Review by Lulu Davenport, photos by Sean Larkin
Indulge me as I relay a recent dream, I was shrouded in a thick dense fog, sedated by invasive flashing strobe lighting pounding the senses. A quick glimpse of thrashing, writhing figures in the distance becomes apparent, there’s a momentary fade to darkness chased away by another twisted vision looming imminently this time followed by contorted faces in make up. These images are accompanied by relentlessly insane drums, ear spitting guitar riffs and vocals deep enough to introduce the man from hell himself. For a moment I realise I am not alone, I am awake, the dream is my surreal like reality as tonight co headliners Avatar and The Defiled are the masters of this show.
Warming up the stage are Spanish metalheads Killus, an insane four strong troop, there’s such strong language in the lyrics and suggestive behaviour am shocked it’s a 14 plus event, although I am quite confident most teenagers could educate me on broadening my rude word vocabulary. That aside, the band have the escaped lunatic /metal punk Look going on with a Halloween joker feel; crazy eye contacts and the stage antics to make Johnny Rotten weep. The band are absolutely bonkers, from stage diving, pogoing while leering and entertaining the socks off a very stunned but quite intrigued audience. The theratrics are very much in a similar vein to Marilyn Manson shock tactics.The music’s not bad either; heavily influenced by Nine Inch Nails alongside lyrics with simple titles like ‘Fuknroll’ and ‘Bastards’ and all backed up with angry, gritty guitar and drums. The band finish with the title track off their newest album Feel The Monster.
Descending upon the stage to chants of Avatar from an eager crowd, the band take position poised in poses awaiting the arrival of ringmaster and lead vocalist Johannes Eckerström. Dressed in carnival attire against a circus themed back drop they open with ‘Hail The Apocalypse’ and within seconds there’s a mosh pit occurring from over zealous fans. Maintaining control at all times natural front man Eckerström commands the attention of his crowd as he baits them to rock out and even yells “sing” during ‘Let It Burn’.
The atmospheric intro to ‘Bloody Angel’ gives a chance for some serious guitar work from Tim Öhrström; showcasing his skill as the main focus in the limelight as all the members are introduced and added back to the chaos. Highlights are ‘Paint It Red’ and the ridiculously infectious ‘Smells Like A Freak Show’. After witnessing them for the this the first time I can honestly say how blown away I was by Avatar. The band have the whole package; stage presence, catchy hard hitting songs and of course the circus theme (thankfully minus the clowns, or I may not have been writing this!)
The last band on the agenda tonight are The Defiled following one hell of an opening and co headliner act, for me though, while the music is spot on, there’s no animation or silly antics, and it’s all a bit, for the lack of a better word, serious. That doesn’t mean to say the band don’t have some great tracks, but after being spoilt by the theatrical previous bands I felt The Defiled were missing out on that extra oommmphhh. Opening with ‘As I Drown’ and progressing to ‘Black Death’ they perform ten tracks in all taking in ‘Unspoken’. An encore of ‘Sleeper’ and ‘Call To Arms’ end the show. A short set, but matched in time and songs to Avatar, but quite honestly one of the best gigs I’ve seen all year.
1. Hail the aplocalpse
2. Let It Burn
3. Vultures Fly
4. Ready For The Ride
5. Bloody Angel
6. Paint Me Red
8. Tsar Bombs
9. Smells Like A Freak Show