Jagermeister Tour 2013: Ghost + Gojira + The Defiled @ O2 Academy, Birmingham – 24th March 2013

0

Review by Brady Deeprose

Jagermeister as a brand has become synonymous with metal and the 2013 Jager tour is a shining example of this fact. From the success of last year’s outing featuring the likes of Skindred, Therapy? and Black Spiders, there was a lot to live up to. A near-capacity O2 Academy was proof that the line up is as strong as ever.

With no local opener and no explanation as to their absence, the proceedings were kicked off in style by London’s The Defiled, a metal band that fuses catchy choruses with crushing beatdowns and thrash influence. They took no time in getting the crowd moving, pausing only to announce they’ve been snapped up by Nuclear Blast records. Opening with new track ‘Sleeper’ showing a maturity in the band’s sound that their first album slightly lacked, the band showed their live experience and competency with a flawless set despite some questionable live mixing.

Few bands can command a stage like French goliaths Gojira and the crowd know it. Taking to the stage to an eerie, atonal backing track, the anticipation in the room was palpable. With no warning the band positively exploded into ‘Explosia’ (This stuff writes itself!) and the audience followed suit. With bangers like ‘The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe’ and ‘Toxic Garbage Island’ under their belt, Gojira could easily have been headlining this tour and this effortless performance was testament to that fact. The majestic ‘Gift Of Guilt’ was the perfect finale of a performance that had some members of the audience literally speechless.

For those unaware of Ghost and their Satan-bothering heavy metal: listen up. No-one knows who they are, albeit there are some rumours about their vocalist. All we know for sure is that they hail from Sweden… And love ABBA. Not that any of this is apparent as the masked musicians make their way on to smoke filled stage, a huge church-interior the backdrop to their evil symphony. Ghost have the ability to create a soundscape and real atmosphere using very little and even though their newer, unknown material wasn’t as well received, the crowd still got behind them and by the time ‘Con Clavi Con Dio’ came around, the crowd was theirs for the taking. Sadly, the venue did seem to thin out a little after Gojira as I think a lot of the younger metal fans aren’t quite ready to appreciate Ghost, the only band of the evening with just singing and no screams/growls.

ghostNever deterred, the enigmatic songmasters draw from their debut album Opus Eponymous a lot this evening and with songs with huge sing-along choruses like ‘Ritual’, they can’t be blames. When asked if they want to “Meet the Blood Countess”, the crowd are all too happy to get moving. ‘Elizabeth’, the bands hat-tip to Ms Bathory, the 16th century serial killer, is a crowd favourite. The rest of the set is a mixture of older tracks from Opus and new from the upcoming Infestissumam which display a more textured and less aggressive sound instrumentally, which doesn’t seem to sit well with the audience as a whole. From what I’ve heard, the tracks are good and I think that had this gig been a few months after the release date (09/04/2013), the atmosphere may have been that bit better. That said, their set was still staggeringly good and the light show complemented their dark tracks and stage presence well.

A band supported avidly by the likes of James Hetfield, Phil Anselmo and Scott Ian, Ghost are obviously doing something right, it feels like the world needs to wake up and take notice. At the very least, catch them at Download this year.

Setlist:

  1. Infestissumam
  2. Per Aspera ad Inferi
  3. Con Clavi Con Dio
  4. Prime Mover
  5. Elizabeth
  6. Secular Haze
  7. Stand by Him
  8. Death Knell
  9. Satan Prayer
  10. Genesis
  11. Year Zero
  12. Ritual

Encore:

  1. Monstrance Clock

 

Listen to Brady’s interview with Gojira here…