Brixton Academy has once again sold out on a metal night. Five thousand fans have made the pilgrimage to South London for a night of metalcore madness on this stop of the co-headline tour.
The young heirs to the throne, Miss May I (5), are here to prove that they can get amongst the big boys, but go totally the wrong way about it. A near static band going through the motions and plodding through a set of similar sounding beatdowns and whiny clean vocals only manage to excite a very small portion of the crowd. Only the enthusiasm and obvious charisma of frontman Levi Benton keeps their set afloat. Unlike his bandmates, he looks somewhat commanding on a bigger stage.
They do pack the odd nod-worthy tune, so not all hope is lost. If their next album is crammed with big songs and they learn to apply the skills that they will learn from bands on tours like this, then there is no reason for the Ohio upstarts to push on. I do feel as though someone has missed a trick by not grabbing Bury Tomorrow for this tour.
First to bear their teeth in this friendly face off is Trivium (9), who's time spent crafting a near perfect live show is as obvious as ever. The sheer depth in their sound is overwhelmingly awesome as their set list spans from the 11 minute marvel 'Shogun' to the blood-soaked God of War track, 'Shattering the Skies Above'. The new tracks from 2013's 'Vengeance Falls' sound so much better live and crush as much vertebrae as the classics. Matt Heafy's voice has benefited from the time spent with David Draiman, even if he did pick up the odd dodgy Disturbed vocal line. The power and control behind his pipes, his rediscovered talent for ferocious screams and ability to effortlessly drop riff after riff put him amongst the best in the business.
The band have a great chemistry on stage and the line up looks solid, Nick Augusto has made the spot behind the kit his very own. The production of their stage, lights and sound was sublime – they even had fake snow falling during the mesmerising 'Shogun'. Toward the end of their set, they take the roof off with a huge 'In Waves' before finishing up strongly with the vintage closer 'Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr'.
You have to feel sorry for anyone who has to follow that kind of form. Unfortunately the rather excellent Killswitch Engage (8.5) fall just short. That is not to say that they were bad – far from it in fact. I know it's not a competition, but they don't quite match the musicianship and delivery of Trivium. Now that is said, let me tell you how amazing they were!
Firstly, Jesse Leach is absolutely sensational. All night he has the crowd in the palm of his hand and is one of the most versatile vocalists in metal. The screams shred through the Academy and his cleans are beautiful, particularly during the sonically moving 'Always' which has nearly five thousand fans singing along. When the slightly eccentric Adam Dutkiewicz isn't running across the stage, he is blasting out the memorable riffs that form the base of Killswitch's sound. Getting these two to share a stage was such a triumph, Brixton was treated to a double dose of pioneering metal. The albums that both Trivium and Killswitch have produced have influenced so many others. It is not possible to overstate their importance.