REVIEW: Chelsea Grin – Bar Sub, Belfast

IMG_7540Wednesday night saw Bar Sub at QUBSU filled with eager music fans of all ages to see Salt Lake City based Deathcore band Chelsea Grin perform their very first Belfast show.

The five piece (usually a six piece, one of the members sadly wasn’t present) were supported by two of our very own local metal bands, who have made reputable names for themselves within the Irish music scene – By Conquest or Consent and Death of a Salesman.

By Conquest Or Consent were first on the bill – a five piece Metal band from Belfast, who released their debut album ‘Empires’ in 2014. The band have played a steady stream of gigs throughout Ireland, most noteably a support slot for Anthrax at their Belfast show in The Limelight last July.

By Conquest or Consent ensured that those who had made the effort to get down to Bar Sub early had made the right choice in doing so, treating them to their “tastefully brutal” blend of music. Lead singer Pete is an engaging front man and the band played an impressive set, commanding the crowd’s attention and amping them up enough to start the first of many mosh pits to come throughout the night.

Following suit was another home grown collective in the form of Belfast based Hardcore/Metal band Death of a Salesman. The band have made a name for themselves touring throughout Ireland, boasting support slots for the likes of Lamb of God and Asking Alexandria, to name a few.

The four piece played a set that captivated the crowd’s attention from start to finish. Lead singer Aidan has all the traits of a good front man, his engagement with the audience and gutteral vocals provoked crowd participation in the form of nodding heads, waving hands and moshing. His stage presence however did not detract from the talent of the other members, each making sure to showcase their skills and command the crowd’s attention with their breakdowns and solos. The band’s set ended with an array of lighters in the air and a buzz of excitement for what was still to come in the form of headliners Chelsea Grin.


Chelsea Grin took to the stage and began with ‘Recreant,’ from their first album ‘Desolation of Eden.’ This began a set that saw a mixture of old crowd favourites and newer songs from latest album ‘Ashes to Ashes’, with the audience showing no particular favouritism between the two and simply going mad for it all. This enthusiasm didn’t go unnoticed, as lead singer Alex Koehler made several comments throughout the set about how much he was enjoying the Belfast crowd.

The chrasmatic vocalist epitomises everything a good front man should embody – his effortless vocals and stage presence couldn’t have been faulted. It was clear he had the full attention of the crowd, as a simple wave of a hand was all that was needed to part the audience in anticipation of a ‘wall of death’ style mosh pit.

It was clear however that the charisma of Alex Koehler was not exclusive, as drummer and backing vocalist Pablo Viveros also engaged with the crowd throughout the set. This could be seen as a difficult task for a drummer, however it was obvious Pablo is not one to sit pretty at the back, standing up and provoking the crowd to clap along during the guitar driven breakdowns that didn’t require full scale headbanging or moshing.

It didn’t seem like long before the band were announcing that they had come to the last two songs of their set. They opted to perform one of their older singles ‘Crewcabanger,’ followed by crowd favourite ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’ What had previously been occuring in the crowd in the way of headbanging and moshing now seemed tame, as it appeared that the whole of Bar Sub had realised the gig was amost over and their only option was to give it ninety. This awakening within the crowd ultimately lead to the realisation that they weren’t yet ready to leave, however despite the chants of ‘One more song!’ we unfortunately were not treated to an encore.

Despite this, everyone left in high spirits, undoubtedly hoping that Chelsea Grin’s first visit to Belfast would not be their last. Lyndsey Hogarth, GiggingNI.com