Evile + Wolf + Left Unscarred @ O2 Academy 3, Birmingham – Thursday 25 October 2012

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Review by Chop and photos by Krish Mistry

Midway through the final leg to promote Five Serpent’s Teeth prior to work commencing on album number four, and with Wolf as main support, this promised to be quite a night. Prior to Wolf’s appearance though, there was a local act to consider…

Left Unscarred suffered the time honoured muddy sound afforded to most opening acts for the first five minutes or so of their set. Thankfully this was remedied swiftly enough and the remaining twenty minutes sounded punchy enough. Lurking somewhere between nu metal and metalcore, with occasional prog interludes, they were more than slightly reminiscent of local act Adrenaline. Clean vocals were kept to a minimum, they were tight enough as a band, but their over-reliance on double pedal drum work became wearing very quickly. On the plus side, they were well supported by their vociferous following. All in all they warmed the crowd up well enough, so job done.

Comedy moment of the evening preceded Wolf‘s stint, having to vouch for Ol Drake who had lost his pass and was struggling to get past security back to the dressing room. You’ve got to chuckle! Returning to Wolf, they played pretty much what you’d expect, delivered it clinically, and had me, and many other members of the audience, grinning maniacally throughout. First and foremost, the quality of the sound they got was staggering, rich, punchy, and beautifully balanced. Guitars were crisp, yet biting, vocals clear, while the drums were the piece de resistance, especially the snare. Their set was well paced, lengthy for a support act at an hour long, and a master class in how to keep a crowd onside throughout. Quite frankly, along with Grand Magus, there are few bands playing this style of rock that are as consistent and enjoyable. This was near as damn it a faultless set.

Setlist: ‘Make Friends With Your Nightmares’, ‘Hail Caesar’, ‘Full Moon Possession’, ‘Voodoo’, ‘Steelwinged Savage Reaper’, ‘Skull Crusher’, ‘Evil Star’, ‘The Bite’, ‘K-141 Kursk’, ‘Genocide’, ‘Venom’, ‘Speed On’.

Tough act for Evile to follow then? Maybe so, yet even with the sound gremlin rearing its ugly head again (mainly affecting Matt’s guitar) they managed it with some style. Unsurprisingly Five Serpent’s Teeth featured heavily, accounting for half of the set. More surprising, perhaps, were the omissions, with no room tonight for old favourites ‘We, Who Are About To Die’, ‘Bathe In Blood’, and ‘Armoured Assault’. Evile could very easily have gone for the safe option, but they took a gamble and it paid off. Also highly noticeable were Ben’s drumming patterns, which he’s clearly been working incredibly hard on, which underpinned it all in thunderous fashion. Enjoyable as Evile were, the crowd were, for some inexplicable reason, somewhat subdued; the first notable involvement was a lone stage diver after half an hour, and it was a further ten minutes before the first circle pit opened up. Odd. ‘In Memoriam’ received the greatest applause of the evening, and prompted the repeated ‘Mike’ chant, with the teaser from Pantera’s ‘A New Level’ prior to the encore coming a close second. Evile were in fine form and promised to be back with more live dates prior to 2013’s festival season, so keep your eyes peeled for announcements in the new year.

Setlist: ‘Hundred Wrathful Deities’, ‘Enter The Grave’, ‘Cult’, ‘In Dreams Of Terror’, ‘Centurion’, ‘Man Against Machine’, ‘Metamorphosis’, ‘In Memoriam’, ‘Thrasher’, ‘Eternal Empire’, ‘Origin Of Oblivion’, ‘Five Serpent’s Teeth’, ‘Infected Nation’. Encore; ‘Schizophrenia’.

And you can see more shots from the show here: