The sun may be beating down outside, and Belfast threatening to enjoy some some of (quite possibly foreshortened) summer, but that doesn’t stop the hardiest of the city’s black clad metallians gathering (not quite in their masses) and heading indoors to the sanctity of the equally darkened Slimer for another afternoon of hard rockin’ action.
With sludge monsters Fuckhammer having to withdraw at the last moment, the twelve-handed phenomenon that is Rule Of Six – fronted by Waylander’s David Briggs – are promoted to co-headline status. Featuring four guitarists, the band belie the fact that this is only their second ever live gig as they are tighter than tight, their old school classic power metal sound featuring guitar duels all over the stage, cvombined with massive melodies and huge hooks galore. The extra guitars add additional depth and texture to the overall sound, especially in the ryhthm department, which is as solild as a concrete blook, while the synchronization between the lead axemen borders on the telepathic.
Set highlights include the epic single ‘Written In Stone’, the Stargate-inspired ‘The Broca Divide’ and the thrashy ‘Heathen Dreams’, while new addition ‘Shadow Chaser’ – a song so fresh the ink has hardly dried on the lyric sheets taped to the monitors – show the ambition of the band to gallop towards headline status as quickly as possible.
The only blight on Rule Of Six’s set is the muddy sound, and the problems continue from the moment Rabid Bitch Of The North take to the stage: Joe’s vocals suffer from a truly atrocious mix, which sees them all but disappear on occasions, in between walls of mysterious feedback which also obliterate Chris’ backing vocals, while Gerry’s guitar also struggles to be heard. However, the band soldier on and deliver their alloted 45 minutes of no frills, honest, balls on fire NWOBHM-inspired heavy fucking metal with their usual efficiency and humour.
With their sound anchored by stoical wildling Chris’ blistering double kick style, it’s retro-fitted adrenalin-fuelled fast ‘n’ furious ferocity delivered with a ‘fuck you’ attitude and a collection of anthems – from the towering opener ‘Your Misery’ through the cheeky ‘Stick It To The Man’ to the riotous ‘Trapped In 1999’ and the middle-finger attitude of ‘Us Against Them’ – which defy you not to get your neck snapping.
Rabid Bitch Of The North play the Jagermeister Stage at Bloodstock on Sunday August 10, and support Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (with Sinocence and Sandstone) on Monday August 11.
Photograph, by Paul Verner, taken at a previous gig in the Stiff Kitten in February.
In the true spirit of metal, the evening did not end there for the PlanetMosh team as, after a short dander and a pit-stop for a rather tasty (if over-priced) curried chip, your reviewer and The Dark Queen entered the nearby Pavilion Bar to spend the remainder of the night in the company of three of Belfast’s best hardcore and punk bands. It was an emotional night for two of the acts concerned, as it was Defyed‘s last show with founder and bassist Steve Martin (who is leaving to resume guitarist duties with the re-constituted Red Six), while it was also one of a handful of gigs which long-term drummer Dave Byers was fulfilling with By Any Means (who later did this reviewer the honour of giving me a rough mix of their forthcoming new EP – the initial verdict on which is that while still a bit ragged around the edges its harder and more focused and heavier than their previous output).