Venom Prison were the first band on stage and they are the one that I know the least about. Their early stage time, due to the evening’s packed schedule, means people were still coming in to the venue as the UK based death metallers began, but this didn’t seem to faze them as they blasted furiously through their set. But it was this unending furiosity that kind of lost me after a while. With no real dynamic shifts in the songs being played, my interest began to wane towards the end. It was a good performance, just one that I thought needed a bit of tweaking to become great.
Power Trip played with the same intensity but their injection of grooves, solid breakdown riffs and thrash solos succeeded in getting the crowd going where Venom Prison fell short. In Nightmare Logic, Power Trip released one of the standout albums of 2017 and I’m glad to say that everything that makes that album so good to listen to is amplified to beyond 11 in a live setting. The rest of the crowd seemed to agree with me as we finally saw good sized pits break out across the floor and the crowd surfing faithful made an appearance. The only downside to their set is that it wasn’t longer. A stellar showing by the Texas boys and definite set of the night for me.
Code Orange are as mad as hell and they are not going to take this anymore! Although, I’m not sure what they have to be mad about as 2017 was nothing short of a breakout year for them, capped with a Grammy nomination that spawned an impressive, and eye-catching, advertising campaign. Tonight, the band seemed to be operating on a different frequency to everyone else, one totally dominated by aggression and an overpowering urge to menace anyone and everyone in their vicinity. Even before the first song starts, larger than life bassist Joe Goldman jumped into the pit to shove photographers out of the way and scream at the fans at the barrier. Once the music started, it’s every person for themselves. With the never ending display of spinning axe kicks, jumps, bodily contortions, and other random acts of aggressive self-abandonment, it’s a miracle that they have been able to make it through any tour in one piece. That being said, this isn’t theatricality put on to cover up any lack of talent as the performance is only an accompaniment to the crushing music on offer. I’m pretty sure that when the world does finally come to an end, Code Orange will have a couple of tunes featured on the official soundtrack. Performances like this one show that this band will be a force to reckon with for the foreseeable future.
Trivium are a band that tend to divide the opinions of the metal community and I would fall into the column of “I wouldn’t listen to them regularly”, but they have also gained a reputation for their solid live performances. I first saw them in 2007 when they supported Iron Maiden and tonight’s set sees "Run to the Hills" used as their intro track. "The Sin and the Sentence" from last year’s album of the same name kicks off the set proper and from then on it’s all hands on deck, full steam ahead captain. Where Code Orange seemed like they wanted to fight everyone in the audience, Matt Heafy and Co. were on the opposite end of the spectrum, basically inviting the capacity crowd to come and hang out with them, and the invitation was received and understood as bodies poured over the barrier and every chorus was sung back as loud as possible.
There are the usual rock show clichés of crowd baiting (Glasgow was the loudest crowd so far, can you do better?), mildly ridiculous song titles ("Becoming the Dragon", "Shattering the Skies Above", "Inception of the End") and Mr. Heafy was at serious risk of dislocating his tongue at any moment, but when you look beyond those things, this is a four piece band that knows how to write catchy, energetic songs that can connect expertly with a live audience. While I may not listen to their albums regularly, I will always keep them in mind if I see they are playing in the area and hopefully the next time they come back, they find themselves in a bigger venue as I’d be intrigued to see what production trickery they could add to their already highly polished set.
Check out the Trivium music video for "Endless Night"