Pick Your Rock and Metal

Sunday, May 10, 2015

LIVE REVIEW: Metal+Masses+Crowd+Bloodstock=Fearsome Friday Fun

A LONG time ago - or so it seemed - the journey began to select the Northern Ireland band to stand on the unsigned stage at Bloodstock in August. And, the days and nights of effort culminated on Friday, May 8th in a packed Voodoo for the final.

Five bands, one judge and a packed crowd created a perfect recipe for a metal feast.

While for us it was a night of celebration and to raise a glass to the quality of the music in Northern Ireland, for the night's judge, Simon Hall, it was the beginning of a long haul that will see him tour round the UK, Ireland and Scandanavia selecting the best of the best.

Of course, being a Northern Ireland based site we are pretty sure that we produce the best of the best...

But first up living up to the promise that we can deliver the musical muscle: Donum Dei, Conjuring Fate, Sinocence, Overoth and Cursed Sun.

Opening up with a ferocious thrash assault Donum Dei tore into their set with their usual enthusiasm. Despite not having an 'official' release to their names, many of the songs are familiar to a large proportion of the audience.

Titles like 'Justice Fails', and 'Gravelands' are greeted with roars as Thomas leads a merry riffing dance, Stuart sears through solos, Alastair locks his drums into the mania that is the hyperactive bassist Dean.

When it comes to crowd interaction Conjuring Fate have a trump card in Tommy Daly, whose engaging stage leads to a spontaneous sing-alongs to the likes of 'Backwoods Witch', 'House on the Haunted Hill' and 'Where Eagles Fly' amongst them.

Backed by Phil, Karl, and Steve it is as if you went to a party and a gig broke out with the interchanges, spoof solo rivalry and a feelgood NWOBHM vibe.

Bringing a contemporary metal vibe Sinocence sneered with malevolence, mashing out hymns of discontent for a dystopian world.

Moro led the majestic metal assault with 'Long Way Down' opening as always, but the newer material from 'No Gods, No Masters Vol. 2' is equally welcome. Davy has it nailed down on the drums, allowing Jim's bass to add texture allowing Anto's solos to weave tapestries that work hard to give depth to the downpour of metal raining down on to the crowd.

Wildcard qualifiers Cursed Sun come across as a band that are geared up for war when they set out to wreak havoc, with Jones the jester of jeopardy atop a hill of heroics.

Jonny layers guitar lines as his solos search out the lining of the heart, with the riff to the core they draw down destruction, with much of the focus on their two most recent releases 'Fall and Rise' and 'Premonitions'. With Chris (drums) and Monty (bass) holding the madly spinning mass from meltdown it is, as was the theme of the night, a consummate performance.

With the various flavours of metal represented so far, it was the turn of Overoth to bring their death metal destruction, with the towering shape of Andy deepening the gloom with his massive presence on bass.

This was an assault on eardrums of all in the venue, a snarling brand of metal that shook the foundations of Belfast's Fountain Street. The experience within Overoth is evident in the poise of the performance.

Daniel and Andrew's guitar are guttural expressions of extreme precision, while Jay delivers par excellence death metal drumming to Andy's bass.

Overoth are a well-oiled machine of slaughter, and with 'Kingdom of Shadows' now five year's old new material is overdue for recording. Not that any of this mattered on the strength of the performance.

As the five band aural assault ended, all thoughts turned to which one of these acts would win the coveted slot at Bloodstock.

Judging duties were the responsibility of Simon Hall - yes he of Beholder.  It was a job that we didn't envy him.

Tension was growing ahead of the announcement - as much as in the audience as the assembled band members. Truth is, from our point of view, each of the bands could have delivered at Bloodstock.

But only one could be selected - it was Overoth.

A tremendous night showcasing some of the best metal talent on these islands.

Review by Jonny
Photographs by Darren McVeigh, MetalplanetBelfast

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