The Underworld. For the London Metalhead, there’s no doubt you’ll have frequented it’s halls. A beacon of opportunity to the young bands and a special treat for fans for some of the biggest artists in the game. Throughout its illustrious history the venue has seen all manner of music, though I doubt that it’s ever had African Slave Music meets Black Metal come through its halls. Intrigued? You should be.
Staying power is one of the few attributes that are put forward in the arena of Death Metal. Hardly the most accessible of sub genres, however when you do get into bed with the genre it’s hard to get out. Belligerently sticking around amid the nineties grunge movement, Death Metal is the exact embodiment of the extreme. Understanding this pushing of boundaries both in extremity and in a quest for the experimental, Immolation are one of the genres bleak beacons. Combining their dissonant arrangements where drums, bass and guitar seem to disagree until somehow coming to a resolute understanding. Having been a year since their last visit, Immolation make a special appearance this Good Friday at London’s Underworld.
It’s not so often when bands that have such a substantial international following make time to play the intimate shows of the early days, but Dragonforce always seem to make time at least once every album. With a new album peering over the horizon, the power metallers organised a wee show for the die-hards at Camden’s The Black Heart.
Realisation can be an incredibly powerful tool. Often seen as a double edged sword, the understanding can be incredibly positive yet also detrimental. The fragility of life itself is often something humans forget, with work goals and all sorts of small picture ideals clouding our judgement to what truly matters. Thinking it was nothing, Pain of Salvation‘s Daniel Gildenlöw was brought to the hospital to be told he had contracted a flesh eating virus. In an instant, current ideas began to pale into comparison when faced with his own mortality. Triumphing over adversity Gildenlöw bested the virus. Pooling his creative energies into the long standing Pain of Salvation, the band have delivered one of the most honest and truly heartfelt records in recent years. Bringing their In The Passing Light Of Day tour to London, the band begin their triumphant new chapter at Islington’s Assembly Halls.
War in the modern world is an ever changing entity. Though it’s sentiment remains the same, it’s means change with the times. With this in mind, Thrash Metal and all of it’s totalitarian prophecies has never been more pertinent. Leaders of the new movement of Modern Thrash the charge is led by Havok, whilst biting at their heels is Warbringer. Embarking on an extensive European tour together the two Teutonic bands bring with them support in the form of Exmortus, the Death Metal come Thrash Metal virtuosos and French Gorod.
There comes a time once a year when the musical world is rallied together for a unanimous decision on greatness. Recently signing to Nuclear Blast, Pallbearer unveil their third slab of quasi Doom Prog for our listening pleasure. Blurring the lines between the two genres Heartless is as much expansive as it is devastatingly heavy. Being back on UK Pallbearer make their musical pilgrimmage after longer than we would have liked along in a what looks like sold out Underworld.
Admittedly being a bit late on the Haken train, I did feel a bit odd about being amongst 100’s of dedicated fans to celebrate 10 years of being on top of the British Progressive metal chain. It was ever so welcoming though, and an equally monumental London performance.
They say that you make your mind up about a person within 10 seconds meeting them. Quickly made, judgement can often be wrong after the initial reaction. Putting their backs up against the wall, this year Suicide Silence released their polarising self titled record. Almost universally panned by fans, though personally I loved the record, it has been somewhat of a divide in the fan base. Wrapping up their first run of UK shows in London, Suicide Silence bare their newly sharpened, slightly adjusted teeth to the crowd tonight.
It’s hard to believe Children of Bodom have been around for 20 years now. It seems like only yesterday when the monumental ‘Hatebreeder‘ was released, raising the bar for melodic death metal worldwide. Here they are in London again tonight making efforts to prove they are still the wild children as they were in 1997.
As the pioneers and grandfathers of the visual kei scene in Japan, it has been my life’s mission to see the country’s biggest band live in concert. They are super-talented musicians and put out remarkable visual displays in the live arena, but what I found at their one-off Wembley show was so much more than expected…
The status of legend is hard to come by, particularly in the modern music scene. Oversaturation has led to bands springing up left right and center and with us moving forward into the future the likes of the classic Slayer’s, Metallica’s et al will soon be taking their leave. Contesting this argument over many a pub chat, I have been championing Gojira on since I first saw their performance supporting Trivium in Hammersmith ten years ago and with every release the band have been growing not only in stature but in their musical development. After the death of their mother led them to scrap their entire workings of new material to completely remould their new album based around their experience, it has been one of my personal favourites of the last year. Fast forward one year on and after many supporting appearances in the UK the band have at long last returned to claim their throne in a headline show.
With terror being rife throughout the world, bands are increasing their reaction to the worlds current events. Ranging from all sorts of formats, one well rehearsed in the ways of battle are the German leaders st the vanguard of Thrash Kreator. Having returned after their five year material absence, the band have reasserted themselves firmly at the top of the second wave of Thrash Metal table. However it would seem that not only Kreator are born anew, as Brazilian counterparts Sepultura also unveiled their latest semi political statement Machine Messiah. Teaming up along with some help from both Soilwork and Aborted, the four band would match over Europe in a defiant conquering of venues far and wide. This time their march was headed toward Kentish Town’s Forum.
Changing scenery, tonight we forgo the smog of London for a trip to the Welsh countryside. Normally a hall for all sorts of occasions from ballet to recitals, tonight William Aston Hall has been modified for Rock ‘n’ Roll. Currently on their Heavy Fire tour, Black Star Riders shall be tonight’s curators. Cue the crowds coming out, slicked back (greying) hair, just a touch of booze and that true spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Rebirth within a band can be somewhat of a mystery. Releasing arguably their most well received record of late, Trivium’s Silence In The Snow stood proudly as a new statement of the band’s intent. Featuring entirely clean singing the record was perhaps the band’s most accomplished example of songwriting to date. Soon to lay the album to rest as they begin their next phase of their career. Armed with new drummer Alex Bent the band embark on their final touring cycle as defiantly as it began with their intimidating headline performance at Bloodstock. As the cold chill is felt across London tonight it’s not from the February air but the imperialistic conquering that will happen over at Camden’s Roundhouse.
A coronation of sorts, representing an incredible milestone. Hard to believe that it has been thirty five years since the release of their now archetypal Among The Living, Anthrax are, particularly in 2017 a terrific force to be reckoned with. Commemorating this remarkable achievement our quintet deliver a performance that would be fit For All Kings. Riding off the immense success that their 2016 effort garnered, the Among The Kings tour features a game of two halves. Going the way of the Metallica’s of the world, the first set is a performance of tracks requested by fans featuring material spanning the groups career. Returning afterwards to perform their classic Among The Living in its entirety.
The first time I saw Epica was 11 years ago in the dingy little club known as The Camden Underworld. My how this band have grown. It’s not hard to explain why, Epica continue to test their own limits with each and every album, and resonate that full album experience on the live stage. When they bring friends with them such as Powerwolf and Beyond The Black, it’s just hard to say no to the viewing opportunities.