Kicking off proceedings for the virtually sold-out Manchester gig, Sylosis took to the stage to warm up the crowd for the night ahead. Sylosis had filled the spot originally destined for Rise To Remain, who pulled out due to other commitments. Sylosis last played the Academy 2 alongside Fear Factory in February of this year, so expectations were high for the lads. Since then, however, Jamie Graham had parted ways with the band due to music differences. It was an unfortunate time but Sylosis are now back as a four-piece band with Josh Middleton taking the dual role of lead guitar and lead vocals. Tonight, they were a little lacklustre as they hadn’t warmed up the crowd like they usually do, with their stage lights and high energy. It was more of a calm performance from the band, maybe they’re feeling the effects of the departure of Graham or the long year behind them? Who knows, but in the end, they gave it their all and the set was met with warm applause.
Decked out in matching red shirts and black smartwear, German metallers Heaven Shall Burn entered the stage with an unnervy presence, with a backdrop of German-related war images and montages. The task ahead was to please the masses and with the first song they exploded from the stage, what a result! Heaven Shall Burn blew us away with political messages and very aggressive, thrash-worthy sounds that they could lead us into protest! With protest leader Marcus Bischoff, guitarists Maik Weichert and Alexander Dietz, bassist Eric Bischoff and drummer Matthias Voigt in unison, their performance was a fun one and very interactive with the crowd. Marcus got to say “hello” to the crowd which was greeted with arms of blood-thirsty zombies along with a stage dive in the end, clapping, chanting …. you name it! Each song Heaven Shall Burn performed was different, these veterans brought an invasion that we thoroughly admired, making our audience like a blitz!
Now, whatever you may call them, Suicide Silence were the most talked about band of the night. To show their excitement, many fans pushed up the barricade to hopefully grab their shot of deathcore. Met with minimal lights, grinding guitars provided by Christopher Garza & Mark Heylmun, with Daniel Kenny providing bass that vibrated through every inch of the body and Alex Lopez blasting drum beats faster than a footballer warming up for practice, Suicide Silence met their crowd with a frenzy!
Before the first song kicked in, Mitch Lucker walked on his trusty hell-riser, exploded with “CIRCLE PIT!” and growled like a wildebeest through the microphone. Sometimes, we even felt uneasy with every thump from Mitch’s foot on his platform, knowing he is a raging animal. “Thank you to the light tech for the red colours, I love them, makes it all pretty and stuff” he commented, maybe that’s where we felt uncomfortable with his preying mantis persona… The most recognisable songs from the set were ‘Wake Up’, ‘The Price Of Beauty’ and ‘Disengage’, where Lucker hissed “who wants to shake my hand?”, where crowd-surfers got their chance to shine and only a few would actually shake Lucker‘s hand. We wonder if the crowd can cope with another force with all their energy spewed all over the floor.
The headliners, As I Lay Dying were certainly a crowd pleaser for all to witness. Tim Lambesis, pumping up Manchester with deafening growls and arms the size of machine guns, alongside Josh Gilbert on harmonic backing vocals, as well as playing bass creating the dynamic dual presence. With songs from their back catalogue, including their most recent album, “A Powerless Rise”, we could feel everyone’s throats will be strained by the end of the night. The memorable songs of the night were ‘An Ocean Between Us’, ‘Upside Down Kingdom’, our newest favourite ‘Condemned’, and ‘Confined’ all ranging from their albums released especially their critically-acclaimed 2007 release “An Ocean Between Us”. But the song that was the most anticipated for all of the Manchester audience to hear was ‘The Sound Of Truth’. The crowd was even louder than Lambesis, somehow we know he is actually competing the crowd to see if he can match up with his fans! Sometimes, this should have been the closer of the show, but ‘Confined’ was a great closer all round.
The crowd did well to strain their throats from the singing, chanting and growling and their bodies ache from all activity in and out of the pit. An adrenaline rush of a show!