Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Live review: Metal Hammer Defenders of the Faith III Tour, O2 Academy, Glasgow

 Live reviews are something that aren't likely to make a regular appearance on ROARF. It's because I don't really get much of a chance to visit many big gigs because I'm just a small town boy, livin' in a lonely worl-  Let's not burst into song. Especially that song. It's a really bad song. So being from the small and sometimes lovely-sometimes depressing town of Blairgowrie, it's hard to get to any decent gigs and the idea of going to  The Gig to see some Oasis tribute band is not really my idea of a good night. However, last night was an exception. Whilst most of my fellow schoolmates were at home doing crucially important homework, or in some cases sleeping, my good friend Callum and I were at the O2 academy to witness the brutal insanity that was the Scottish leg of the Metal Hammer Defenders of the Faith III tour and the entire event was epic in every sense.
 To say this report is by any means professional is... a total lie to be honest, since arriving at just after half past six in the evening causes us to miss the opening act Insense, however I get the feeling we're not the only people to miss this.
 However, on walking into the grand and misty hall with the big open pit that is the O2 Academy, we are treated to a blistering and energetic set from metalcore stars Rise to Remain, who are still to fully convince me that they have the makings to be the future of British metal after releasing their okay-at-best debut City of Vultures. However, this is an act who clearly live to perform, as the commanding tones of Austin Dickinson are effortlessly engaging, as he has everyone jumping up and down side by side to the juddering metalcore assault of Power Through Fear and Nothing Left. As they leave the stage, we are left stunned and I view them now with a greater sense of credibility.

 Following a spell of standing around and chattering, we are treated to a completely different beast. As the stage darkens and ominous chanting begins to rise we are treated to a set from upcoming satanists Ghost. This is our first time listening to this band after simply managing to look at and be confused by pictures of the group. However, the spectacle of four unknown hooded figures appearing onstage and picking up guitars is an impressive and downright awesome spectacle. As the group's master Papa Emeritus takes to the stage donning satanic cardinal attire, we are treated surprisingly to a blissful and genuinely awesome array of relentless doom metal, free of screaming and opportunity to mosh. Still, the highly theatrical and dramatic charm of the set really proves Ghost to be more than a band that just makes me say "What the hell?" whenever I see their picture.

 Afterwards as Gothenburg's finest In Flames take to the stage, the real mosh pit sessions begin. There is a demand with a group as widely respected and highly influential as In Flames to lose your head to their outstanding melodic death metal run-through and frontman Anders Fridén isn't best pleased from the lack of movement from the people higher up in the stands telling them "You know we got paramedics back here right? Because you guys must obviously be dying or something." It's fair enough, the group are just wanting from the crowd the same energy that they put into their performance. Having released their brilliant Sounds of a Playground Fading in May the group play with a full-on pummeling, which attracts everyone in the pit, as they begin smashing into each other and mass crowd-surfing ensues. The insanity of this goes to the extent to which me and Callum are separated during closer Take This Life, not to see each other until the set is long over.

 However, as great as these bands are they're not the real reason why we have come tonight. And tonight's headliners are none other than Floridian metalcore masters Trivium. The band that was one of the first to really get me into metal, the first band this blog covered and now, the headliners of my first metal gig. And as Capsizing the Sea begins playing from speakers surrounding the stage and the band get into place, the sense of anticipation surrounding the Academy is overwhelming. It is when Matt Heafy, accompanied by a crowd of amazed metal fans scream out "IN WAAAAAAAAAVES" together, the moment is so alive in it's extreme intensity and sense of togetherness, that the moment is simply phenomanal. Throughout the set we are treated largely to a selection of songs from Ascendancy and August's fantastic In Waves as well as a selection of tracks from 2008's Shogun. As the crowd continue their shout-alongs as Heafy requests us to join in with every "DUSK DISMANTLED" from the track of the same. Meanwhile, Callum and I decide to take sterile and violent dashes through the circle pits that arise during Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr and Kiruste Gomen. As the close their set with a massive performance of the hectic Throes of Perdition, it's pretty clear that Trivium have managed to capture the hearts and keep intact the love that everyone screaming their name at the end has for them.

 So, that was the Defenders of the Faith III Tour Glasgow leg. As someone who listens to a lot of music but basically never gets to see live music, getting to go was an amazing experience that I'll never forget. And being part of a mosh-pit is something I can totally get behind and would totally recommend to all reading. Seriously, if you go down in one of those things, you will have ten people around you all helping you up. Just don't do what I did and pull someone up so hard that you then cause them to fall the other way... Oops.
 It might be a while before you see me write another live review, but I promise you now, that this will not be the last. My New Year's Resolution for 2012 is going to be... to go to more gigs. Sorted.

 Thanks to Callum Strachan for the awesome photography.

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