Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, July 04, 2016

LIVE REVIEW: Thunder and rumble as heavyweight sets from War Iron, Nomadic Rituals and Molarbear level Limelight

WHEN a gig is billed as 'Heaviness Can't Wait: Midsummer Murdered' some approach it with certain preconceptions, grim looking people, ready to look even grimmer as they 'enjoy' the sludge, doom and general air of serious metal intent.

Which made it all the more surreal to hear a conversation about the best place to buy fabrics in Belfast, the joys of stitching and sewing machines - and two out of the three were men...

The point being, that even within the 'metal community' there is no place for stereotyping audiences or bands. And, no-one should ever think that the sounds that trembled the foundations of Ormeau Avenue are just another predictable set of metal tunes.

Well, when a line-up that includes Molarbear, Nomadic Rituals, and War Iron are on the stage nothing is going to slide into clich├ęs or regurgitate the same riffs.

Their two recent dates in Ballymena and Draperstown have served Molarbear well ahead of this show, as this is perhaps the best set we've seen from the band.

Sure a lot of people just recognise the repeated profanities of 'Swearwolf', but Molarbear are developing into a formidable live act with a lot of nuances to their sound that can be missed by the casual listener.

All three guitars work well together, whether adding to the rhythmic heaviness or laying down licks. Can't wait to hear some recorded material from Molarbear.

For the uninitiated Nomadic Rituals can be an endurance test, but when you lean back and let their sound wash over your senses - if there isn't a genre entitled ambient doom sludge metal then Nomadic Rituals have claimed it as their own.

Craig, Peter and Mark combine their slowed down deathly march of the hellbound with layers of synths and samples that both demand your attention at the same time allows you to sit back and chill amidst the sheer heavy attack.

That attack is slow but that does not diminish the brute strength of the sound as it rumbles, turning listeners inner organs to mush.

With War Iron, you know what you get - and if you don't like it then don't stray within their orbit, because you'll be terrified.

No compromise, no remorse, just heavy, heavy metal, the sound of hell's belch, Satan slowly stalking the hallowed halls of the Limelight, levelling all doubters in his path.

Baggy towering over the cowering crowd, who are trying to cope with let alone comprehend the sludge that oozes from PA and amps - understanding their influences yet stamping their own unique identity, a wall of doom laden riffs.

Since changing from the two bass attack, with Ross taking on guitar duties there is more tonality to the tune.

Opening with the appropriately titled 'Bludgeon Lord' the War Iron have never backed down from their instinctive approach to slowed down metal. Their whole sound is held together by the complex approach of Marty's drums and Dave's bass.

All four excel on a night when the metal was served with added relish. The attendance and reception afforded to the three bands showed that the real heavy bands have and audience - and the reviewer now has a better knowledge of where to buy fabrics should he ever be that way inclined

Review by Jonny. Pics by Jonny and Lizzie

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