The Black Dahlia Murder / Crystal Lake / Live Review // The Limelight // Belfast

Black Dahlia Murder / Crystal Lake / Live Review // The Limelight // Belfast

On a continuation of a theme, Belfast is overflowing with metal! I am slowly recovering from Suffocation, Distant and Survivalist last night and somehow walked my ass into another stellar lineup with the mighty Black Dahlia Murder and Japanese Metalcore giants Crystal Lake!

The only saving grace is the start time, not as early as last night so I get an extra hour’s recovery time, when we land in the venue it’s relatively calm, early still but time enough to get your bearings before Crystal Lake hit the stage. Speaking of the lads they land down side stage about 5 minutes before the set kicks off, all pretty chilled, unassuming giving nothing away as to what is about to happen when they get up there.

That, by the way, is one of the most aggressive live sets I’ve witnessed in this room in a very long time, Crystal Lake are a behemoth of a band, the stage as always is challenging here and these guys have their own take on how to approach that with bassist and guitarist playing pretty much back to back away from each other, their drummer perched out front ahead of TBDM own kit so their frontman is climbing up and down on a hardcase he’s using as a platform. From the moment this band rips into their set The Limelight is shaking to its core, the level of filth being tossed out from that stage is also overwhelming! The fusion of the live performance, and ambient backing tracks and visceral live vocals is a tour de force! The room is In shock at the brutality on show from our Japanese friends and Belfast is lapping it up!

As the set gets further down the tracks somehow these guys pull more out do the bag, I’ve never seen a support act rouse such a support! You would think the crowd is here tonight for Crystal Lake! The room is bouncing! Frontman John Robert Centorrino keeps asking for more, I don’t know if Belfast has more to give but they’re saying they can! As the set builds to a crescendo and Crystal Lake slams out their last song, the room is screaming for more! If you haven’t seen these guys live and have half a chance do it! Fuckin incredible!

Crystal Lake Online


We only have a short time to catch our breath as Japanese efficiency means the stage is cleared toot-sweet! And as we gather in our masses I have to admit I am looking forward to seeing the incredible Brandon Ellis on guitar, I had just recently watched a Tube You video on his guitar collection and sweet baby Jesus he has some seriously cool 80’s inspired shit! Tonight he’s favouring his Jackson Kelly as he hits the stage initially, and those 5150 Iconic’s behind him. This is gonna be tasty!

As The Black Dahlia Murder took the stage, delivering a performance that was nothing short of extraordinary. The American melodic death metal band, known for their blistering riffs, relentless drumming, and ferocious vocals, brought their A-game to the iconic venue, leaving the audience in awe and exhilarated.

From the moment the band emerged on stage, the energy in the room was palpable. Opening with “Verminous”, they immediately set the tone for the evening: intense, aggressive, and unapologetically powerful. Brian Eschbach’s guttural growls and piercing screams commanded the crowd’s attention, while the dual guitar assault of Ryan Knight and Brandon Ellis created a wall of sound that was both intricate and punishing.

The setlist was a well-curated journey through the band’s extensive discography, including fan favorites like “Everything Went Black,” “Statutory Ape,” and “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse.” Each song was delivered with precision and passion, showcasing the band’s technical prowess and deep connection to their music. The crowd responded with fervent enthusiasm, forming mosh pits and chanting along to every chorus.

A standout moment of the night was the performance of “Deathmask Divine,” where Ellis’s guitar solo was nothing short of spectacular, earning him roaring applause from the audience. Drummer Alan Cassidy was a powerhouse behind the kit, driving the relentless pace of the show with his thunderous beats and impeccable timing. Max Lavelle’s bass lines provided a deep, rumbling foundation that anchored the band’s complex compositions.

The visual aspect of the show was equally impressive, with dynamic lighting and a haunting backdrop that complemented the dark themes of their music. The band’s stage presence was commanding, and their interaction with the crowd felt genuine and heartfelt. Strnad, in particular, took moments between songs to express his gratitude to the fans, creating a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect.

As the night drew to a close, The Black Dahlia Murder delivered a thunderous rendition of “I Will Return,” leaving the audience clamoring for more. The band’s encores, a blistering performance of “Warborn and Deathmask Divine” was the perfect finale, sending the crowd into a final frenzy.

The Black Dahlia Murder’s live show at The Limelight Belfast was a masterclass in melodic death metal. Their technical skill, raw energy, and connection with the audience made for an unforgettable experience. Fans left the venue with ringing ears, sore necks, and wide smiles, already eagerly anticipating the band’s next visit. If this performance is any indication, The Black Dahlia Murder shows no signs of slowing down, continuing to push the boundaries of their genre and deliver some of the most compelling live metal performances today. As the metalheads streamed out onto the cool Belfast streets we had to remind ourselves that this week is not yet over, Thy Art is Murder are here tomorrow night 4 other bands in tow! Jesus!


Brian Eschbach – lead vocals

Max Lavelle – bass

Alan Cassidy – drums

Brandon Ellis – lead guitar, backing vocals

Ryan Knight – rhythm guitar, backing vocals

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