War Iron – Belfast, TBWNN 15/05/2015

It’s the middle of May and spring is supposed to have sprung with summer allegedly around the corner – but, guess what?  It’s feckin’ freezin’ and it’s sheeting it down – so, there’s nothing else to do but forsake the backyard barbecue for another weekend, plunge out into the night and dodge the showers on the dash to the nearest live music venue for a quadruple dose of good old-fashioned – and hopefully – cockle-warming heavy metal \m/

Shrouded at The Bar With No Name, Belfast, 15 May 2015Youngsters Shrouded – playing their penulitmate gig with guitarist/vocalist Dani Kansanaho’s dad (yes, you read that right – dad) on bass – deliver another efficient and technically precise set of old-school thrash-meets-death, to which that extra bit of character and depth is added by their use of double-growled vocals, with Shane Hughes (pictured right) combining well with Kansanaho in this regard.  The boys currently are working on new material, and Team PM are certainly looking forward to the next stage of their evolution from their bedroom-recorded ‘Inception Of Inhumanity’ debut EP with interest.

Jones of Cursed Sun at The Bar With No Name, Belfast, 15 May 2015Having played the recent Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses as a quartet, Cursed Sun are back up to their full compliment for this evening – although the ever confrontational Jones  (pictured left) does face the problem of having absolutely nothing to climb on!  Nevertheless, they blast through their Pantera-meets-Lamb Of God groove/thrash with their typical “fuck you” attitude, thumping and grinding with a dark punchiness and passionate, pummelling aggression that combines raw emotion and restrained fury in equal measure.

The normally busy Astralnaut are emerging from the cocoon of an uncharacteristically quiet period, certainly on the live front at least, and some technical problems, which lead to a slight delay in starting, fail to detract that they are primed and ready to embark on another run.  The new four-piece line up is lean and mean as they weave dark, melodic NOLA-inspired doomscapes which are acerbic and acidic, compact and punctual in their delivery.  The stripping down to one guitar gives the band more room to explore the denser, bassier end of their sound, while at the same time do so in a punchier, more aggressive manner that shows the lads certainly have a renewed fire in their collective bellies.

War Iron at The Bar With No Name, Belfast, 15 May 2015A wail of feedback heralds the arrival of the behemoth that is headliners War Iron, whose heavy, bottom-ended riffs literally make the hairs on your legs tingle.  Their dense, dark, sludgy doom is mixed with heavy classic metal references, especially in the guitar lines and the lengthy instrumental interludes.  Their hugely dark sound – topped by Baggy’s forbidding vocals, which sound like they have been dragged from the very depths of Hades itself – is darkly hypnotic; and, for anyone who thinks that a Flying V is an instrument of beauty, then you’ve never heard it sound as dirty and evil as it does in Ross’s hands, as the quartet intermingle waves of atmospherics that in turn give way to huge tsunamis of destructive power and riffs so downcrushingly heavy that you swear your head is in a skullcrushing vice.  It’s the sort of set that is so cathartic that you are just as glad is as over, as your very soul cannot take any more, as you want it to continue to pick you up and start the assault all over again.

Photographs by The Dark Queen (c) PlanetMosh 2015



About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff