Review by Mark Ashby
Photography by Jamie Hunter
It was perhaps more than appropriate that the last gig to be staged in the main bar of the city’s SU before its much-needed refurbishment should be the balls-out brutal assault of this Californian sextet’s tribute to all things Arnie-related.Just wandering up the street and the stairs to the first floor venue, the place looked like a waiting room at a ‘Predator 4’ casting session – all black combat fatigues, camouflage paint (provided free of charge to anyone girlie enough to have left theirs in the wife’s handbag) and fake bullet belts…
Following the grindcore groove of local behemoths Fuckhammer and the sheer lunatic madness of Mental Deficiency (during whose first number some mindless moron took it upon himself to try and smash up IV’s camera equipment), Arnocorps wandered onstage for their third visit to Belfast to a thunderous backing track, taking time only to light up a pair of obligatory stogies before launching into ‘Terminator’ – seconds into which frontman Holzfeuer is already leading his troops into a serious bout of crowd-surfing and speaker-stack-diving tomfoolery.
The songs are cheesy and camp – almost entirely based on Schwarzenegger movies: ‘Eraser’, ‘Predator’ itself, ‘Judgement Day’, ‘Total Recall’ and the closing ‘Rise Of The Machines’ – and the sound is appropriately loud and brutal, aided by the band’s use of twin bass guitars.
The audience lap it all up, of course, with wave after wave of bodies heading stageward – only to be grabbed, raised aloft and hurled effortlessly back into the fray by the towering frontman: at times there are more audience members on the cramped stage than in the seething pit in front of it, especially during the pose-down of ‘Pumping Iron’.
Earning a deserved encore of ‘Stay Hungry’ and the raucous ‘Last Action Hero’, it was all good, clean, body-mass-enlarging, tongue-in-cheek stuff, delivered with aplomb and only failing to impress if you’re not in on the joke.