Review by: Stefan Putwain
Photos: (C) Simon Kneller
Following my review of the new album, ‘Atonement’, it gives me great pleasure to be able to comment on the Killswitch Engage concert as well. The photographer, Simon and I, noticing the gathering multitude stretching up to the Trenchard Street Car Park, whilst nabbing a quick conversation with Hanni (drummer) and Jonas (bassist) from opening act, Tenside. It was great to meet them and discuss their plans in the coming months after celebrating signing a recording contract in the last week, to be named as support for this tour is seen as a real boost on their road to professionalism. Having to take unpaid leave for a month to join the tour, it seemed an unbelievable opportunity not to take. With a new album release and 5 scheduled single releases in the coming months, it looks like a busy few months for these boys.
I took a position at the front left, close enough to smell the photographers as they scurried through the pit, tripping over each other to get the best shots. Playing to a sellout crowd would always be a challenge, but as the arena filled, Tenside, not seemingly over-awed by the occasion opened with ‘This Is What We Die For’. With a couple of chaps next to me whooping at every breakdown, I could feel that the crowd were warming very quickly to the Munich-based quartet’s brand of modern metal. Certainly, their confidence grew throughout the set and by the time they had rattled through ‘Eternal Contempt’, ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Reborn’, a circle pit was then formed for coming single, ‘As Above, So Below’. Closing tracks ‘Iron Will And Golden Heart’ and ‘Faith Over Fears’ showed why Tenside deserved the opportunity on this tour. There is definitely enough to suggest that this band could attract a much wider following based on this performance. (8 out of 10)
Metalblade label-mates from Massachusetts, Revocation, then bring their brand of deathcore to the proceedings. The blistering introduction of ‘The Outer Ones’, starting their show with effortless efficiency. Ash Pearson, blasting the crap out of his drums, David Davidson and Dan Gargiulo, exchanging crushing riffs for some exquisite tricks and wild-eyed bassist Brett Bamberger completing the line-up. It is clear that this band know their music inside and out, they trust their polished sound. It is precise, especially seeing first-hand, the dexterity of all the guitarists in their impossible hand and finger positions as they bruise through their set. ‘That Which Consumes’ and ‘Madness Opus’ follow and the musicianship is nothing short of spectacular. Revocation are a treat and to see them smash through their set with aplomb is a joy. ‘Luciferous’ and ‘Dismantle’ were among other highlights, the latter featuring finger-tapping from all three axe men, including the bassist. On the strength of this performance, there is no reason why Revocation should not be talked about in the same breath as bands like The Black Dahlia Murder and Acacia Strain. (9 out of 10)
Celebrating their 20th anniversary with this tour and the recent release of ‘Atonement’, their eighth full album, KsE play to a sold out 1800 capacity O2 Academy in Bristol. The crowd all but spilling onto the stairs and everyone fully engaged with what is about to happen.
With three mohawks in the band and assortment of great beards, shorts and knee supports, Killswitch Engage unleash their lead track from ‘Atonement’, ‘Unleashed’. The thunderous howl of the vocal and the blasting of the drums introduce us to the new album and the energy is evident from the outset. Throughout KsE provide a nice mix of classics from every era. The what-are-soon-to-be classics from the new album, ‘Unleashed’, ‘The Crownless King’, ‘I Am Broken Too’ and ‘The Signal Fire’, seamlessly fit into set. When there are so many good songs to choose from it must be difficult to know what to cut. Every tune was greeted with a roar from the crowd as they did their best to sing back the lyrics.
As I remarked in my review of the album, Jesse Leach had a traumatic time in between the release of this album with polyps on his vocal chords. The therapy that he went through has meant that he has much better control of his abilities. His singing voice never straining when in between growls or shouts. So when ‘Hate By Design’ kicks in, it is evident that all of the work he has put in has meant this performance was exquisite. Jesse was never over-reaching his voice and he nailed his vocals tonight.
With Jesse not needing to urge the crowd to sing back the any of the lyrics from here on in. Often joining the crowd on the barrier with microphone. With Adam Dutkiewicz doing his best to bounce around on what looked like quite a painful knee. I had forgotten how much of a unit he is and how tiny a guitar looks in his hands! Joel Stroezel possibly the coolest person in the building executing riff after riff with a massive smile and seemingly little effort. Mike D’Antonio getting the crowd motivated to clap when required and jumping around with his bass. The band bouncing off the vibe the crowd were sending back. I have no idea how hard Justin Foley hits those cymbals and drums but from the evidence of the drumstick he handed me at the end, I would never like to get hit percussively by Mr Foley! With also a pick in my hand from Mike D, this rounded off this particular fanboys’ adventure with a smile wider than a Cheshire cat.
This was a set that acknowledged all of the bands’ best songs and it is no surprise that this tour is a sellout. The performance is slick and as a live entity there are few bands that can match them on this form. (10/10)
Our review of the new Killswitch Engage album can be found here:
Setlist for Killswitch Engage
2) Hate By Design
3) The Crownless King
4) My Last Serenade
5) A Bid Farewell
6) Beyond The Flames
7) I Am Broken Too
8) Rose Of Sharyn
9) Self Revolution
10) In Due Time
11) The Signal Fire
13) My Curse
14) This Is Absolution
15) The End Of Heartache
16) Strength Of The Mind
17) Holy Diver (Dio Cover)