Sunday, 11 March 2012

Live review: Chimaira, Beat Generator Live, Dundee

 I've been in and out of the wonderful city of Dundee for over ten years now and usually, I'm still finding myself getting lost and confused all over the place. The music scene of Dundee is questionable in it's sense of mystery and variation in terms of what the people are into and what bands lurk in the underground. It's hard to tell what the preferred type of music is in this city but I wouldn't deny Dundee's love for modern metal at all. Just look around the city and you'll see a number of T-Shirts which prove this. Whether it's for some of the original alternative metal bands that emerged in the 1990s like Pantera, Machine Head or Slipknot, or the most relentless names in modern deathcore like Carnifex or Chelsea Grin that's printed across the chests of people walking through the Murraygate, there is a visible love for today's biggest names in heavy music in the city of Discovery.
 So it's little surprise to see that the intimate room that is the Beat Generator is awash with people in black T-Shirts and drunken bravado in anticipation for tonight's array of modern metallic vigor and brutality that has come with the UK leg of The Age of Hell Tour, promoting the album of the same name from Cleveland bruisers Chimaira. I rated the album at number 47 on my apparently popular Top 50 albums of 2011 list, but apparently it needed more promotion than that, so the sextet arrived here on the second leg of the UK part of the tour and in the crowd was myself, my tour companion Callum, whose devotion in continuing to come to gigs with me is commendable and a whole host of other Dundee metalheads. I know I'm going to have to write about this so I keep my alcohol intake as low as possible, settling for a can of Budweiser, two Jägerbombs and a bottle of Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale. LoL lOoK aT mE Im So HaRdCoRe!!!!11!!!ONE!!! So the night proves itself to be an exhilarating rush of metal at it's most relentless which shows a devotion to the genre from Dundee, the raw talent of all the bands involved and above all else, proves how terrible I am at taking photographs at gigs.

 Opening up proceedings just for tonight are local metallers Excellent Cadaver who open the show with their pulsing and ferocious take on metalcore. It's a set of extreme energy from the group as frontman Andrew Downie dances chirpily to the juddering riffs and immense breakdowns his band behind them produce. The crowds's reaction is admittedly less engergetic with most people looking to keep their energy and necks intact for the following acts. However, Excellent Cadaver's set proves them to be above the average support group level and suggests promise for bigger things to come, which is also revealed after listening to the sampler with three demos of songs from their upcoming debut release Faith Destroyed. Seriously though, Andrew Downie's onstage energy was immense. He was the only one that jumped off the stage to perform in the crowd tonight. Here's photographic evidence.

 Following the official Dundee support are Swiss juggernauts Neosis, who to my surprise are the band that actually manage to get the heads properly banging. There's always a fear that bands like Neosis that thrive on playing with a sense of complexity and dynamic conceptuality as them have an ability to isolate the audience and the lack of crowd interaction feeds in with that, but with their Messhugah inspired seven-string juddering and intense focus and immense playing, they find themselves a lot of love from the people of Dundee tonight, even if they don't appear to return it.

 Next up is a band better known in the world of up and coming metal bands, Revoker. 2011 was a big year for the South Wales quartet, with the release of their debut Revenge For the Ruthless and appearing as support for a diverse group of acts from fellow Welsh comrades The Blackout to heavy metal royalty Ozzy Osbourne, but tonight they're in more intimate surroundings and when songs like The Great Pretender and Stay Down are slammed into action, they get the exact response they're looking for as the real moshpits begin to emerge. Everyone is jumping up and down and colliding into each other. One of the gentlemen in the moshpit wears a leather jacket and constantly smashing into him with the heat of the building is an extremely uncomfortable experience. It gets so much worse as more sweat begins to emerge on everyone. But, with a more brutal take on classic swinging heavy metal, Revoker are excepted into the Dundee metal community with open arms.

 So after a fairly long wait and performances from two of the most awesome soundcheck guys ever, it's time for the headliners to unleash The Age of Hell upon us. Chimaira is somewhat akin to Megadeth these days - in the fact that there's pretty much a revolving door system with the lineup now and we're at the point in which frontman Mark Hunter is the only original member remaining. There is some stability in the lineup now though. Following the departure of guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries in December, a large amount of members now are former members of Atlanta death metal outfit Dååth and play Chimaira's music with the same amount of passion and ferociousness as any lineup has in the past. It's great to see the crowd's warm - well moshing reactions to newer songs like Losing My Mind and Born in Blood but it's the classic affirmed hits like Power Trip and Nothing Remains that really ignites the Beat Generator. And when they close proceedings with a pulsing rendition of Resurrection, one of my favourite songs... ever, it's clear that their work here is done. I've heard Resurrection live and now I can die happy.

 The evening was pretty much an astounding maelstrom of brutality and punishing performances that really emphasized the strength that modern metal has over here in the 'Dee. I've spent most of my weekend recovering from the intense whiplash from headbanging and getting elbowed in the face and still feeling impressed at the immense brainwave one gentleman had when sellotaping his tape recorder to the railings on the roof before Chimaira came on stage and feeling sorry for the gentleman that fell over during Revoker's set, spilling every last drop of beer in the can he was holding at the time. But for all the bands ability to create as big a spark as they did at the beat generator tonight, this will be an evening that will be remembered for a long time by all of Dundee's finest.

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