Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Defenders of the Faith IV - with Amon Amarth and Carcass

Holy crap this gig was completely sold out. So much so that when I bought my ticket way back in early October, only upstairs seating tickets were available. When I heard that Carcass would be the main support to the Viking overlords I just had to be here. It was my first time seeing the Metal Hammer sponsored Defenders of the Faith tour in it's fourth edition. My main reason for going to see the legends of the UK death scene for the first since their comeback. Carcass provided me with my first ever live experience of metal music at the old Marquee club way back in December 1994, nearly 19 years ago almost. After 19 years of going to metal gigs finally I saw the band that started it all for me.

The rather large queue meant that I arrived in the balcony and managed to find a seat in a tight corner pretty high up and had a very distant view of the stage. the first support band Hell, were on stage already and I only caught the last 3 songs of their set. They sounded pretty good though and the front man David Bower is a very engaging front man with his Shakespearean tones. The sound was reasonable but believe it or not would slowly get worse!

Next up were Scottish deathcore mob Bleed From Within. I had the misfortune to see them supporting Megadeth at Brixton back in the summer and they went down like the proverbial lead balloon and their breakdown infested deathcore fared no better this time really. The sound was literally horrible for them as well. A deathcore band amongst 3 classic heavy metal bands was always gonna be a hard task for BfW and this crowd was never gonna give them the time of day. We were here for the legends Carcass and the Hirsute mob from Sweden.

Finally Carcass took to the stage and were greeted with rapturous applause as they tumbled headlong into Buried Dreams from their best album Heartwork. The sound was again iffy to say the least. from my position I could hardly make out the guitar riffs that made the Carcass songs so memorable and catchy. They obviously played well but I could hear a lot of drums and a lot of rumble but all subtlety and melody was completely lost up in the gods. I still enjoyed their set of old and new though some of Jeff Walker's Scouse wit was lost on me, as I couldn't understand what he was saying at all lol!

I hope to see the Carcass reformation again but this time in a smaller club so I can actually see their faces and feel the intensity up close.

From my high vantage point I could see the raised platforms for the elaborate AA setup clearly as the roadies set up the stage with large steps and a monster backdrop. The Swedes were treated like victorious Viking warriors returning from battle once again as they launched headlong into the opening cut. Not that I could tell what it was cause  once again the sound problems seem to continue.

Either my ears have gone or the soundman's has cause I couldn't tell what song was being played unless Johan introduced it beforehand. Last time I saw AA I was a little disappointed in them because whilst they are highly professional and engage the crowd well, they sort of seem a bit faceless and semi bored. They all head bang in unison and look n imposing metal band who play with power and conviction but all the melody they show on record and in the studio seems robbed from them in the live arena. I'm not criticising their actual playing skills but I guess the complete lack of sound clarity rendered their songs a mash of fast pounding devoid of the epic melody that you can hear on record.

An ok gig overall and the youngsters downstairs were going truly apeshit no doubt but I wasn't feeling it up here though I guess being an old bastard like me you complain at the smallest thing. I don't think I'll be going to see AA again in a hurry as I've seen them a few times now and the novelty has completely worn off though I continue to enjoy them on record. Carcass, I hope to see again in a more intimate venue in the near future hopefully.

A few photos from on high:

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