Just under two weeks before this metal monster of a quadruple bill rolled into Belfast, the demolition crews moved into the neighbouring Spring and Airbrake (separated only from the Limelight by the width of the rawk ‘n’ roll watering hole that is Katy Daly’s) to gut the place out in preparation for a major refurbishment programme… well, the owners probably could have saved themselves a small fortune by letting this international cast loose on the venue and turning their amps up to loud!
Openers Havok may hail from the Midwest of the USA but they most definitely are sons of the Bay Area, with their retrospective brand of good old fashioned no thrills thrash on the likes of ‘Out Of My Way’, ‘D.O.A.’ and the impressive ‘Covering Fire’: none of them are startlingly original but it’s a competent and appropriate way to open proceedings.
Similarly, Spain’s Angelus Apatrida are nothing original, and teeter on the verge of derivative with their heavily Megadeth influenced thrash, but they do succeed in winning the crowd over very quickly and prove to be the surprise package of the evening.
Goatwhore frontman Ben Falgoust definitely would give the likes of Glenn Benton a good run for his money, and the band’s movement between death, black metal and thrash is as seamless as their set – based around their recently released ‘Blood For The Master’ album – is impressive: their faux Satanism message may be unconvincing, but their music is from being the same.
Completing tonight’s international bill, 3IOB are returning to Belfast on the high of their huge new album ‘Long Live Heavy Metal’ and proceed to deliver a set that proves the genre does indeed have a prosperous future. Cam Pipes leads the (disappointingly small) crowd through a fist-punching, rabble-rousing set of pure metal, from the anthemic opening of ‘Metal Woman’ to the Judas Priest groove of ‘Leather Lord’, the call to arms of ‘4000 Torches’ and ‘Trial Of Champions’, to the frankly awesome ‘Battles And Brotherhood’ – dedicated to “those who live this every day” – and the fast and furious finale of ‘Dark Messenger’. This is real heavy metal, played the way it is supposed to be played – with passion and fucking LOUD.
As I walked past the venue the next morning, I overheard a builder talking to his foreman, swearing blind that his crew had indeed ripped apart the right building… under his work boots was a pool of blood – three inches of it…
My interview with Ben Falgoust from Goatwhore
Photographs by Marc Leach –