Trivium, Heart of a Coward, As Lions @ o2 Academy, Bristol 23rd March

Words: Olde Nick 666 @oldenick666
Photos: Tess Donohoe

Last year Trivium headlined a UK festival for the first time at Bloodstock before unleashing latest album “Silence In The Snow” back in October. As always the band split opinions with the new work. Almost six months later how would British crowds react to the new songs alongside classic material? RockSins was there to find out…

The first of two British support acts – a nice touch from Trivium – were As Lions (8), formed from the remnants of Rise To Remain. On the strength of tonight’s performance they should go far, despite hardly releasing anything yet. Having a successful father can be something of a handicap at times, with sceptics ready to pounce. Dads don’t come much more famous than Iron Maiden‘s motormouth vocalist Bruce Dickinson and no doubt he is a great teacher both in singing and stagecraft. Austin Dickinson is a confident and charismatic frontman in his own right. He also has a superb live voice as powerfully demonstrated on the band’s only officially released track so far, “The Fall”. His band are also musically tight with a punchy and catchy metalcore-style sound. The crowd reacted with loud enthusiasm and As Lions escaped this den with many new admirers.

Milton Keynes’ Heart of a Coward (8) stirred the packed theatre further with a mix of massive riffs, thunderous drums and a huge bass sound. Singer Jamie Graham, wearing Jack Nicholson‘s leering “Here’s Johnny!!!” face from “The Shining” on his jacket, doesn’t need an axe to make his entrance. He is a commanding presence, and delivered on both roared and clean vocals. Tracks including “Miscreation”, pacey stomp “Turmoil” and “Deadweight” echoed Machine Head‘s crunching fury without being derivative. An impressive set.

On the PA old school Megadeth, Metallica and Maiden, culminating in a “Run To The Hills” mass sing-a-long, wound the atmosphere up to a frenzy before the arrival of Trivium (9) onto a stage set that the metal legends would have been proud of in their own theatre days. Anyone doubting the new album was shown to be a fool as the crowd joined in from the kick off, “Silence In The Snow”, fists aloft. Guitarist Corey Beaulieu spun his hair windmill-style between adding backing growls and roars to Matt Heafy‘s impressive clean vocal style. “Strife” and “Blind Leading The Blind” being very obvious nods to Metallica and Maiden respectively went down superbly . Thrashy gallop “Rain” and explosive “Throes of Perdition” plus “Requiem”, which was aired for the first time since 2007, continued the barrage of deftly delivered anthemic metal.

Heafy teased that Portsmouth’s crowd the previous night was better, sparking even louder choruses from the Bristol throng. His antics, drawing unmistakably on James Hetfield and Gene Simmons – complete with tongue – were as assured as they were amusing. The main set closed with the song that started their UK love affair on an early Saturday morning in Derbyshire back in June 2005, “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr” has lots none of its visceral impact over the past decade. “One more song!!!!” screamed the crowd and that’s exactly what they received, “In Waves”. “Give us all you’ve got left!” demanded Heafy before jumping down into the photo pit, causing the maddest mosh of the night before he was pulled up by security – thankfully in one piece.

Though still incredibly young in the big scheme of things Trivium have constantly defied cynics and grown into leaders in the new generation of metal bands. Beloved as they are the likes of Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth will not go on forever. Motorhead‘s “Ace of Spades” playing on the speakers as the audience filed out was a poignant reminder of this. Florida’s Four Horsemen and the bands following in their wake, including Heart of a Coward and As Lions, indicate the future of metal is in good, strong hands.

Trivium is online at the official website, Facebook and Twitter.

Heart of a Coward is online at the official website, Facebook and Twitter.

As Lions are online at the official website, Facebook and Twitter.

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