With the onset of February we are getting a little busier. 2nd, Protest The Hero, 6th Del Amitri, 9th Molly Hatchet, 14th Monster Magnet, 15th Dream Theater, 19th, Sons Of Icarus, 20th Skyclad, 25th Soulfly, 26th Cadillac Three

And maybe a couple more to be added.

Saturday 30 June 2012

HOSTILE, Captain Horizon, Point Black Fury, Zombie Xtras, Chemikill @Academy 3 30/6/12

Its not often, in fact it will most probably never happen again, that RTM finds itself fighting through crowds of people waiting to see the Olympic flame on our way to a gig.

And yet that is the rather odd spectacle that greets us on the way to the Academy 3 tonight. It is a shame that more of these flag waving saps hadn’t made their way to the venue instead, as for the second time in two weeks five local bands are gathered together under the Emma Scott Presents banner.

Tamworth’s Chemikill are first up. Playing music for over 20 years, the five piece are interesting affair. Frontwoman Natalie is growling one minute and hitting high notes the next, indeed it is hard not to think of Arch Enemy’s Angela Gossow on occasion, except the music is more heavy than death metal. Set closer “Psycho” is perhaps the high point, but it’s not a bad start at all.

If you judged Zombie Xtras by their name you might think they were some horror punk outfit out of the Mifits school. If you judged them by the appearance of their bass man Rich you would think of a Black Metal band (he is wearing something approaching corpse paint and a t shirt urging us to “smoke crack and worship satan”.)

 Well its time to think again, because Zombie have a sound that veers from groove metal, moves through some Saxon-esque chops (“Killing Fields” and the Jack the Ripper homage “Fry In Hell”) and ends up at hard rock with “Redneck Agenda” and “Devil in the Flesh.” Their’s is a set to confound expectations and they are band worth checking out.

 It is perhaps a surprise to see Point Blank Fury this far down this type of bill. A while ago they were amongst the most promising of the unsigned Midlands metal crop, but then they split and are almost having to start again. However, since a triumphant return in March, they seem to be taking a serious stab at things. Not even the loss of their bass player to Chris Appleton’s post-Fury UK band has perturbed them (tonight’s replacement has had one rehearsal with the band).

So what of the songs? Well “Ashes” sounds as good as ever, “Change Tomorrow” is the type of trad metal epic that gets White Wizard selling records around the world, and signature tune “Night Skies” is just a brilliant five minutes. Lets hope the second time around is a good one for Fury.

On our notes for Captain Horizon, we have written just one thing: Witty. This is not a reflection on their joke telling abilities, more the man christened as Steve Whittington. Witty is just about the best frontman in the Midlands. He could sing the phonebook and make the damn thing entertaining.

Less straight ahead metal than the other bands on the bill, with some almost prog and poppy elements to their sound, they draw the evening’s biggest crowd by quite a way. Indeed, there is an argument to suggest they could have headlined this thing, but no matter. “Light Years” is a fine rocking moment and the new EP (available for free download on their website) is a statement of intent. They will be back.

The first time RTM saw Hostile was when they opened for Hatebreed a couple of years ago. The intervening period has seen them make some headway. Having the patronage of KK Downing (the Priest legend produced their album) and Alex Hill the son of another Priest man, Ian Hill, on bass, has helped them gain a double page spread in Metal Hammer and plenty of hits on Youtube. What it hasn’t given them at this stage – if we are being honest – is any great originality.

 In the changeover between bands the PA is playing Lamb of God and it is from them and groups like Pantera that Hostile take their cues. That is of course not a bad thing, and both are great bands. However, second song in singer Jay Mills is encouraging us to “put our middle fingers in the air” over a song called  “I Don’t Give A Fuck,” which probably gives some clues about where we are headed.

 "Addiction” is an attempt to bring the tempo down mid-set, but just plods along, but after that Hostile do hit their stride and begin to show what the fuss is about, “No Salvation”, “Blood For Blood” and set closer “Dig Up The Power” are free of angry clichés and much better for it.

Hostile could be pretty good if they could channel their anger a little better, you feel, and maybe that will come with time. But on a night that started with the Olympic torch relay, it was Point Blank Fury that took the gold.

1 comment:

  1. Cheers for the review, glad you enjoyed the set. we are at vagabonds 6th July and Judgestock at the public 7th July.