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Friday 14th February 2014
Islington Academy in London, UK
Reviews & Photography by Graham Hilling
The first band this evening are The Killing Lights from LA. Having only changed their name towards the end of 2013, you might be more familiar with them as Vampires Everywhere! Fitting into this evening's bill perfectly they play a set of songs that don't neatly fit into any one genre; there's a fair helping of punk but this is tempered by metal and even hardcore in places. The result is not unpleasant either! Lots of energy, vocalist Michael V looking suitably demented for most of the short set. Driven along impressively in the main part by the accomplished drumming of J.J. Gun (lots of stick twirls and other such drum frickery!) there is a lot to like here and, despite the fact that they're barely on stage for 25 minutes, they definitely make an impression on the assembled masses, much nodding and smiles!
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Next up this evening and following in a similar vein are Butcher Babies. A five piece, also from LA, featuring two female vocalists. They used to play topless with just tape across their nipples (Wendy O Williams stylee) but dropped this a little while back. While this would almost certainly have boosted audiences (more out of curiosity or cheap titilation than anything else) it was really only a gimmick. And completely unnecessary because this band really do kick ass! The live show is ferocious to say the least with frontwomen Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey both dominating the stage and keeping the audience spellbound. The music is a fine soundtrack to their dual attack. The rest of the band have their faces painted and the whole stage show is very impressive. 'There's Blood Everywhere' is introduced and with some audience participation and the closing song 'Axe Wound' sees both of the vocalists standing on top of the barrier, much to the consternation of the security! They leave the stage telling the audience to catch them on the merch stall, "meeting, greeting and definitely fucking drinking". This is not a band who are shy of performing and their short set is over long before it should be, I look forward to seeing them again soon.
The Defiled at Islington Academy in London, UK, 14th February 2014
Photograph copyright 2014 Graham Hilling - www.metal-discovery.com
And so to the Defiled, playing their first headline tour. These five local guys from Camden have worked real hard since I first saw them 5 years ago and have have had some well deserved success with some very notable support slots. They have a reputation as an excellent live band and I have to say I have only been impressed in the past. This evening was no different. Opening the set with 'Sleeper' from the 2013 'Daggers' album they set the dial to overload right from the start. Playing in London ensures The Defiled will always get an audience more than willing to sing along and familiar with their material, and this was evident right from the start. By the time they got to 'The Resurrectionists' (3rd song in) they'd already won over any doubters in the venue. The addition of Needles on drums in 2012 has catapaulted this band and giventhem a new lease of life which truly could take them to some heady heights. Vincent Hyde on bass takes time to crowd surf (while still playing) and we get a plague masked person carrying a huge crucifix wandering round the stage. Strangely though, the live show is a little bit subdued if anything this evening.

'Blood Sells' spills furiously out of the PA, quickly followed by 'Unspoken' with its cracking breakdowns (almost, dare I say it, "radio friendly" music!). Before we know it they've left the stage. The inevitable encore begins with Stitch D playing an acoustic guitar for '5 Minutes' which shows how this band has matured and become become comfortable with their own sound. 'In the Land of Fools' sees them slowing things down a bit and showcasing another great song with their trademark punctuated sound and cracking choruses. The evening is concluded with 'Call to Arms' which showcases what the Defiled are in 2014 - they've grown from a precocious teenager into a fully fledged, self aware adult with a very bright future in front of them. It's just a bit of a shame the set was pretty shortish. A healthy turnout too, British heavy metal looks to be in pretty safe hands here.
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A brief respite from the almost ever present rain of 2014 sees me taking a trip to the Islington Academy to catch up with The Defiled on their first headlining tour of the UK. I was pleased to be greeted on arrival by a fairly sizable queue of people waiting to squeeze into the venue. The audience is an eclectic mix of metallers, punkers, goths and everything in between these various youth tribes, and youth is the correct word - this is a predominantly young crowd (making me feel pretty old!)