Wednesday, 30 January 2008

DARKEST HOUR, GLAMOUR OF THE KILL & Malefice at the Cambridge Barfly

It’s an unwritten law that hype isn’t as ubiquitous a phenomenon in the world of metal as in certain places elsewhere. So while a comparable tour in the indie genre (let us invent one, purely for the sake of hypothesis, and arbitrarily call it the NME Awards tour) might sell out huge venues within hours, the Kerrang! Most Wanted tour is essentially a few bands gigging up and down the country in basements to inquisitive but noncommittal, small audiences.

This year, the ragtag trio of bands comprised techy prog-death ensemble Malefice, metalcore headliners Darkest Hour, and emo-mongers Glamour Of The Kill. So began the quest of the three groups, which in due course took them to the Cambridge Barfly. Glamour Of The Kill played second, but I’m going to talk about them first. This is because they were, apparently, actually pop-punk band Busted after listening to an Iron Maiden CD, deciding they wanted to play metal and changing their names to Chris Carnage and Mikey Massacre. The result sounds almost like Alexisonfire while drunk and wearing handcuffs; this is no doubt what the band are shooting for, but they don’t quite make it, especially when vocalist ‘Davey Death’ raises his tuneless, whining voice to the top of his high tenor. Bottles shattered behind the bar. That aside, the reason it’s a real shame that the tour didn’t get more publicity is because the abovementioned direness was sandwiched between two hefty, satisfying blocks of metal.

Openers Malefice have a thrillingly hyperactive, warpspeed progressive style, reminiscent of Sikth with all of the whimsical jumble taken out and replaced with pure relentless steel. Their ambition just about exceeds their technical proficiency for now, with drummer Craig Thomas slightly losing track a couple of times, but they still provided the highlight of the evening in the aggressive Dreams Without Courage.

American headliners Darkest Hour themselves are an innovative metalcore band with a huge live presence. “I’ve seen them before,” a man said to me at the bar. “Their performance is so energetic... I walked in and when I saw the pillar on the stage I worried on of them was going to injure himself.” While the band have some very nice riffs and some clever, unorthodox chord progressions, it’s in the immense energy of their performance their attraction truly lies; vocalist John Henry leaps onto speakers and scowls like a monkey, baring his ferocious metal teeth to the audience. If future Kerrang tours are as good as this one, maybe it’s time for new metal bands to receive the same sort of raving media hype injections as their indie counterparts.

Saul Glasman

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