Demon Hunter / Deadlock / Nightrage / Insense
@ O2 Islington Academy
Saturday 5th May 2012
Review by Chris Rossiter
Photography by Michelle Murphy
So here we are, a warm Saturday in early May, and I’m out doing my first Review for Metal-Rules.com! Stoked to see some amazing bands too!
Unfortunately due to logistic problems, as London transport doesn’t like to work on Weekends, I get to the Islington Academy 2, just in time to miss Insense’s set…Sorry guys, I will catch you and review you next time your over these shores!
So on we crack with the night, the crowds already sweating, and here comes Nightrage!
With their near power metal riffs, yet with the aggressive vocals of Antony Hämäläinen. Nightrage are a top act.
Seems a shame they are on so early this night, with the crowd into them as much as you’d expect with a head liner. "Scathing" Kicks in with a melodic guitar piece before the build up begins. As the song kicks in to full force, the crowd are loving it, heads are banging, fists are in the air. Suddenly the vocals kick in and theirs a sea of hair. "Scathing" leads us into a near "core" breakdown, they pull it off with a dazzling riff over it, showing how talented they are.
The next song is off of their latest release "Insidious" kicks in with ferocity and power, Maintaining the extreme quality of their performance. The Solo breaches your ears to leave just a full metal onslaught in your mind.
Antony leaves the crowd to know what the next song that kicks in with a groove riff. Everyone happily obliges. The pace starts to settle midway through and moves into a melodic moment, with Antony’s calm and harmonious singing, showing he’s far from a one trick pony, while lead guitarist Marios Iliopoulos plays an intricate piece. Once again the speed picks up with the smashing of toms and bass drum, not giving the crowd a moments peace, not that they want it.
Nightrage’s final song of the night "The Tremor" from their début album "Sweet Vengeance" leaves the crowd only wishing for more. Luckily for them they still have the awesome Deadlock and the indomitable Demon Hunter.
The lights dim, a beautiful string quartet pieces comes on over the PA The soft suddenly turns to dark before an electro beat kicks in and the drummer Tobias Graf (only member on stage at this time) gets the crowd into a clapping frenzy.
Quicker than lightning, the rest of his comrades appear on stage to a massive cheer before "song" kicks in, to once more, a sea of head banging and flailing hair. John Gahlert opens up the vocal assault with his near Tomas Lindberg vocals before Sabine Scherer enters the fold, who’s angelic voice pulls me, along with the rest of the crowd into her arms.
I think I’m in love!
" The Brave/Agony Applause" is announced with the crowd clapping along to the beat as Sabine lets out her beautiful voice once more. The song speeds up and John assaults us with his gravelly vocals. The song breaks down with hard hitting drums and Sabines bellowing rhymes, leaving the crowd in a trance as the song closes off.
A technical fault doesn’t leave the crowd waiting, instead John talks about the absent second guitarist Gert Rymen being absent expecting his first child in a matter of hours. The crowd are all smiling and focused on John’s charismatic ways.
Deadlocks next song kicks in and has the crowd bouncing so hard that I kop a a face full of beer. No bother as the song has the crowd frenzied in an energetic response. Sabine’s memorizing voice wails as the track settles down. In a blink of an eye everyone’s wind milling again.
A techno piece that can only be described as German disco pop, comes on over the PA once more. "Code of Honour" kicks in with the duality of John’s metal as fuck vocals and the dreamy voice of Sabine swapping over and combining with amazing effect. The song moves in to a sad emotional piece with Sabine singing, "I wish I could die right now, so I could live another day" which would bring a tear to a less sturdy man eye.
An "old one" is up next, as Deadlock continue to have the crowd on their toes, not letting us take a breather. All the guys in black shirts and Sabine in a beautiful white dress with a black rim only adds to the experience and works wonders on everyone’s visual senses. The quintet for the night have so much fun on stage that the crowd can only feed off of the energy.
One for the girls now, "State of Decay" starts up with Sabine’s voice once more. John takes his leave from the stage for this vocal solo, allowing the focus to lay solely on Sabine’s amazing voice and gorgeous demeanour.
John continues with the traditional "HOAAAAAAAAAAR" after each song before getting the whole crowd to shout and cry out the word "Sirens" when "Awakened by Sirens" is announced. The song trails off leaving me to wonder how so many pop stars worldwide make a fortune when their voices aren’t nearly as capturing as Sabines.
Leaving just one more song, it kicks in with the whole crowd pogo’ing. "End Beings" makes sure not one person is going home unsatisfied tonight. Once more the double team of two distinctly polar opposite vocals that harmonise together with perfection, assaults your senses. The German disco backing track that comes in before Sebastian plays a killer solo. The crowds bouncing for the rest of this song before an amazing set comes to an end.
I fully expect to see these guys back over these shores soon for a headlining tour. Demon Hunter are up next.
As soon as the lights dim, the crowd loses their collective mind. They’re pumped for our head liners this evening!!!
The Christian metal quintet, all dressed in 3 piece suits, bar the drummer who opted for the lightness of the vest top and shorts, come out to a relaxing yet dark backing track. All on stage except vocalist Ryan Clark, who waits down the side passage ready to unleash. The clash of the cymbals rattles the room as the first song "Lifewar" kicks in. Aggression is their name, power is their ???.
Barely over a minute into their set, a piercing solo kicks in, leaving the crowd drooling for more. The song beings to slow, which brings some real atmosphere to this bustling venue. The first songs over, the crowd are panting, but they’ve only just begun.
"The World is A Thorn" comes into play with ferocity. Sounding akin to trash legends Slayer, Demon hunter don’t give their rabid fans a chance to breath.
You wouldn’t believe they’re a Christian Metal band, with the assault on your senses that they bring to the stage. You can almost take parts of their songs and attribute them to roots such as Hardcore, whilst the thrash element is there and so is some serious melody. A brilliant combination, working so well that as I look back, the entire venue is moving in cohorts with the band, something that isn’t always the case at gigs. Whoever said the metal scene is dying, clearly has no idea, especially with Primordial and Hell playing downstairs, splitting the loyal metallers of London and its surrounding areas. Islington belongs to Metal this bank holiday weekend!
For a band who haven’t played here for 18 months, they have a rapport with the crowd like their locals. 3 songs into the set, "Fading Away" smashes you in the face. With hardcore drums and squealing riffs, the crowd sings along to the chorus allowing Ryan to catch a breath in his frantic onslaught on our ears. Mr Clark asks for a fist pump and an "Oi" from the crowd, who jump at the chance.
The high backing vocals of lead guitarist Patrick Judge only adds some serious effect to their performance. Another dimension adding to their already solid sound and performance. "My Destiny" is up next and hits us with the crowd bouncing and head banging, it’s gonna be an achy Sunday for this crowd. A near two step hardcore beat, overrun with wailing riffs and Ryans rocking sound, gives them an edge that immediately has you bouncing with the music. Ryan Clark is like a David Draman, with bags more talent, and that’s saying something. Also with the desire to change with each song, rather than stick to the one style throughout.
A "Slow One" for the crowd as "Dead Flowers" begins. Something tells me that this song should be on everyone’s play lists, on all the music channels in the world and hell, even in the charts! Saying that better not let you think badly of this song, I’m merely stating how easy on the ears and soul it is, and how ridiculously loveable the song is. *Just to note, this is still on my iPhones play list and has been since the gig*.
Continuing on, through the heavy "Undying", no ones leaving yet! Feels like they’ve only just begun!!! "Undying" finishes up with a meaty riff and heavy hitting drums, leading through to the next song with amazing energy. Bassist Jonathan Dunn’s bass is so low its more or less laying on his feet as he smashes his head and his energy into the bass line. A perfect song to leading up to a real hit in "Collapsing", which sounds perfect. Not one note or beat off between the 5 of them, Demon Hunter are of an industrial tightness. The crowd sings along to every word, and they know their moneys well spent. No ones slacking energy, neither band nor crowd.
The band even come back to do an Encore after the crowd chants maniacally for them till they took back the stage and leapt into "Storm the Gates of Hell". A bullet straight to the face, leaving us with the heaviness that they started their set with. Let’s thank Demon Hunter for leaving us with that ringing in our heads and ears all the way home tonight.
What a show put on by all the bands, and I’m sure it’s not long before they’re all back over these shores, due to demand, if nothing else. If you don’t know any of these bands, check them out, you won’t regret it.