A wet and windy Tuesday evening in Truro, Cornwall. Not the most glam of scenarios for most, but for me it was a night I’d been looking forward to for some time. Unusually for this quite quiet neck of the woods we had a major band coming down to play, although strangely it was really overlooked and subdued in the press. Yep, Dragonforce came to town!
Dragonforce are a throwback to the 80s style of metal; lots of hair, lots of guitars and epic solos. But in stark contrast to a lot of the groups from that decade, they do it with a load of style and a technical brilliance. Metal fans know them, even if they don’t particularly like the music or lyrical style. Anyone who’s ever played the Guitar Hero games will know them too, with Through Fire And Flames being the track that sorts the men from the boys (or the people with nothing better to do than practise for hours and hours from the people with active social lives ).
So after a trip to the local Nepalese, the very excellent Kathmandu Palace, we headed to the Hall For Cornwall to watch the bands. I was pleased to get inside and see that the place was crammed with like-minded people sporting band t-shirts from every genre possible, it’s nice to feel at home somewhere. I was really keen to get in and see the support acts, especially as I knew of one of them reasonably well, namely Glamour Of The Kill.
I first heard of them when a track was on a Metal Hammer cover CD, and everything I’ve heard by them since I’ve liked. Some people say they’re a bit ‘emo’, but I think that’s stretching it a bit. Just because the vocals aren’t as rough as most metal bands. They’d already started when we got there, but I still got to hear Rise From Your Grave which was the one track I wanted to hear more than any other. I have to say they sounded as good live as on the studio versions. From there the music changed gear a bit as Sylosis took the stage.
I didn’t really know of Sylosis before I saw them on the support list so did a bit of youtube research. They remind me of Trivium, although not quite as polished as Trivium are these days. The lead singer did a great job of hitting his screeches, and the band were super-heavy, one of those ‘feel your ribs rattling on the bass notes’ kind. At one point between songs the lead singer said “And to think some dickhead told me Cornwall has no metal scene…”, nice. After making our ears bleed for a bit on came Sabaton, and what a treat that was.
I’ll readily admit I’d not ever heard of Sabaton before yesterday, let alone know any of their stuff, but I am a total convert this morning. They’re a Swedish power metal group and were simply amazing. Hair, massive beards, great tracks and tons of charisma, they’re easily one of the best bands I’ve ever seen perform live. The lead singer has an infectious grin, a wicked accent and they had the whole place jumping and chanting ‘Sa-ba-ton!’ between songs. It looks like I’ve got a few more albums to add to my collection.
There was a bit of a wait while Dragonforce set up the stage, including a raised ramp area for solos and suchlike, but it was well worth the wait. They belted out tracks from the latest Ultra Beatdown album and some older stuff too and the place went mental. I’d heard people say before that there’s no way they could actually play the solos recorded on the albums without some kind of studio post-production, but to those people I can say from first-hand experience, they really are as good live as on CD. Watching the hands of the guitarists ripping through solos lasting minutes each time was dizzying and awe-inspiring. I think there are a lot of tired, slightly hungover metal fans with ringing ears sat in offices and colleges across Cornwall this morning, all with a big grin on their faces.
While I was at the bar between sets a guy came up to me and pointed at my t-shirt (a Machine Head ‘The Blackening’ one) and asked me if I was going to see them. I was a bit confused, as I had no reason to think I might, but when he told me they’re playing at Plymouth in the new year you could have knocked me down with a feather. Machine Head. One of my all-time favourite bands Playing just up the road. Gaaaaahhhhh how did I not know this!?!?!? Luckily it’s not sold out yet, so I’ve nabbed a couple of tickets this morning. I can’t wait, it’s going to be off the scale!
Good times to be a metal fan in Cornwall.