20th August 2011 Review by James Meakin
Photography by Jolie Swannack
Three bands tore Camden Rock kicking and screaming back to its roots. Riffs, solos and roars oozed from the walls of this North London sweatbox firmly pinning the venue with a railway spike to the metal skyline of the big smoke’s most famous harbour for the metal masses.
August is a time for cider and festivals with the debit card taking one more for the team one more time as we limp towards autumn nursing Bloodstock bangovers and ringing ears.
It truly has been a summer to remember for metal heads in the UK. Epic Bloodstock line ups, Big 4 shows and Iron Maiden arena tours, the summer was always going to make a gig on a balmy night in the embers of august a challenge for any band to follow.
With Sons of Torment to light the touch paper on tonight’s proceedings those in attendance soon shake those post bloodstock cobwebs aside with an early kick in the teeth from these London riffsmen. The sound created is heavy, deep and high pressured. Superb projection of strength from front man Kerion Lawless whose guttural growls and magnetic stage presence really grabbed the venue by the scruff of the neck.
The audience devours ‘Overthrown’ where again K. Lawless’s atmospheric groaning enhances the songs performance counterweighted with epic chops from the rhythm section. This band is very young and at times the inexperience did show but what this took away from their set was quickly reinvested by their sheer energy.
The addition of Lamb of God cover ‘Walk with me in Hell’ really got hair flailing. Terrific guitar work from Liam Lawless and Robert Aiken meant that the veritable minefield of covering such a well loved song was avoided and executed with great precision.
A Thousand Yells soon followed with an exercise in carrying out a somewhat by-the-numbers metal core set. All the ingredients were there, punchy staccato riffery, the nod worthy chug of the break down and the melodic chorus. Vocals were executed to perfection with the balance between the hardcore shout harking back to bands such as Comeback Kid to the screeches and bellows of heavier Killswitch Engage moments was achieved.
The show they put on is incredibly well received, extremely professionally executed but an element seems to be missing. The choruses seemed to be too crowded and the runaway train of hardcore momentum that was built during the outstanding verse passages seemed to trail off slightly and get lost in the melody, the drumming also did not have the snap and crash where it should be for a band like this to really pop.
Despite these small criticisms the band built every brick of their set with extreme tenacity releasing the horses in tremendous fashion as the set closed with notable aplomb. Rumbling through the closing vocals the energy built leaving the venue to head to the pavements of Camden to smoke with A Thousand Yells having tattooed smiles on everyone’s face.
What can be said about tonight’s headliners? Unbelievable? Electrifying? Blinding? Kaideka were on fire. From the second Kaideka’s set begun ten legged Kernow chaos rained down upon Camden Rock. Guitarist Curt Nash contorted around the stage and often circling the audience like a shark with his wireless system. His guitar work was inch perfect as he threw himself around the room.
A tremendous performance from a man who was downing milk of magnesium minutes before the show in order to defeat food poisoning. Fellow fret botherer Lewis Allen plays with the same pin point accuracy as his opposite number enhancing the dual guitar parts sending the venue into a swirling mosh pit as people spill over the monitors as the scene descends into pandemonium.
The ring master in this circus was vocalist Dax Partridge whose style varied from Rob Flynn gears to Corey Taylor grinds; speeding up to Benji Webbe speeds before hurling himself from the raised area of the stage as if this was the last gig he will ever play. One must also give a mention to Drummer Jamie Gill who’s insanity is worthy of a good old fashion sectioning. Gill is snarling, venomous behind the kit whose rising melodic vocal juxtaposed the brutality of front man Partridge.
Dax commanded the microphone storming, marching around the stage with an apocalyptic look in his eyes. The band simply looks incredible. Eyes bulging, tattooed, pierced; truly a sight to behold. The band kicks through genres from thrash slayer like moments to massive Pantera style riffs. The band is positive and happy and this is reflected in the reception.
Defined on their facebook as ‘nu thrash’ it is a fantastic way to describe themselves. Stating ‘if you loved that song you’re going to love the bands we ripped off to write it’ the band wear their influences on their tattoo sleeves with machine head and slipknot obviously adding to the fabric of their sound but the ability to jerk between influences with such precision means that this only works to their advantage.
This band knows how to perform a live show and put on a performance truly worthy of their headline. The band closes their set with ‘Seize the Day’ The slow atmospheric close to this track builds to a rattling climax with a colossal breakdown. An apt way to finish, as they leave the stage the day is well and truly seized.
These bands were of quality, stature and sensation. One gets the impression that these bands are doing it for all the right reasons. The night belonged to Kaideka; you must see this band live. Food poisoning, flooded gigs, questionable sound and poor Geography (Kaideka front man regaled me with tales of trying to find the town of ‘Essex’ on a road atlas) are part and parcel for these gents.
There is no enormodome headline, no winery in California. They have a van and five mates and a mutual love for creating music which demands attention.
A night like this is what grass roots underground metal is all about; leave your inhibitions at the door, shirtless, tattooed, sweat raining down from the ceiling, running for your life. It is truly special to be reminded so vehemently what makes metal so extraordinary.