WHEN it comes to playing Bloodstock – no matter what stage – it is an honour; and one not to be taken lightly. Hence when Northern Ireland’s representatives set about preparing there was no better place than The Distortion Project’s show in Belfast’s Limelight2.

And by fuck did M2TM winners Oracle and invitees Sinocence go boom in the best possible way -showing exactly why they rock the fuck out of the ‘Stock.

Melodic death metal tunes were there too to help dry off those soaked by the sudden turn in the weather that brought torrential rainfall to the city in the shape of Indominus.

With new frontman Ricky this s a considerable step up for the band. There is a more coherent sound and more heft present.

The rapport with the crowd worked well, and there were quite a few select passages that were engrossing – Indominus left the stage having won new friends.

For a relatively new band Oracle have leapt into the fray with boldness and intent – and by all the metal gods they have come at their task as if they want to flay all in their path.

The ‘Tales of Pythia’ EP established their sound but live they elevate it into a visceral experience: drawing the audience into their dark visions and eviscerating any delusions about a sunny future.

Jason prowls the stage like a caged animal about to break out and begin hunting the weak, while Conor and Jake six-string excellence.

With new song ‘Serpentine’ Chief and Rhys showcase a rhythm section that weaponize groove into a deadly force.

When Sinocence announced that Duane would be their frontman it was broadly welcomed. Now that this line-up has settled in – and no doubt worked hard in the rehearsal room – this their first full show as a five-piece was outstanding.

The band have always carved their own fiercely independent path – often in defiance of what is expected. That independence must have been at times a more difficult way, but at this show they shoved a middle-finger in the air and tore the place apart.

Moro and Anto took some of their well-worn tracks and gave them a boot in the hole, while Ben and Jim attacked songs as if they wanted to tear open the innards of those in the Limelight.

‘Metal Box’ was played at hyper speed; ‘In Kymatica’ oozed class – in fact there was not a bad moment in their set.

This was something special. A night when three bands upped their game and levelled all. There was no pretence, no airs and graces, no faffing about – just heavy fucking metal.

Bloodstock  – be ready because Oracle and Sinocence are coming for ya!

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Lizzie Torbitt