A New Awakening - Killswitch Engage and Trivium slay those before them
There’s always something special in the air when metal’s biggest players come together as a live entity. The Big 4 at Sonisphere, Slipknot, Maiden and Rammstein at Download and the recently announced Motley Crue/Alice Cooper farewell tour are prime examples of raising a metalhead’s heart rate higher than their first naughty movie. Now, Trivium and Killswitch Engage, two of the biggest players in modern metal, have joined forces to give fans a mighty wake up call at the start of the year and they pull it off with horn-raising results.
Battlecross / Miss May I / Trivium / Killswitch Engage – Brixton Academy 02.02.14First up, Battlecross put on a fine display of powerfully technical songs to an Academy that is unfortunately for them, still far from full. Blisteringly fast drums and manic guitars collide with guttural vocals and on first listen, it’s brilliant. Sadly their performance gets cut short by one song after ‘Flesh & Bone’, but in their short tenure on the stage they definitely grabbed the attention of those who saw them enough to ensure that the word will begin to spread like wildfire. Miss May I are up next and although they are the least heavy prospect of tonight’s acts and will no doubt be dismissed by many on their name alone, they more than hold their own under carding the heavyweights. Circle pits explode as thrash riffs collide with huge melodic choruses and new track ‘Gone’ promises much for their upcoming album. They finish their set with the signature ‘Hey Mister’ and with any luck, won over some new fans tonight who may have shunned them in the past. As the anticipation rises, so do the theatrical elements of the show when Trivium’s wildly metal stage set is wheeled out by dozens of road crew. Two giant Trivium ‘T’ swords tower over either side of the stage, the drum riser is fronted by some sort of ice/rock looking combination that also covers the monitors at the front of the stage and we haven’t even seen the light show yet. It’s not as if Trivium need all this production to hide the weakness of their songs either. As soon as ‘Brave This Storm’ kicks in, the crowd erupts, showing that there’s still plenty of faith left in Trivium six albums deep. ‘Like Light to Flies’ reminds us why we thought they were so vital in the first place and by now there’s all manner of lights, smoke cannons and other stage wizardry going on. Not to be upstaged by their live show, Trivium tear through their set spanning all six albums with utmost precision. At points, it almost seems too clinical, but there’s hardly room for error in songs like ‘A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation’ and ‘Shogun’. An enormous ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr’ rounds off a triumphant set that was all caught on camera, no doubt to be a true spectacle when it’s released to the public. All praises due to Trivium, there’s one band left tonight who are currently at the height of their game. With original vocalist Jesse Leach fully back in the swing of things, Killswitch Engage are currently better than ever. The opening rumble of ‘A Bid Farewell’ builds the excitement levels to fever pitch before it kicks in proper and Brixton goes apeshit. Sounding absolutely HUGE from the off, Killswitch proceed to prove why they are currently unsurpassable in terms of showmanship and intensity with songs like ‘This Is Absolution’ and ‘The New Awakening’ crushing Brixton and causing all manner of pit uproar. It’s inspiring to see Jesse bounding around the stage, giving every note everything he’s got, injecting a new vigour into songs like ‘The Arms of Sorrow’ and ‘Rose of Sharyn’ whilst ensuring that new tracks like ‘Beyond the Flames’ and the lighter raising ‘Always’ become new classics. Adam D is a class act as always, with his tiny denim hot pants/vest combination and none of the band miss a beat even though they are running around constantly interacting with the crowd and each other. You can tell they’re having a blast and this just feeds more energy to the crowd on golden oldies like ‘My Last Serenade’ and the mighty ‘Fixation on the Darkness’ Perhaps it's because it's a Sunday, but we get a seemingly shorter set than usual, which could probably be the only complaint from an otherwise perfect set. ‘In Due Time’, The End of Heartache’ (with a MONSTROUS singalong) and ‘My Curse’ round off a set that once again shows that Killswitch Engage are a huge entity in the metal scene. Throughout the show there were people singing in each others arms, air guitaring, pitting and basically having a good time to some excellent music. It was the perfect feel good metal show with a fine balance between showmanship, metal mastery and bloody good fun. 9/10