Ft: Xerath, Betraeus and Deals Death
@ 02 Islington Academy II
Wed 9th May 2012
Review by: Wolf Shankland
Photography: Jo Blackened
Now this is a gig!!
It’s no surprise we saw such a big turnout tonight as Scar Symmetry hasn’t played in the UK for a while now and it was good to see that their UK fans came to show their support!
Sadly, the venue didn’t do them justice.
Now 02 Academy is an awesome venue, nice big stage and floor to boot but however the Academy II is small and intimate holding under 200 people, which sucks for band like this, but least the guys were able to sell it out tonight.
The good point for a venue like this is that you have the chance to get up close and personal to the band, but when you’ve got well over a few hundred metal heads all packed into a tiny room then you’re going to have issues, and to think, these bands playing tonight have played at major festivals, IE; Bloodstock!!
You have to ask yourself, what’s going on with the metal scene in London?…
But I digress…even though the venue was small it was still an immense show!
Starting with the almighty “Deals Death”!
Now these guys know how to put on a show!
With great energy these guys they really wanted the crowd interaction and know how to get the energy going.
These guys hail from Sweden and where originally formed by guitarist Erik Jacobson who began recording music at “Boomtown” in Borlange, Sweden, and a little bit of trivia for ya, Deals Death’s original line up consisted of members from “Sabaton”!! OOOH!!! But enough of that, back to the show!
I was disappointed to see how many people weren’t getting into these guys, especially as “Scar Symmetry” personally picked them for the tour.
But as most of the fans were only just arriving and still sober it can take them awhile to warm up.
Opening with the fierce ‘Collapse and Fearless’ the crowd still continued to stand idlely by and just watch. It wasn’t till ‘Eradicated’ poured out of the amps that the crowd really started to feel the rhythm.
Deals Death don’t usually play over this way that much but seeing as their good buddies with Scar Symmetry and Scar didn’t mind at all in having them on the bill, the crowds lack of participation did not get them down, and why should it?? The boys did well 4/5
Now, next up where Betraeus.
Now I really enjoyed these guys; such an awesome mixture of sounds coming out the amps.
You’d have a couple of songs pouring out loudly over the amps, then 30 seconds into it the mood would suddenly change from everyone’s hair flying across the room, to everyone getting jazzy and chilling out to their ambient sounds.
This Manchester formed band had the honour of playing at Bloodstock in 2010, so seeing them on such as small stage was sad to see.
Opening with songs ‘Rises and Descent to Death’, the fans of Betraeus began to emerge from the bar and show their appreciation for their UK brothers, and to be honest these guys blew me away with the switch from metal to ambient in most of the set.
They ended the set on Frustrate Recluse and Towards the Sun which had fans screaming for more, one girl in particular lol!
But I was very impressed that the stage didn’t hinder their performance. 4.5/5
Now next up is one hell of a band, another UK based tech band, on come Xerath!
Forming back in 2007 by guitarist Andy Phillips, drummer Michael Pitman and bassist/guitarist Owain Williams, the band first started out as an experiment to combine film score with syncopated guitar.
Then came vocalist Richard Thomson and since then they’ve played at festivals such as Bloodstock and Damnation Festival up in Leeds, but for now they played here tonight with Scar Symmetry, o the smallest stage ever!
But this didn’t stop the fans tonight, with mind crushing songs such as Call to Arms, False History and Unite to Defy bleeding out of the amps, the crowd chanted along, horns in the air, blood in their eyes.
Richard you son of a bitch, you know how to have to get the crowd going.
There was also a little announcement; drummer Michael Pitman will be drumming to BRUTAI’S latest EP!! So stay tuned!!! 5/5
But now is the band we’ve all been waiting for…
It’s been ages since this band came to play in the UK and have played at Bloodstock along with the rest of this amazing line up, so I’m gonna take this time to say well done to all the bands who played tonight.
Of all the venues to play and seeing as these guys have played bigger, 02 Academy II really made this room fill up to the brim with energy and sweat and its because of these guys. So without further a due… SCAR SYMMETRY takes to the stage!
Now unfortunately they only played with one guitarist tonight at Jonas could not make it, so Per took up the reigns and he did a fierce job!
The band opened with the brutal The Anomaly, Morphogenesis and The Iconclast.
The crowd pushed as far forward as possible to the stage without actually mounting it and with no photo pit or bouncers to stop them, they didn’t care what happened!
This caused a problem for our photographer tonight, but luckily Jo was able to go backstage & shoot afew snaps & video from the side of the stage…cause she would’ve got crushed to death otherwise!
A lot of people have said that this band couldn’t pull a decent gig off without Christian on the vocals, and I have to admit when I heard his departure I was a bit miffed, but guess what fans, Roberth and Lars tore the 02 Academy II to pieces!!
With fans screaming along to each word, half screams, half powerful melody!
How did they follow this amazing hit?? With Reborn and Rise of the Reptilian Regime, the crowd roared for more as they announced the last song:
The Path of Least Resistance. An unhappy crowd at this announcement but none the less, those who stood close enough to the stage knew this weren’t the case…
After a brief time off stage the crowd screamed for more and as expected they came back and with a monster of a tune, I’ve always wanted to see how two singers would pull this off and the did as The Illusionist poured out of the amp!
The crowd went insane tonight, with a small pit opening up as the verse tore through the academy! An amazing set from the lads as they ended with Retaliator and Chaosweaver!
I so hope it’s not too long before we see these guys again in the UK, especially as they’re working on their next album. 5/5
To Scar Symmetry and the rest of the bands who played on this tiny stage, we salute you sirs! Well done Guys!