As anyone either in a band or putting on a gig will tell you, it's never fucking easy. Between unforeseen circumstances leading to Rabid Bitch Of The North having to pull out, an incident with the drummer from Horrenda being hospitalised in Dublin (get well soon!) and Cursed Sun having arguably the worst luck ever, any promoter wouldn't be blamed for pulling their hair out.
Onwards we march. The dubious honor of opening what remains a stacked bill falls on Indominus, a relatively new death metal band risen from the ashes of Forchristsake. Much tighter and better delivered than their previous outfit, Indominus fill the room with thick, fat slamming death metal that often goes from a Skinless-esque stomp to breakneck blast beats at the drop of a hat.
New track "Antagonist" has some very tasteful clean work thrown in and overall they put on a good show, however they lost significant momentum between songs by taking a bit too long to set up and some uncomfortable stage patter. Enjoyable nonetheless.
Speaking of dubious honours, Scimitar stepped up to replace the Rabid lads and were up next. When you've seen a band play a number of the same songs over the years it's always great to see them evolve.
It's obvious that Scimitar have taken care to elevate their older material to the standard they now play at, be it from new drum lines, extra lead work and a commanding addition of more backing vocals. They play classics and some cuts from the forthcoming album, however as always the pinnacle of the set is the absolutely crushing Innocent X. Scimitar proved once again that they are the premier thrash metal band in Northern Ireland, period.
Quick smoke break and a top up on the old double rum and coke, we go back into the breach for Jenova. You could try to pigeon hole them into any number of subgenres or niches but it's a waste of time as they play what I can only describe as modern extreme metal with cues taken from the likes of At The Gates, Conan and absolutely everywhere in between.
The crowd laps it up and are practically eating from their hands when it's exclaimed that they play "SATANIC FUCKING DEATH METAL" and they eventually close with a blink and you'll miss it cover of a certain grind classic.
Definitely ones to watch out for, and I have it on good authority we'll be seeing them in Belfast again before the year is out.
Disposable made the trip over from Edinburgh and deliver a masterclass in balls out, riff heavy thrash. This weekend marked the first shows for new blood Oliver Wardell on guitar who plays as though he's been with the guys for years. Opener "Scar My Eyes" is a solid 4 minutes of mid paced fury and "Misery" delivers the goods with a vibe not fair off early material from The Haunted both in intensity and vocal delivery.
If you like your thrash heavy, deliberate and energetic then look no further because they deliver all of the above in spades.
Legion Of Wolves take to the stage with a hooded guitar player and vocalist clad in leather armour with a barbed wire wrapped pulpit so needless to say, shit's about to get real. They deliver an absolutely relentless set of heavy old school death metal with nods to Entombed and Bolt Thrower but sounds of Exodus and the like as well. It's a full bore aural assault that never lets up from start to finish and chatter from the crowd after their set would indicate that they'll be welcomed back to Belfast with open arms.
From blackened thrash to modern thrash, the only way to end the night is some straight up party thrash! First things first, Psykosis are here for a good time. Sporting the most energetic guitar player in existence they absolute rip through their set with reckless abandon, much to the pleasure of the now thoroughly inebriated Voodoo crowd.
As always, guitarist Tony Corcoran is like watching a ball of nervous energy and is almost infectious in his obvious enjoyment while the band play a fun but undeniably sharp set, showcasing just why promoters from all over the UK are keen to book them.
And there we have it. With last minute line-up changes this could have been a disaster but all in all was an absolute showcase in extreme music. Much respect to Jonny Gray for both putting on such an ambitious show and for making sure that the night ran without a hitch, let alone playing a set with Scimitar. It's not often you can expect 2 more bands and still get more than your money's worth which really speaks for the calibre of the booking.
Here's to Necrofest 3!
Review by Steve Martin
Pictures By Darren McVeigh