Rosetta Bar, 11th August 2002

The latest in the Rosetta's semi-regular metal orientated band nights was certainly the best for a long while. Such a diverse line-up couldnt fail to attract anybody with even a slight interest in metal. In saying that, I thought the attendance could have been better than the 60 or so people that turned up, but I suspect that has a lot to do with a lot of metallers being skint after the recent Wacken festival in Germany.

Inner Peace Project got the evening underway, playing a brand of melodic metal with a notable Black Sabbath influence (to my ears anyway). This is the first time Ive heard this band, and I was quite impressed by them. I Would be very interested in hearing anything recorded theyve done. One criticism though: The sound mix was too drum-heavy, particulary during the first few songs of their set, which meant the guitars were a bit tricky to hear. Still, it was a good overall performance.

Next Up were Linus, another band which is new to me. They are a hardcore/nu-metal style band not a million miles away from Korn and a bit Slipknot-esque in the drum dept who I gather hail from Londonderry. This sort of music isnt my style, but the band's stage presence was good and it wasnt overly-simplistic as this kind of music often is. I you're a fan of nu-metal, you'd like them, but as I said before, I'm not.

Third on the bill were Belfast Thrashers Aftermath. These guys play energetic speed metal reminiscent of early - mid period Slayer (parts of their last song could have sat comfortably on "Seasons In The Abyss"). This is the third time I've seen them, and my main criticism is of the vocals. Theres something flat and one-dimensional about them. Although in saying this, the vocalist's bass playing is top-notch, and the rest of the band are also proficient players. The sound mix again wasnt perfect though, as I had great difficulty in hearing the lead guitar over the rhythm section during some of the solos.

The most far-flung band of the night was next, Drogheda's Scavenger, a new heavy metal band who's debut album has caused quite a stir in the Irish metal comunity. A lot of people have labelled the a power metal band. This is something I disagree with, as their sound is more akin to an updated version of Iron Maiden/Judas Priest etc. Not a million miles away from American metallers Iced Earth. The stage performance was excellent, especially from the vocalist, who could give any of the great metal vocalists (Halford, Tate, Dickinson et al) a run for their money. The music is fast and energetic, but melodic at the same time, and although this style of music has been around long time, there's enough originality in Scavenger's sound to avoid any suggestions of out-and-out plaigarism. Good stuff, and in my opinion, the best band of the night.

Ending the night in ear-bleeding style were Condemned, who along with Hexxed, lead the way in NI death metal. This is the third time I've seen Condemned, and each time I am amazed by the tecnical brilliance of their bassist and (especially) their drummer. They comprise what is very probably the most accomplished rhythm section in Ireland. Total blastbeat city! Thats not to take anything away from the guitarist or vocalist though, who were both in fine form tonight. A very professional band.

Inner Peace Project: 8/10
Linus: 6/10 (add 2 or 3 points if you're a nu-metaller)
Aftermath: 7/10
Scavenger: 9.5/10
Condemned: 9/10

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