How many times will we see Iron Maiden at Download, how many times will Metallica be THE festival headliners before the torch needs to be passed? One of Metal’s most grounded front-men, Trivium’s Matt Heafy is a man who well and truly has his ear to the ground. Having released arguably their most well received release since Ascendancy last year, the band have been campaigning around the world and this, a package brought together by a keen eye on the scene is a line up for the future generations. Comprising of Death Metal upstarts Venom Prison, Thrash Metal moguls Power Trip, Hardcore bruisers Code Orange and rounded off by gatekeepers Trivium, this was one hell of a night!
Bursting onto the Brixton stage with a sound that might never have been imagined on a stage of this magnitude, Venom Prison positively rip open the Academy with their rendition of skronking atonal Death Metal. Following from their Bloodstock main stage appearance it seems that Larissa and co are more than comfortable being on a stage this big and playing to crowd this size and its simply wonderful to see that Death Metal in 2018 is open to the masses and Venom Prison are absolutely astounding ambassadors of the genre. Expect big things from this band.
Nevertheless just as much as innovation might be a key element tonight, so is throwing back to the old school, which successors Power Trip do to their utmost best. Bursting on stage following the post apocalyptic introduction of “Soul Sacrifice” the band waste no time in throwing punches before launching straight into, what could be one of the grooviest tracks in Thrash history “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of The Axe)“. Its here that things go somewhat awry in the pit as a fan has to be carried out following a seizure. Following a successful extraction the riffs are dealt out on “Crucifixation“.
Nevertheless what sets Power Trip immediately apart from any other run of the mill Thrash Metal is their fierce sense of danger. With drummer Chris Ulsh reaching new Donald Tardy levels of snare battering flanked with the dynamic duo of Blake Ibanez (I mean with a name like that he was made to be a guitarist) and Nick Stewart, beefed up with Chris Whetzel’s bass lines to be finally rounded off with the spit in your face attitude of yesteryear Thrash with Riley Gale. The defiant bellow of the audience when “Manifest Decimation” is barrelled out as a grand finale calls for cries of “POWER TRIP! POWER TRIP!” reach deafening levels, combining groove, attitude and sheer power its proof that these Texans are the future of Thrash Metal and if you’ve not heard Nightmare Logic, you’ve got another thing comin’.
Speaking of attitude, following on from the Texas Thrash powerhouse comes one of the most hyped bands of recent years. Releasing their critically acclaimed Forever last January, Code Orange have taken the world by storm. Despite not winning their Grammy, the sheer fact that the band were nominated in the first place is a huge achievement not only for the band themselves but in Metal . Needless to say, the hype is real. Comprising almost solely of Forever material, the brooding bruisers open their set with immediate right hook that is “My Reality” proving that this isn’t a show for the weak willed. Particularly as all the energy in the room is expelled for the destructive “Real” whose quasi-industrial skronk step shakes Brixton to its foundations. Though despite the machismo stomp of the band, personal highlight are the Nirvana induced “Bleeding In The Blur” which Reba Meyers take over on vocals, delivering a class performance alongside new single “Only One Way” proving that group might not quite have been as one dimensional as I previously thought.
The band promptly return to their rabid Hardcore though with “Kill The Creator” seeing a fierce pit growing by the minute. Despite the abrasive nature of the music alone, the band put on a show that would intimidate even the most hardy, of Metal fan. Here seems to be the common thread of each band tonight, yet none highlighted more than Code Orange as the lucid ending of “dream2” is oozed out, the band take their leave after what was a set that has not only convinced but potentially turned a fervent naysayer into a potential fan. No easy feat. Hats off Code Orange.
As the stage lights darken and for those familiar with the band, the classic “Run To The Hills” intro is rolled out, our hosts for the night are set to arrive and given the caliber of all three bands before them, they have their work cut out for them. Luckily this is Trivium’s best performance to date. Opening straight out of the gates with “The Sin And The Sentence” the pitch perfect sound brings a clarity to the band’s new material, making it some of the heaviest the band have put out to date. Cherry picking a specific setlist, tonight the band are on absolute fire as we dive into “Throes of Perdition” whose battering riff sounds larger than it ever has done. Yet the real jewel in the crown tonight is Matt Heafy. Understanding exactly what buttons to push and when to push them, he eggs us Londoners on name dropping cities that were better than us, not if we have anything to do about it!
Slowly but surely ramping up the tension, old school treats of “Ascendancy” and “Inception of The End” bring the Thrash riffs, coupled alongside The Crusade number “Becoming The Dragon” dedicated specifically to the UK Metal scene I might add! Trivium are quite simply the best they have ever been, eclipsing every other performance to date. Not to mention the crowd themselves give them a run for their money with the deafening “Until The World Goes Cold“. Delighting the older generation somewhat the addition of “Drowned and Torn Asunder” and “Like Light To Flies” is a highlight of the evening but its nothing compared to the reception of new banger “The Heart From Your Hate” and “Beyond Oblivion” where the band absolutely come into their own. Returning after a brief moment for God of War number “Shattering The Skies Above” its the double whammy of “Pull Harder on The Strings of Your Martyr” and for those who might be familiar with the band, we all know what’s coming next. As the inaugural clang of “Capsizing The Sea” and we’re all politely asked to take a knee, the collective might of that first “In Waves” is something fans will never forget.
At last, it might have taken them some time but Trivium can confidently call themselves leaders of the Metalcore pack. With one of their most solid releases to date on their back, the world is quite simply the Floridian’s oyster. However what makes a night like tonight just so special is the recognition of bands from Death Metal, Thrash, Hardcore and Metalcore backgrounds that the scene is perhaps in some of the best health its ever been in and the future is well and truly in good hands.