Survivalist // Neon Empire // Frayed Ends BC // Live Review // The Limelight 2 // Belfast

Survivalist // Neon Empire // Frayed Ends BC // Live Review // The Limelight 2 // Belfast

What else would you be doing on a wet and miserable Friday night in Belfast but letting off steam at a Metalcore fest with one of Northern Ireland’s brightest stars of modern metal in Survivalist?

The guys kick off their World Tour Of Ireland this weekend and their hometown of Belfast gets a battering first. These guys slammed their way into the scene back in 2020 I believe just before the shamdemick and they haven’t looked back since. Unleashing a savage array of tracks on the masses Survivalist garnered attention far and wide. The singing to Earache Digital, cemented their place amongst an audience of hungry mindless Metalcore enthusiasts who cannot get enough of the ever-changing genre.

Tonight we have two powerful bands in support Frayed Ends BC a hardcore band from Belfast and the Irish band Neon Empire who fuse Electronica with Modern Metal and Metalcore. The weather proves to be the first challenge of the night as torrential rain, heavy traffic and stupid drivers drive me to distraction en route to the venue. I made it as tonight’s opener took to the stage, Frayed Ends BC opened up with a frantic energetic set. Blowing the cobwebs off the pissed-soaking-wet crowd, they get stuck right in making their mark on tonight’s proceedings.

A banger of an opening band these kids seem to be a fresh-faced band in the scene, a Fakebook page created on March 23 has my spider senses tingling and I’ll have to assume that they are relatively new to the scene. It doesn’t show as they get on about their business banging out track after track melting faces in their wake. A great start to the evening and all of a sudden the world is a better place 🙂

A short break and Neon Empire take to the stage, stuck in traffic like myself they need a quick 5-minute sound check to get their shizzle together but sure it would be rock and roll without a bit of chaos now would it?

This is my first time catching the quartet in person and reading the bio I was intrigued to see how this would translate to the live stage. After a few bars of the first song, I knew this was gonna be one sweet set! I was surprised to see one of those female things on drums, a bird on drums! Can you believe it! Anyone would think it’s 2023 and they can do what they like? I jest of course as this particular young lady Veronika Svecova was as savage as you’d find behind a set of skins. Neon Empire had support in the crowd too, up front and centre they lived every second of that set singing their hearts along with the band as they tossed out banger after banger, the blend of EDM and Metal made for a crushing live sound, an infectious energy and highly addicted collection of songs made for a set that flew past in no time!

These guys and doll have their shit together, you can tell that right from the off, a tight set, a well-constructed set at that too taking the audience on a journey with them as they build to a crescendo, what’s not to love! Two bands down, the room smells of decomposing metal heads and we’re soaking wet for the right reasons with blood sweat and tears shed by man and Survivalist still to come. Life is good!

As I look across the stage I see 4 Telecasters sitting around, is this Metalcore or country? Has Survivalist gone to the dark side and is fusing chicken-picking country with hard-hitting metal to expand on the genre? The first few notes of the opening track I am sure will tell us all we need to know but if anyone turns up in assless chaps I’m outta here! Thankfully as the lights go down and the first chord rings out Chris Shiflett is it not! Those gnarly down-tuned chords resonate across the room and the hardcore Survivalist fans roar with approval.

It’s great to see such a good turnout also, for a band who are still working hard establishing themselves on the scene, they have a substantial following already and a headline show in Belfast before taking it across the border to ravage the south speaks volumes of the confidence and animality of this band to command a stage and a following. These guys have a wealth of experience between them and it shows, that there’s no lack of confidence when on stage, they look like they’re exactly where they are meant to be, they own it and deliver. They deliver every time I see them live and I’ve never left a Survivalist show feeling disappointed, usually battered and bruised.

From the off the headers in the crowd were up for the challenge, mosh pits breaking out in the middle of the floor, I took advantage if the space created at the front of the barrier before one unlucky banger came flying into my camera head first, and I think to myself, maybe this isn’t the best spot after all! The savagery coming from the stage has the crowd whipped up into a frenzy and we’re only a song or two into the set, the thirst for the chaos unleashed from above is unwavering and every track brings more from the crowd.

This is what it’s all about after all, why these guys sacrifice so much, they live for these moments as they slam and break the bones of those below with a loud sonic display this is what it’s all about! There’s no better high than getting off on that energy from an audience who just gets what you’re doing musically, after releasing their debut album VII in 2022 to huge accolades they have gone from strength to strength, with a measured approach it seems they can do no wrong.

Clearly, the fanbase is growing. It’s a stinking wet night in Belfast and the sheeple have turned up in their droves, the band are on fire, the energy in the room is electric and the LL2 is buzzing, it’s clear to see the potential in this band, future giants of the genre if they keep their heads down and keep their nose to the grindstone. Onwards and upwards, Dundalk and Dublin gigs follow before we see these guys back on this very stage once again supporting the mighty Polaris at the end of September.

Ramblings of a Madman and pics by Mark McGrogan

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