Tonight’s blinding show took place at The Joiners, Southampton. I hadn’t been to this venue before and as I stepped inside, the size was a shock. With only a 150 capacity and a sold out show I thought “fuck, this is going to be a tight squeeze.”
Dukes of Agares, Southampton locals, were the first band on the bill tonight. As they took the stage the venue was still slowly filling up but there was a great turn out for their set. With their genre comprising of Death Metal and Thrash mixed with lighter groove parts the band were definitely enjoyable to watch and the crowds seemed to love it. They played a short set consisting of five songs. Opening on “Betrayal of Trust” a definite crowd pleaser from what I saw. Both guitarists share vocal duties which add to the sound with a blend of different screams. Songs such as “Charcoal Pestilence” and “Loose Cannon” are a must to listen to. Keep an eye out for this band and expect to see a lot more from Dukes of Agares in the coming years.
Swiss metallers Neosis were on next. A band with an 7 string guitar, a 5 string bass, an insane drummer and powerful vocals, and all I could think throughout there set was “how glittery can one bass guitar be!?”
I haven’t previously heard much of this band; nonetheless they took to the stage with evident enthusiasm and charisma and brought life to the crowd who instantly became more active. Musically, guitarist, Greg had a tone (and guitar) that many guitarists would die for. With an innovative feel to it, he produced a variety of intricate riffs and shredded through songs, accompanied by a thumping, groovy bass line and drummer, Anthony, blasted the double bass pedal to bits creating a whirlwind blur of sticks that tore through song after song. Sounds of programmed synth styled samples leaked their way suitably through the set.
The crowd were moshing, head banging and cheering more and more as the set went on. They maintained a consistently powerful stage presence and interacted with the crowd throughout, the smiles on their faces clearly indicated that they enjoyed playing as much as the crowd enjoyed watching them. “Unwilling Fate” was a definite highlight of the evening. They received much deserved cheers at the end of their set and I hope to see more of this band in the future.
The third band on tonight’s line-up were Welsh quintet Revoker, as they took the stage there became a clear clash of characters, those that were anticipating Mark Hunters snarling vocals of hate and those who wanted to get the party in full swing. Nevertheless as Revoker begin playing it’s clear they already have some prestige among the audience. They keep a constant connection with the masses throughout their set and play with evident passion. Again, this band clearly loves simply playing a gig to a happy crowd. Crowd pleasers tonight were; ‘The Great Pretender’, ‘Thief’, and tracks off their latest album; “Revenge for the Ruthless” entitled “Psycoville” and “Stay Down”, which achieved more energy than I thought they would which caused the crowd to rush into a mad frenzy of flying bodies.
Chants, screams and mosh pits filled the room accompanied by the general madness and shenanigans from frontman and guitarist Jamie Mathias who throws thrash metal grooves and divine solos with Chris Green, who’s also running around and going mental with the crowd. The growls from bassist and drummer Shane Phillips and Jack Pritchard continued to add to their sound. By the end of their set I was well and truly impressed by the four lads and the crowd absolutely loved it.
Headliners Chimaira dominated the stage and showcased why they are one of the best contemporary metal bands out there today. While their latest album The Age of Hell has gotten mixed reviews, the new songs sounded more impactful in a live setting. Maybe I’m slightly bias due to being a fan of Chimaira for many years however the technical and musical aptitude of this band has been growing constantly throughout their career and even with the loss of former guitarists Matt DeVries and Rob Arnold the new line up works with perfect chemistry which is clearly evident in their combined performance that flooded the stage and crowd alike. Whether they are head bopping, head banging or moshing, everyone in the venue is moving and they displayed a fucking brutal set.
The band kicked into “Power Trip” and the crowd went nuts, by the end of the song sweat was beginning to slowly cover the stage and soak the audience, so much so that guitarist Emil managed to slip off his pedal and kick me! Chimaira continued to smash out a well-constructed set list; combining blindingly fast and chugging heavy classics such as, “Nothing Remains”, “Destroy and Dominate”, “Severed” and “Pure Hatred” which had such power it caused the sweat to begin raining down from the ceiling proving they’ve still got it in them. Even new songs from the album ‘The Age of Hell’ that was controversial amongst fans, such as “Year of the Snake” received just as much respect as their old stuff, if not more.
Even new keyboardist, Sean Zatorsky jumped off duties and began to join in on the vocal work which was different to see but altogether still impressive. Following this we had drum solos and intricate guitar pieces from the new members which displayed how right they are for the band.
Chimaira finished on “Resurrection” which finishes off what was left of the audience’s vocal chords with its screamed chorus and leaves everyone dripping in sweat, and excess multitudes of flying alcohol and various items but well and truly satisfied.