Mendeed are very, very good. Glory Be Thy Name is a blaze of lead wizardry fused with chugging classic metal straight out of the Iron Maiden handbook. Some impressive vocals and a damn tight sound allow the Scottish quintet to leave the stage with some pretty overwhelmed new fans.
Bursting onto the stage moments later, eyes ablaze and throats on fire, Zao kick into The Last Revelation with more momentum than an electrified pendulum. The crowd take a while to catch their breath before the contagious, discordant rhythms grab them by the throat, forcing them into convulsions of appreciation. Wasting no time, the melodic lead lick of The Breath Of The Black Muse kicks in and Zao go. Guitars flail, sweat pours and, like a true master, Dan Weyandt does not front, but rather performs with his heart firmly on his tattooed sleeve, screaming his heartfelt lyrics with awe-inspiring passion.
Praise The War Machine gives both Scott Mellinger and Russ Cogdell plenty of room to groove away in unison as the recently recruited sticksman Jeff Gretz blasts away behind them. But no sooner than they crashed into our consciousness, Zao are bidding farewell and although the set was criminally short, the intensity they convey is worth twice the songs.
Bleeding Through face a tough challenge. On the one hand, the underground fans who’ve got them where they are today want them to continue playing clubs the size of most spare bedrooms. However, new devotees are only happy when they get to see their heroes play venues where they can actually breathe and leave with their eardrums intact. Tonight, it seems a unique compromise is hatched where the hardcore bully boys can flail about downstairs, while fringed and manicured pretty boys can gaze down from the safety of the Underworld’s balcony.
Bleeding Through look much like the latter of these two groups of fans, which amounts to being the spitting image of goth/pop metal heads Avenged Sevenfold. However, unlike their fellow black clad peers, Bleeding Through actually have songs that are as dark and heavy as their eyeliner.
Intricate lead lines, ferocious beatdowns and layered keyboards mix it up with rare credibility. Although a chorus of “I’ll f**king hate you forever” might not be the most progressive of concepts, by mid-set they’re not to be argued with.
Brandan Schieppati finds getting lines out harder than usual tonight after murdering his own and two spare vocal mics within a single song – a situation he seems less than pleased with as he’s left to prowl the stage like a rabid wolf, eyes and teeth flashing with rage. Re-equipped with yet another microphone, Murder By Numbers sets the already frantic crowd even wilder. This Is Love, This Is Murderous shows why these guys have such respect on the hardcore scene while managing to draw fans of metal bands like In Flames and The Haunted.
A superior overall impact then from the rising Roadrunner hopefuls. Even if the blokes did have more make-up on than a somewhat withdrawn Marta on keys, any band whose drummer plays over an hour’s show with such battering ferocity in bare feet warrants a watch.