It’s taken until halfway through January for the Belfast metal scene to throw off its new year hangover and stir itself back into life – and what better way for it to awaken than with an international triple header featuring three potent exponents of their craft?
Openers Fleshgod Apocalypse bring their undead death metal orchestra to explosive life, transferring their epic studio sound to the stage with a remarkable ease in a performance which matches style and substance effortlessly. Visually, the Italians certainly look the part, with their zombified mortician-meets-Pavarotti image – right down the faux-woodwork effect on their guitars – as frontman Tommaso Riccardi urges the steadily growing crowd (which includes a couple who have travelled all the way from Sweden just for FA’s opening set) to get up and get with it – a challenge they answer during ‘The Forsaking’, when the pit first stirs into some form of animation.
After a remarkably quick turnaround, Brazil’s Krisiun in turn deliver a blistering set of powerful of old school death-infused thrash. The three brothers are as tight as fuck, with bassist/vocalist Alex Camaro in particular relishing the warmth of their reception, while Max provides one of the set’s highlights with a perfect interpretation of one of Cozy Powell’s solo spots. It’s a relaxed but intense showcase, which leaves many present rabid for more…
Headliners Kataklysm ratchet the intensity of even further with their emphatic, raw and visceral death metal, centred around the quite frankly stunning nuclear war-inducing hyperblasting drum sound of Oli Beaudoin. The pit again wakes up during a ferocious ‘Like Animals’ and from then on the pace of the punishment is unrelenting, vocalist Maurizio Iacono sating the hunger his fist-pumping, horn-throwing brotherhood of metallians with his own anger and passion.
‘Kill The Elite’ raises the roof, with its in-your-face mofo statement of intent, while ‘The Iron Will’ is as solid as its title, as the Canadians take neither prisoners nor quarter.
Photographs by Paul Verner – www.livei.co.uk