Three acts took to the stage at Limelight2 for a feast of metal that was consistent, prescient and powerful - all-in-all another darkly delightful day.
While across Europe pundits played with numbers in the electoral battles, and in Northern Ireland the fate of council seats was being determined, the bands and those attending The Distortion Project for a few hours were the middle finger thrust into the besuited bores that promise all and deliver little; as the votes lurched towards ever more right-wing politics we, the disaffected, the disenfranchised and the discontented were dedicated to defy the conventional accepted pact of societal norms.
We were there for three five-piece metal acts who do not fit into neat political and cultural boxes. We were there for metal, nothing more and nothing less. And, it turned out we were to get more than we expected.
Opening were a band new to the editorial team; all the way from Dublin Aesect awed those present, and our extreme metal correspondent, Zakk, was quickly giving nods of approval as guttural growls and tight playing combined in AeSect's aural attack.
The five-piece have a precision about them that augurs well for their future. The selection of songs for their set was well chosen, both in terms of brutality and balance. Too often extreme metal acts of all shades can be monotonous, but the variations in tempo and tone justified their selection.
While a few refinements are still needed to some parts of the songs, AeSect are nevertheless a powerful band, with Shane Kiernan leading from the front as all members produced the sort of presence that only bands with the inclination to incite metal fury can achieve.
Presence is something that By Conquest or Consent have developed since they first arrived kicking and spitting out venomous anthems of anarchy; featuring a naked hatred for the illiterate electorate who chose numpties over intelligence,
Pete's invective is ably backed by band members who are tight and coherent, closely following a pattern of pure metal; powerful and pounding.
Jay's backing vocals are the perfect foil for Pete, especially when he occasionally varies his vocal style. Airing tracks from the forthcoming album Pete, Michael, Dom, Jay and Andrew are capturing sonic sophistication in their sinister songs from the darkside.
Headliners were Kataolisis - and it was healthy to see that they had brought along many of their fans from the mid-Ulster region of roundabouts that is Portadown, Lurgan and Craigavon.
Their ep, available now from the band, Atrocity, is a showcase of the band's chest beating bravura - battering their message into the aural tracts of those who care to venture down its dark alleyways.
Naturally the band were keen to get songs from Atrocity aired, and they used their time well on the Limelight2 stage. Mark is a strong frontman, while Matt (lead) and Derek (rhythm) ground out metallic guitar nirvana, wrestling melody and riffage from their instrunents.
However, like all the five-pieces on display the solid backing are an enabling influence - Sean and Timothy are the lead weights which can hold down the act's rampage.
And rampage was the order of the day all round; and encouraging to see members of other bands taking the time to attend to see these three five-piece acts.
As the audience and bands emerged into the Belfast air they emerged with smiles of satisfaction.
Next week (May 31st ) The Distortion Project presents A Sinister Occult Ritual In Three Parts as Zlantera, Cutter and Bad Boat descend on the unwary.
Written by Jonny with support from Zakk
Photos by Paul Wharton
Photos by Paul Wharton