Five Finger Death Punch, Ice Nine Kills, Malevolence, OVO Arena, Wembley, May 21 st , 2024

Moody, ever the ringmaster at the circus, kept the crowd in thrall throughout the show.

Words and Pictures : Adrian Hextall – MindHex Media

Five Finger Death Punch shows are few and far between here in the UK. We should have seen them play in 2023 at Download, but sadly, they had to pull out of their headlining slot on the Opus Stage, much to the disappointment of many fans. When it was announced that the band would be returning to the UK in 2024 to play a solitary show at London’s OVO Arena, it became the hot ticket, and unsurprisingly, the event sold out in a very short space of time.

To make up for the disappointment of the cancelled 2023 show, the band brought along some very special guests in the form of rising heavy metal act Malevolence and horror movie aficionados Ice Nine Kills. It’s fair to say it was a good choice to bring INK to the mix because the number of t-shirts on display supporting them proved that we have a future headliner in the making.

Malevolence

Malevolence, formed in Sheffield back in 2010 by guitarists Josh Baines and Konan Hall, is making serious waves in the metalcore scene at the moment. They have a main stage spot at Bloodstock this year, and in vocalist Alex Taylor, they have a frontman who knows how to voice his appreciation in reflection of how well the band is doing. At multiple points during their short set, Alex looked out over the Wembley crowd with a smile on his face, loudly expressing his and the band’s joy at being present, opening for Five Finger Death Punch. Like special guests INK, adding Malevolence worked for the crowd, and cheers of support rang around the area for the outfit as they delivered track after brutal track. I wouldn’t say it was for me—I’ve never been a harsh vocals fan—but looking around the arena, I’m in the minority on this, and fair play to the band who made the most of their moment.

Ice Nine Kills

Hailing from Boston, Ice Nine Kills, fronted by Spencer Charnas in his many guises, took us through a plethora of tributes to famous horror movies with huge inflatable red-eyed monk-like figures wielding a knife behind the drum kit. Their stage set more than convinced me to pay attention, and while they might not be for everybody, their show—and I love a show—pandered heavily to my deep love of horror movies, so for me, I was in heaven… or should that be hell? Especially given our headliners!

Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, complete with axe and victim, was played out in style, as was the shower scene from Psycho, with clever use of the infamous shower scene from Psycho during “The Shower Scene.” With gruesome police officer deaths, zombies, amazing lighting, and a great metal soundtrack to back it all up, we are definitely witnessing the birth of something very, very special here.

They closed with “Welcome to Horrorwood” and have, in me, a committed fan, this being the first time I’d seen them play live.

Five Finger Death Punch

And so to our headliner. As ever, a huge stage set, based around the F8 artwork with a giant ouroboros shaped as an infinity loop (the 8 as well as the album name), hanging at the back above Charlie Engen’s drum kit. Charlie led the charge with an extended solo, playing as the band made their way onto the stage, and then as the cheers rang around Wembley Arena, we were off. Ivan Moody appeared on stage and announced with a huge smile, “Welcome to the show, London,” before the band went straight into “Welcome to the Circus.”

Moody, ever the ringmaster at the circus, kept the crowd in thrall throughout the show. At one point, a distressed fan that needed to be helped over the barrier and out of the pit saw Moody put a stop to the show while he got as low as he could on stage to speak to the person, check on their health, and make sure all was well before handing them water, his baseball cap, and some picks. A nice touch and one that proved artists are as human as the rest of us.

After a selection of high-intensity tunes, Moody addressed the crowd, stating: “The world has gone fucking crazy, London. But we’re not gonna talk about that tonight. We’re just gonna let that shit wash away.” Before a note was played, the audience knew what song Moody was alluding to and greeted the intro of “Wash It All Away” with pure joy. OVO Wembley entered an almost primal state, allowing the good vibes of the music to, indeed, wash it all away.

With fan favourite “Sham Pain” triggering a huge singalong from the crowd, Moody announced: “We have a couple of surprises for you,” before introducing UK-born guitarist Andy James, who was playing his first UK show with the band. Cheers rang out for ‘one of our own’ before they played, for the first time live according to Moody, “House of the Rising Sun,” substituting New Orleans with London to win over the crowd once more, although it wasn’t needed judging by the cheers.

For the second time in a week, a headline act performed an Oasis number, and with “Champagne Supernova,” surprisingly, a predominantly metal crowd helped Ivan deliver a great rendition.

As you might expect from a FFDP show, the whole affair was full of great lighting, FX, raw energy, and more, and the crowd lapped up every moment. We stepped out into the night sky with big smiles on our faces, the only downside being that the band doesn’t come over often enough. This sated my appetite for now, but come on fellas… more, please.

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