Trivium and Killswitch Engage, Manchester Academy

Battlecross, Miss May I, Trivium, Killswitch Engage

Manchester Academy

01 Feb 2014

Back in the good old days (2004-ish) this little band from the States that no-one had ever heard of released an album, and then a video and Kerrang! and Scuzz went absolutely mental and played them all the time. And I really, really liked them. But all my friends were going through their TRVE KVLT phases and mocked me, and called them emos, so I carried on liking them, but just didn’t mention it in public. There’s only so much ridicule a girl can take after all and I reserve all of mine for discussing Nickelback.

Anywaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay……………… move forward ten years and all of a sudden EVERYONE likes Trivium, and they’re all popular and after releasing a stonkingly good album, they go and announce a tour.

With Killswitch Engage.

There’s a reason I’m WWRS‘s resident Metalcore Queen and so the minute the tour was announced I had a look at the dates and elected to do this one Terror Twins stylee. That’s with Cat A- also known as ‘The Evil Twin‘. I’m the good twin. Well, I’m ‘Not Evil Twin’ at any rate.

Hyperbole aside, we begged, stole and borrowed and got ourselves to Manchester and below is the tale of what happens when two of America‘s finest Metalcore acts get together with one of America’s worst Metalcore acts, add a sprinkle of an extremely underrated, but brilliant, Thrash band and then go on tour…

Right.

First up on the billing were Battlecross.

These guys are a support act but their touring back-list is like a who’s who of Heavy Metal and they’re most often compared to Pantera and Lamb of God. Big boots to fill, and for their first appearance in Brit land, they seemed to have brought some extra Thrash with them from Michigan, along with a pinch of Metalcore in the form of the almighty Shannon Lucas (formerly of All That Remains and The Black Dahlia Murder – Guys PLEASE sign him up full time now).

Technically brilliant, Battlecross have an energetic stage presence, with great crowd interaction.  They *should* have suffered for being on the billing all of 15 minutes after the door opened, but 10 minutes into their set they had a very dedicated crowd following them, with a pit or two for good measure, and they made a lot of new fans that night.

They are playing later in the year at Graspop and return to the UK in the summer for Download. To be honest if I could afford it, I’d now go and buy a Download ticket on the strength of them alone – they really are so, so good. I love it when a support act I’ve only given a passing listen to turn out to be ‘blow your New Rocks off’ good, and these guys are.

Battlecross. Photo Credit Suzi H

Sadly, the show then took a terrible turn for the absolute worst. Do you guys remember the time I reviewed that Linkin Park album and I swore and cried and never forgave Chester Bennington?

Well Miss May I were like that. Except they were worse because my feet were hurting, I was standing up and they kept telling me they wanted ‘a motherfucking circle pit right now’.  Tiny hint guys – if you want a circle pit, you have to give us something to have a circle pit to. Just asking for it whilst perched on a monitor is not going to get you one.

Still, lots of people were singing along, there were clearly a lot of fans there, so I’m glad they got their money’s worth.

At this point I was starting to get cross – I hate it when the second support act, who have a longer slot, are infinitely worse than the first support act who invariably didn’t have a long enough set.  Ah well, the wait for Trivium commenced and well it was worth it.

10 years I’ve waited for this gig. 10 years and from the mood of the crowd I’d say so had everyone else. We don’t have any pictures to share with you because neither myself nor Cat A could get our arms up to throw horns never mind take pictures. We were three rows from the front, and we spent most of the gig shoved up so tight, I’m not sure how the guys on the barrier didn’t have crush injuries.

This band are masters at what they do. The play was slick, every note was on point, the interaction between them was brilliant. They played a fantastic mix of new material from the Vengeance Falls album along with all the old favourites a diehard fan would want to see – In Waves,  Shogun, A Gunshot To the Head of Trepidation  and Pull Harder on The Strings of Your Martyr. I’ve never before been in a crowd where everyone sang along to every, and I mean every track.

This set was everything I had hoped it was minus the crowd interactions – Trivium as it turns out are not a chatty band. Still, in 55 minutes they just played constantly, and the crowd repaid them with several slightly violent pits, a multitude of crowd surfers and at the end of the set a number of the ahem *younger* fans had to be helped over the barrier by security after it had all got a pit much for them.

Now normally, in a crowd that’s worked itself into a crush the gap between sets is a good opportunity for everyone to back up a bit and wipe the sweat of strangers from them. Not so this crowd – the crush remained throughout the stage re-build, and so in the spirit of the North, we all had a chat, joked about how dreadful Miss May I were, and commented on just how utterly brilliant Trivium were and wondered how on Earth Killswitch Engage were going to match it.

Shouldn’t have wondered really. Jesse and Co stormed onto the stage, and then provided an hour of pure Metalcore Heaven. They, unlike Trivium, are very big on the whole crowd interaction thing, and between songs they drank, they cracked jokes, they laid out the rules (If you’re going to sit on shoulders and block the view your top must be off. This is an all genders rule.)

Disarm the Descent  was a hugely successful album for KSE. Every bit of that awesome was brought to the stage and then given that down and dirty, sweaty live edge to produce a set of sheer brilliance. They didn’t neglect the long term fans though – the classics of Rose of Sharyn, The End of Heartache and My Curse saw play to rapturous receipt and when Always was played I think everyone who could move an arm had them up. Hearing The End of Heartache done live with the crowd providing harmonies is by far one of my best gig experiences ever.

There’s very little to complain about this line up. With the exception of Miss May I, every band brought their A game, played hard and gave the fans what they wanted. The fact that the Manchester date was sold out, and Brixton on Sunday was also sold out tells you all you need to know. Metalcore  (despite what the TRVE KVLT brats would have you believe) isn’t a flash in the pan sub-genre by people who can’t do death growls properly, it’s a beautifully harsh beast in it’s own right.

Now, when can they do it again?

*****/5

0 thoughts on “Trivium and Killswitch Engage, Manchester Academy”

  1. As the Evil Twin, I feel that I must add a comment here. I’ve seen Trivium before, and every time I watch them they get slicker and slicker. Personally I’d like to have seen a bit more crowd interaction but that’s my own view and they put on a spectacular set.
    KsE – well they’re one of my favourites for a reason! It was a set that showcased the best of their catalogue, including the amazing This Fire Burns (which if you don’t know used to be CM Punk’s intro in WWE). There really was no other choice to fill the boots left by Howard Jones when he departed, and Jesse appears to know just how lucky he is to have another shot at this.
    And Battlecross! Oh my! They have a new fan here!

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