The evening may have been cold outside but inside the Limelight 2 it was heating up. Fans of all kinds of metal congregated inside until the place was packed with bodies but there wasn’t a dour looking person to be seen. Smiles and banter aplenty as old friends met up and new friends were made, everyone was here to see a show that was unique to the whole island. Municipal Waste, Toxic Holocaust, Enforcer and Skeletal Remains were playing their only Irish date, and it was in Belfast’s Limelight.
Skeletal Remains took the stage and dove right into what can only be described as a powerhouse performance of death metal. Full of brutal full frontal aggression, loud and without compromise the smiles in the crowd just grew and grew.
Heads banging as Skeletal Remains ploughed through their set with gravelly growled lyrics backed by pure hard core riffs, they very quickly got the swelling crowd at the front headbanging. When you have a catalogue of songs like “Beyond Cremation” and Ripperology” you know this there won’t be upbeat shiny happy lyrics, but ironically that’s exactly what the crowd were. They put on such a performance and felt comfortably like the love child of Slayer and Black Sabbath.
Up next were the Swedish heavy metal crew Enforcer. Loud screams and roars welcomed them and they played their hearts out in return. Olaf and his bandmates owned the stage with utter confidence and exuded utter professionalism. They have been described as parft of the New wave of Traditional Heavy Metal, and its not far from the mark.
The sound is incredibly reminiscent of NWOBHM but they make it their own. Its like a mixture of Diamond Head, Judas Priest, Saxon and glam. This is heavy denim and leatherclad, adrenaline fuelled, long haired metal. Pumping out songs like Die for The Devil”, “From Beyond” and “Take Me Out Of This Nightmare” they continued the fuel the mosh and headbang hungry crowd they delivered in spades. So many times the audience raised the roof singing loudly along, fist raised high. This band just did not let up the rock and roller coaster. They were tight, the guitarmanship was unrelenting and they performed superbly. What a show, they showed what a live band can do.
Then came Toxic Holocaust, another heavy metal lovechild, this time Slayer and Motorhead. This trio just pushed the crowd to frenzy level with mosh circles forming throughout their show and the odd metaler beginning to take the first tentative steps towards opening up.
It looked like utter chaos, and to be fair it was. But it was franticly organised, family based fun chaos with an atmosphere of pure brotherhood that allowed everyone there to begin to let the aggression out without anyone actual being maliciously hurt. With brutal songs like “In The Name Of Silence”, “Gravelord” and “Awaken The Serpent” the crowd just got more and more animated. They put on such a hard edged speed thrash metal sound it was undeniable that they were well on top of their game. It was impossible not to join in and much head flaying was had by many of metalers. Toxic Holocaust were in complete control of the stage and everyone moshing, headbanging or mashing about below. They surveyed their captive audience and drove them to greater fenzy as they progress through their set. What a band to see live.
Last but not least was the headline act, Municipal Waste. With wild fun filled abandon they blasted off with “Unleash The Bastards”, “Mind Eraser”, and “You’re Cut Off”. They were here to help everyone have a great time and the combination of the Thrash and Tony Foresta’s cajoling it did not take long for the moshing beast to be released. The crowd went to a whole new level of moshing madness. Tony even giving men and women a helping hand to get onto the stage so they could hurl themselves of with reckless but joyous abandon back into the crowd.
“Thrashin Christ”, “Poison”, “Shrednecks”, “Beer Pressure” and “Wave Of Death” just kept the beast of a crowd fuelled to overflowing with energetic but controlled aggression. And everyone just lapped it up. “Breathe Grease”, “Wrong Answer”, and “Under the Waste Command” just kept the adrenaline topped up. Tony, Ryan and the lads were consummate professional musical entertainers. Tony even teasing stage divers shouting “catch them” to the crowd before they jumped and as they were in mid flight shouting “Don’t catch them”. When he spoke to the audience, he constantly got roars of appreciation as a response. The sing alongs were as loud as they could be and everyone was essentially loved up with the only drug of choice being thrash metal. And Municipal Waste were master level pushers. They put on an unbelievable performance, and it physically showed as Tony himself was almost drowned in sweat. The whole band did not hesitate or waver one iota, they played full on, uncompromisingly and for the full 45 minutes or so they were on stage.
This is a show that will be talked about well into 2020 and has to be one of the big highlights of metal and rock gigs in Belfast this year. It was full to the gills with metalheads and they were given the gift of a heady mixture of thrash, death metal and pure old style heavy metal. Each and every band was at the top of their game and the whole show was an perfect thing of utter metal beauty.
The amount of moshing and stage diving that went on all with the encouragement of the bands themselves meant it was a sight the likes of which has not been seen in the Limelight and may never be seen again (more is the pity). Not one person could hold back, the riffage, thunderous beats and metal rhythm was that strong in this four band lineup.
This is a show you can not miss. It honestly does not matter one tiny bit that you may not be into thrash or heavy metal or even death metal. These four bands together have crafted such a show and performance that the genre is meaningless. Metal is all and everyone can enjoy watching, singing, headbanging, moshing along with the sets even to the point of joining in and stage diving of into a rapturous crowd. You really need to get your tickets now. All that can be said in summary is that many Northern Irish metalheads owe Shizznigh Promotions and Nuclear Blast a massive debt of gratitude for putting this together. It had so many people of different backgrounds coming together both on the stage and in the audience that swarmed the floor it should not have worked, but did and joyfully so. Hopefully they will all be back soon
Review by Ivor Whitten
Photography by Metal Planet Music