“Their set tonight is a relatively short one, and most of the material is pulled from their latest offering The Fateful Dark, but this doesn’t stop the front row head banging along to every tune”
Spytfyre (5) open proceedings tonight. Self proclaimed purveyors of ‘Progressive Soul Metal’ (whatever the fuck that means), the local quintet actually play, what sounds like a half decent set of straight up, old school metal songs. Whilst they are, admittedly, let down by poor sound issues, the general level of playing seems somewhat sloppy and it turns out that by ‘progressive’ they mean long songs, and by soul they mean clean vocals. In itself, not a bad thing but these terms are not necessarily interchangable. To make a fair judgement of the band overall, it would be interesting to hear them with a better mix. Unfortunately, tonight they fall flat.
Also feeling the effects of sound and equipment issues, are the second local act of the night, the usually brilliant Dendera (7), who to their credit, plough on through their short set with admirable enthusiasm. Especially considering that problems with Tony Fuller’s guitar set-up means that for a large chunk of the set, only one guitar is audible. Not an easy feat when a band’s sound is heavily reliant on duelling guitar solos and heavy riffing. Still, the rest of the band sound tight and their distinctively voiced singer manages to hit those high notes with ease.
The main support slot, and indeed the first band to seemingly not suffer any technical issues, are the Peterborough based; The More I See (8). Their no-nonsense, straight up modern metal has an infectious groove to it, and they are also the first act of the night able to encourage an unusually standoffish crowd, to take a few steps closer. Their impassioned speech on the state of the current metal scene and blasting of numpties who spend entire gigs on their iphones, strikes a chord with this audience, the headbanging begins and at last this feels like a proper metal gig! Some of the guitar work on display is absolutely mesmerising and certain songs, including the massive ‘The Spirit of Freedom’ wouldn’t sound out of place on stages three times this size.
Savage Messiah (8) are still riding high on the wave of the rejuvinated British thrash scene from a couple of years ago. Whilst not quite making the same kind of impact that, say, Evile, did; the London metallers have nevertheless garnered a small but dedicated group of followers. Indeed previous support slots in this city with Evile and then later Soulfly, have helped to boost the bands repuatation to such a level, that by the time they take to the stage, the previously sparse crowd, is beginning to fill out a bit.
Their set tonight is a relatively short one, and most of the material is pulled from their latest offering The Fateful Dark, but this doesn’t stop the front row headbanging along to every tune, and the short set-length probably works in Savage Messiah’s favour, allowing them to concentrate on their heavier material so as to keep the energy levels high. The furious fretwork and flawless drumming of thrash, coupled with the classic metal hooks make this act a joy to watch every single time, and as has been noted on occasion, they bear more than a passing resemblance to a younger Megadeth, both visually and sonically (With the exception of Dave Silver’s distinctive, King Diamond-esque vocals). Whilst failing to break much new ground, Savage Messiah do what they do extremely well and joyfully bring to a close what started as a slightly iffy night of metal.
Words – Alex Loach
Photography – Jane Driver