Michigan’s metalcore bruisers Of Virtue began their European invasion in Ireland last month, with Dundalk riffmeisters Words That Burn as the touring support. The band who played gigs in Cork, Dublin and Belfast embraced the Irish hardcore and metalcore scenes effectively with Belfast featuring 2 of our finest outputs – Heel of Achilles and Symptoms of Silence. It’s bills like this that exemplify the scene’s strength in its various manifestations and localities across Ireland.
Heel of Achilles opened up the show as they meant to go on – powerful and heavy. Kicking things off with ‘Event horizon’, these guys never fail to amaze live. With the slamming drum rhythms and bouncing riffs – the band ploughed through their set. Performing one of their new album tracks and latest single ‘Spectrum’ was the main highlight of their set. It is a track that showcases the band’s creative prowess and is a landmark in the band’s career. With big plans ahead, they are a band to watch out for!
Following Heel of Achilles, Symptoms of Silence ripped the place apart performing tracks from their EP Visions and assorted singles. Following recent line-up changes, this was the debut show for new vocalist Tom Ward who relentlessly prowled the stage and engaged the audience with ease. Talks with the band following their set revealed tour booking and studio time on the horizon. With songs like ‘Reality’ cutting through the PA, with its heavenly cleans and rough hard hitting vocals, was executed furiously by the band. For their first show back, the band didn’t let anything stand in their way.
Words That Burn took to the stage with their more melodic blend of metalcore and killed it, keeping the growing crowd pumped. Playing their first show in Belfast with Blackstaff Music Belfast, the band have found themselves taking over the north venue by venue. Kicking off their set with songs of their debut album ‘Regret is for the Dead’ including ‘Unalive’ with its adrenalized choruses and bulldozer-esque chugs kept the crowd on their toes and heads banging away. The band are set to play Exit Festival in Serbia in July and we’re confident that they’ll show the mainland bands how it’s done properly!
Of Virtue hit the stage around 10:30 kitted out in their new threads acquired earlier that day from Fresh Pop in Castlecourt. ‘Carpel Tunnel’, slow and melodic, built up the pressure before the band exploded into their headline set. The crowd moving aggressively in harmony vocalist Tyler Ennis who prowled the floor of the venue animalistically with his band mates on-stage holding a tight ship. ‘Wreckage’ boomed through Voodoo with its heavy-hitting breakdown paired with the band’s dynamic stage presence accentuated the band’s passion in what they do. The crowd accepted Of Virtue as one of their very own and reciprocated their energy at every twist and turn. Closing track ‘So Nearly Free’ brought the band’s set to the top of the mountain. The set list was a structured powerhouse crafted towards maximum force with its strong riffage, swift drops and punches and strenuous drum beats. Although exhausted, the chanting of “one more tune” encouraged them to perform ‘The Human Condition’. We’re very sure they’ll never forget Belfast.
WORDS: RYAN GRIFFIN & STEVEN DONNELLY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVEN DONNELLY