Ah well, here we are… it’s a Wednesday night here in Belfast and it’s officially the start of the week; well, as far as Team PM is concerned anyway, with the prospect of six gigs over the course of the next five nights, starting with tonight’s long overdue return to the city by NOLA ambassadors Eyehategod and culminating in the mighty Mastodon promising to do their level best to destroy the historic Ulster Hall just around the corner from the venue for this evening’s shenanigans…
The first of the 13 bands your intrepid crew are to catch over the course of the coming working week is Birmingham’s Burden Of The Noose, who, by the respectable number of people already inside the Slimer, obviously have attracted a hardcore following. Their tight, dense sound is dominated by Dirty Von Arse’s throaty bass and dark melancholic riffs, coupled with thrumming rhythms which produce suitably dramatic soundscapes which wash over and through the listener like a spring tide in the wake of a passing brig. Wild-eyed vocalist Andy Barraclough (pictured right) is obviously still finding his metaphorical feet as a solo frontman (second singer Poon left the band on amicable terms earlier this year) but his laconic style is effective in its surprisingly restrained delivery, The final brutal assault of their last two songs truly evokes the hardcore edge to their sound, ensuring that they quit the stage on an energetic high.
Belfast’s own War Iron deliver a huge swollen sound with a monstrous groove capable of summoning titans from the darkest depths, their pounding, hypnotic rhythms topped off with spine-destroying vocal incantations. Once again they prove why they are the undisputed kings of the Belfast sludge scene with their superbly tight and efficiently delivered set.
The entire stage set up – drums, backline, everything – is stripped and replaced in an impressively quick time: in fact, faster than many mid-order bands spend doing a line check… And before they even strike a note, Mike IX Williams (pictured left) references the last time EHG visited Belfast: “it was Easter Sunday… and I fucking loved it!” (NOTE: Given Norn Iron’s ongoing masochistic fascination with right wing evangelical religion, a band called Eyehategod playing on what is supposed to be the holiest day of the year did raise more than a few eyebrows at the time).
After an elongated, feedback-filled intro, they get quickly get into their stride and get heads nodding with their stoned punk vibe. Their combination of doomy sludge and thick, chunky groove is delivered with tight, practised ease – but also the right degree of dank passion, and their dark, thumping blooze-fuelled density throbs and pulsates around the two-thirds full venue (well, it is a school night). The band themselves may be somewhat laconic and restrained, and Williams seems to be holding on to his mic stand as if his life depended on it keeping him upright, but they still manage to summon, and then exorcise, demons from the depths of every soul present. It is a devoted crowd, with almost everyone knowing every word, chorus and nuance of every song – and hanging on each and every one of them – and they are rewarded by a sublime performance which works on every dark, esoteric level.
If a certain well known Danish lager did Wednesday nights, then they wouldn’t be anything like this: for, whereas said chemical product tastes likes cat’s piss, this was pretty close to the dog’s bollocks.
Photographs by The Dark Queen / (c) PlanetMosh 2015