DEAD LABEL – Fiercely confident and fresh from BLOODSTOCK, Ireland’s Kildare killing machine, Dead label, warm up the stage in Belfast’s premier venue; Limelight 1.
Having delivered what was by all accounts a brutal and angry set on the ‘Sophie Lancaster’ stage, the tyrannical trio where very obviously hell bent on continuing this onslaught. ‘Dan O’Grady’ on bass, which was god damn violence to watch in itself – also on vocals, twisted and contorted his screams and growls, demanded that the audience join him in “Unleashing hell”!
The opener-‘Salvation In Sacrifice’, did just that.
Playing hard ball with their thrash/death metal styled groove since 2008, clear influences could be heard from two of their idols, Metallica and Machine Head. These guys wasted no time, nor showed any nerves at all, as they set about frazzling the audience, which will no doubt have impressed their third idols and hosts of the night, Gojira.
A very strong rhythm section, that easily convinced the audience from the off, that they were more than capable of such a privileged slot, when ‘Dan’ and ‘Claire Percival’ on drums, fired out precision and unison in the second track, ‘Throne Of Bones’- gritty and crunchy and seemed to encourage the semi-filled room to move forward and raise the horns.
‘Danny Hall’ executed some fine, catchy and melodic riffs with ease and looked lost in the moment while playing ‘Ominous’ with hair flying and reacting to cheers from the audience. The new tune ‘Bloodletting’ from the forth coming new album to be released later in the year was a treat indeed. ‘Dan’ graciously showed appreciation for his audience with lots of banter, and the band ended an all too short set with the merciless – ‘Void’.
GOJIRA – Cranked it up a notch. No, that’s wrong. GOJIRA – CRUSHED IT!
Firing on all pistons, Gojira ‘take’ the stage promptly and defiantly, like a battalion of rabid demons, to a by now well packed and rumbling mass of eager and somewhat scarily energetic crowd, for this much anticipated show. They did not disappoint. The heavy metal four- piece from France employ a no nonsense approach right from the first note. Bottom end booms throughout the show, from the most impressive, monumental set of stage amps one has ever seen, and is driven home even more so by the clever theatrics from the perfectly timed lighting which, add to the atmosphere, and make the triggering of chugging riffs feel ever more intense.
Sheer power and ferocity exudes from Gojira, which is amplified by the showmanship and intensity of front man and guitarist ‘Joe Duplantier’. He evoked a frenzied mosh pit, often, with his intense and menacing glares, running around the stage and bouncing off monitors! He held an obedient and submissive crowd in the psalms of his hands, right to the end. You don’t fuck with this guy, if you’re in his audience; you do what you’re told, as a result, much chanting of “Hey! Hey! Hey! With fists in the air and head banging ensued.
The drummer and brother of ‘Joe’- ‘Mario Duplantier’ was exhausting just to watch. On the song ‘Toxic Garbage Island’, the guy broke the speed barrier with a barrage of rolls and kicks. The drum solo half way, was something else to behold, with arrangements and cymbal work that was just plain genius. He isn’t a stick twirling, flash harry by any stretch, but those drums took some hammering, he left the crowd totally wowed with an original gobsmacking set, and he made it look so dam easy!
Lead guitars, shared by both ‘Joe’ and ‘Christian Andrev’ just knocked out riff after riff in, perfectly timed perfection. The flawless pummelling that this band gives you is almost like having your head crushed in a vice! They are relentless and superbly in control, the floor was vibrating beneath my feet and the exhilaration I felt could not be contained. This is the heaviest band I have ever seen live, or as one of their songs on the night reiterates – ‘The Heaviest Matter In The Universe’ where ‘Joe practically insights an all out riot. This set was a brutal beating as the band played tracks from all five albums to a mesmerised and manic roomful of Gojira die-hards. Highlights; personally were ‘The Axe’, ‘Vacuity’ and ‘Back Bone’.
For those lucky enough to be on the barrier, (ahem), that feeling of, shall we say ‘The Art Of Dying’, grasped every cell in the body. Just watching bassist, ‘Jean Michel Labadie’ alone, was enough to have you foaming at the mouth. Never before have I seen a bass player windmill (with short hair), head bang, smile and constantly dance about with his bass, and still pull off every song without a hitch, often throwing the bass in the air to encourage more chaos and mayhem.
Gojira have a way of lingering on your mind long after the show is over, the reason for this could possibly be that these guys just know how to feed an audience, and you get the feeling that they are totally incapable of making a mistake. Raw energy and a gutful of deep, pumping riffage create sensations in your heart and soul that you never believed existed. In other words, they deliver that low blow to the stomach that lets you know you have received that punch of brutal metal that is sadistically and insanely satisfying.
Go see a Gojira show if you can, and even if you are not a fan, I hereby challenge you to disagree with my final statement. “If you don’t leave a Gojira show with a soaking wet T-shirt, drenched in sweat and euphoric, you are made of wood”.
Track Listing – DEAD LABEL
Salvation In Sacrifice
Throne Of Bones
Track Listing – GOJIRA
The Heaviest Matter of The Universe
L’ Enfant Sauvage
The Art Of Dying
Toxic Garbage Island
World To Come
The Gift Of Guilt
Words by Brenda