A smoky and atmospheric intro heralds the arrival of doom/death metal headliners The Crawling,
who – once the smoke clears – are instantly engaging, particularly vocalist/guitarist Andy Clarke, who is all intense glares and mesmerising charisma, with a voice straight from the bowels of Hell.
Their richly textured songs combine both slow and fast sections – doom and death – with the faster sections simply commanding the crowd to headbang, which they do, ecstatically.
They play a mix of both current songs such as ‘Catatonic’ and, excitingly, new tracks from their upcoming, as yet untitled album, such as ‘Violence, Vanity and Neglect’, which has a thick groove and an almost stoner metal feel.
There’s a real symbiotic relationship between the crowd and the band, with Clarke in particular feeding of the waves of applause and relish washing over the stage. And when they close their set with the magnificently creepy ‘The Right to Crawl’, with its buzzing fly intro and masterful use of pace changes, the flailing hair in the room could power a wind turbine.
Once again, it’s a visceral and thrilling set from this talented bunch.
The black/death metal scene in Northern Ireland is in gloriously rude health right now, as was made abundantly clear tonight by the three bands who played so convincingly and so ardently. Menacing, bloody and murky: the kind of music that punches you in the gut and gleefully eviscerates you. Oh yes.