Cursed Sun/Words That Burn/Munro – Belfast, Limelight 2 – 15 July 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby and The Dark Queen   
Saturday, 22 July 2017 04:30

Boy, it was good to be back. It may be dark and dingy and in need of some TLC, but it’s virtually your Uber Rock Belfast team’s second home, and it had been too long since, for various reasons, we had darkened the hallowed doorstep of our beloved Slimer… and, yes, it was as if we had never been away.


“We’re Munro and we’re gonna try our hardest not to fuck up,” is how frontman Jake Munro introduces the trio which bears his surname: but, to be honest, ‘From Where I Stand’ what follows over the next half an hour or so is a bit of a fuck up…


Munro 1


Yes, their mix of djent, mathcore and melodic DM possesses plenty of big, chunky grooves, with a concrete heavy bottom end. Yes, Gaz Wilson’s precise and taut drumming perfectly complements Lyubomir Ahtapodov’s thick bass rhythms, which enjoy a rich tonality, which in turn highlights his ability to switch from slapping to picking and back again with seamless ease. However, the problem is Munro himself, and more especially his vocals, which are weak and incompatible with the band’s overall sound: in fact, for the majority of the set, they are flat and dissonant. Technically, all three musicians are nigh on flawless (yes, the frontman is a pretty decent guitar player and pulls off some great precision work) but the songs are completely lacking in raw passion, as they play to a completely empty dancefloor and the applause generated is generously polite more than anything else.


Words That Burn 2


Words That Burn get off to a slightly troubled start, as bassist Ger Murphy suffers massive feedback for the duration of the first song, but he carries on and manages to quickly correct the problem in the break as the quartet tear into a tight and solid set. In contrast to his predecessor on the stage, vocalist Roni MacRuairi is superb: a charismatic and engaging frontman, he combines clean and dirty styles to terrific effect, which adds extra layers to the density of the Dundalk band’s sound.


Words That Burn 1


Special mention must also be made of drummer Jason Christy, whose double kick action is amazing: ultrafast yet precise, he also knows when to ease right back to emphasize the atmosphere and harmonics of the songs. In turn, Shane Martin delivers a series of riffs which are capable of crushing bricks just by glancing at them. The band’s use of light and shade defies the pure white static light show, and the result is a set delivered with emotion and passionate commitment, as well as a supreme knowledge of how to play a good tune or six.


Cursed Sun 2


The arrival of headliners Cursed Sun to set up sees people (other than the photographers) move onto the dance floor for the first time, and those who do are rewarded with a typically taut and vibrant set that is as dense in its melodiousness as it dark in its impurity.


Of course, it’s only a matter of time before Jones (minus his trademark luminescent contact lenses) leaves the stage, and he does so during ‘Ascension’: on this occasion, he doesn’t have to worry about hurdling a barrier as it’s mysteriously absent today, prowling the floor to whip up as much enthusiasm as he can get from the small crowd.


Cursed Sun 1


Behind him, the band, aided by a dense and rich sound mix, are tauter and hungrier than we’ve seen them for a while: with such a tiny turnout, it would have been easy for them to ease back on the gas and treat this as a rehearsal with people watching, but that is not in the quintet’s DNA as they drive themselves forward with their collective pedals pressed very firmly to the metal. It may be a small crowd, but it’s a devoted one, with fans calling out songs from way back in the band’s history: “dude, I haven’t even heard that one in five years” responds Jones to one, before unleashing our collective inner ‘Psychopath’.


Baby, it was good to be back… let’s not leave it so long until the next time…


Cursed Sun play Sunflowerfest, at Tubby’s Farm in Hillsborough, next Saturday (29 July).


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © The Dark Queen/ Über Rock.


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