As the sun set on a glorious Tuesday evening the lights came on in the Camden Barfly and pint glasses got introduced to beer pumps. The Barfly is a venue with a rich history and it felt good to finally be inside and treading the floors so many others had done before.
It wasn’t too long until the lights dipped and Collapse hit the stage. Their logo might be some sort of hybrid of Gallows and every Norwegian Black Metal band you can think of, but musically they ripped our faces off, treading the line between groove metal and thrash. It was amazing to see the audience headbanging in sync within two songs of an opening band and Collapse deserved every round of applause they received, despite the unnecessary Whitney Houston joke.
After a quick change over it was time for Chicago based Diamond Plate, whose singer had clearly modelled himself on Coheed and Cambria and Spacehog. It’s not always enough to merely have a charismatic frontman, so thank god they have the songs to back it all up as they work the stage, beaming with huge grins as the audience waved their hands. Diamond Plate played on with a boundless energy, throwing shapes that hadn’t been seen since the last time anyone gave a fuck about Dragonforce.
I later learnt these guys opened for Anthrax at Islington Academy a couple of nights before and it became clear that the vast majority of the audience had come to see them having been so blown away at that gig, which is great but I also wonder if those same people thought Diamond Plate were headlining as they all appeared to leave before Savage Messiah had even set up their drum kit.
Savage Messiah was the band I was here to see though, having reviewed their latest album “Plague of Conscience” and interviewed them, I was on a mission to complete the set with a live review, so I had no intention of missing a single note and good job I didn’t because I loved every single one.
Opening up with three tracks from their epic latest album “Plague of Conscience” – “The Accuser”, the title track and the headbanger “All Seeing I” the band are on top form, playing hard and tight, Dave Silver’s voice sounding fresh despite their recent set at Hammerfest IV (and having to talk to me earlier). The band pose and gurn and interact with the audience, all of whom are clearly relishing in the metal being unleashed. Of course, just when you think you have the measure of Savage Messiah they step it up a notch with a short duelling guitar break between Dave and Joff Bailey, ending in a twin harmony solo the likes of which hasn’t been seen for years, but needs to be seen again. Drummer Mauricio Chamucero also got a short solo spot, while Bassist Stefano Selvatico had to just make do with playing like a bastard all night.
After “Carnival of Souls” the band tore into the ludicrously catchy “Six Feet Under the Gun” and closed their main set on “Insurrection Rising” from their 2009 release of the same name. Inevitably there are cries of “more!” and Savage Messiah close the night with “The Serpent Tongue of Divinity” beaming smiles on the faces of all on stage and off.
If these guys are not playing at the major festivals next summer I will grow a Justin Bieber haircut, that’s just how good they are.
Now go discover them for yourselves and I’ll see you down the front.