|The Distortion Project – Belfast, Limelight 2 – 4 February 2017|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Saturday, 11 February 2017 05:00|
Around this time last year, Belfast’s leading metal promoter, The Distortion Project, launched a crowd funding campaign to help the company pay off potentially crippling debts and ensure that it could continue to bring the best quality music to fans in this part of the Überverse. I think it would be safe to say that it was a partial success: it didn’t quite reach its fundraising target – hence this third gig to help with same – but the DP is still hear, still very much alive and kicking and attaining it’s other objective.
Opening up this afternoon’s action (it’s only just gone 4.45pm), newcomers Ketos deliver thumping groove-filled death metal which definitely, and defiantly, blows away any early cobwebs. Pete’s abrasive, acerbic vocals overtop dark melodies, which in turn are built on huge double guitar harmonies. The tight-as-fuck rhythms underpin fast and furious riffs, which build to produce a sound which is both contagious and dynamic. It’s a powerful performance, as proud statement of intent, from a taut and convicted bunch of musicians.
It’s a total change of mood for So Long Until The Séance – or SLUTS as they are affectionately known in these parts – as they unveil a new line up. This change in personnel has led to their sound diving down a darker alley, adding a shit load more balls to their horror punk style. This is emphasized not only by the much heavier feel to old favourites such as set opener ‘Dead Boys’ but in the new ‘The Bride Of Frankenstein’, which broils with an intensity that would make Murderdolls curl up in their graves. Led by the ever charismatic Mike Von D, these talcum-covered goths prove that you can ‘Dance With The Devil’ while delivering quality rawk ‘n’ roll which can help but get heads nodding and feet tapping in appreciation.
But, if you truly want to jive with Satan, you really have to do it to the soundtrack provided by Zlatanera, as these guys have the dark lord on speed dial and ready to don his dancing pumps at the drop of the horns. On the night that Sabbath call it quits (allegedly), the Zlats dish out huge slabs of doomy metal which are a fitting tribute to the masters. Their huge, pounding riffs are backed up with a massive bottom end from the rhythm section, while frontman Andy spits out his lyrics with a joyous relish. The band are on great form – defiant yet relaxed in the atmosphere they are creating – and the result is another electrifying set from one of the most hypnotic bands on the Belfast scene.
Sinocence – going on slightly earlier than their stature on the aforementioned scene would suggest – turn up, plug in and set their guitars to decimate. And proceed to do just that! The four lads are obviously hungry after a lengthy lay-off to concentrate on writing the third part of their ‘No Gods No Masters’ trilogy of EPs, as opener ‘In Kymetica’ writhes its way around the room like a boa constrictor with the scent of a mouse in its nostrils. Then, there’s THAT opening riff to ‘Long Way Down’, which just explodes all over you, while ‘Ascension Code’ is tight and vibrant and filled with a latent energy which spits and sparks out of the guys. They then unveil a new song from the forthcoming recording sessions… and all I can say is “HOLY FUCKING FUCK”: it’s fast, it’s braincell-smashing in its intensity, yet it possess moments of sublime subtlety in its intricate melodies. Once again, the Sins take no prisoners.
With the gig now running some 15 minutes behind schedule, and the venue’s strictly-imposed curfew looming larger on the evening’s horizon, Drakonis are forced to cut their set short. As if by way of revenge, they proceed to deliver dark, satanic vibrations which threaten to reduce the building to rubble. The songs are faster and more furious than I’ve heard them before, while Steph’s dense, thrumming bass accentuates the dark guitar harmonies, and Cass’ vocals summon forth the most evil thoughts lurking within the spirits of those present. Closer ‘Fear Of The Wretched’ really gets heads banging as the band round off a defiant performance which shows why they are winning more and more fans with every outing (although they are now intending to stall the momentum temporarily as they take some time off to write new material for their planned debut album).
“Belfast! We’re home! Again!” It’s a declaration which emphasizes the fact that not only do Two Tales Of Woe probably play more often in the northern capital than they do in their native Dublin, but also the affection audiences in this part of the island have for the southern groove crew. The quartet proceed to deliver a typically robust set: it’s a majestic, doom-infused metal beatdown built on simple but effective riffs that emphasize their impact in terms of their ability to hit hard while simultaneously delivering huge swathes of all-important melody.
Christian de Brabandere’s bass sounds like it’s dragged from the furthest recesses of a bottomless pit and wants to take us right back down there with it. Frontman Carl King is in great form, especially in his banter with the crowd, many of whom he regards as friends rather than mere punters. There are constant references to the “album that never was”. By the time they hit the towering ‘The Goddess’, with its solo interjected beautifully into its sludgy mien, there is as much hair flailing as there is beer spilled on the floor, as the huge, thick sound batters the venue’s speakers into submission but attunes itself finely to the ears of hardened listening veterans. It’s another cracking set from a band who are masters of their craft (as anyone who saw them at last summer’s Bloodstock will attest).
Two Tales Of Woe return to Belfast when they support Crowbar at this same venue on Wednesday 22 March.
You can find full details of all Distortion Project gigs – including the annual Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses competition, the first heat of which takes place today (Saturday 11 February) – HERE.
PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Marc Leach/Über Rock 2017.
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