Red Six + Astralnaut + Scimitar – Limelight 2, Belfast – May 11th 2013

Red Six gig posterLaunch gigs can be weird affairs… all too often, the band doing the launch, be it an EP or whatever, deliberately pull together a rather lame supporting cast, so as not to expose their own weaknesses.  The alternative, and much more preferable option, is to invite along support acts which will challenge the headline act and push them to perform to the best of their abilities…

Fortunately, it is a sign of the strength of the Norn Iron scene that the latter scenario is more prevalent, and on this occasion Red Six demonstrate their confidence in themselves by pulling together an extremely strong undercard (one which would have been stronger only 7 Days Dead were forced to pull out on the morning of the gig, after drummer Stephen Brown suffering a wrist injury the day before) for this, the official launch of their new single, ‘The Curse’.

Rising young thrashers Scimitar bookend their set with two Slayer-esque numbers, ‘Beaten To Death’ and  ‘Erased From Existence’ and it’s a comparison which is valid throughout their set, even if John Thompson’s solitary guitar means that they don’t quite have the necessary oomph to match the twin axe attack of Kerry King and the late Jeff Hannemann.  Ryan Atkin once again proves himself to be a formidable drummer, who can combine speed with precision, while Chriz Baird stoically holds down his bass role and Jonny Gray is an increasingly confident frontman.

Desert doomsters Astralnaut recently recruited bassist JonJoe Harrison (formerly of the excellent but now defunct Double-Wide) to their ranks, and he certainly brings a heavier sound – very redolent of his previous outfit – to the band’s sound, and he has fitted in extremely quickly.  Although technical problems do throw a spanner in the works during ‘Back To The Bog’, the band deliver another accomplished and efficient set, with Thomas Mallon proving to be another frontman growing in confidence the more gigs he gets under his belt.

RED SIX LOGOThere is only one way to describe Red Six as they in turn hit the Limelight’s historic stage – fucking hard and brutally heavy, as they take us down ‘Cannibal Road’ with their soaring, ultraviolent opening salvo.  Robert Morgan – definitely one of the most accomplished drummers on the Norn Iron scene – blasts the living fuck clean out of his kit, while guitarist Steve Martin spews venom from both his guitar and his microphone.  Bassist Robert Paul stands rock solid, complementing his namesakes work perfectly, while Laura Downing defies her petitness with a head-flailing wall of rhythm work.

But, the star of the show is undoubtedly frontman Gerard Torbitt, who prowls the stage like a tiger with the smell of a crippled zebra in his nostrils, totally dominating his stage and alternating the destructive power of the band’s visceral material with typically self-deprecating moments of Belfastian humour.

Another band who have grown in strength over the past couple of years – and one who make this particular wizened old hack proud to call himself a Belfast metallian \m/

Scimitar play Voodoo, Belfast, with WarCrux, Serpent and Negativ Result, this coming Friday (May 17th):

Red Six play Limelight 2, Belfast, with Sinocence, Dead Label, By Any Means and September Cross, on Saturday May 25th:


About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff
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