I suppose, in the interests of journalistic impartiality, we better start this review with a declaration of interest, and that is that Terminus bassist David McCallum is a PlanetMosh contributor. The band play with a dark, thumping groove that has a ball-shaking intensity and equally dense and brooding vocals, delivered over a classic metal vibe. The quintet is tighter than a Ballymena man’s wallet and the rhythm section as solid as a 40-foot thick concrete walls, as their rumbling melodies pulsate and wash through the room, drawing the listener ever deeper into their dark, restrained fury.
For those whose path they have not yet crossed, Rabid Bitch Of The North deliver exciting and energetic classic metal with a very obvious NWOBHM vibe. The scream and yelp of opener ‘Your Misery’ sets the tone with a vengeance, characterized – as are all the Bitch’s songs – by Chris’ stunning double kick technique and Joe’s surprisingly high pitched vocal tone, which contrasts extremely effectively with his traditional rumbling bass style. It’s hard to add any more to the hundreds of (well-deserved) words of praise we have heaped on RBOTN before, as the trio blast their way through another fiesty and fun set, with the brooding darkness of ‘Sisyphus’ contrasting with the gloriously tongue-in-cheek ‘Trapped In 1999’ and the pound and ground finale of the majestic ‘Us Against Them’.
Taking their name from King Diamond’s debut solo album, Portrait very much plough that furrow of classic, twin-guitar led, ’90s-infused classic metal rooted firmly in the European (and especially Scandinavian) proto-thrash style, their tight melodies mixing the Priest-ish riffs of the former with the attitude and speed of the latter, and both played the way they’re supposed to be – turned up to 11!
The guitars ram their riffs down you throat harder than a chainmailed fist, and are built over a rhythm section so solid that if it were an ass-crack you wouldn’t be able to slide a tissue between its cheeks. Vocalist Per Lengstedt’s exhortation to “dedicate your life to heavy metal – or die” is somewhat superfluous as far as the relatively small but energetically horn-throwing crowd in front of him is concerned, while interaction between guitarists Christian Lindell and David Olofsson is flawless.
After an all-too brief main set clocking in at just under 45 minutes, the encore has to be fast and furious, and so it, summing up the nature of tonight’s old-fashioned heavy rockin’ beast of a gig.
Portrait’s tour continues in Glasgow tonight (Tuesday) and then visits:
Wednesday February 4 – Lancaster, The Yorkshire House
Friday February 6 – Birmingham, The Asylum
Saturday February 7 – Islington, Academy (supporting Primordial).
Rabid Bitch Of The North support Angel Witch (with Darkest Era and Stereo Nasty) at the Voodoo Lounge in Dublin on Saturday March 14 and Limelight 2 in Belfast on Sunday March 15. They also play the Siege Of Limerick on Sunday April 5.
Photographs by Paul Verner.