Seattle base proto-thrashers Metal Church made their Irish debut on Thursday night (21st June 2017), with a show that dedicated fans had waited decades to see. Taking to the stage at the city's Limelight 2 venue, the band showed exactly why they are so revered, with a night of hard and heavy music.
Despite having a career spanning over three decades, unlike many of their contemporaries, the respected outfit had never made it as far as Ireland. All that changed however on Thursday night, when the band arrived in Belfast for the first of two shows - the other taking place at Dublin's Voodoo Lounge the following evening.
Kicking off with the steady march of 'Fake Healer', the boundless energy and enthusiasm of reinstated front man Mike Howe was only equalled by that of the audience, who greeted the band like returning pilgrims. Following with another early classic in 'The Human Factor's 'In Mourning', it was clear that the band were going to give the fans what they wanted.
However with a well-received new album to promote (2016's 'XI'), it wasn't long before the first of a healthy smattering of tracks was unleashed, with the steady drive recent single of 'The Needle And The Suture' being met with similar enthusiasm from the Belfast crowd.
Greeting the crowd, Howe - ably flanked by band leader Kurdt Vanderhoof along with bassist Steve Unger and guitarist Rick Van Zandt said; "Belfast how ya doing? It's our first time here for us, and were so so honoured to be here", to loud cheers.
It was following a run through the defiant groove of 'Start The Fire' however that things really took off, with even the band looking on disbelieving as the between-song chants of "METAL CHURCH! METAL CHURCH!" grew louder leading Howe to quip; "You guys are fan-fucking-tastic".
With the night nearing an end, it was a final run through some of the band's best loved material, with a much demanded 'Badlands' and the anthemic 'The Human Factor' calling time on the congregated faithful. Echoing the feeling of many in the audience, it was Howe who summed up the evening best, with the singer signing off proclaiming; "Belfast you've been an incredible crowd. We will never forget it".
Stay tuned for eonmusic's exclusive interview with Mike Howe and Kurdt Vanderhoof.
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