We love a bit of metal so we went down to Brixton Academy to see Trivium headline Metal Hammer’s Defenders of the Faith tour with In Flames, Ghost and Rise To Remain in tow. Insense played as well but they played really, really early and Gary didn’t even manage to take photos of them up in Manchester. There are loads of photos. Go click on them and then go visit Gary’s website because he’s awesome.
Six things we figured out whilst watching all the metal in Brixton:
1) Rise To Remain really can do this. They’ve had their doubters but this is by far their most impressive performance. Austin Dickinson is only 21 years old. Think about that. He’s an absolute monster onstage and works the crowd incredibly well. Musically, songs from the band’s debut album, City of Vultures come alive onstage. Make no mistake, this is a band that’s improving all the time and their potential is slowly being realised.
2) British Metal is in something of a resurgence at the moment. While we still have to call Bullet For My Valentine the Biggest British Metal Band and Iron Maiden et al are still flying the flag, there’s a new breed of metal bands coming up on their first couple of albums – think of Tesseract and Sylosis for instance – who are genuinely exciting and, I believe, can genuinely make an impact both musically and commercially. Here’s to a bright future!
3) A bit of cabaret is nothing without the music to back it up. I often have the conversation about why Slipknot were ever taken seriously in their red boiler suits and silly masks but then one sentence about the songs on that self-titled debut album and everyone concedes immediately. It’s the same thing with Ghost. If their songs weren’t plucked from the top drawer, there’s no way that this masquerade would hold water. Not a chance.
4) In Flames would get more credit if they’d split up ten years ago. It’s a problem when a truly great, pioneering metal band stays together and keeps recording new material which tries to push their boundaries and tours consistently. They become part of the furniture, regardless of how good they are, and In Flames are so good tonight. It’s a performance that comes from years of practice and confidence. It’s clear how much influence this band has had over the reset of the line-up. Let’s not forget that, eh?
5) Trivium are still excellent. After their third album lull they may not have bombed on to be the ubiquitous arena band that we all suspected they would be when they burst onto the scene eight or so years ago but they selling this many tickets is no mean feat. Heafy is still the same excellent frontman that he’s always been and there is no doubt that he could control 15,000 fans rather than the 5,000 he has in front of him now, but he works with what he’s got.
6) It’s nice when bands don’t take themselves 100 per cent seriously, 100 per cent of the time. When some hilarious people on the internet took the piss out of Matt Heafy’s vocals on ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr’ and made the following video, it could have gone either way. When members of the other bands on this tour ran onstage for the song and started shouting, “BOAT! RUDDER!” however, it was one of the most fun moments of 2011 for certain.