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Sunday 29th October 2006
Rock Haven in Lincoln, UK
Only a short walk from my house, Rock Haven is a relatively new venue in Lincoln having opened earlier this year. Tonight is my first visit and, upon entering the building, first impressions are a rocked-up version of the social club from Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights. Kind of like The Phoenix Club but without a stage. Amateurish paintings adorn the walls ranging from The Number of the Beast incarnation of Iron Maiden's Eddie to a distorted image of Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow above the bar. Along one wall, there's even a full drum kit resting high up on a large shelf. Rock Haven is certainly eccentric in appearance, though has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and a late bar - always a bonus!

I first saw Rise To Addiction a couple of months back at Junktion7 in Nottingham and was very impressed with both their energetic performance and fresh-sounding varied style of metal. Tonight, their set commences around 10:15pm and as they launch into the opening number the sound is strikingly LOUD. This is perhaps Rise To Addiction at their rawest, seemingly playing direct through their amps with only vocals using the PA. With around only 30 people in attendance, I don't recall seeing a single poster in Lincoln advertising tonight's gig, which is somewhat apathetic of the promoter as given more publicity, Rise To Addiction could have perhaps been playing to a larger crowd. Despite the small audience, it is evident right from the start that the band means business as they perform with forceful intent and dynamic enthusiasm - such professionalism has to be admired. Second song in the set is a very heavy sounding cover of Black Sabbath's 'Children of the Grave' which, although true to the original, is made their own through the sheer intensity of its delivery. The remainder of the set comprises a deluge of quality, original material, with each song sounding as strong as the last. Rise To Addiction's diverse song writing make them a difficult band to classify generically as their music has discernible elements of various metal sub-genres - heavy; stoner; thrash and even progressive. However, their songs have a very contemporary metal edge and the band have a distinctive sound of their own. They are also individually very talented musicians. Leigh Oates is a charismatic frontman and has a wide vocal range - his powerful singing is both melodically aggressive and fervently moving. John Slater and Steve Wray's accomplished guitar playing is dextrous and intelligently purposeful - subtly inventive and technically versatile. Joel Graham's creative bass lines lend the songs further depth while Aynsley Dickinson's relentlessly arduous drumming is dynamically impressive. Collectively, Rise To Addiction convey a good reciprocal vibe as a band - both with each other and the audience - and look like they're having a whole lot of fun. Their set closes with the anthemic 'Falling As One', a truly awesome composition which achieves a good balance between emotive melodies and raw metal aggression.

After tonight's stunning performance, I'm once again left with the overwhelming impression that Rise To Addiction are a band destined for big things and with the planned release of their debut album early next year (mixed by none other than prolific metal producer, and ex-Sabbat guitarist, Andy Sneap), I'm sure that greater success is just around the corner. With a plethora of strong material, a fantastic live show and professional attitude, they certainly deserve it. Rise to Addiction have the potential to be huge.
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