The last time New York’s IKillYa played Belfast, they nearly didn’t – as the venue they were scheduled to appear at closed just a few days before they were due to grace its stage. Fortunately, in the true spirit of metal camaraderie, another promoter stepped into the breach, a few things were jiggled about and the show did indeed go on… winning the band a hardcore following of new fans in the process. Add to the fact that they nearly got themselves arrested playing a second gig later the same evening deep in the Irish countryside, and it was an adventurous trip to say the least (but that’s a story for another day). Wind the clock forward around two years and the quartet have returned to this part of the world for a short run of UK dates to promote their second album, ‘Vae Victis’, released just a few short days earlier on the mighty Megaforce Records.
Promoters The Distortion Project (it was James who rescued the previous gig) had lined up the strongest possible supporting cast for the occasion, led by newcomers Defyed (https://www.facebook.com/defyedhc). Regular PM readers will be familiar with the name as we’ve reviewed them a few times, and this evening’s performance was their strongest to date in their evolving career. As Northern Ireland prepares to go to the polls later this month, politically charged songs such as ‘Spinning Lies’ and ‘Parasites’ are appropriately venomous, and vocalist Wayne is growing in confidence, while the rest of the band concentrate on the job in hand.
It had only been two weeks since By Any Means (https://www.facebook.com/
Having arrived on a ferry literally only an hour before doors open, IKillYA didn’t have a chance to soundcheck: but, knowing they are among friends (the first thing they see when they enter the venue via the neighbouring bar is a punter wearing one of their T-shirts), like true professionals they set up, line check and launch straight into their headlining set… And it’s a set which is delivered with a passion, fire, aggression and level of intensity that it registers on the Richter Scale with its potential to cause localised devastation.
With vocalist Jason Lekberg delivering a positively spinetingling performance, this is the sort of set that rebuilds your faith in the energy and power of pure don’t-give-a-fuck in-your-face heavy-feckin-metal of the type that certainly gives the likes of recent visitors to this same venue DevilDriver a run for their money in terms of delivering the goods with balls of steel.
This is something of an assertion, but on the strength of this set, and the accompanying work of art that is the ‘Vae Victis’ opus, IKillYa might possibly be the best metal band to have emerged from the gutters of New York City since Anthrax…