moghul, Sasquatch and one of a duo of new tracks, Evil Walks This Way stood out as oozing potential for a forthcoming ep.
Throughout the set the pace was rampant and the attention solely focussed on a pounding momentum - highly enjoyable.
Enjoyment was the order of the day with Psykosis. Old school long shorts, high tops, mighty thrash and hyperactive bouncing from Tony on rhythm guitar, while Grant romped through neo-classical lead. Nailed down behind the pair were Shane's manic drumming and a rampaging bass from Jay.
Psykosis proved that solid musicianship and laughs need not be exclusive on stage; the ethos that means thrash is so enduring in the face of trends and PR efforts from labels seeking to promote the latest 'approved' scene.
Psykosis are a force for good, grabbing the audience by the balls and shaking them about...however, knob exposure is taking the line and stepping way, way over it.
Bull Riff Stampede - fresh to the audience - delivered sheer heavy thrash metal, pile-driving and - a word that is usually not bandied about outside the clichéd magazine writers - brutal.
The four-piece were focussed and forceful, drilling through a set based on their Scatter The Ground début and their recent Enraging the Beast -mighty and things that look simple are revealed as a deceptively complex arrangement heavy on the pace, heavy on delivery - we're certain they'll be welcomed back in heartbeat. Dave and Jay particularly accomplished front and centre.
Sinocence always deliver a consistent set, pure metal, pure thrash. Maybe it was the three previous acts, but Sins raised their game, pounding the audience into happy submission.
By the time that opener Coda on Self Slaughter blurred into the stand-out Long Way Down the subtleties of the composed set, balancing aggression on a tightrope of well arranged songs packed with thrash sensibilities and buckets of hooks.
Anto and Moro's guitar work inter-twined and wove patterns of power, while Jim and Davy kept the ball rolling - and rolling at times in wicked rhythms. Throwing in the cover version of Prong's Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck kept variety going before the highlight of Occam's Razor.
Recent appearances at Hammerfest and rigorous gigging and rehearsals have benefitted Sinocence - roll on the next release.
Four bands, all four-pieces, all four a furious demonstration why whatever form thrash is delivered in, when it is delivered this well there is only one appropriate response - bang the heads, raise the horns, raise a beer and yell "hell yeah!"