9 min read

Review by Mark MCGrogan

Sunday evening in Belfast and what’s going on? Thrash !!! That’s what’s going on … we have four hefty bands on the bill tonight wrapping up with UKs finest Evile and it’s great to have them back in the city once again.

My first encounter with Evile was way back in 2015 at Voodoo in Dublin when I was just a young Rock ‘N’ Loader, fast forward 7 odd years I’m now an old Rock ‘N’ Loader ready for the skip and Evile is still killing it! The last time I caught them was at Bloodstock 2021 I think if memory serves me right and they were just as I remember them tight as fcuk! So I am looking forward to them headlining a modest-sized venue in my home town once again.

In tow we have an additional 3 blistering bands, Young whipped-snappers and local lads, Mortal Backlash who are no strangers to Rock ‘N’ Load after appearing in Bloodstocks M2TM the last few years, another local bunch of lunatics + Technical Thrashers Acid Age and Leeds own Cryptic Shift, extreme metal to the core.

First up is our own Mortal Backlash, a young band that really turned heads at the M2TM the past few years with mature performances well beyond their years, solid thrash with huge support locally these guys are only going to get better year after year as they steadily build up their fanbase, I wouldn’t be surprised seeing them exploding over the next few years

The lads rip their way through a blistering opening set setting the Limelight alight with moshers tearing it up down below – a great way to kick off Sunday night’s debauchery!

Up next Acid Age! A quick turnover and the lads kick into the set, I am actually caught unawares as I wasn’t sure if it was an impromptu sound check but no they’re off at the races! And race it is as these guys are one of Northern Ireland’s technical behemoths, a nightly experience group of musicians who can start and stop on a dime Acid Age rip The Limelight a new one with face-melting proportions!

Their songs push and pull you in several directions, time changes popping up at every turn you never quite know what you are getting from song to sing apart from technical brutality of the finest measure – a sonic treat for sure but equal part head melting at times – I couldn’t even begin to imagine the songwriting process or the discussions in the studio/practice room but fair play, they put on one hell of a performance!

So this is my first experience of Cryptic Shift in the flesh, I’ve known them by reputation from reviewers covering them across the UK etc and let me tell you they are something else.

The ambient soundscapes they create amongst the gnarliest of riffs are a crazy-beautiful thing to behold, technically proficient and equally savage at the same time brutality wrapped up in an intergalactic explosion they are mesmerising to watch.

An absolute monster performance by the band but a diversion from the more traditional middle-of-the-road, old-school thrash of Evile for sure, after Acid Age and Cryptic Shift I think I may need to go lie down in a dark room for a While! Technically brilliant and a force to be reckoned with live. As the bands clear their gear you know it’s time for Evile, 3 bands down and a million notes shredded we are now ready to receive!

When Evile hit the stage they absolutely devastate it, the heaviest riffs of the night were clearly reserved for this savage four piece from the UK.

A powerful performance from start to finish these guys blew the roof off the joint, two Kempers on either side of the stage tells you these guys are a polished affair, their sound is gargantuan, the drums pummelling you in the chest as the double bass rings out like gunfire. tight as a tigers ass Evile are a behemoth proposition live, the solos are electric, wailing guitars harmonising on command, you can make out every thrash every palm mute and every attack.

The crowd is going nuts, the lunatics have definitely taken over the asylum tonight as the mosh pit goes wild. It’s been busy all night sit with Evile’s brutality feeding them they don’t seem to want to stop.The guys take us on a musical journey from tracks off their recent release ‘Hell Unleashed” right back to their earliest stuff off their demo’s we are treated to a whole barrage of classics.

Frontman Ol Drake often interacting with the melee below encouraging their chaos and making sure they’re all on their best behaviour, Evile just keep coming at them, 3 frantic thrash tracks one after another keeps the energy levels at an an apocalyptic level!

A truly fantastic set, an audience so up for it, and a sound so sublime you could just feel every thrash reverberate through your bones it was a glorious nights music topped off by one of the UK’s finest thrash bands over quite a few years. Well played lads!

A big thank you to James @ The Distortion Project for another great show: Viva la Metal Revolution!

Photography by David Stewart for MPM

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