Xerath – Belfast, Voodoo 02/08/2015

It had been a busy weekend for PM’s Northern Ireland team, having already caught 12 bands over the previous 48 hours, including our annual pilgrimage to the depths of Fermanagh countryside for the annual Monsters Of Rot extreme metal extravaganza.  But, the pace was showing no sign of relenting as we headed out once more into the cold Sunday summer air for yet another dose of our favourite form of entertainment, this time featuring three acts who are appearing at this coming weekend’s Bloodstock festival thingy…

Paul Docs of By Any Means live at Voodoo, Belfast, 2 August 2015By Any Means deliver driving, honest, passionate hardcore straight from their collective and individual hearts and souls, and played with even more fiery intensity that I have seen from the quartet for a while.  Their sound retains its characteristic rich, bottom-ended crunch, while new vocalist Paul Docs (pictured left) and drummer Gavin Brown have added an exciting new dynamic, both physically and aurally.  Docs in particular is primeval in his prowling manner and vicious in his spitting delivery, leading to the band’s backbone of guitarist Paul Anthony and bassist Chris McDowell delivering a suitably energetic and taut performance which serves as a warning shot to the Bloodstock crowd… and the PM team wouldn’t be surprised if the singer lives up to his promise of finding a way off the stage and opening up a Belfast-style pit!

Overoth live at Voodoo, Belfast 2 August 2015The pungent aroma of incense and a scream from the very depths of Hades itself introduces Overoth – winners of the Northern Ireland leg of this year’s Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses competition – and their pummelling, symphonic black metal.  Huge swathes of darkened melodies permeate the smoke-filled atmosphere, and furious blastbeats intermingle with dense harmonies and anthemic choruses, such as on ‘Kingdom Of Shadows.  Overoth play their home “city of the Black Mountain” so infrequently that their shows are always a bit special, and tonight definitely is no exception, as they summon forth every demon resting in the dark slimebeds below Belfast’s streets and unleash them with unpitying wrath.  Bloodstock, you have been warned:  evil will walk your soil this weekend!

For the second night in a row, visitors Xerath seem in severe danger of being upstaged by their local predecessors:  but, after their surprisingly lacklustre performance in the wee small hours, this evening they have ratcheted the intensity level up several notches and are a lot more animated to boot.  This renewed enervation is aided by the venue’s sound system, which accentuates the darker nuances of their progressive death metal style.

Conor McGouran of Xerath live at Voodoo, Belfast, 2 August 2015Despite the small crowd – the show is running late and, it being a school night, many have left to catch the last bus/train home – vocalist Richard Thomson is in great form, exercising his charisma to the full, and the band play with an emotion-charged and passionate intensity, with guitarist Conor McGouran (pictured left) lost in the mood of what he is playing.  Again, however, the band play a surprisingly short set – but, then, they’re realistically tightening the bolts on what undoubtedly will be a blistering Bloodstock main stage performance.

Photographs by The Dark Queen

All content © PlanetMosh 2015

Xerath play the Ronnie James Dio stage at Bloodstock on Saturday (August 8).  Overoth and By Any Means play the New Blood Stage on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff