|» D. O. T. Faith 2008 04 26||
After dates in Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester, the Metal Hammer-sponsored tour package Defenders Of The Faith reached its final destination in London.
3 Inches Of Blood
Unfortunately, when 3 Inches Of Blood kick off the evening, there is still a long queue curling around Brixton Academy. As a result, the venue is not even half full during their set; a shame indeed, since the Canadians deliver some fine, uncomplicated heavy metal. Complete with high-pitch vocals, double kick drums and twin leads, numbers such as Deadly Sinners and The Goatriders Horde prove that 3 Inches Of Blood are worthy of a place on the bill and indeed defenders of the metal faith. Their stage charisma is not that captivating, but the absence of one of the band's two vocalists - for reasons unknown to me -is probably a factor. Unfortunately, they suffer from a flat sound, which hampers their impact even more. In fairness, the overall sound at Brixton tonight is not the best.
6 chalices of 10
(sorry, no setlist)
At first, it is somewhat peculiar to see Dez Fefara; formerly of the rather average nu-metal outfit Coal Chamber; in waist-long hair (this is the first time I witness the band live), but it's apparent that the singer means business with his new venture Devildriver, which is more in the vein of thrash/death metal, but with a modern touch. The 42-year old moves around on the stage in a commanding fashion, and his band comrades put on an equally powerful performance. The crowd responds with a fierce mosh pit spurred on by the primal force and aggression of the song material which is offered. Although it could be argued that Devildriver don't have that many memorable tunes, it's clear that the band has already attracted a substantial amount of followers, and this convincing display will definitely add to that number.
7 chalices of 10
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
As the introductory sirens of opener Blood Is On Your Hands announce the imminent arrival of Arch Enemy, anticipation is high among the sea of metal heads present. When the Swedish combo last played in London, it was as second bottom on the bill of the Black Crusade tour, headlined by Machine Head. Reportedly, the band was unhappy with their slot, which allowed space for a mere half an hour of songs. Accordingly, they now make the most of their allotted time, diving straight into the deadly hooks of Ravenous, which makes the hair stand on the back on your neck.
Continuing on the subject of hair, the sight of Chris Amott's crew cut looks a bit odd at first; there is a sense of uniformity which is lost when one member has short hair. Regardless, the youngest of the Amott brothers is still a tremendously gifted guitarist, of course. Once again, he and his fellow band musicians - whose talent is just as well-documented - deliver a compact and tight slab of metal of the highest quality. Angela Gossow is her manic self and injects vital energy to the performance, compensating the fact that the others are, for the most part, less mobile. The songs from Rise Of The Tyrant sound great, while a less known number like Dead Bury Your Dead showcases some massively heavy and groovy riffage which makes it impossible not to engage in the hair-related activity of banging your head.
However, Daniel Erlandsson's drum solo disrupts the momentum somewhat;
it would have been preferable to play one more song instead. Arch Enemy's
set is rounded off in an impressive manner with the venomous Nemesis and
the anthem We Will Rise, the latter complete with spectacular pyrotechnics
at the end. Undoubtedly, a strong display by Arch Enemy, who indeed have
a high consistency to their live shows. Still, one could criticise the
fact that the song selection is rather predictable; it would be nice to
hear a more obscure track or two from the first albums, for example.
7,5 chalices of 10
Blood On Your Hands
Unpredictably, tonight's last band Opeth (this tour has seen them and Arch Enemy alternating as the last band of the night) open their set with the classic Demon Of The Fall, a song which usually functions as the closing number. In addition, the inclusion of the menacing Wreath is unexpected. By now, however, many members of the audience are somewhat drained - the heat in the venue is quite ostracizing - and their reaction is now more one of heartfelt appreciation, shown by loud applauses and cheers, rather than ravaging floor activity.
But then again, Opeth's music, with its dynamics and diversity, demands more attention from the listener than your average metal group. Master's Apprentice is a prime example, offering a marvellous mixture of brooding death metal and laid-back, subtle parts. The magnificent, moving In My Time Of Need is another highlight. Band leader Mikael Åkerfeldt shines as usual, shifting between his recognisable growls and mellow vocal lines. Åkerfeldt has also developed a stage persona - characterised by self-distance and dry humour - which goes over well with the group's fans. Tonight, the most amusing moment arrives when the singer announces that they will play a cover of I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. Although that would have been something to behold, we are instead presented with another treat when a track from the upcoming album is played. Titled Heir Apparent, the dark, epic number creates much anticipation for the release.
Also, guitarist Fredrik Åkesson - who of course was Chris Amott's
successor as well as predecessor in Arch Enemy - fits in really well,
this time having the difficult task of filling the shoes of Opeth founding
member Peter Lindgren, who announced his departure at the beginning of
the year. The remaining members of the band do their job flawlessly, and
the feeling is that this line-up of the Swedish prog metal outfit is as
solid and competent as ever. A captivating rendition of The Drapery Falls
concludes an excellent display from this class act which is getting bigger
and bigger on these shores, and deservedly so.
8 chalices of 10