It has been a while since we saw them play an ill-fated show at The Roadhouse last year when the antics of Pagan’s Mind ruined it for everyone, and my how they have improved!
“Liar” has Maiden overtones, while “On Wings Of Steel” and old favourite “Valhalla” tick all the Power Metal boxes. Theirs is a set of great confidence. It is also their final gig of 2012, with the band set to disappear to make a new record, which – if this is anything to go by – might be a bit special.
So what of Absolva? Half of the band used to be in RTM faves Fury UK, with guitarist/singer Chris Appleton and drummer Martin McNee forming the new group after Appleton’s bother, Luke accepted the offer of joining Iced Earth. That does not mean, however, that they are merely Fury UK Two.
You see, completing the group are not only local lad bass player Dan Bate, once of Point Blank Fury, but also crucially a second guitarist in Tom Atkinson, this means that while Fury were all about Appleton’s playing, Absolva are able to move into a more classic rock area. This is particularly evident on “It Is What It Is,” which has a solo that Thin Lizzy would be proud of.
Elsewhere, “Flames of Justice”- which is the title track of the bands debut album - is a strident and in your face opener, while current single “Code Red” is an immediately memorable track and if “Free” is their most Fury UK-alike moment, then the new band has enabled them to explore other areas, “From Beyond The Light” is a very decent stab at thrash metal, and “Only When Its Over” is Appleton exploring the power ballad.
The hour long set sees Absolva play their album (although not in order) and tellingly no Fury UK songs are aired. This means that songs like the magnificent “Death By Lightening” have been put away for now, but it is a decision to be welcomed. This is a band that is looking forward to a future that deserves to be bright, and one that has a fresh sound.
RTM saw them at Bloodstock, but even in a few months giant strides have been made. Give it a year and – with the constant touring you know the band will do – Absolva will be even better. Their potential is frightening because tonight was a magnificent start.