It is just before 10pm when the final strains of “Exochrist” signal the end of this gig. Axewound have been onstage for almost an hour by this point, and have gone down so well that they have had to play the song for a second time this evening – having casually knocked the song out third in the setlist around 40 minutes earlier.
“Exochrist” is typical of all their cuts – it could be a modern metal anthem. Their debut album “Vultures” has been out a grand total of four days but still their singer feels comfortable in giving the crowd a singalong as the guitarist starts up a killer riff. The 400 or so voices that greet him is just reward.
Ok, lets be honest Axewound aren’t your average new metal band. The aforementioned singer is Cancer Bats Liam Cornier, the guitarist is Matt Tuck from Brit arena botherers Bullet For My Valentine and the crowd has been drawn because of that. However if curiosity led the fans here, they will be back because the band is so damn good.
Axewound are completed second guitarist Mike Kingswood from Glamour Of The Kill, Jason Bould (ex Pitchshifter) on drums and former Rise To Remain bass player Joe Copcutt making them a rather modern metal supergroup, and frankly, they are seriously on form.
Beginning with the eponymous title track from “Vultures” the whole evening is the sort of sweat-drenched gig they protagonists probably dreamt of when thought this side project up.
However don’t let Cornier hear you call it a side-project. “We are here to have fun and play songs in a club,” he says. “Like real bands do – and we are a real band.” In fact his whole demeanor this evening is one of a man who is having the time of his life.
The group are the sum of its parts more than a mere Bullet For My Bats pastiche, although Tuck does take the lead vocals for their most Bullet-like song “Cold.” It is the last two songs that perhaps reveal the true ethos of Axewound. A cover of “Fucking Hostile” is followed by current single “Post Apocalyptic Party”, this really is just a bunch of metal fans having fun, and they are taking the rest of us along for the ride.
The opening act for this shindig were The Smoking Hearts, and they surprise us on a couple of counts, not least of which is the fact that given their name, we thought of some sort of 1980s glam metal homage. What we get was a sort of British take on Kvelertak, with the accent very much on punk’n’roll. “Sinking Ships” is a fine song and the Londoners are very much worth checking out.
Tonight, however, was all about Axewound and even allowing for a slightly unorthodox ending they absolutely slayed things tonight.