.@PlanetMosh reviews DevilDriver, @BleedFromWithin and @Sylosis in Belfast
On the only previous occasion on which DevilDriver played Belfast – a month short of eight years ago – the local Free Presbyterian intelligentsia (the Norn Iron equivalent of the US’ moral minority/religious right) picketed the outdoor festival which they were headlining: they had no such problems on their long-awaited return, with the only issue being that of a last minute venue upgrade…
Despite charismatic vocalist Scott Kennedy immediately getting in the audience’s faces and urging them stagewards, it takes a while for openers Bleed From Within – who have just been confirmed to play this year’s Sonisphere – to build their momentum. Nevertheless, they play with passion and commitment, with diehard fans doing their damnedest to get pits swirling, and, as the venue fills, the improving reaction helps the Glaswegians raise their game in the latter half of the set.
There’s a remarkably quick turn round between BFW and Sylosis, the reason for which soon becomes clear: drummer Ali Richardson is pulling ‘double duty’ this evening, sitting in (sic) for the inexplicably absent Rob Callard – which probably goes some of the way toward explaining the brevity of their sub-30 minute main support set… The Reading band – definitely one of the rising stars in the British metal firmament – have brought quite a large and vociferous fanbase with them, as evidenced by the increasing intensity of the moshpit which opens up within seconds of Josh Middleton scything into the first riff of ‘Fear The World’. And the loyalty of the fans is rewarded with a tight, precise yet passionate, if foreshortened, set which is both intense and technically highly competent.
Fear The World / Conclusion Of An Age / All Is Not Well / Teras / Empyreal
“Make some fucking noise” extols the newly hirsute Dez Fafara as DevilDriver launch into the opening barrage of their intensely furious 65-minute set: the frontman enjoys an easy rapport with his rabidly faithful audience, constantly calling upon the fans to “get ready to dance” as he runs back and forwards and across the stage with a pace as unrelenting as the music itself – although it is hard, despite his best encouragement, to get a proper pit going, due to the venue being rammed to the rafters!
But, the fans somehow manage it, and Fafara smiles as bodies start to fly stageward: the atmosphere is electric – even if the band’s overall performance, though tight and efficient, is slightly less so, lifted above the mundane by the charismatic Fafara. Even then, the between song banter seems pre-scripted and rehearsed – although it does get his message across, and encourages even the most hardened of moshers to fight through the pain barrier and join in the fun of what was overall a thoroughly enjoyable feast of heavy metal at its most diverse.
Head On To Heartache (Let Them Rot) / Hold Back the Day / Not All Who Wander Are Lost / Before The Hangman’s Noose / Oath Of The Abyss / I Could Care Less / The Appetite / Sail (AWOLNATION cover) / End Of The Line / Dead to Rights / Clouds Over California / Ruthless / Meet The Wretched
Photographs by Paul Verner.
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