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*2

Baroness interview, January 2010

Woo-hoo! First post in over a year! I’ve been well and truly slacking…

Having been hammering the awesome new Baroness album, Yellow and Greenfor the best part of the last week, I was inspired to dig out from my sent items the below interview with John Dyer Baizley and Allen Blickle, conducted at Salford Islington Mill in January 2010 on behalf of the now-defunct Love Manchester. Note the final couple of lines… I can officially claim to have inspired JDB! Or not.

Love Manchester: First, as an aside, I heard in the sound-check you started playing ‘Say It Ain’t So’ by Weezer, and I was just wondering with the album names, you’ve got a Blue Record and a Red Album and so have they; is there anything to that!? Has it ever come up before?

John Dyer Baizley: Well, it’s come up; there’s definitely a chromatic title theme going on there, but we’re definitely not the first band to do that and nor was Weezer. The odd thing about that is the year we released Red Album they put their Red Album out too, and here we are with Blue Record and they put out Raditude in the same year, and their Blue Record was what, 15 years ago? But there’s no link other than the tenuous colour thing.

LM: Strangely, it seems as though you guys are in the ascendancy and they seem to be getting weaker…

J:  I don’t know about that! Put them playing in a room next to us and see who fills up faster!

LM: Your first EPs were FirstSecondThird and now you’ve get Red and Blue; will there be a continuation of this?

J: I can’t say yes or no; switching from the chronological thing was us moving into a different era as a band, because we thought we’d passed what we were doing and were now in new territory. We always try and keep our album titles real simple though.

LM: I think that’s a good idea, because you don’t lead to any preconceptions about what the album might be about.

J: The thing is, this band’s always been based on inclusivity, we don’t want to push anyone away and we want to give everybody an opportunity to listen to the album. But, we put so much density into the music, the lyrics, and the art, that if we were to try and conceive a title that encapsulated all that, it would probably be something very heavy-handed and pretentious, and if you see that in a record store and you’re not already a fan, it’ll drive you away, so that’s why we stick with the simple titles.

LM: That actually leads on to my next question… the current album has experienced great crossover success, it was featured in a lot of ‘album of the year’ charts, and it seemed that a lot of people that might not have been into you before have got into you through Blue Record. How do you feel about this huge increase in interest in the band?

J: I feel great about it; like I said before, we’re not ones to choose our audience, and we’re certainly not ones to tell our audience what to do. One of the earliest lessons we learned is that you can’t preconceive who’s going to be your fan base, so you just humble yourself in front of any audience that’s willing to pay a dime to see you. So as our crowd grows and diversifies, it’s wonderful for us; it’s been the MO since the get-go.

LM: Who are your main influences?

J: We don’t really have main influences, they change over time. Put it this way, when you were a young teenager, you were listening to different stuff than you probably do now. When I was a kid, I used to listen to a lot of punk rock, and that spoke to the angry, blunt, simple side of me, the part of me that didn’t know how to say things in a complicated way, who didn’t understand shades of grey; it was just black and white. But as I grew older, I developed an interest in classic rock, electronic music, hip hop, even pop and country, and as that base grows it becomes something that you’re capable of being influenced by.

LM: Did that broad taste in music have a bearing on your choice of John Congleton, someone who’s worked with a diverse range of bands, to produce Blue Record?  

J: Yes and no; the core reason we wanted to work with John was that he didn’t bring to the table any set notions or rules on how to record a band that tunes down a little or plays a bit louder than an indie band. For us, we wanted to challenge ourselves and step out on a limb and we wanted somebody who could approach the record with a fresh set of ears and not have to push it in one direction. I don’t know about anyone else, but I personally wanted to be surprised by the record, because prior to that, we had got to a point where we knew what we could do, we knew our producer well enough and that we could produce a consistent record, but this time we wanted to take a risk because we thought that if we didn’t do it now, we may never get round to it. Luckily it worked, and we were quite surprised with how the record turned out.

LM: When you were writing and recording it, did you think it was something different or special compared to your previous work?

Allen Blickle: The song writing approach was definitely a progression in terms of how we went about it, so the songs came out different compared to the first record, but I think working with a different producer added an extra dimension or space to it, and the record as a whole has a different feel.

J: When we’re writing, we never think that the stuff is ‘special’, we didn’t look at each other and think “oh my god, guys, this is the one that’s gonna make it for us!”; for us it’s really a matter of understanding the material and feeling this gut-level reaction; you think “yes, this is good”, you get pumped, and you get excited when you’re coming up with stuff.

LM: You’re based in Georgia, and there’s recently been a wave of great, original bands to come out of there, like yourselves, Mastodon, Kylesa… is there something there that breeds creativity?

J: It’s funny that everyone seems to ask that, because the answer’s not as obvious as it seems. From the outside, it seems like there’s this rampant creative pulse running through the state, when in fact you’ve got Savannah, quite a small city, and then on the other side of the state, about 5–6 hours away, you’ve got Atlanta, and both towns have, what I would consider, very small music scenes. However, what that’s given us is an isolation of sorts that’s allowed us to do what we want without having to follow trends, or be aware of too much of what’s going on. If you take a town like Boston, where there’s a lot of bands now that sound the same and all kind of work off each other or have a sort of one-upmanship with their sound, but with us we explore any tangents worth investigating. There’s no one there saying, “No, you can’t do that!”

LM: I think it’s maybe harder for us to grasp, considering the size of the UK compared to the US. With us, if you travel six hours from Manchester, you’ve gone past London, you’ve gone past other major cities. The musical heritage of cities in the UK usually consists of bands that are formed just miles apart from each other, and when we hear of bands from the same state in the US, like Georgia, I guess it’s easy of us to project that same thinking of a close-knit collective, when really the cities over there can be hundreds of miles apart.

J: Georgia definitely has a rich musical heritage, but you could probably count the number of bands you’ve heard of on your hands. But, there’s not that much going on where we are, which allows us to concentrate on what we’re doing and not be distracted.

LM: Where do you get the ideas for your artwork?

J: It’s always been the case of the artwork working with the sound; the vision of the band has to work with the sound, just the same way that the sound has to work with the vision. The four of us will begin the writing process, and there’ll be tones and textures, ideas and images, and those are the things that I work with.

LM: I know you’ve done a lot of work for other bands; I’m sure you get request all the time, but I was just wondering if you’d had any strange requests from any bands that you might not have expected, or ones you’ve turned down because you didn’t want to be associated with them?

J: I’ve had plenty of incredibly crazy offers from bands that I never thought would have paid attention to me or even know that I am. I can’t really divulge them, but suffice it to say, one or two of the biggest British metal bands have come to me, and I’ve had to turn it down, because I choose to work with bands that I know or that I like, and respect. If it’s not there, then I won’t do it. My primary impetus for making art and music isn’t financial, it’s creative.

LM: that’s commendable, especially in an industry so driven by money.

J: Well, I guess it’s easy for me to say that, because our band is now experiencing some success, so maybe it comes off as a little trite maybe for me to say that, but that’s always been the way it is.

LM: You’ve toured with a wide mix of bands, like Opeth, Clutch and Municipal Waste; do you find there’s a marked contrast in atmosphere on each tour?

J: Oh yeah! Municipal Waste’s crowd, Opeth’s crowd, and Clutch’s crowd would never be in the same room as each other!

A: We’ve known the guys in Municipal Waste for a long time; we haven’t toured with them in a while, but it’s always fun. We’ve also toured with Coheed and Cambria, which was different too…

J: Diversity is interesting to us…

LM: Who’s the strangest band you’ve toured with, in terms of people thinking “I can’t believe they toured with them”?

J: Probably Coheed and Cambria; that was one we definitely had some anxieties going into; their fans were significantly younger than our fans and the fans of the other bands on the tour, but they were so welcoming to us, and they were so enthusiastic, we just couldn’t help but smile.

A: When you’re touring with larger acts like Opeth, it’s just inspiring to watch, because they’re such great musicians.

J: Yeah, it’s inspiring; I prefer to tour with more technical bands, because it just elevates us and keeps our game sharp, because we have a lot to live up to opening up for bands like that.

A: we also learn from touring too; it’s the only way to learn really! We just throw ourselves into it…

J: Between Allen and I, we could list 10 totally obvious bands for us to tour with, but I think it’s out on the fringe, out there navigating waters you may not have been in before where you really learn.

LM: Who do you think you’d learn from most if you were to tour with them?

J: That’s a tough one; we just look forward to the next tour, whoever that might be with. At the point where we get to invite bands to come tour with us, we’ll try to keep things interesting, and keep a little bit of work involved, because when it gets easy, it becomes rote, and boring, and repetitive.

LM: You’re going out to the rest of Europe after your stint in the UK, and then off to Japan and Australia; is there much of a difference between touring round these countries compared to being back home?

J: It’s apples and elephants sometimes, in terms of the demeanour of an audience or the things auxiliary to the show, but for an hour on stage, it’s the same old story, no matter where you are. We could be in Belgium, in Texas, in British Columbia, it’s the same. The reason we do it is consistent; it’s the same reason, that when I was 15–16 years old, I wanted to do this. It’s a different style in different countries; for example, the hospitality over here is night and day different to the States, but the shows are the same. We’re playing the same music, and hopefully the crowds are getting the same out of it wherever they are.

LM: Do you have any festival plans over here this year?

J: Hopefully, any and all! One of the things that’s really been surprising and great being in this band, is that we’ve been able to different types of festivals and take something great away from each one. Festivals are fun; the whole organisation side of things is kind of weird, but they’re fun to do.

LM: When you’re there, do you get to hang out, or do you finish one a get straight back on the road to the next?

J: Sometimes it’s just like touring and we’ll fly or drive in and play and then have to go, but sometimes we’ll get to hang around…

A: In 2008, we played at Hellfest in France and then went up to Hove Festival in Norway in the middle of a forest. They were completely different scenes, and we got to hang out at both of them.

J: It’s weird; one day we’re playing with bands like Carcass and Dimmu Borgir, and the next day with playing with Jay-Z.

LM: So, finally, apart from the touring, what’s up next? Any new material on the go?

J: Well, we’re not ones to let sleeping dogs lie; for better or worse, we’re always coming up with stuff!

LM: So, is that Yellow LP, then?

J: You tell me!

download festival, pt. 2

Observe! Part two of mine and Mr Zakk Appleyard’s review of Download Festival is now live on OneMetal.com.

Check it: http://www.onemetal.com/2011/07/06/onemetal-goes-to-download-saturday/


download festival, pt. 1

Behold! Part one of mine and Mr Zakk Appleyard’s review of Download Festival is now live on OneMetal.com.

Viddy here: http://www.onemetal.com/2011/07/05/onemetal-goes-to-download-friday/

Enjoy!

onemetal.com

For the last six months, I’ve been writing for the music, movie, gaming and alternative lifestyle website Onemetal.com. To check out my work, click the following link: http://www.onemetal.com/author/mike-perry/.

Be sure to check out the rest of the site too!

comeback kid/the ghost inside/kvelertak/grave maker/social suicide_manchester academy 3_190411

First published: High Voltage, April 20, 2011 http://bit.ly/kCBt7L

I’m not going to lie to you; there was one reason and one reason alone why I was in the sweaty confines of Academy 3 (a last minute venue change from the larger Club Academy) tonight, and that was to see Norwegian noise-merchants Kvelertak. The six-strong punk-meets-rock ‘n’ roll-meets-black metal outfit pretty much owned 2010, a year in which they released their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album, cemented their reputation as an explosive live proposition through just a handful of UK shows, and basically became the rock and metal scene’s new favourite band.

Their choice of tour buddies this time round had raised a few eyebrows, as all the other bands on tonight’s line-up were pretty much straight up hardcore, a genre that, with all its associated swing-kicking, limb-flailing aggression, seems a million miles away from the super-fun-happy-time party music that Kvelertak produce. There is arguably a certain amount of crossover, but whereas the other bands use breakdowns in their songs to get the crowd going ape-shit, Kvelertak manage to elicit the same response simply through the power of infectiously catchy riffs.

Opening act Social Suicide from Norway put on a noble performance in the face of a near-empty room, and by the end of their set, their energy on stage has at least brought a few more punters down front and centre. Grave Maker then up the heaviness with some colossal beatdowns and a hyper-aggressive performance, personified by Jon, the band’s brick-shithouse frontman, who stomps about the stage with a look in his eye that he’s ready to take someone’s head off…

Up next is Kvelertak, who, as you may have guessed by my superlative-strewn introductory paragraph, are something of a favourite band of mine. Having been lucky enough to catch them four times last year, I knew what to expect: an incendiary performance from every single member of the band, from frontman Erlend’s unholy growls, to the triple-guitar threat of Bjarte, Vidar and Maciek, and the tight-as-a-drum rhythm section courtesy of Marvin and Kjetil. 35 minutes isn’t a great deal of time to play with, but they make every second count, and despite only having one album to work from, the single record that they do have is so chock-full of tunes that there isn’t a dull moment in their entire set.

The gig could have finished right then and I would’ve been a happy man, but there was the small matter of The Ghost Inside and headliners Comeback Kid to contend with first. As with Grave Maker before them, The Ghost Inside offer up a set of no-frills hardcore, which is equally as abrasive yet for some reason not as compelling to watch and/or listen to; it just seemed to be lacking that certain something. Comeback Kid, on the other hand, put on an impressive display, with a sound that, although still rooted in hardcore, at least added a bit of variation to proceedings by throwing in a bit more melody, something that was missing from the other bands’ sets.

Despite going in with the sole intention of enjoying Kvelertak and a large sense of indifference towards the rest of the bands, I have to admit that a couple of the acts tonight, namely Comeback Kid and Grave Maker, actually won me over, through either their pure visceral aggression (in Grave Maker’s case) or their ability to add some decent riffs to what was an otherwise full-on aural assault (Comeback Kid). However, with their seemingly unstoppable rise to prominence showing no sign of abating, it was always going to be too big an ask to upstage Kvelertak, who own the night by absolutely miles…

*3

black spiders/viking skull/turbowolf_roadhouse_280211

First published: High Voltage, February 28, 2011 http://bit.ly/lw7q7Y

The curse of the Monday night gig at Roadhouse strikes again… having missed Throats support Rolo Tomassi last year due to an ensuing club night and/or the presence of 14-year-olds forcing doors to open earlier than usual, it looked as though at least one of tonight’s support acts might suffer the same fate, what with doors being at 6pm and me not being able to escape the day job until the exact same time…

However, having heard good things about opening act Turbowolf, the walk across town would just have to involve a little more haste than usual to get there in time. Unsurprisingly, the band are already in full flow by the time beers are in hand and a suitable spot is found, but, quite remarkably for an opening band on stage as early as they are, they’ve already assembled a decent crowd who, to a man, all seem to be digging the band’s incendiary mix of electronic psychedelia and garage rock. Despite missing the first two or three tracks, the part of their set that we did get to see was more than enough to highlight what these guys are capable of.

Next up is Viking Skull, who are a little less complex than their predecessors on stage and instead put on a set of no frills (yet still enjoyable) rock and roll. I think it’s fair to say that Black Sabbath are an influence, so much so in fact that Tony Iommi could well be within his rights to ask for some of his guitar licks back. However, it’s difficult to hold this against a band when their riffs, recycled or not, are as hook-laden as they are. And anyway, I defy any hard rock band to say that Black Sabbath HAVEN’T been an influence on their sound; it just so happens that Viking Skull wear it on their sleeves a bit more than most.

Headliners Black Spiders enjoyed an extremely successful 2010, having spent most of the year touring with Airbourne and playing on the bill of pretty much every festival going (or at least, the more appropriate ones); and all this without even releasing a full length album. However, having now launched their debut, Sons of the North, the band are making their way around the country once more, albeit this time, finally, on their own headline tour.

Their ubiquity on the festival circuit made them hard to miss (tonight marked Spiders show number six for yours truly); however, what made tonight different, and arguably better, was that it was the first time I’d seen them in such an intimate surrounding. Don’t get me wrong, their festival shows were good, but their brand of no-nonsense hard rock was just made to be heard in dive bars like Roadhouse.

Starting with perennial opening track ‘Si, El Diablo’, the Spiders get stuck straight in to the set that’s served them so well for the last year or so, which includes the likes of their ode to Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, ‘KISS Tried to Kill Me’, along with ‘St. Peter’, and everyone’s favorite audience participation number, ‘Stay Down’ (FUCK YOU, BLACK SPIDERS!) The songs might have been the same as last time, but the sound was clearer, the riffs were crisper, and the fact that they had 100-odd sweaty fans singing in full voice right back in their faces as opposed to 30 yards away across a field seemed to spur the Spiders on even more than usual, with every single member giving that little bit more than in our previous encounters.

Most importantly, tonight proves that the band can draw a decent crowd of their own, who are already well versed in the ways of Black Spiders. On the basis of tonight’s gig, the Sheffield quintet’s reputation as a great live band is still definitely intact, and there’s every possibility that 2011 could prove to be even more rewarding for the band than last year.

*10
cyvoid:

Cyvoid has just received a review from onemetal.com
“There really is very little to fault ‘Cyvoid’: it’s a short yet perfectly formed record that’s abrasive, loud, and just plain fun to listen to” 4/5
Click the link to read on 
http://www.onemetal.com/2011/05/17/cyvoid-cyvoid/
Reblog this to all your sexy cyber friends.

cyvoid:

Cyvoid has just received a review from onemetal.com

There really is very little to fault ‘Cyvoid’: it’s a short yet perfectly formed record that’s abrasive, loud, and just plain fun to listen to” 4/5

Click the link to read on 

http://www.onemetal.com/2011/05/17/cyvoid-cyvoid/

Reblog this to all your sexy cyber friends.

darkest hour/protest the hero/born of osiris/purified in blood_manchester club academy_280111

First published: High Voltage, January 28, 2011 http://met.al/is6 

It’s not often a tour comes along where every band is a real draw, but tonight’s gig promised to be one of those all-too-rare occasions. There’s usually at least one band that sparks a mass exodus to the bar/toilet/smoking area, but in this case, each band was different enough to cater for most people’s taste, they all appear to be great live bands, and all of them have (or will have very soon) current albums that are (or promise to be) extremely strong. So surely, it was nothing short of awesome then, right?

Well, yes and no. Taking nothing away from the bands themselves, they all put on sterling performances; it’s just a shame that you couldn’t particularly hear them that well. Or, more accurately, you could hear sounds emanating from the stage that resembled each band’s songs and you could see what they were playing, but many of the intricacies were lost in the acoustic black hole that is Club Academy. As I continuously kept saying to a friend at the gig, and what essentially became the mantra for the evening, all of the bands sound considerably better on CD than they did tonight.

However, this all sounds rather negative, when in fact, sound gripes aside, it was still a thoroughly enjoyable show. Purified in Blood get things off to a strong start with their raucous fusion of thrash, hardcore, and straight-up metal, and set the bar suitably high for all other acts to follow. Second act Born of Osiris arguably suffer the most from the sound difficulties, as being a tech death metal band, their sound is rather reliant on being able to hear all the nuances. In places where there should have been a guitar solo or synth fill (yes, death metal bands use synths too…), only the faintest strains of what should be blasting through the speakers can be heard. Nonetheless, what they lack in intricacy, they more than make up for in the heaviness stakes, as the double kick-drums can still be heard without such trivialities as amplification, and just by looking at them, you can see the aggression that’s poured into their performance.

Up next is Protest the Hero, who, by the looks of things, are the reason why about 90% of the crowd are here tonight, as the once fairly empty venue is now practically a heaving sea of bodies. It’s not without good reason, too; with one great and one (for my money, at least) perfect album under their belts already and still only in their early twenties, the Canadian prog metallers are inarguably one of the most exciting young prospects in metal today, and with the release of their third album, ‘Scurrilous’, looming on the horizon, they stand to become very big indeed. Couple that with an extremely tight live performance and charismatic stage presence, and you’ve got the makings of one of the future greats. If only more people could get their head round odd time signatures, concept albums, and 10 minute long, less-than-radio-friendly songs…

With that in mind, Darkest Hour seem to have shot themselves in the foot somewhat by bringing Protest the Hero along, as no sooner have the sub-headliners finished than the crowd dissipates, leaving only about half the people that were there only moments ago. It’s a real shame though, as Darkest Hour put on a great set, and have no trouble keeping the diminished crowd interested with their crushing take on the Gothenburg melodic death metal sound. Opening with ‘Doomsayer’ from 2007’s Deliver Us, the band make their way through a set that spans their not unimpressive back catalogue, and being a 15th anniversary celebratory tour, the band give a lot of their older stuff, such as ‘For the Soul of the Savior’ and ‘How the Beautiful Decay’ a well-deserved airing. Being a more recent convert to the band, I wouldn’t have minded a little more of their recent material, but that’s just me; I’m sure the Darkest Hour die-hards at the front didn’t mind one bit…

*2

wasp/shadowside_manchester academy 2_241110

First published: High Voltage, November 26, 2010 http://met.al/ds3

There was an air of familiarity about tonight’s show: a year ago, almost to the day, Blackie Lawless and Co. were in Manchester on the same tour that they’re currently on, playing at the same venue and promoting the same album, and quite probably, playing to the same crowd of people. In fact, I definitely recognize some of hairdos on display tonight from last year (what can I say? I’m a sucker for a kick-ass mullet).
 
Regardless of the shock rockers’ reasons for returning so swiftly, all I can say is that, after tonight’s show, I’m glad they did. I remember last year feeling somewhat underwhelmed by the whole thing, and a little put off by Blackie’s diva-like behaviour. However, there was no such posturing this time round, and instead of being left cold by the band’s music and performance, I think I’ve finally come to understand their appeal. The “shock” element of the band may now be somewhat lacking, due in part to Blackie’s born-again Christian status and also because, in 2010, we’ve seen it all before, but there’s still definitely an abundance of “rock”.
 
Opening act Shadowside are also an improvement over last year’s support (the overly-derivative and frankly pretty shite The Glitterati). Despite watching and enjoying Arch Enemy only the night before, I’m not typically over-enamoured with female-fronted metal bands; not because of some petty chauvinism, but because more often than not, the music tends to be overly dramatic operatic metal, which to me, is about as appealing as watching a ‘Songs of Praise’ omnibus. However, Shadowside neatly eschew this trend by not being too overblown, and by having enough riffs and crowd participation to keep the audience interested; no mean feat considering that 99.9% of the people in the room seemingly weren’t that interested before they started…
 
To the tune of a cacophonous montage of their old classics, WASP head out on stage and fly straight into their set, which, well, is pretty much exactly the same as last time round, if not a little shorter.  This isn’t a complaint; in fact, being less than well-versed in the lesser-known WASP tunes, a ‘greatest hits’ set, including ‘L.O.V.E. Machine’, ‘Wild Child’, ‘Chainsaw Charlie’ and ‘On Your Knees’ was fine by me.

Their once-infamous stage show may now have been reduced to videos of the band back in the day, which, projected onto the back wall of the hardly arena-sized Academy 2 perhaps highlights that they’re sadly no longer at their peak, but on the other hand, this goes to show that behind all the showmanship, there’s actually some solid rock music: there’s substance beneath all that style (and fireworks, and scantily-clad women and circular saw codpieces). Not only that, from where I was stood, I had a better view of the videos than of what was going on stage, so at least I could lean back and watch some gloriously and unashamedly 80s videos of the band in their heyday.

The songs might have been the same, the set-up might have been the same, but something about tonight’s show seemed far more entertaining, far more compelling to watch than last year. I doubt they’ll be back again so soon next time, but when they do, I’ll be there, along with, I’d imagine, the majority of the people in the room here tonight.

coliseum/bison bc/kvelertak_leeds the well_201110

First published: Push to Fire, November 23, 2010 http://met.al/dqy

After a brief reccy across the Pennines for Damnation Festival earlier in November, it’s back to Leeds for the second time in as many weeks for a gig that, on paper, promised to be a great night. Norwegians Kvelertak, the current darlings of the UK metal press; Bison BC (or simply Bison, if you’d prefer) from Vancouver, whose latest album, ‘Dark Ages’, is surely one of the heaviest things committed to CD all year; and Coliseum, who, despite their headliner status, were, for me at least, a bit of an unknown quantity. Still a compelling proposition nonetheless.

Hopped up on Red Bull (spot the designated driver…), I head into the notably empty main room at the Well just as Kvelertak are poised to start, with a look about them that suggests they’re ready to tear the venue a new one. For those of you who may have missed out on this band so far (where have you been?), these guys literally came out of nowhere this summer, with an insanely good self-titled debut that combines rock n’ roll, hardcore punk and black metal, that, for my money at least, just screams ‘Album of the Year’.

What’s more, they’ve already carved out a reputation for being a great live band, and tonight is no exception. Frontman Erlend screams every syllable with such intensity that it’s a minor miracle he hasn’t permanently buggered his throat already, while Vidar, Bjarte and Maciek on guitars masterfully trade riff after infectiously catchy riff, whilst Marvin and Kjetil on bass and drums, respectively, keep the band remarkably tight and together, all the while going suitably nuts on stage themselves. After bringing their set to a close with the ‘Mjød’ single from their self-titled debut album, to a man, the band leave the stage exhausted and dripping with sweat, safe in the knowledge that they’ve left a hard act to follow.

Bison, however, are more than capable of picking up the gauntlet thrown down by Kvelertak. As with their Norwegian predecessors, Bison have also released a truly brilliant album in 2010. Their release, Dark Ages, juxtaposes crushing riffs and guttural vocals with some sweet guitar melodies and, well, slightly less guttural vocals, to create a cacophonous and doom-laden yet infinitely listenable record. That said, the band’s previous album, ‘Quiet Earth’, is an absolute stormer too and, thankfully, both of them get a good airing, much to the delight of both your humble reviewer and the Bison faithful draped over the front of the stage.

Co-frontmen Dan and James take turns to either scream the place down or pull lead guitar duties, which at the drop of a hat can switch from noodly stoner/blues to a primeval chug which leaves you feeling as though you’ve been punched in the gut. Repeatedly. By a rhino. Bassist Masa flails wildly behind the two, keeping the low rumble of the band’s brooding sound coming, made all the more impressive by the fact that he only has three strings on his guitar (at least, that’s how many he had left by the time he’d finished with it), while drummer Brad pounds his kit so hard it’s as though he’s got a personal vendetta against his snare.

A performance like Bison’s was worthy of a headline slot, but before the night is out, there’s the small matter of Coliseum. However, judging by the smaller crowd, it seems as though a lot of people actually came just for Kvelertak and Bison. A number of people opt to hit the bar, check out the merch, go for a smoke or play some pool, which is a real shame, as Coliseum put on a great show.

They may have shot themselves in the foot a little by bringing such strong bands on tour with them, as compared to the livewire antics of Kvelertak and the overwhelming heaviness of Bison, Coliseum’s set does seem a little tame, but I don’t want to devalue it in any way. they still prove they’ve got the tunes and the muscle to go toe-to-toe with their tour buddies, which comes through in droves in their energetic performance.

Unfazed by the diminished crowd (according to singer/guitarist Ryan, previous nights on the tour have drawn as few as 10 people), the three-piece throw themselves into their set of raucous punk rock with real intent, most notably bassist Mike, who bounds around the stage as though no-one’s watching, accompanied by Ryan’s impressive guitar work and Scott Kelly- esque wails.

They seem to truly love what they do, a fact emphasised by the impassioned speech Ryan delivers at the end of their set, in which he thanks the bands on tour and everybody in the room for letting Coliseum do what they do best for just that little bit longer.

As anticipated, tonight’s show was nothing short of amazing. Each band impressed in equal measures: Kvelertak were on fire as always, it was great to finally see Bison BC in the flesh, and Coliseum were also undeniably great fun to watch. It really was a fitting showcase for three bands that are surely destined for greater things; it’s just a shame that more people weren’t around to see it.

That said, on the strength of tonight’s show, I’m in no doubt that the next time these bands hit the UK, a low attendance won’t be a problem.

Photos from this show: http://pushtofire.com/photos/Coliseum201110/index.html