Liverpudlian doomsters Conan were making their eagerly anticipated Belfast debut (why is it so hard for mainland bands to travel that few miles over a wee stretch of water?), at the head of a five band bill.
Having missed War Iron, fronted by Belfast living legend Andrew ‘Baggie’ Bagwell, Dublin’s De Novissimis hit right between the eyes, or should that be ears, with a brutally, deafeningly loud downtuned wall of noise. Delivering a competent enough four song set, the quintet didn’t look comfortable on the Limelight’s historic stage – their singer had to be cajoled into talking to the crowd when the lead guitarist broke a string, and even then the best he could muster was a weak joke about a dead dog…
Middle billers Slomatics were a different kettle of fish: an unusual set up with two guitarists and a drummer vocalist (not a rarity in itself), their downtuned stoner metal, delivered against the backdrop of walls of controlled, fuzzy feedback and an interesting use of loads of echo on the vocals (at least Joe spoke to the audience).
With the room now knee-deep in sludge, Dubliners drainland (sic) brought a bit of lightness to proceedings with their more metalcore approach, accompanied by ambient doom sound effects. As their accomplished set moved forward, doom and traditional thrash elements were thrown to the mix – and their vocalist certainly created an impression among certain sections of the females present.
Headliners Conan travelled over from Liverpool to complete this international bill, and the trio delivered their set of droning sludge at a teeth-jarring volume that literally had the entire room vibrating, with the sort of bass sound that literally makes your skin crawl up the back of your neck. The vocals were a little incongruous against this backdrop, but they delivered their set with aplomb, much to the enjoyment of respectable and largely appreciative crowd.