Saturday 7th February saw Belfast’s ‘The Bar With No Name’ play host to some of Northern Ireland’s leading premier metal bands.
Organised by RedBeard the enormous level of talent on offer ensured the night was a huge success. Headlining the night was Derry’s prominent metal outfit Making Monsters who are continuing on their meteoric rise throughout the UK and Ireland.
Starting the night off was Belfast based band ‘Molarbear’ with their fierce in your face vocals and deafening guitar sound. The 5 piece are a somewhat self-made super group consisting of members from both ‘Jakelfeud’ and ‘The Big Grizzly’. With their ferocious guitar riffs and throaty screams there is something very reminiscent of Mastodon. Bringing their own kind of mayhem and madness to the night it proved the perfect start for what was still to come.
Axecatcher take to the stage next and instantly erupt into their easily distinguished sound of vicious hooks and visceral vocals. Originally a three piece from Derry the addition of vocalist Karson Browne has truly cemented their stature as one of the most exhilarating hardcore bands in Northern Ireland.
Taken from their second E.P ‘We Watch the Sun Burn’ the band opens their set with the destructive ‘Genghis Thrash Khan.’ Browne’s energy and vigour as a front man sees him almost turn into a one man mosh pit before enticing members of the crowd to join in. Their song N.O.V.A lures and seduces you into a foot-stomping dance with its memorable groove and palatable riffs. Finishing off with their first ever release ‘The Odalisque’ it is very evident why Axecatcher have built such a dedicated following and we are sure to see exciting things from them in the future.
Two piece bands seem to be of the essence recently particularly since the dramatic ascent of Royal Blood. So it was no surprise when Belfast built band MAW appeared on stage as a twosome. Immediately struck by lead singer Mark Ingram’s unusually aberrant appearance it seemed that he may have got tangled in his guitar strap. I could tell that we were in for something different as the band launched into their first song it was exceptionally hard to pull your eyes away.
With their sound emanating QOTSA and REM their songs are simplistic and melodic. While their music is quite progressive and it is clear the style they are trying emit there is something unmistakeably missing from their performance.
Finally, female fronted five-piece Making Monsters take to the stage with their unrivalled style and sound. Launching into their set with ferocity and ferociousness to see them perform live is to understand the ever growing hype that surrounds them. Lead singer Emma Gallagher’s illustrious vocal range is both remarkable and unparalleled throughout Ireland when compared with singers of either sex. Merging together a multitude of influences what differs Making Monsters from just another metal band is their ability to produce songs that are both catchy and melodic while embarking into harder, heavier terrain.
Having gigged tediously throughout the UK and Ireland their self-assured stage presence comes from confidence built with experience. Songs such as ‘Limits’ expose the well-crafted instrumentation behind their songs with melodic and emotive guitar solos accompanied with poignant clean singing.
It is refreshing in amongst the drivel of the churned out female pop machine to see a lead female vocalist command attention solely from vocal power alone as Gallagher does. The expression of members of the crowds face reiterates this point as there is continuous cheering and chanting every time Emma sings.
Teasing the audience with talk of a new E.P coming very soon, their latest song ‘Keep Her Lit’ provided us with an insight to a more pop orientated side of the band with the audience enjoying the change in tempo. Seemingly cursed with an ever changing line-up of bassist’s newest addition Gary Todd appears harmonised in his position and looks as if he has been with the band from the beginning.
Released over a year ago ‘What it’s Worth’ still proves as intense and mighty as it was the first time you heard it. Opening with a simple yet effective drum beat the song builds up into a hugely heavy section with deep guttural vocals and pounding double kicks. Finishing of their set with the fleeting in your face force that is ‘Nosebleed’ the powerful guitar riffs and demonic screams leave you wondering what the hell happened as it comes to an abrupt end. There is uprising chant of one more tune as the audience who exceedingly enjoyed the performance couldn’t quite come to terms with it being over. Aine Cronin-McCartney, GiggingNI.com