+ Venom Prison, Power Trip and Code Orange
As we approach the twilight period where the big tours start to die off and make way for all those summer festivals, we have one of our last hurrahs to attend (Obviously, the Machine Head tour will be the one to officially hand over to the fest’s) . Talk of big tours? Trivium, Code Orange, Power Trip and Venom Prison is one hell of a line-up. This is going to be legendary, isn’t it? We’d happily go and see any of these bands headline a show, so all four bands on one monster line-up is a bit of a result. This has the look of one of those tours that people will be talking about for years to come…
So we’re in Birmingham O2 Academy bright and early, ready for all of the action.
Almost criminally, we’ve not seen Venom Prison since last years Bloodstock Festival. A great excuse to be in the place early. Well, not an excuse, as Venom Prison opening the bill makes it mandatory to be in here nice and early.
We are predictably, not the only ones as the snaking queue that had lined the Bristol Rd seems to have found its way in here pretty quickly and folks are down the front in the steadily billowing dry ice.
As the band hit the stage in almost complete darkness, there’s a mighty roar to greet the Welsh death squad. Larissa’s body convulses to the bludgeoning intro thuds before the inevitable scouring vocals kick in. We’re back in the groove… An instant reminder of the powerful this band are.
As if we needed it.
Yep, this band is receiving plaudits from all directions and hype from out of the blue. Refreshingly it is all for a cracking band who thoroughly deserve it. They are the most exciting British band out there and they can bring more glee to this club than 90% of your headliners currently on the road.
Opening up for a band like Trivium on a massive four band bill has plenty of pitfalls, but Venom Prison avoid them all. They’ve brought in their own fans and they take to the stage as a force of nature. They look and sound unstoppable up there and the crowd goes suitably bonkers in return.
The whole vibe of this set screams headline set and its only 7 o’clock. It maybe bitter sweet that Venom Prison are soon to retire to the studio, but when they come back we are expecting a colossal headline tour from this lot.
For now we have the mighty ‘Womb Forced Animus’ to see us off for the night. Mega.
Good lord the riffs! The crisp, earth shaking and joyous riffs. This band has a lorry load of them.
We thought Venom Prison were the young upstarts who would make everyone else look static on this tour, we obviously haven’t done all of our homework on this Texan lot. We’re popping our Power Trip cherry in the live arena tonight, and as lively as they are on record, we weren’t quite ready for Riley and co.
Lively? Try fucking chaotic. In a good way, of course. As those aforementioned sharpest of riffs crunch out across the room, Riley looks like the proverbial cat on the hot tin roof. Leaping all over the stage, he has more energy than… Us. That’s not hard, but let’s just say he would make a great advert for Red Bull.
‘Nightmare Logic’ has been on our playlist since it came out but hearing it slice through the Academy tonight really shows off this band’s technical ability. Technical ability mixed with a turbulent stage presence makes for an eye and ear catching show.
By the time the band reach ‘Manifest Decimation’ to close their set, we’re already planning to catch these guys out on tour next time they pop to the UK.
*Ed: As if by magic, they were announced for Bloodstock a couple of days later 🙂
Exploding onto the stage, the ‘Orange dudes are a mighty blast from start to finish as they bring yet more heaviness our way.
Reba and Joe are livewires, with Joe especially prowling the stage like an escapee from some sort of secure unit. There are limbs, hair and bodies are flying all over the stage like a heavy metal big bang event. All this draped in thick red light it looks mightily impressive.
For all their in your face aggressiveness, the stage show doesn’t always match the sound. Lots of criss-crossing of the stage and raging is all well and good, but sometimes they look as though they are raging too hard! Sometimes it just seems a bit disjointed.
We can’t argue that they sound absolutely enormous though. Bass rumbling riffs, screaming to peirce your ear drums and an attitude that could kill. They are a huge presence and blast out their hardcore credentials for all to see.
We load up on Cider, have a quick look at the marked up merch and take our place for the finale of the evening.
Last of all, we have our headliners and hosts to this cracking’ bill. Matt Heafy has been wearing Venom Prison t-shirts on social media a lot lately and is obviously keen on promoting our upcoming talent in the UK. He even gives Brady from Conjurer a shout out on stage tonight, so hopefully they’ll be picking up Conjurer on their next tour. It’s great to see him supporting the underground, no doubt inspired by Trivium’s rapid rise to fame over here a decade ago.
Anyway, we’ve been gobsmacked at the energy levels of this show so far tonight, but we know that Trivium are going to be a little more calm and composed. Even if Paolo does his best to pogo through the set, Matt and Corey are going to concentrate on delivering their shredding with precision. Well, you don’t see Metallica coming on stage and leaping from the drum riser every two minutes do you?
Trivium are well rehearsed at this game and it seems as though their crowd are too. Matt gives shouts out to fans attending the seventieth, eightieth or so show. That is pretty hardcore, but thinking about it we’re probably in the twenties by now. We are certainly not starved of Trivium tours and shows in their “adopted” homeland.
It does seem that this tour is built around the music. Recent Trivium tours have involved big stage set ups, props, steps, skulls and the like. This tour is very stripped back, much like the recent album (The Sin and the Sentence) its all about the music.
And what a setlist we can look forward to.
Yep, whether it be brand new cuts like ‘The Sin…’ or the wonderfully brutal ‘Betrayer’ or something a little older; ‘Ascendancy’ or ‘Becoming the Dragon’ in particular are early tracks in the set that have us reminiscing about when we had hair, and money and good looks (debatable) etc. Indeed, by the time we get around to ‘Like Light to Flies’ we have well and truly found our singing voices. Great music and extremely expensive Academy cider are making Tuesdays far better than usual tonight.
Trivium are all smiles, we are all smiles and the rest of the crowd are all smiles. It’s just awesome to witness this band in full flow. You don’t get much more “Full flow” than ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr’ either. Time to lose our sh*t!
Matt plays the UK cities off against each other saying Bristol were ferocious, but by the time ‘In Waves’ crashes in Birmingham have smashed it, apparently. Who’s have thought!
Apart from the stale banter, it’s a commanding headline performance from the Floridan legends. Their finely balanced performance that weighs up brutality and precision against each other is more or less perfect as they stretch into their second decade together comfortably. As if that isn’t masterful enough, the bill that has been put together for this tour is just magnificent.
What a bloody night!