|Stormzone / Divides Unfold / Saint Sapphire – Belfast, The Pavilion – 19 November 2016|
|Written by Marc Leach|
|Sunday, 27 November 2016 03:00|
The downside of going to a gig is that somewhere down the road there is another gig, which you have an interest in, that clashed with the show you are attending. Thankfully on the 19th of November there were two gigs that had separate times, one of which was a show featuring former Rainbow vocalist Graham Bonnet in the Limelight 2. The other was this show in question - an intimate performance from one of Northern Ireland’s finest metal bands; yes folks it was none other than Stormzone.
Having just came from the Graham Bonnet show I was glad I had time to see openers for the night, Saint Sapphire, who made their debut for local promotion Sounds Of Northern Ireland (SO:NI for short). This group of young bucks kicked the night off well with their mixture of punk rock sounds and good humour, primarily from lead vocalist Samuel Morgan who just oozed with confidence during their set.
Next up were the Alice in Chains inspired band from Lisburn, Divides Unfold. Having grown up with two members of the group, this was actually the first time I got to check them out and I was impressed.Their chunky, hard rock style thundered it’s way through the Pavilion bar while lead vocalist Mark Penney’s voice shone through the heaviness.
If you were to look at our headliner’s resumé then you would have been like this reviewer and been surprised to hear the news: Stormzone in the intimate Pavilion Bar. And intimate was what this performance was - and it was the most relaxed I had ever seen this band of headers.
Drummer Gordy Gray was also the main focus of the night as this was his second show with the band after replacing their former, long-term drummer Davy Bates; while he was nervous when chatting to him before the show, the nerves then subsided the second he got behind the kit adding his own influence to the collection of Stormzone classics. Even in such a small venue, this didn't stop lead vocalist Harv Harbinson from commanding the stage wth his dramatic arm movements and powerful vocal range.
From 'Death Dealer' to the latest album 'Seven Sins', the band catered to fans from all walks of Stormzone’s extensive history, 'You're Not The Same' was one of the stand out tracks from the set list as it really let Gordy Gray shine behind the kit, while 'Hail The Brave' paid tribute to bassist Graham McNulty’s best friend Max, who went to rainbow bridge a couple of days beforehand.
While the Graham Bonnet show was disappointing, this reviewer was grateful that he was able to drive home with a smile on his face thanks to being with old friends and listening to some of the finest bands Northern Ireland has to offer.
PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Marc Leach for Uber Rock.