Live Review: Defenders Of The Faith III – Trivium, In Flames, Ghost, Rise To Remain, Insense, Plymouth Pavillions 8th December 2011
Photos by Martin Thomas (www.gigsnapper.com)
Words by Julian Dark
The Defenders of the Faith juggernaut rolls into a wet and windy Plymouth for the final night of their seven date tour, the five band strong line-up providing a veritable feast of top notch metal for the discerning West Country gig aficionado.
Kicking off proceedings shortly after the 6 O’clock news has just gone to air, Insense set the tone for the night with a powerful 20-25 minute slot. Their crushingly heavy, no frills, sound resonates well with the hardcore fans that are in situ from the start, with frontman Tommy Hjelm soon building an excellent rapport with the assembled throng. The pace barely drops from start to finish, and that they finish their brief set playing to an auditorium which has swelled to two thirds full is as much testament to their impact, as it is to the advancement of the time.
Next to the fore come young British hopefuls Rise To Remain. The much vaunted 5-piece have already developed quite a following, judging from the audience reaction to their arrival, and they set about justifying it with a spring in their collective steps. Clearly relishing the experience provided by their involvement in this tour, and seizing the opportunity with both hands, they give a fine account of themselves. The underlying quality of the tracks showcased here is there for all to hear, and the punchy, high energy, delivery with which they are unleashed compliments them too a tee. Maybe a touch of over exuberance is exhibited when the audience is led into an impromptu rendition of “Happy Birthday” for (I think) the mother of one of the band members. It’s a first for me, but then who would expect a seating area at a concert headlined by Trivium (more of that later!), and the crowd plays along happily enough so no harm done. In the end I’m sure that many others leave, as I do, with a marker laid down to pay a keener interest in the future to this highly promising group.
this day is mine
power through fear
Next to emerge from the shadows of the backstage are Ghost. With Ghouls already at their stations, the man himself “Papa Emeritus” makes his entrance in a show of pomp and ceremony that wouldn’t seem out of place at a coronation. Decked out in full regalia the initial impact is impressive to these eyes, but a noticeably muted reaction to the bands arrival by a sizeable contingent of the audience seems now to be morphing into something approaching bemusement at the spectre-cal (sorry!) unfolding before them. Whether as a result of the bands satanic leanings, theatrical inclinations, or just the simple fact that they occupy a position somewhat to the south of the rest of the bill in the ear bleeding stakes, Ghost have a real battle on their hands to win this crowd over. Seemingly undaunted they press onwards, producing track after track of high quality riff driven melodic metal, while at the same time displaying a highly developed feel for the use of light and shade within the dynamics of the music. Visually absorbing, they put on a show in every sense of the word, but it’s the tunes that really matter and they have them in their locker. More and more of the crowd seem to respond positively with each new offering and by the finish it’s evident they’re leaving with more than a few new converts to the cause.
con clavi con dio
stand by him
No such complications for In Flames, who are next up. Chanted on and off stage by a large and eagerly expectant following, they respond with a tour de force performance that will live long in the memory. Crowd favourites a plenty litter a stunning set which is delivered with the kind of calm assurance that you only find when a band is operating absolutely at the top of their game. Frontman Anders Fridén has the crowd eating out of his hand to such a degree that when he requests mid-set for the fans to get even more up close and personal, the conveyor belt of humanity going over the barricades that follows is truly a sight to behold. Outstanding doesn’t really cover it, but they are.
sounds of a playground fading
all for me
fear is the weakness
cloud connected-long intro
take this life
And so to headliners Trivium who take to the stage, go straight for the jugular, and never, ever display even a hint of letting go. And who would want them to? Certainly not the massed ranks of hardy souls which gather around the edges of the huge moshpits that open with regularity during the sets of both Trivium and In Flames, and who are only too happy to throw themselves to the mercy of the ferocious tidal ebb and flow which results. Trivium, in particular, seem to thrive on the energy produced, consistently throwing down the gauntlet to those involved. Throughout a career spanning set of quite breathtaking intensity, that enthrals and pummels the senses in equal measure, they try their utmost to force them to a standstill. A potent force live, their performance is honed to perfection, lean and muscular, with no quarter asked or given. Towards the end of the night their attention turns to the aforementioned seated section at the back of the arena, cajoling those in residence to rise to their feet, like the mere notion is a slight to their professional pride. Fear not lads, no cause for alarm, it’s just further evidence of the growing sedentary culture of the inhabitants of these fair isles, you bear no responsibility. Just one more glance at that unyielding moshpit should provide all the confirmation needed that your powers are still as formidable as they ever were.
Then, all too soon, the night reaches its conclusion, but as the faithful troop back out into all that nature can throw at them, they at least do so safe in the knowledge that, on the strength of the evidence provided, the present and future of the musical genre that means so much to them is in very safe hands indeed.
built to fall