with Beholder, Bloodshot Dawn, Sinocence
@ Voodoo, Belfast
March 29th 2013
Review by Mark Ashby
Photography by Paul Verner
It’s the last Friday in March, deep in the heart of what is supposed to Spring, with the onset of British Summer Time on the horizon – and it’s fucking freezing. In fact, the remnants of the previous weekend’s snow are still piled, not terribly neatly, at the edges of some pavements.
Add to the fact, that it’s Good Friday – which means that in this small part of the world the moral majority still dictate to the vast majority by forcing bars to remain firmly closed for all but a few fleeting hours and entertainment to finish at the unearthly hour of 11am!
Still, neither of these measly facts stands in the way of a respectably good-sized number of Belfast’s metal community trudging their way through the city centre for an eagerly anticipated four band bill designed to well-and-truly blow the muthfuggin’ cobwebs off both the late-winter and enforced ‘holiday’ blues…
Local heroes Sinocence immediately take the roof of the room.
With their track ‘Long Way Down’; which features one of the most spinebreaking and heart-attacking inducing riffs ever produced by a band from this part of the world.
Despite playing an extremely protracted set – another highlight of which is the classic ‘Making A Monster’, a true beast of a song – play as if they were the headliners.
Next up, Hampshire’s Bloodshot Dawn.
Immediately inducing whirlwinds of flying hair with their old school DM-infused modern technical thrash, characterized by a huge drum sound from their substitute Swedish drummer (sitting in for the ill Doug Anderson).
With melodic, and surprisingly commercial, guitar solos from Josh McMorran – who is also a competent and confident frontman – and Ben Ellis.
Set highlights for me are the bruising yet progressive ‘Illusion Aesthetic’ and the fiercesome ‘Quantum Apocalypse’.
Beholder frontman Simon Hall is one of the most charismatic and commanding band leaders I have seen in quite some time!
Interacting superbly with the crowd, urging them to the stage and, when some are slow to react, stepping off to join them.
The band are tighter than a nun’s fanny, their sound filled with angst and anger as they deliver their in-your-face traditional metal.
Their sound is very much in the vein of Accept and Exodus, with measures of Priest and elements of hardcore punk thrown in for good measure – especially on the vitriolic ‘Liar’ and the defiant ‘Here I Stand’.
Minus second guitarist Jonas Kjellgren, Scar Symmetry take to the stage.
Amid a swirl of backing tapes and in plenty of time to meet the ridiculously early curfew – but almost immediately jeopardise their chances of doing so when, after three songs, Per Nilsson destroys the enjoyable momentum the band are creating by complaining of phantom technical problems.
Stopping the show for a restlessness-inducing eight minutes while he faffs about, berating the sound man, Robert Karlsson attempts to lighten the mood by getting the audience to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to fellow vocalist Lars Palmqvist, before the axeman decides to grow a set and get on with the show regardless of the fact that he allegedly cannot hear himself.
The band are soon back in their stride with their mix of power metal and melodic progressive, technical death topped off by the contrasting but complementary vocal styles of the growling Karlsson – who genuinely seems to be having a great time, judging by the number of times he complains about having drunk all his beer – and his more operatic counterpart.
Set highlights include ‘Mind Machine’, the frenetic ‘Frequency Shifter’, the fist-punching ‘Retaliator’ and the punchy ‘Reborn’.
Scar Symmetry headline the UK Techfest on Friday July 12th and the Sophie Lancaster Stage at Bloodstock on Friday August 9th. ‘The Unseen Empire’ is out now on Nuclear Blast.
Beholder headline the Chaos Coalition Tour, with special guests Bull-Riff Stampede, starting in Bristol on Friday May 3rd and finishing in Stoke on Sunday May 25th. For full details of all dates, visit www.facebook.com/BeholderUK/events. ‘The Order Of Chaos’ is out now on Razorlight Records.