Jagermeister have a long decorated history of association with metal from over the years ago, so when Jager and Metal Hammer team up to put on a UK tour thats a) full of some of the best British alternative and metal bands going today and b) 100% free thanks to Jager, you’d be very silly not to take them up on their generous offer. The tour consisted of headliners & Reading shredders Sylosis, fellow Reading occupants Exit Ten and London’s The Defiled.
All was fairly quiet when I arrived at Islington Academy around 90 minutes before doors to have a catch up with the Sylosis lads (Rocksins’ exclusive interview with Alex and Josh from Sylosis will up in the next few days so keep checking back!) but by doors there was a healthy sized queue of people waiting for an evening of excellent free heavy music.
On top of the expected three bands, upon arriving into the venue we discovered there was another band on the bill, the promising Never Means Maybe “from Chatham in Essex” – work on your geography lads! Lack of knowing where they were from aside, they put on a very entertaining 25 minute or so set, mixing some heavy riffs with nice vocal work and their general style at times was not a million miles away from Exit Ten. Keep an eye out for Never Means Maybe, this was a very good introduction to the band!
The craziness of The Defiled was evident from the off: A keyboardist who liked to mosh his keyboard and play it above his head and a guitarist wearing a Hannibal Lector mask tells you you’re in for an interesting show. The visual show was backed up by some crunching riffs and battering drums and the ever growing crowd was fully on-side with The Defiled from the end of their lengthy opening track. The Defiled’s style hit me as something of a cross between Children of Bodom and Gallows (imagine that if you can) with some very Slipknot-esque guitar tone thrown in in places. They put on a great show and if you can get hold of their EP then I recommend you do so – I am certainly going to and will try to post a review of it here on Rocksins soon.
First half of the Reading double act Exit Ten took the stage to a very loud response, singer Ryan sporting a new slimline hairdo which was vastly different to the flowing hair of years gone by. All the band including Ryan were on fine form with every instrument packing a big punch and superb vocals from Ryan throughout. Exit Ten expertly mixed a combination of old favourites with some new, unreleased material from their forthcoming album, which, while not quite as heavy as some of their older songs, still grabbed you, especially their new “slow song” Liar which built and built and featured a fantastic vocal performance. The assembled masses were suitably impressed, including my friend Rob who’d never heard Exit Ten before.
The sublime Refuse / Ignore sparked a mass headbanging session and sing along, with the band looking genuinely thrilled as Ryan left us to sing entire parts of the song for them. Finishing off with a cracking rendition of technically alive, I doubt Exit Ten have ever sounded better. With the new material sounding fantastic, maybe 2011 will finally be Exit Ten’s year.
Unfortunately, as is often the case with shows packed with bands nowadays, headliners Sylosis did not take the stage until gone 10.10. As a result the crowd had thinned a little after Exit Ten but there was still a healthy number of people in the Academy and virtually all of them were chanting for Sylosis as the lights went down. Circle pit madness ensued within seconds of the opening riff of Conclusion of an Age blasting out from Josh and Alex’s guitars and Josh was showing no audible signs of the throat infection he was talking about when I was interviewing him a few hours before. As with at Sonisphere, Sylosis’ transformation from a five piece to a four piece band has had absolutely no effect on their live impact whatsoever. Josh is more than capable of matching Jamie in the vocal stakes and the band remains as tight as ever. Conclusion of an Age was swiftly followed by Reflections Through Fire and the circle pit was full of long haired guys circle headbanging for all they were worth in between belting out “Forced Into Fire!” along with Josh on the chorus.
New song Sands of Time that got a first airing at Sonisphere was next up and if this is how album number 2 is going to sound its going to be one of the albums of 2011, that along with fellow new song Altered State are both riff-tastic and feature fantastic levels of musicianship all round. In between those two we got old favourites Stained Humanity complete with wall of death and something of a rarity in The Blackened Skyline (which might have had the best singalong of the night!). More old favourites to finish off the night as the short but sweet set (if anything in metal can be defined as such) was finished off with the one-two punch of Withered and Teras.
Sylosis yet again showed why their music and their live performances why they are one of the finest metal bands going today, from the UK or anywhere else. They were definitely matched tonight by their friends from Reading in Exit Ten who put on one hell of a show. Coupled with the great performances from The Defiled and Never Means Maybe and you’d be hard pressed to find a better show that you’d pay a lot of money for, never mind for free! If you have a chance to catch this tour before its done, don’t pass it up, its one hell of a show!