I’ve never been to The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth before and was eager to see what the venue was like and also to see how big the crowd turnout was, as I’ve never imagined there to be a huge metal scene. However as I walked down the quiet streets not seeing one metal head in sight, I was proven wrong as I made my way inside the venue and realised it was near enough packed but with a line-up of bands like Rise to Remain and Malefice I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Despite being a very young band, Cytota, however, have a very strong individuality and high-quality sound. First of all they are actually a pretty good metal core act, with certain tracks showing they have the potential to rise above the slew of upcoming young bands ploughing this furrow. Expect to see a lot more of Cytota in the coming years
Reading-based Malefice took the stage next, launching into muscular, weighty renditions of their recorded material pummelling the crowd with their tightness and in-your-face intensity which adds to the forceful physicality of their sound. A combination of groove, down-tuned aggression and complex song-writing technique really comes to life in a live environment, resulting in a hugely liberating gig experience. Dales raw but well developed vocals ripped apart the crowds as the broke into the first song ‘An Architect of your Demise’. New guitarist, Andrew Wilson performed with brute force and enthusiasm as he delivered the intricate guitar riffs with such ease that you’d think he’d been a part of the band for years. The band seemed to love every second on stage as they delved into their set with enthusiasm and a multitude of energy that seeped around the room.
The only surprising part of the show was that the short set only comprising of five songs. However Malefice definitely made those songs count as they blasted out classics such as ‘Sickened, ‘Delirium’ and new song ‘Awaken the Tides’ which definitely differentiates to the bands previous release Dawn of Reprisal but that’s not to say they’ve lost any brutality. They ended their set with ‘Omega’, recorded with Everton goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann earlier this year, a song that certainly got the crowds moving in a frenzy of miniature circle and mosh pits.
Next on were Swedish metallers, Adept. Sweden’s Adept are the main support for this early part of the tour, with German thrash mob Heaven Shall Burn not joining until later, and it’s a role they fill with confidence and relish. I hadn’t heard of Adept before this show and as they took the stage with ‘The Final Countdown’ playing as an intro I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but hell it got the crowd moving.
The group vocals that punctuate most songs are the source of a lot of the harmonies now, making the choruses alone leap out and compliment the intense sound. ‘The Lost Boys’ defiant in unity, is a strong satisfying example, flowing from the guttural shouts to moments where clean vocals are briefly included. The vocals were a lot more brutal than expected which when mixed with the intricate guitar work, blast beating drummer and amusing synchronised head banging really sent members of the audience flying and the bands energy was easily matched.
As far as the ‘hard-core’ genre goes I’m not the biggest fan but this band exceeded expectations and it’s a safe bet that considering their reception tonight, they will be here again as they received a well-deserved round of applause at the end.
Headlining band Rise to Remain took over the stage with a full fresh line-up after recruiting new bassist Josh Hammon and drummer Adam Lewin. As each member came out individually the crowd erupts. The kids literally go crazy and Rise to Remain are really high on energy up on that stage. The stage appears to be too small to contain their energy that flows relentlessly into the crowd who by now are throwing themselves around in appreciation. Front man Austin does a great job at working both the stage and the crowd.
New additions, Josh and Adam seemed to fit in with the band perfectly as if they had been part of the group throughout the history when in fact this was their second live show. The duo definitely brings something new to the band and as a whole they’ve progressed a lot since the last time I saw them. Their general sound was well balanced and very technical with multi-textured layers to it, creating a real force to be reckoned with. Songs such ‘The Serpent’, ‘This day is mine’, ‘Talking in Whispers’ and ‘Purify’ were definite stand outs of the evening.
Overall the bands on the bill tonight delivered bloody impressive sets showcasing a variety of metal material which had the crowds singing all the way through.