Cursed Sun – Belfast, Limelight 2 – 25 November 2017 Print
Written by Mark Ashby and The Dark Queen   
Saturday, 02 December 2017 04:20

Birthdays and anniversaries are always important occasions, in every aspect of life, and so it was that mid-Ulster groove metallers Cursed Sun decided to celebrate ten years together as one of Northern Ireland’s most respected wrecking crews by doing what they do best – throwing a little gig and inviting along any who cared to come or had nothing better to do on this chilly November evening. And they brought along a rather tasty selection of like-minded bands to set the mood for their bringing of the party…


Oracle 5


Oracle are a young band who, in my ears and eyes, have matured over repeated listenings and viewings. They deliver grooves as thick as the venue’s Victorian walls, underpinned with dense riffs and a huge bass sound, and overtopped by Jason Kerr’s snarling, biting pace. Their half hour set is delivered at an unrelenting pace, and with a confidence and positive attitude that is refreshing and reflects the dogged determination which oozes from every note and pore, and bodes well for their forthcoming debut album, which is due to drop early next year.


Altus 3


Up until about a year or so ago, Altus had a reputation for changing their line-up, and consequently their musical style, more often than some metallians change their underwear, but they now seem to have stabilized themselves in both regards, delivering melodic death metal with a heavy ass groove. There have been some changes since we last crossed paths with the quintet – but, hey, this is Altus, and so there have to be changes, don’t there? As it is, these ones are cosmetic, as Terry has shorn his locks to reveal a baby-faced visage normally obscured by flailing hair, and Sleeve has eschewed his cloak… oh, and there is a new song as well, the appropriately titled ‘Titan’, which has a massive sound with a thick crunchy groove, massive percussive beatdown, huge bass sound and deceptively intricate guitar interlockings, and fits comfortably with the rewritten contributions from their back catalogue, such as an impressively aggressive ‘Malignant’.


Words That Burn 4


I love it when you can’t categorize a band – except, quite possibly, under “WTF” – and Dundalk’s Words That Burn are just such a band: combining elements of metalcore, nu-metal and, above all, hardcore, especially in their attitude, it is deceptive just how much is going on in their music, as they make it seem so easy in its delivery. There is an underlying subtlety to what they do, which can just be glimpsed under the barrage of bass beatdowns, as riffs and melodies cascade effortlessly into each other to create huge, dramatic soundscapes which are intense on every level, from their ferocious initial onslaught to their brooding depths.


Cursed Sun 5


But, this is Cursed Sun’s night. A night for celebration – but also for reflection, as is shown by the fact that all five band members are wearing T-shirts from local death metallers Shrouded, as a mark of respect to young frontman Dani Kansanaho, who tragically took his own life last month at the criminally tender age of 23. It’s a beautiful gesture, and one deeply appreciated by Dani’s mum and dad, Gillian and Ahti, who are present to continue their support a scene that has supported them throughout the most horrible period of their lives.


With Jones as dominant and charismatic as ever, leading and cajoling both the band and the crowd - and not taking long to quit that stage and find something to climb on – CS crush skulls right from the off, their seering riffs exploding from the speakers and all over our crumbling bodies. Another nice touch is the recalling of the band’s original bass player, Bryn, for the fiercesome pound and grind of ‘Demon Caller’, which sees current bassist Monty grab the mic for a Raging Speedhorn-style dual vocal attack.


Cursed Sun 11


Of course, while the anniversary is an important landmark, no band can afford to rest on their laurels, and so, as the clock races towards the omnipresent curfew, they unveil a new song for a new decade: ‘MDK 187’ – the title another reference to Jones’ love of all things comic book and sci-fi – is a proper old-school thumper, which immediately gets the headbangers down the front doing what they do best, as its huge growling riff combining with an incredibly catchy hook. And then, after the rallying call of “let’s go fucking nuts for the last six minutes” as they unleash the ‘Replicant’ and bring their first decade to a close in fittingly fiery style – leaving only one question: where the feck was the cake?


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