Trivium, Code Orange, Power Trip and Venom Prison tear London a new one; Ozzy, Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch rule over Florida’s rockville Festival; Epica, myrkur and Oceans Of Slumber get set to stun and more.
The 2018 Metal Hammer tour shines a light on a new era of heavy
It’s been a
while since Metal Hammer has put its name to a tour such as this one, but then it’s been a while since a live package represented the eclectic nature of our scene in such a galvanising manner. Crucially, it’s also been a while since metal felt like it could really fill a venue of this size with bands who are this young, exciting and challenging. There’s something in the air tonight, and while the cynical amongst you might think we’re patting ourselves on the back due to our own involvement in proceedings, tonight there is an argument to be had that every band involved fail to put a foot wrong between them.
Need convincing? Well, how about this: at 6.30pm a group of Welsh and Russian punk rock kids walk onstage at one of this country’s most prestigious venues, 18 months after dropping their debut album, and proceed to play a set of utterly savage death metal. Within minutes there is a circlepit opening up the floor of Brixton academy. VENOM PRISON  have supported some pretty big bands since the release of Animus, taking on everyone from
Trap Them to Suicide Silence and making them look fairly ordinary in the process, but tonight they transcend all of it. What’s all the more impressive is how at home this music sounds on such a grand scale: crushing, suffocating and moving all at once. When they’re in the groove like this, VP are feral. an unreal opener.
If you don’t believe in love at first sight then you really needed to be here to witness the moment the uninitiated present first hear POWER TRIP’S  guitar tone. The jaws of the curious immediately drop to the floor as the Texan quintet launch into the grinding thrash of Soul Sacrifice, which is nothing compared to the reaction to the already anthemic Executioner’s Tax – so much so that the band are forced to stop for a good five minutes as an audience member is seriously injured in the chaos. Riley Gale pleads for everyone to look out for each other but his words fall on deaf ears as, only two songs later, the band are stopped once again due to an injury. Bodies are being carried out and it’s not even 8pm yet! Power
Trip do finally get to finish a set that is a perfect amalgam of thrash, groove, death metal, hardcore and genuine danger not seen since Pantera in their pomp. Stunning.
but, If It’s
danger you want, if it’s confrontation, if it’s a challenge, then CODE ORANGE  are making all your violent dreams come true. The first ever Grammy-nominated hardcore band have some serious hype to live up to, and are the only band to experience some resistance tonight, but such is their mix of white noise, pounding beatdown riffs, true punk rock spirit, visceral hatred, genuine seething darkness and unpredictability that, even if you despise them, you’re too petrified to look away. Bleeding In The Blur has become a landmark song, and a signpost to where
Code Orange can go next, but the size of the roar of “MOTHERFUCKER!” from the academy floor during Real and the sight of a punk rock band channelling the bleak, epic grandeur of Type O Negative and Life Of agony on dream2 are the moments that really set spines tingling. Unstoppable.
It’s weird to think that TRIVIUM  are both the headliners and the odd ones out on this tour. The naysayers would have you believe that they have seen their best days and were cannon fodder to a bill of youthful upstarts. But when your back’s against the wall is when you see what a band is truly made of, and tonight, armed with their best album in a decade – at least – in The Sin And The Sentence,
Trivium step up and show everyone just why we have never given up on them.
It’s the perfect storm of a newly refreshed band determined to rise to the challenge, with a perfectly pitched setlist and with a crowd desperately willing them to succeed. New songs like the crushing riff-storm of Betrayer perfectly complement the fist-pumping arena metal of Until The World Goes Cold, with Matt Heafy spending the entire gig grinning from ear to ear. as the final juddering riff of In Waves threatens to rip Brixton in two, the mayhem gives rise to an atmosphere that is beautiful, joyous and triumphant in ways not seen since Machine Head’s Second Coming on The Blackening.
Tonight, Trivium take every snide internet commentator’s scorn, every critical misstep, every frustrating line-up change and ram it back down the throats of wherever they came from with interest, finally enjoying a moment that tops that Download 2005 set in the process. Call us biased if you must, but if you were here you’ll know that metal is in the best form it’s been in for a long time. This is real, right now.
TRIVIUM TONIGHT ARE A PERFECT STORM
Upstaged by the young support acts? Nah, Matt Heafy’s got ’em licked bends over Prison’s Larissa Venom crowd to woo the backwards Power Trip’s Riley whips up a Gale with his mane
Code Orange’s Jami Morgan sticks two up to the non-believers Trivium raise an army
Trip’s Nick Stewart: Power cowboy from hell