Portrait, live in Dublin
Venue: The Gypsy Rose, Dublin
Support: Rabid Bitch Of The North, Stereo Nasty, Sentinel
Last night Swedish heavy metal traditionalists Portrait played a headline show in Limerick and they went down so well with the metal-starved locals that they sold all of their merch. So, it seems that a love of bands who follow the time-tested tenets of heavy metal established by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate et al during the ‘80s continues to thrive here in Eire.
Unfortunately, Hammer missed Sentinel who opened Portrait’s Dublin gig tonight at the Gypsy Rose; a small rock pub with plenty of character located in the city’s centre. But there was a good reason for that: At the same time, Portrait’s countrymen, At the Gates, were razing Dublin’s The Academy to the ground with a blistering encore of Blinded By Fear, Kingdom Gone and The Night Eternal.
From start to finish it was a special set for those in attendance, as the legendary At the Gates, led by the fearless Tomas Lindberg, tore through songs that spanned their entire career, with the expected highlights coming from the tracks aired from their seminal 1995 album, Slaughter Of The Soul. The impact of the early one-two combo of Slaughter Of The Soul and Cold was enough to crack vertebrae in your neck. Then add in how well songs from 2014 comeback album At War With Reality were received – particularly Death and The Labyrinth and the vicious title track – and you have a veteran band who inspired a multitude proving that their power and relevance remains intact.
After a drunken dash across the famous Ha’penny Bridge in sub-zero temperatures, Hammer arrives at the tight confines of the Gypsy Rose to a guy playing a terrible cover of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here to those sinking pints at the bar. Downstairs, however, Kildare four-piece Stereo Nasty  are setting up on the small stage.