Survival of the fastest!

Northern Irish thrash metal masters (yes I should be writing their press releases!) arrive on stage at Hellfire fest to find a rather small crowd milling about on some nice carpet in a converted conference room that for the time being serves as The Big Cheese stage. They waste little time with pleasantries and launch straight into a set of early 80s influenced thrash, think Municipal Waste, SSS etc and you’re in the right area.

Unfortunately the mix is awful, you can’t hear the vocals or the lead guitar, both of which are pretty essential and the result is a frustrating mess of droning bass and drums with illegible guitar for accompaniment. Despite this they go down well, helped in no small part by vocalist Philly Byrne’s amusing between song snippets and a thoroughly energetic performance. There is nothing original about the material and let’s face it, if you want crossover thrash metal you’ll go and see Municipal Waste but they do it well. Lead guitarist Domo Dixon looks like he knows what he’s doing with some fast finger work, it’s just a shame you can’t hear him! Rhythm guitarist Luke Graham on the other hand seems to have developed an unhealthy fascination with the ceiling that prevents him from moving and he stays rooted to the spot for the whole set.

Despite the technical difficulties they are entertaining and good fun. Songs like ‘Last Ninjas Unite’ and ‘Hell Trucker’ are much as you’d expect but they are likeable if not predictable. Like most thrash bands though they make no apology for this or pretend to be anything other than what they are. Limited appeal perhaps but good fun all the same.