Sinocence + Bull-Riff Stampede – Limelight 2, Belfast 05/05/2014

Bull-Riff Stampede PosterAnd so the metallians gathered once more on the evening of the sabbath to worship at the church of RocKD and hear the gospel according to the lords of the riff… and, verily, I say unto you it was a mighty evening of monstrous metal mayhem, as we shall now elaborate upon…

It had been a while since PM had caught up with openers Bäkken (, and the quartet – despite having endured broken trailers and a round trip of several hundred miles en route to the same bill the previous night in Dublin – proved yet again what a tight and cohesive live unit they are.  This evening, they set the mood well, from the Thin Lizzy-meets-Judas Priest vibe of ‘Sasquatch’ and the savagely melodic ‘Mystic Mogul’ to two excellent new songs – ‘Judgement Day’, with its beautifully harmonized guitar solo, very much in the vein of a young Slayer, and the more-Metallica-than-Metallica groove of ‘Evil Walks This Way’, both of which more than whet the appetite for the north-western band’s forthcoming new EP.

Dubliners Psykosis ( take to the stage in a rather snazzy line in beach shorts and hi tops, which summarizes both their attitude and sound:  good old fashioned high energy old school thrash (of the kind from before the genre became overly serious and disappeared up its own backside), very much in the vein of Overkill and early Anthrax – although contemporaries such as Skeletonwitch, Toxic Holocaust and fellow countrymen Gama Bomb and Visceral Attack are also obvious comparators.  Songs such as ‘Born To Kill’, ‘Rise To Fall’ and ‘Driller Killer’ are tight and delivered with both technical efficiency and energetic fun, the latter of which is epitomized by the surf-rock feel of the wonderful ‘The Beach’.  It’s been a while since a band snapped my neck and split my sides simultaneously, but that is exactly what happened during this hugely enjoyable young band’s equally enjoyable set.

Bull-Riff Stampede ( were a new name to many present (hence their second-on-the-bill status), but by the end of the evening their T-shirts and CDs were being snapped up like bloodied corpses before an army of thirsty zombies.  Their sound is hard,heavy and aggressive thrash-death crossover delivered with dynamic double-kick drumming, thunder-inducing bass and riffs played at breakneck speeds yet as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel:  the close harmonised guitars of Jay Walsh and Dave Garnett are overlaid by the barbaric vocals of the latter as the band brutalize their new Belfast fanbase into submission with a set that is as impressive an example of modern technical thrash metal as you are likely to see – and one which hopefully ensures that these lads become regular visitors to these shores.

SinocenceGiven the ferocity of what had gone on onstage moments beforehand, Sinocence ( really needed to have their collective game faces on – and the Belfast veterans more than rose to the challenge.  ‘Long Way Down’ possesses one of the heaviest opening riffs ever laid down, and tonight it was delivered with even more fire, filth and fury than ever, vocalist Moro virtually venomous in his delivery as he challenged to “Wake The Fuck Up” before the quartet bulldozed into an even more malevolent ‘Making A Monster’.  The contrasting styles of the titanic ‘Occam’s Razor’, with its 30STM vibe in its “love is war…” refrain, and a cover of Prong’s ‘Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck’ dominate the middle part of the set like battling behemoths, before the band round off with a pugnacious ‘Perfect Denial’ and their traditional, rampaging set closer of ‘Metalbox’, which leaves the entire crowd feeling like they’ve been trampled underfoot by a herd of charging bulls and baying for the more they cannot have because of the looming curfew, but content in the knowledge that they have just seen one of the best sets ever delivered by a band whose experience shines through in every department.

Photograph by Marc Leach.  Check out our full gallery of photographs at

About Mark Ashby

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