Regular readers might have spotted a pattern or two in the couple of years I have been reviewing gigs as Rock The Midlands.
One is that I go to a lot of gigs and watch a lot of genres (although I hate dance and pop if you are asking…) another is I rarely write in the first person unless I am attempting to make a point (believe me there is one coming!) and a third is that the certain bands that watch a lot and champion the cause of. Malefice are one of these, as are melodic power metallers Neonfly and most definitely Sylosis too.
The very first review I ever wrote on this blog (using horrible blue font for which I apologise!) was one of their show at the Institute Library on a blisteringly hot Friday in September 2011.
It is therefore gratifying to watch the band confidently stride out as the support to Lamb of God tonight, the sold out crowd is chanting “Sylosis, Sylosis” and knows their songs off by heart. Here is a band that not only has a stunning amount of talent for creating heavy, dense thrash metal with a proggy twist, but has done it on their own terms by playing live almost constantly and building a following the old fashioned – and for our money right - way.
Given 45 minutes tonight, they play songs from each of their albums, starting with “Fear The World” from the most recent “Monlith.” Other highlights include “Conclusion of An Age” and “Empyreal” and if anyone doesn’t know them before, they surely will after this.
The technical problems that led to Lamb of God’s disjointed performance at Bloodstock were not their fault, but either way, you always felt that this might be the show to see them in anyway. The chance to play a small venue for their only UK show of 2013 evidently appeals to Randy Blythe too. “We are like you,” he tells the crowd. “We aren’t from a big town, so this is cool.”
Blythe and rest of the God squad look happier tonight than two days before too, ploughing through the same set – an 80 minute romp that starts with “Desolation” and ends with “Black Label” but somehow looking invigorated.
As everyone knows, Blythe could have been in prison instead of in Wolverhampton tonight, had he been found guilty of the manslaughter of a fan in the Czech Republic. He mentions the incident just once tonight, calling it a “tragedy” that the young man lost his life, instead the group concentrate on the music.
From their beginnings as an almost death metal band, LOG have morphed into just a fine metal band. “Set To Fail” is an incredible song and “Redneck” remains an enticing proposition, just as it was when we first saw the five piece support Slayer a few years ago.
They are back in 2014, and if you missed it this time, make sure you are there then. And, that, as the band might say themselves, is an invitation.
Moreover, what tonight proves is that however good a festival is, there is no substitute for watching great bands in a great, but small venue.