Triviun – As I Lay Dying – Caliban
It seems no time at all since the Trivium/AILD tour was announced way back in June at the tenth Download festival. Both bands took the main stage there, performing to tens of thousands of baying fans plodding through an almost apocalyptically mucky field. Tonight’s a more low-key affair, with winter persistently closing it’s grasp on Scotland’s biggest city and an excitable Tuesday-night crowd virtually throwing themselves up the ABC’s stairs in an effort not to miss the night’s long-awaited entertainment.
Early doors mean too many fans arrive just late enough to catch the plaudits for (but not the set of) Upon A Burning Body. Fortunately, German tech-metalcore underdogs Caliban are on hand to lend proceedings some bite. They’ve been kicking around the scene for the best part of a decade now, without an awful lot of progress but when they hit out with a rabid, super-energetic showing like this it’s easy to understand their refusal to simply fade away.
A cover of Rammstein’s ‘Sonne’ treads a very thin line between Teutonic patriotism and pandering to a crowd without much idea who they’re watching but the lasting impression, again, is of a small victory against this scene’s merciless odds.
There’s a notable shift in atmosphere for As I Lay Dying. Led out by a fierce-looking Tim Lambesis (who seems now to be taking bodybuilding tips to match his Schwarzenegger-obsessed side-project Austrian Death Machine) they’re on combative, fiery form.
Latest LP Awakened may well be one of modern metal’s best of 2012 but we get a set that traverses their entire career. Their live presence mightn’t match the machine-like performance of that latest record but any small loss of tightness is more than made up for by Lambesis’ swollen presence and charisma. A storm of tearing riffs and howled vocals; it’s not an obvious choice for this work-night crowd but the outright power on show simply can’t fail to connect.
Trivium’s ascendancy in the UK (and further afield) mightn’t have been as smoothly stratospheric as many pundits predicted back with their roof-raising assault on Download 05’s main stage. But there’s no arguing that the band haven’t held up their end of the bargain. Having returned with classic albums and an ever-developing live presence, Matt Heafy and his band have become – somewhat contrarily – an ever-unpredictable safe bet.
Touching on each of their five studio albums, we get the nowadays-unusual ‘Rain’, a hint of their rough-hewn genesis in ‘Ember To Inferno’ and their definitive classics ‘Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr’ and ‘Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation’ mid-set, while more recent classics ‘In Waves’ and ‘Throes Of Perdition’ bookend proceedings. It’s a statement of both pride and intent from a band happy with the work already done but unafraid to push the boundaries with what they continue to produce. It doesn’t hurt that they’re one of the most technically proficient bands in popular metal and in Heafy they’re gifted with one of the genre’s most interesting frontmen.
Trivium have had bigger nights than this, and more are surely to come, but as an autumnal drop-in this impresses mightily. The crowd spill out, spent and sweaty and hoarse. It’s been a great night, but better than that, you get the impression this band are still only getting started.