The Misplaced Metalhead Volume Five
Promoter: KneeDeep Clothing
Date: Thursday 12th January 2012
Venue: The Railway, Winchester
Bands: Blood of the Spectre, House Fires, As Gods, Bloodworks, Eyes Like Knives
Okay so people who actually follow my blog (that’s all one and a half of you) and people who like my reviews (just me) do seem to be treated nowadays with the amount of gigs I’m going to and blogs I’m writing. Starting to become a regualr thing isn’t it? Anyway this has got nothing to do with the review, I just usually say something at the start of these and find myself without anything to say this time round. Nevertheless I’d like to start by saying thank you to anybody who is actually reading these and I hope to see you at the next gig with any of the bands who I’ve recommended.
Opening act Eyes Like Knives started out in promising form to the meagre crowd in The Railway, launching ahead with their opening number promising a ferocity which set the bar pretty high for the rest of the night. Best described as a sonic assault, the combiend efforts of vocalist/guitarist Lewis Lennane-Emm, guitarist Chris Sanderson, bassist Joe Paine and drummer Dan Dibben were impressive to both listen to and watch. The three standing members flew around the stage with a reckless abandon truly befitting a youthful band in this genre and really set the gig off at fever pace. That said, the heavy bass and drum lines did have a tendancy to overpower the mix, leading to a lot of fretwork on the part of Sanderson to be lost and completely drowning any attempts at clean vocals by Lennane-Emm (which, to be honest, seemed a little out of place anyway). Nevertheless the band did offer some great banter with the crowd to get them in the mood and even launched into a minute long jazz fuelled intro to one of their songs halfway through the set, adding a great flare of unexpected variety calling everybody to wake up and take notice.
All in all Eyes Like Knives are a great no-frills metalcore band giving you everything you need from the genre and not trying to be something they’re not, although I wouldn’t be surprised to watch them bust out something unexpectedly epic sometime soon.
Following Eyes Like Knives in the third support slot (a spot they deserve to be much higher than, frankly) stepped up the band I had come to see – Bloodworks. You may remember from the first Volume of Misplaced Metalhead that I saw Bloodworks back in October 2011 as part of the first Mosh! night in the opening slot and was highly complimentary. I am very happy to say that the young lads do not disappoint this time round and have come back with even more vigour than before. For a band so young (I don’t think any of the members are over 18) Bloodworks has a phenomenal amount of talent. The fretwork by guitarists Kieran and Lewis and bassist Turk moved at breakneck speeds dazzling to behold and was held together deftly by the thunderous beats laid down by drummer Liam. Inventive tapping by both Lewis and Turk and the powerful screams of Kieran punctuated the best things about this band, their sheer talent and aggression.
Just like my last review, I have to look very very closely to find any fault with these guys and to be honest, I cannot find any as such. Personally, I think the band could benefit from a bit of clean vocals from Kieran to provide some variety to the show and hit some different emotion but it’s not something they need at all. The out and out fury is something to behold. All I can say is I sincerely hope they get all of the attention their talents deserve and, if you haven’t already, watch this fucking band.
Seemingly echoing my thoughts for a touch of variety in the gig came the next support slot filled by As Gods. Unlike most of the bands I’ve seen at this venue, As Gods take their focus away from being harder and fast than anybody else and have a much more restrained and considered approach to the metal genre. Clean vocals provided by vocalist and consumate frontman Howard Ridgeon were perfectly pitched and emotionally effective, framed perfectly by the rest of the band. If anything its a bit of a shame that Ridgeon is so perfectly fitted into his role as frontman as the rest of the band do have a tendancy to fade away as a result but fortunately they have the talent to come back kicking, especially in heavier songs proving that this is a band which can’t be put in a box too easily. The rhythm was kept solid by bassist Sam Smith and drummer Elliot Ridgeon and paved the way for some tight guitar work from Fred Spooner and Jonny Price.
Soft, heavy, hard, fast, relaxed, soulful, furious. This is a band which can do a lot and, as long as you’re not an antisocial ‘heavy as fuck or fuck all’ wanker you’ll probably love them.
We were supposed to see Blood of the Spectre next by billed headliners The Valiant couldn’t make the gig (no idea why) so B.O.T.S got promoted to headliner and their place was filled by Pompey psychopaths Housefires. Psychopaths Nick? Bit harsh. No it’s not, its a perfectly reasonable observation given the way the band took to the stage. I’ve seen a lot of physical bands during my 3 years coming to The Railway but none have been quite as insane as Housfires. Vocalist Callis and bassist Jimmy made the floor their bitch, jumping around audience members, using the lead from the mic to lassoo them in closer, even dragging the monitor off the stage to better hear themselves as they brought carngae to the people of Winchester. As a soundtrack to this onslaught guitarists Joe and Ollie and drummer Nate tore through the set like a bullet train on speed, providing additional vocals here and there whilst Callis was too busy trying to tear the fucking walls down. I’ll be honest I didn’t pay too much attention to the music, was a little busy moshing and trying to not headbutt Jimmy’s bass as he careened around the crowd.
Musically there wasn’t a lot to differentiate these guys from their contemporaries but its in the sheer energy of their show that they won me over. Brutal, intense and exhillirating. Even when Jimmy’s bass quit on him he took the initiative. He started a (small) pit, he pushed over pieces of the drumkit, he wrestled Callis to the floor. If anything it was the crowd who let these guys down, if they could get a bunch of metalheads as mental as they were in the crowd then that’d be a gig worth surviving.
Finishing up the night, promoted from their billed status as lead support, came headliners Blood of the Spectre. I’d heard the name a couple of times before back in the days when gigs were a lot harder to afford and my life was busier, making getting to them difficult. So, as I’m sure you can guess, I was looking forward to hearing what they had to offer. B.O.T.S. are an impressive band to listen to and offer an extreme and frantic brutality in their brand of metal. I’m sorry to say though that, apart from this, not a lot else was offered by these headliners. The bar had been set fucking high by the other bands tonight, even the relatively unassuming opener gave some impressive licks and shockers to add to the mix of variety, but B.O.T.S. fired off an ear assaulting metal behemoth with very little to differentiate from other bands. Vocalist Nick Brooks tried his hardest to get the audience involved but following the insane antics of Housefires was a mountain to climb and not a challenge I would wish on anybody. In any other circumstances I’m sure these guys would’ve been amazing and you can see that they have what it takes to develop into something incredible but they were up against some very promising up and coming talent tonight and, if I’m honest, could’ve been eclipsed by it.
I’m really sorry, I hate giving bad reviews, especially for headliners, B.O.T.S. were a great brutal band offering an intense and punishing sound for any hardcore or thrash fan out there, I just couldn’t help but think that the gig peaked a little earlier in the evening.
Look out for the supports guys, because they’re the ones that are going to surprise you and, if you’re lucky, you could be saying you saw them before it all went global.
Eyes Like Knives: 7/10
As Gods: 8/10
Blood of the Spectre: 5/10
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- The Misplaced Metalhead – New Beginnings
- The Misplaced Metalhead Volume Fifteen
- The Misplaced Metalhead Volume Fourteen
- The Misplaced Metalhead Volume Thirteen
- The Misplaced Metalhead Volume Twelve
- Bigotry is My Business…and Business is Good.
- The Misplaced Metalhead Volume Eleven
- The Misplaced Metalhead Volume Ten
- The Misplaced Metalhead Volume Nine