Review by Sheri Bicheno for MPM
You cant beat a midweek gig to break the week up and blow some accumulated cobwebs away. At The Asylum in Birmingham, another killer gig by the Surprise You’re Dead label no less!
Excited to hear that the lads in Elyrean – a favourite of these parts of the midlands answer to Thrash – had landed the show, I practically skipped down to the venue to show my support and also finally get to sink my teeth into Hellripper – but more on that later.
Entering the Asylum, it was pretty packed out already with Elyrean starting to hit the stage.
Winding of guitars and then a full throttle intro amongst an ambient launch into a Melodic Thrash to start the next part of the evening.
A sharp curing riff melts the stage, then the vocals of Will Edwards kicks in with a dark and deepening tone to set the mood of the night.
Blacken The Sun doesn’t mess around with the depth of melodic death metal vibes echoing more through this track than your full speed ahead thrash that Elyrean are known for. It’s a gorgeous combination of speed bullet kit work from Daryl that command the pace of breakdowns with shining skills of lacing different direction of moods with guitars from Will and Dan.
The Omniscient One showcases another depth of Elyrean that has a more doom and blackened thrash element to it, particularly in the vocals of Will.
I save the best for last with Elyrean – their newly released single Perpetually Entombed had it’s time to shine and by far showcased some of the best dual riffing from both Will and Dan.
Will’s vocals take on a raspier guttural giving this track it’s hardcore-esque Thrash element and in the hall of The Asylum, the blasting bass remains true to the technical and soul booming echoes of Elyrean. Mind you, Josh is an exceptional bassist and wipes the floor of The Asylum with the backbone of bassy depths in Elyrean’s live setting.
Next came newcomers Tailgunner.
Having been new to Tailgunner – this was one of the best combinations of Thrash and Power Metal I’ve seen for some time. I am not a huge fan of the Power elements of metal music, to each their own – however, these guys brought such energy to The Asylum and it reflected back into the crowd, their sound is huge and it cannot go unnoticed how they made the venue shake.
HUGE sound and with a new track to boot, it came hammering fast and ferociously.
White Death displayed the speed metal depths of Tailgunner. The guitars of Patrick and Zach were matched with the thundering kit work of Sam, in an energetic fusion of chuggy riffs and gunshot beats, the feel was very much a nostalgic 80’s metal vibe. Kind of reminding me of the New Wave bands in a lot of ways.
About halfway through the song, a STUNNING solo rings out amongst the blast beats and the melody changes the dynamic of the performance to a more emotionally deep feel amongst Tailgunner.
To top this explosive set, we were treated to an absolutely EVIL rendition of Hall of the Mountain King.
The Asylum is brimful of people and dark. The stage dims to black and cheers cry out for Scottish outfit Hellripper.
Spectres Of The Blood Moon Sabbath kicks things off with a high bar setting, a combination of bold groove elements blended with a blackened depth to throw down the textures on your ears. James’s vocals are a bloodbath but still round with atmospheric pulses along with the ambience of the instrumental side of Hellripper. Brutal Assault whilst Hell’s Rock and Roll was full of shredding riffs and pounding drums. Like Motorhead had a baby with Black Metal…
“Let’s speed things up..”
Thus, Goat Vomit Nightmare rained down a monsoon of evil riffs hurtling faster towards the ground than gravity could allow. The shredding of thunderous riffs and tones reaching all the way through dark and heavy melodies opened up one of the biggest pits The Asylum has seen for some time.
The Nuckelavee exhibits critically devastating guitar fretting, blastbeating drums and James’ howling pipes combining together to create a ferocious sound, blending classic speed and black metal to spur the crowd on.
These tastes of some new tracks warms us up before we’re taken into memory lane with the ever memory etched All Hail The Goat – a perfect balance of speed and black elements lacing through eachother with James’ devastating vocals barking through the dark of the stage. The momentum keeps pummeling forward until a break up in speed and direction of the guitars around a minute and a half into the track and introduces a gateway for a stunning fast paced shredding solo.
Last track Headless Angels comes racing in with scratching speed riffs and outline the blackened edge of Hellripper. The bloodcurdling scream in the final moments seals the night, delivering full impact to the crowd warming up for L.A Thrashers WARBRINGER…
Vocalist John Kevill cries out from a stage lit with beaming lights and smokey effects which erupts into whiplash riffs and thrashing drums of Firepower Kills.
Here we are introduced to a track in its live setting talking to us of the dangerous world of technology and its spirals.
The crowd is in full force of pits and bodies flying everywhere from the offset whilst the roof of The Asylum was THUMPING.
Gorgeously beautiful riffs melting into shreds of pure evil from Chase Becker as we glide into The Black Hand Reaches Out whilst Carlos Cruz delivers a stunning display of double pedalling throughout Crushed Beneath The Tracks.
Guitar chugs glide alongside bullet speed drum beats fire out in a pummeling delivery of Living In A Whirlwind – here, we hear John’s voice deliver a matched chuggy thrash vocal that supports the hammer like beatdowns and note change up of guitars.
Chase Bryant’s basswork provides the deep evil backtone for a powerful maddening energy throughout the song that encapsulates around the hurtling strings of Chase Becker and Adam Carroll.
“You guys still alive out there?” John addresses the crowd to cheers – a confirmation that on this Wednesday evening, a schoolnight, everyone is very much alive and well,
“Alright…well let’s fix that.”
The riffs ring out and make impact with another monumental drum synchronising battering as the completely sinful Hunter Seeker introduces us to nearly 4 minutes of pure brutality. John commands the stage, with energy all over the place, headbanging WITH FEELING and wreaking havoc amongst the sea of bodysurfers heading towards his way.
His gutturals amongst the gunshot kit thunders and guitar speed riffs are intangible. There’s a heartbeat pause and then BAM.
A stunning guitar solo rings out and the crowd are entranced for a few moments before we are crashing into a sudden end.
The most beautifully ambient melody breathes out of the stage before a huge drum twist entwines with an equally heartstopping riff that melt into the melodic strings and sways us into a deep dark walk into John’s vocals that take on a blackened edge in Defiance of Fate – this is by far my favourite track of the set.
This is a blackened more melodic edge that we see to Warbringer that entices dark dreamlike strings and synths to deliver a stunning mood to the audience. The guitar solo wraps the whole song into a rising energy and shows us that melodic blackened thrash is something that is very much alive.
Encores bring about Silhouettes and offers no surprises but is brimful of classic thrash with fiercely aggressive riffs and chugging bass. The speed thrash riffs on top of the supporting melodies pack a punch and the vocals are again, classic thrash – this is a highly nostalgic feeling of 80’s influenced thrash metal. Much like Exodus.
Remain Violent is a very striking and aggressive track, full of punchy dropkick riffs and beats and addresses us of a higher authority and the abuse of power. There are hints of elements of punk in this track with the chugging bass, riffs and chanting vocals. But not for long as the signature thrash reigns all and keeps well within the lines of maximum effect.
Very last track is classic Warbringer – Total War delivers high impact face blasting thrash / death metal vocals and riffs that are maddeningly tight and come at you faster than a rampaging animal ready to sink it’s teeth into you.
This last track has the effect it desires. The Asylum’s pit is insane. There are bodies everywhere – thus wiping any illusion that mid-weeks shows should never be underestimated.
Photography by Pete Key for MPM