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Monday, February 13, 2017

LIVE REVIEW: Terrific return from Trivium in Belfast barnstormer showcase

THE fact that so many of the crowd in Belfast's Limelight1 on Sunday (12th February) grew their metal stripes at the same time as Trivium were breaking through as a band were earning plaudits and packed venues.

The first time the band played in Belfast it resulted in a crush barrier collapsing under the weight of crowd enthusiasm, and the band have been loyal to the city ever since - and in return the fans deliver rapturous response upon each visit.

Shvpes provided an energetic opening act on the bill, however, apart from the few at the front familiar with their work their first few songs they received a polite response from the gathering crowd.

The post-hardcore sound was maybe a little too out there for many, but their energy won over many as the set progressed. Mismatched they may have been with the bill, but the Birmingham five-piece deserve Kudos for not wavering.

By the same measure Sikth didn't waver despite being a man down with Pin absent for personal reasons, leaving Dan Weller to fill in. Not that this affected the response from an audience who are devoted to the English prog/math masters.

Mikee Goodman and Joe Rosser are like manic puppet masters pulling at the strings of the crowd as soon as they opened the set with 'Philistine Philosophies' and 'Part of the Friction'.

To be fair to Sikth they have evolved many miles since they were labelled, perhaps unfairly, as part of the djent movement in the early era of the 2000s. They include as many melodic elements, which comes to the fore just enough not to make them predictable. Nor are they complacent.

There is adulation for the band and they return it with humour and self-deprecation, including Mikee's spoken word intro to 'When Will The Forest Speak...?'

That so many of the audience know the words to each line is a tribute to the passion Sikth invoke. And, with the hint of a return to Belfast it seems they'll receive a warm welcome.

To say that the reception Trivium receives is warm is an under-statement as the Limelight roars out every line of the 'Run To The Hills' intro. From the opener of 'Rain' the adulation crackled like static, with pits and crowd surfing mere symbols to the feeling of almost all present.

They tear into 'Forsake Not The Dream' before Matt Heafy speaks to the audience and throughout he recalls the bands first visit to Belfast.

Paolo Gregoletto, like Heafy encourages ever more intense circle pits and as audience members surf above the rest sing every word of 'Down From The Sky'.

With an impressive assuredness they weave newer and older material together as Heafy and Corey Beaulieu trade licks and runs and manage a sublime version of 'Entrance of the Conflagration' among many of the higlights.

'Dying In Your Arms' may be steeped with the soul of In Flames, but Trivium's melodic take is their own crafting and excellence drawing more of the audience to risk life and limb in pits and surfing.

There is not a foot put wrong, nor a beat missed as they rolled the Limelight in their hands like malleable putty, a putty willingly taken and moulded through tracks such as 'Dusk Dismantled' and 'Throes of Perdition'.

'Silence In The Snow' maybe more recent, but is greeted like an old friend, and that is perhaps why Trivium have enjoyed continuous success. Their sound has evolved, they have experimented and some would say they have made mistakes, but each time they take any lessons and influences and carve their own path.

Sure, they have been through a few drummers over the past decade, but never compromised on wanting a dynamic drum sound and Alex Bent fits the bill behind the kit.

This was only the second night of the European tour but the band exude a tight, professional approach, but without the contrivances many acts fall prey to. All present know it will be pretty much the same set for those dates, but that doesn't mean it is metronomic.

Heafy and Beaulieu have sufficient looseness in their playing that is balanced with the execution of some stunning guitar work, while Gregoletto wields his bass like an instrument designed to torture the lower registers in the most exquisite of manners.

'Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation' snaps and snarls as if a fresh song, while the closing duo of 'Pull Harder On The Strings of Your Martyr' and 'In Waves' leave the crowd sated for now - but begging for a speedy return to these shores.

Trivium take their status and success to date seriously - that is why their performance, and its reception, is at a premier league level. Band and fans joined together elevated to another level on a Sunday night - smiles and aching necks.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Darren McVeigh (MetalplanetBelfast)

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