I’m here at Limelight Belfast again. Tonight will be the first time I have seen the headline act Primordial. It’s been 9 years since this Dublin-based band have played in Northern Ireland.
First up on stage, though, are Dublin doom merchants Death the Leveller, and they are every bit as misery laden as their name suggests. Slow, mean, melodic and moody is the best way I can describe them. The band – Dave Murphy on bass, Shane Cahill on drums, guitarist Gary Clince and vocalist Denis Dowling – are tight and play menacingly through their set. Until tonight I’d not seen them and I must say I wasn’t disappointed with the set. That said I’ve not been left feeling quite so happily miserable before, this is a band capable of leaving you comfortably uncomfortable.
Following them are extreme metal outfit Senzar. Again, having not seen these guys before I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after watching heavily tattooed vocalist Trevor McLave prowl centre stage like a caged tiger, I was subjected to a full on metal onslaught of anger-infused lyrics and snarling music from Stephen Anderson (bass), Marty McElhinney (drums) and Paul Nash on guitar. This was an experience in extreme metal that I’ll not forget in a long time. They have the feel of a band happy to play to huge crowds and small venues alike, giving their all in every aspect.
Needing no introduction, next up are local doom/sludge-laden metal extremists The Crawling, fronted by Andy Clarke, with Stuart Rainey on bass and Gary Beattie, tub punishing drummer. They play through a plethora of hard hitting, heavy as hell tunage, Andy growling menacingly on songs including “Acid on my Skin”, “Drowned in Shallow Water” and “Right to Crawl”, all played with their usual energy and heart. There’s nothing to not like about this band and if you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them live yet, you are missing out. All in all a very together outfit that have a much-loved following here in NI.
Finally the headliners take the stage. I for one have been looking forward to this as have the huge mass of metalheads now on the floor. Primordial are here, and straight off into the Celtic-steeped material they have made their mark with. Vocalist AA Nemtheanga, coated in his corpse paint, commands the crowd from the start “Hands in the air!” at which the whole place reaches for the ceiling.
Already you can feel the energy emanating from the guys on stage, drawing you in, making you part of the experience. Melodic, utterly mesmerising guitar work from Pol MacAmlaigh (bass), Ciaran McUiliam and Michael O’Floinn backed up with ferocious drumming from Simon O’Laoghaire lift the audience into a frenzy with Celtic infused tracks such as “The Coffin Ships”, “Where Greater Men Have Fallen”, “Nail Their Tongues”, “To Hell or the Hangman” and “Upon our Spiritual Deathbed” each sung with theatrical brilliance.
Throughout the set the fans here play to every request from AA Nemtheanga until the very end. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were at any metal festival as the band’s stage presence is nothing short of awesome. I am left feeling completely satisfied as I have just witnessed a stadium class act right here in a tiny venue in Belfast.
This was a fantastic night and it has been amazing to see such talent on our doorstep.
Photos by Agate Photography