The age old rumour of Metal being about rebellion and individuality shoots itself in the foot nowhere better than in the queue gigs. Five years ago, the misfits were all decked out in black hoodies and jeans so baggy even Suggs would be jealous.
In 2007 this attire has now been swapped for the tightest threads conceivable. Junior sized t-shirts stretch uncomfortably over adolescent paunches, with leagues of converse sneakers and studded belts adorning beautifully fringed hair cuts; line upon line of metallic clones, all queuing up to see their fashion, uh, sorry, musical heroes.
When the fairly anonymous As I Lay Dying take to the stage, even they seem surprised at how full the venue is for a band who have never played a headline show here. Tearing into Confined the prepubescent girls centre stage are introduced to the San Diego natives with blasts of double kick, wailing lead guitar and vocals that take a strong lead from Zao‘s Dan Weyandt. The searing melodies of the more harmonic vocals fall tonight to a guest touring bassist, and a fine job he does, complementing Tim Lambesis’ guttural roar with the anthemic choruses that make this bunch so memorable.
Empty hearts is quickly followed by 94 hours, which raises a cheer from old school fans, and ensures further mayhem upon the already battered drum kit, as Jordan Manchino manages to blast out his double kick rhythms and execute lengthy bursts of wind-milling with his blonde locks in a manner that suggests he is probably also one of those annoying people who can rub their stomach and pat their head while solving quantum physics equations.
Tim Lambesis is a man clearly thrilled to be in London. Beneath his black mop of sweaty hair their lies a beaming smile which is swiftly wiped off his face as the awesome Through Struggle is dropped like a bomb onto the unsuspecting throng. Young lads try their best to mosh, but end up spasming poorly about the place, only to be pounded into the floor just like funfair gophers by men twice as hairy and tall as their frail little forms. Meaning in Tragedy further cements the support acts hypnotic appeal, with a tightness that’s rarely heard in a venue this size.
Bullet For My Valentine are good, there is no denying that. Yes, they look like a boy band who only ever wear one colour, and yes they go through sets of hair straighteners quicker than Paris Hilton, but my word they can play six strings with a vengeance. Tearing into crowd pleaser Hand Of Blood, the venue’s floor turns into a frenzied melee of thrashing teenage carcasses. Words of sorrow continues the eruption of crowd surfing virgins, many who miss their mark by miles and are sucked down to suffer hundreds of stampeding sweaty feet below.
Inserting a much needed cover mid set, as Matt Tuck babbles away with expletives to introduce the song, the entire sound system cuts out and we are left to listen to unamplified drums and guitar cabs of what could have been a great cover of Creeping Death. With the sound back on Four Words To Choke Upon and Tears Don’t Fall put the lads firmly back in safe ground, playing out their show and tour with the finesse and confidence of a band twice their age; 2007 is set to go off with a bang for the Bullet boys.