Alaskan Death Jacket/ForChristSake - Belfast, Ma Nelson's & Honey For Christ/M.O.T.H. - Belfast, Spring And Airbrake - 20th August 2011 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby   
Saturday, 03 September 2011 05:00




It may be a capital city, but Belfast is a comparatively small and compact entity, which can make it a fairly straightforward to catch more than one gig in a single evening - providing you work out the timings and logistics correctly.


Opening proceedings at the first of two shows this Saturday evening are the youthful Mourning Of The Heretic (or M.O.T.H.), who delivered their hard-hitting dark metal amidst swirls of smoke and strobes and behind layers of corpse paint. While a tad generic in their approach - vocalist Merrki Murhasta (or Mark as he's known to those who know him) at least acknowledged their obvious Cradle Of Filth influence - they nevertheless deliver a confident set, with the highlights being 'She Is Death', with its goth-infused intro blending into an epic death metal soundscape - 'Fountain Of Tears' and the superb 'Succubus My Serpentine'.


Honey For Christ are a band who pick and choose their local gigs for maximum impact - they only play a handful of selected shows on home soil each year - and this is one that impacts in every sense. With 'Liar Disciple' ripping the heads off their loyal followers at 50 paces, the trio are on top form, while 'Orion Dust' mixes brutal heaviness with melodic harmonies. Unlike most bands in the genre, frontman Andy Clarke doesn't revert to growling, indecipherable vocals, as the crystal clear sound showcases what a great voice he actually possesses. All too soon, it's over as heavily it began, with 'Final Transition' closing the set in high-energy fashion.


Suddenly, a strange feeling comes over the reviewer, like an allergic reaction. Of course, that's it: the headliners are a tribute band (one to Type O Negative), so, dallying only long enough to visit the merchandise stand, it's off out into the (chilly) August evening for a wee dander - about a mile up the street to Belfast's newest, and arguably most prolific, at least in terms of live shows, rock venue, Ma Nelson's.


We arrive just in time to see ForChristSake - at whose invitation we've made the trip - take to the stage. Immediately, you are pulled into their exciting thrash/death set - the latter a somewhat ironic comparison, given that they are a Christian band - produced by this accomplished four piece. Guitarist/vocalist Seraphim strikes an imposing figure at stage front, his growls complemented by the cleaner, more melodic singing of drummer Ignatios, while bassist Mark strides back and forth across the stage and lead guitarist Simon adds fills the gaps with aplomb.  The 30-minute set is drawn mostly from their recent four-track EP, 'Death Is But A Breath Away', which in itself is as powerful piece of extreme metal as you're likely to hear, and certainly bodes well for their forthcoming debut album, which the band start recording next month.


Alaskan Death Jacket have the unenviable task of following FCS, and things don't start well for them, as technical problems plague their set up time. But, eventually, they deliver an effective set of Chimaira-influenced hard-edged post-hardcore that certainly gets the mosh pit whipped into a frenzy. Vocalist Pete Knives is certainly a charismatic enough frontman to get the crowd going, while Rob Flynn-lookalike Micky McVea is as good a shredder as any on the scene over here at the moment.




[Photos by Metal Ireland]