Gig Review Credit: Phil Allely
First of all I must state that whilst black metal is not a genre I personally am keen on I was pleasantly surprised by this double bill of acts.
One thing that grabbed me straight away was the sheer size of the drum kit Norway’s Satyricon brought with them. This of course left little space for the band and their guests on the smallish stage of Belfast’s Limelight 2 venue.
The big positive point was that this was both bands Belfast debut and kudos goes to the promoter for making the event happen. Considering this was a Monday night and times are tough for us all the crowd was very healthy indeed and each and every one of them got in to the song from the get go (including yours truly).
Opening act Chthonic (from Taiwan) set the pace well with a rollicking 30 minute plus set. The attraction here was not only the music, but the sight of bassist Doris Yeh and the outlandish headgear worn by keyboardist CJ. Vocalist Freddy has a good stage presence and in my opinion this is a band that are very tight and as well-oiled as you can get. Their set went down well with the metal masses gathered and yes they did indeed make a new fan in myself as well.
After a short break the mighty Satyricon took the stage by storm. Frontman Satyr was quickly able to get the audience in the palm of his hand and he never let them go. From the trident styled mic stand to the massive drum kit and monstrous sound, this was a band you could not take your eyes off. With much crowd involvement, head-banging and fist-pumping action the band were on fire and gave exactly what was expected.
This double-bill of black metal titans proved a few things. First up the metal fans in NI are hungry for bands like this and are more than willing to shell out to see them. Anyone in attendance also got to see why Satyricon have stood on top of the black metal mountain for such a long time and also I for one got to witness that the genre is a lot more than just growling along to a tune. These tracks have meaning, are well-played and they very easily draw you in to them.
Yes you heard it here folks, this classic rocker has been converted.