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When Essex-based Cinders Fall walk out onto the tiny stage in Rock City's basement room, only around 15-20 punters are present in what is a pitifully small audience. That's a shame for their fusion of the classic Gothenburg melo-death sound la At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity et al with discernible stateside metalcore elements proves to be a potent mix that is hard-hitting in its execution by these skilled bunch of musicians. Frontman Anthony Masters delivers his venomous growls as if the bastard offspring of Tomas Lindberg and Mikael Stanne while his fellow comrades try to move around the cramped stage as much as room will allow without colliding into one another. Undeterred by the miniscule crowd to which they perform, a crowd that seem largely unimpressed with apathetic clapping in between songs and only the occasional nodding head, Cinders Fall put on a tight, solid, and lively set.
Friday 20th August 2010
Rock City in Nottingham, UK
Reviews & Photography by Mark Holmes
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Up next are Imperial Vengeance who are effectively a duo in their recorded output although their live incarnation features the additional talents of three session players. Pertaining to a Victoriana idiom in their presentation and lyrical themes which they claim are "firmly rooted in the glory days of the British Empire", frontman C.Edward Alexander (aka Charles Hedger, onetime Cradle of Filth guitarist) is clad in apposite attire, as are his fellow musicians, including other permanent fixture in the band, bassist David Bryan. As they plough through their pseudo-experimental brand of extreme metal (I say pseudo as it's all been done before so Imperial Vengeance's claim to experimentalism is actually a misleading one) a largely inanimate stage presence is compensated for by the powerful drive of the songs and Alexander's commanding performance. Despite the man's high skill level on guitar, his decision to concentrate solely on frontman duties and recruit live session guitarists is a wise one as it evidently provides him with more scope to 'act' his role. And one of said fretboard widdlers comes in the form of Elle Torry who impresses tonight with her virtuoso leads, albeit looking entirely disinterested and bored at being on stage. Far from a polished live act in terms of their, on the whole, static appearance, Imperial Vengeance are a musically engaging band and, with a great sound through the PA, are well received by the 30 or so people who watch them.
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If the world was a fair place then Sabbat would be playing upstairs this evening in Rock City's main hall in front of a 2,000 strong crowd. However, since when has the world been a fair place? Such is life and the veteran innovatory thrashers find themselves crammed onto the small confines of the basement stage. Unlike for Cinders Fall and Imperial Vengeance, the gathered masses now total in excess of 150 so at least they perform to a respectably sized crowd. As soon as they hit the stage and commence their onslaught of incomparable thrash discharge the audience suddenly burst into action for the first time tonight as a small, though lively, pit breaks out in front of the stage. Sabbat reciprocate with a colossally authoritative display of metal as they rip through the likes of 'A Cautionary Tale', 'The Clerical Conspiracy', 'Hosanna in Excelsis', 'I For An Eye', 'Do Dark Horses Dream of Nightmares', and White Dwarf flexi-disc track 'Blood for the Blood God', proving their legendary credentials within the scene and serving as a reminder of why people remember them so fondly from the late eighties. Frontman Martin Walkyier rasps his way through the satire of every pun loaded lyric in his inimitable style while his bandmates thrash out the music of Andy Sneap's multiform compositions with energetic zest as if they were still in their twenties and with something to prove. Sneap himself seems to relish in the moment as he executes some incisive riffing and dynamic solos but it's fellow guitarist Simon Jones who's apparently enjoying himself the most as the man doesn't seem to stop smiling throughout the entire gig! Since reforming in the second half of 2006 for a series of Cradle of Filth shows, Sabbat have opted to preserve the essence of their erstwhile sound by opting to record no new material, although their tunes of yore have stood the test of time and come across just as fresh as when they were first unleashed on seminal works 'History of a Time to Come' and 'Dreamweaver' all those years ago. With thrash's current resurgence, including the inexplicable popularity of genre plagiarists such as Evile, it's satisfying to be reminded of how progressive and innovative certain bands once were...and I guess still are, so here's hoping Sabbat's reunion continues well into the present decade, and beyond! After encore numbers 'The Church Bizarre' and 'For Those Who Died', they exit the stage to well earned, enthusiastic cheers. A fantastic performance.
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