Live : DICTATED w/ZHORA & SEVERIAN (Róisín Dubh, Galway – 14/03/15) Posted: 25/03/2015 by John O'Brien


Galway City is often seen as the gem of Ireland’s west coast. A city that is constantly alive with buskers lining its cobbled streets and all manner of light hearted street performers entertaining the public as they pass by. The sound of acoustic guitars and mellow voices are not uncommon here. However, on March 14th, iconic music venue, The Róisín Dubh, had something very different up its sleeve indeed. The night’s bill was headlined by a Brutal Death Metal band from the Netherlands called DICTATED, with support from two Irish acts… ZHORA and Galway’s own SEVERIAN.

Severian_20150314_05SEVERIAN are relatively new to the scene with only a few gigs under their belt thus far. The Galway based band produce a style which mixes many genres together, but has a deeply rooted Punk influence running throughout. Their material is heavy and aggressive, sporting many simplistic riffs which make the entire package easy to consume. At times, there is even a slight Rock edge coupled with the occasional groove. However, this doesn’t mean that they are a light band. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Screaming vocal lines and blast beats ensure that each riff is delivered with maximum velocity. When mixed with that Hardcore Punk foundation, which stands as the backbone of SEVERIAN, things quickly take shape. An energetic lead singer fronted the band, splitting vocals with the guitarist in a way that ANTHRAX’s Scott Ian would approve of. Unfortunately, the vocalist spends a little too much time facing back towards his band members instead of engaging the audience. However, when he does let loose, he does so with a storm of DEAD KENNEDY-esque energy.

Zhora_20150314_03Well established Tipperary based Band ZHORA stepped up to the plate following SEVERIAN’s tight and relentless set with an entirely different style. Somewhere between MASTADON, DOWN and CROWBAR, there is an air of both Prog and Sludge to be heard in ZHORA’s sound. It packs a punch that’s strong enough to floor an audience. A slow and steady beating guarantees that you’ll feel each and every chord, leaving you dizzied but hungry for more. The riffs were full, meaty and fat, providing something hefty for the crowd to really dig into. A distinct de-tuned chug gave the band an almost freight train feeling, and this was reinforced by the fact that many sections played out for long periods of time, allowing each groove to run its course as it thundered through the speakers. Tom Woodlock’s precision timing behind the drum kit was nothing short of awe inspiring, and bass player, Richie McCormack’s, seemingly boundless enthusiasm could be felt throughout the dimly lit room.

Dictated_20150314_06Following a short break, up and coming Brutal Death Metal band, DICTATED, assumed their positions upon the stage. Galway City was the final stop on their three date Irish tour and the energy that they had built up while promoting their latest record, “The Deceived”, through gigging in Dublin and Limerick was evident. Founding members, Sonja Schuringa and Yessica Otten, performed a few final tweaks on their guitar sounds as their lead singer, York Keijzer, paced back and forth, preparing himself for the imminent explosion of chaotic energy that was about to fill the room.

The venue had somewhat emptied after ZHORA’s set finished, but as the atmospheric sound of “The Deceived” album’s instrumental introduction, ‘Forced Into Dismay’, rang out, the room was almost instantly filled to capacity with Death Metal fans anxiously awaiting the drop. And when that drop came, the Róisín Dubh erupted! The Dutch band tore straight into ‘This is To All’, the current single from their record. Opening with a barrage of speed and intensity, they were set to prove that they’d travelled to Ireland to supply some of the heaviest music imaginable. The ladies’ guitar sound feature a classic crunch, and Keijzer’s voice is deep enough to split rock. Without giving the crowd a chance to catch their breath, they dove straight into their album’s groove orientated title track, creating a whirlwind of intensity.

Dictated_20150314_04Each song from DICTATED’s savage record was covered with acute execution during the band’s set. Frantic helpings like ‘The Basher’ and ‘They Live, They Suffer, They Die’ provided fast, forceful thrashings. Huge blast beats and vicious guitar work ensured that these tracks were heard exactly how they were meant to… kicking and screaming from the amplifiers! Slower tracks like ‘No Absolution’ and ‘Rail of Death’, designed specifically for headbanging and circle pits, featured phenomenal stomping grooves which left the audience swaying to Schunringa and Otten’s every command.

DICTATED’s live show is nothing short of incredible. Their tall lead vocalist appears to consume the room like a shadow; this is made even more intimidating by the amazing and almost demonic voice expelled from his slender body. As soon as the music starts Keijzer transforms into a terrifying entity. The dual guitarists play with such brutal ferocity, yet smile their way from one end of the set to the other. It would also seem that The Róisín Dubh’s minute size almost helped with the show’s execution, forcing the band to play on ground level mere inches away from the highly active crowd. At times, during particularly heavy sections, mosh pits would spill over into the band’s personal space. This happened to such an extent that Kieijzer jokingly referred to it as “hugging distance”, before immediately being embraced into a hug by a fan. The final leg of the tour was met with staggering appreciation from DICTATED’s Irish fan base, every member of which went home delighted with the experience of Death Metal in one of its most raw forms; on an intimate one to one basis.

Review by Eoghan Murphy
Photos by Robert Sibery

DICTATED – ‘Live in the Róisín Dubh, Galway (14/03/15)’

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ZHORA – ‘Live in the Róisín Dubh, Galway (14/03/15)’

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SEVERIAN – ‘Live in the Róisín Dubh, Galway (14/03/15)’

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