At the stroke of 8pm, Dead Label (from Kildare), kick the door in and start collecting scalps. Frontman/bassist Dan O’Grady is in flying form with set of lungs that can lift the paint from the walls, as are his counterparts Claire Percival (drums) and Danny hall (guitar) who proceed to give us all a lesson in crushing, earth cracking metal . It’s a small crowd, but it fazes them not. Brand new opener “Deadweight” (written about two or three days ago, according to Percival), “Bloodletting” and “Pure Chaos” is mixed with old skull-splitters like “Salvation in Sacrifice” and “Are You Ready to Kill”. Dead Label is fast becoming one of the go-to bands for the support for big groups because they’re one of those outfits that open an axe wound in their audience. They are one of the toughest and tightest bands out there at the moment and are well established in the metal underground. “Void” ends their set as our ears ring uncontrollably after an outstanding opening slot. 4/5
The Belfast hardcore metallers By Any Means don’t hang about and quickly follow Dead Label to keep the blood pumping. Vocalist Micky Higgins uses the floor instead of the stage to deliver his sermon of punky metal-driven insanity. Despite pleas for more people to approach the front of the stage, the crowd movement is minimal. It’s like they’re saving the juice in the tank for something bigger. But this doesn’t influence the delivery of their songs one iota, the A tribute to Motorhead’s Lemmy with “The Hammer” by Motorhead kicks the evening entertainment up another notch, dedicated to Gordon from Raging Speedhorn, before finishing with a dedication to Dead Label called “Using Both Hands”. By the end of their set, the sweat is starting to pump a little more and the floor is getting fuller.3.5/5
Amidst a cacophony of feedback, Raging Speedhorn appears onstage and bellow out their aggression unhindered. The first songs “Hate Song” and “Bring Out your Dead” opens up the pit from almost the first note followed by “Motorhead” and “Dogshit Blues”… the new stuff goes down well but “Redweed” kicks the shit out of the pit that is slowly getting bigger, faster, angrier and gathering momentum. John Loughlin is looking dependably maniacal in stage presence… fear inducing and aggressive are only part of what band are about. The eminence of Frank Regan is equally maniacal and matches Loughlin’s vibe perfectly.
There are unfortunate mic issues on Regan’s side during “Superscud”., but that’s just a dodgy cable: shit happens. I’ve seen a lot worse from much bigger bands There are shout-outs to Dead Label and By Any Means, and the applause for both bands are seriously well-deserved. Regan gives the finger to the nay-sayers who never believed that a band like Speedhorn could reform and get right back to where they left off with such pace (they played Bloodstock last year on the Ronnie James Dio stage), and are keeping that ball rolling with the release of their newest record Lost Ritual (See our review of that album here). “Chronic Youth” is the party tune of the night, butt to cradle us to sleep is fan favourite “Thumper”, washed down with another new tune “Ten of Swords” from the new album. Then they add “Voodooman” and” High Whore” just for fun because the mood is absolutely electric onstage and the addition of a few cheeky AC/DC and Korn licks make for hilarious outro with Loughlin pouring a can of beer down some punters throat in one go.
I dare any future band in that venue to pull off a gig like that, because that – kids; is heavy fucking metal. Drummer Gordon Morrison sticks around for the outro shenanigans (this isn’t rehearsed by the way – they’re just having a laugh at this point), but once a gap is spotted for him to make an exit, he jumps down and legs it. Regan and Loughlin have left the stage already, but Regan bounds back on the stage to take Morrison’s place to continue the side-show! It’s a bunch of mates having a laugh after a night’s work – and trust me, they deserve it. It was a fantastic show for new and old fans alike and I know they’ll be back.
Bring Out Your Dead
Ten of Swords
Photography – Stock
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