Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, March 30, 2015

LIVE REVIEW: The Power of Rock and Metal multiplied by eight raises thousands at Blazefest

"OKAY, I just want to announce that last night's Blazefest raised a staggering £3145.21 for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. Thank you to all the bands and everyone who came and made it such a special night.
Those are the words of Darren Shields-Pettitt, who along with wife Dawn, once again brought the power of the rock and metal community together to support the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

And, for Blazefest V on March 21st there were assembled together eight bands, ready to rock the shit out of Belfast's Empire Music Hall.

At the unfeasibly early hour of 5:15 Selene took to the stage to open proceedings - and this seemed a completely different band to the one that struggled at Heat One of Bloodstock Metal2TheMasses.

Shonagh looked confident, easy banter between songs, and using her vocal prowess to its maximum, devastating effect as John flowed freely across his axe, ably flanked by Thomas and Cameron.

With the gathering crowd still reeling from the symphonic metal rock took centre stage as The Irontown Diehards brought down their well-dressed rock mayhem

Dressed like refugees from a 1980s ska gig, there was no way they would be playing ska - instead a tight set of blasting hard rock blistered all those present.

Phil's vocals were only matched by Andrew's fret work. This was a set with attitude in abundance.

The rock solid Mark and Gordy kept it nailed down and tight...a superb performance by the four-piece.

Thrash was in the air next as the young men making up Donum Dei brought the 80s genre firmly into the 21st Century, stomping and snarling - literally.

Thomas grows more confident on stage with each gig and his mind meld with Stuart's lead work, riffing and melody lines grows ever tighter. Hyperactive Dean on bass adds yet more flourishes to the sound, with Alastair rocking his set.

'Gravelands' was one of the highlights, and a nice touch they bring to their set is allowing Alastair a short drum solo to allow the tuning of the six-strings.

We'd already had one female fronted act with Selene, but the Empire was about to face an onslaught from Dublin's Xerosun. Producing vocal lines that ranged from growls, roars and sweet melodies Martyna scared the sweet shit out of some of the more tender-hearted present. The rest just basked in the brilliance.

As a package this is a well-balanced band, with Fiachra and Jeff's guitar work giving the right amount of breath to each track to avoid the pitfall of sameness. And, that variety worked throughout the set with Damien and Marcin working hard to create a solid platform throughout.

And, thence the spirit of the NWOBHM entered the room, with the style and flair that only Tommy Daly and his cohort of chaos that is Conjuring Fate can deliver. Not for them the re-treads of the past, instead a vision of dark places in the soul where metal lives.

On top form 'Mirror' and 'Backwood Witch' came alive with the strange alchemy that has a gothic narrative delivered to a welcoming, beaming audience.

As usual Phil had a walk around the crowd and the dualing between him and Karl was as high a quality as always - only equalled by their melody work.

Conjuring Fate always give the impression of loving every minute of their time on stage, with even Steve and Bodgan wearing smiles.

The bar had been set consistently high with each set, but with the gauntlet laid down the Screaming Eagles...well they screamed on to the Empire's stage with a high octane blaze...

Currently working on their second album the Sc'reagles came on to the stage full of hard rockin' piss and vinegar; Chris pounding out the words, bellowing out the likes of 'Fight The Fire' and 'Rock 'n' Roll Soul' as if his life depended on it.

Adrian picked his way through solo after solo with the clear intent to rock the foundations already shaken by Ryan (bass) and Kyle (drums).

The standard of this live show bodes well for the next release

With their ep, 'No Gods, No Masters Vol2' out Sinocence have fire in their bellies and are hungry for fresh meat when they stride on. And, as the chorus of 'Long Way Down' is chanted back at them it is clear that their recent run of live shows has them in vicious form.

Moro almost crouches like a metal beast over the mic, his guitar rolling out the rhythms as Anto shreds in an almost maniacal fashion.

'Ascension Code' from the new release shines as do all the tracks, new and old. As if this was not enough the band brought Chris from Sc'reagles on to pound out a metalized version of Pearl Jam's 'Evenflow'.

If you closed your eyes, Chris has every intonation of Vedder's voice that it was almost like the PJ frontman was there - except for the fact that Sinocence had given the track added metal, with Jim's bass rolling across the track and Davy's drums adding extra flourishes.

Headliners Maverick were greeted like conquering heroes, still riding on a high from the ongoing support the 'Quid Pro Quo' release has been given in many quarters.

That they have been working hard on stage across Northern Ireland tells, as the ten-legged beast's show unfolds to the delight of the crowd ready to end the party on a high.

'Paint By Numbers', 'In Our Blood' and the infectious 'Got It Bad' are already familiar to all, and David cajoles and caresses the crowd to join in the raucous rock 'n roll circus.

Ryan, Ric, Richie and Mike are clearly enjoying the night as David gets the band moving and the crowd bouncing.

And, with the likes of 'Top Heavy' from their d├ębut ep to top it all off it was a fine way to wrap up the evening.

Rock and metal had proved that it is more than just a bunch of long-hairs (there were a few balding pates on evidence) but that it is generous too.

The victory of the evening lay not in the performances above, but in the £3,000 raised for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

No Gods No Masters
Review by Jonny
Pictures by Darren McVeigh (MetalplanetBelfast)



T bone said...

Cheers J.T

T bone said...

Cheers J.T