Given the dark and windowless nature of The Hydrant it can be difficult to see much at times, but as soon as Chronos fling into their set, they manage to light the place up. They’ve brought an array of high powered lights with them – a touch that you don’t often see from bands of their level, or even from higher profile acts, as a matter of fact. Combining this with their sonic bulldozing of mournful and melancholic guitar lines and the aural blasting of vocalist Joe Stokes, Chronos are a hefty mix worth checking out live. After them No Coast deliver their usual short and sharp fifteen minute set, with their lead vocalist giving a spasmodic performance against a barrage of manic rhythms. Being the least metal band on the bill some might think they are an interesting surprise, but the dozen or so minutes they spend on stage (and all over the floor) go down well.
The simultaneously soulful and sorrowful crooning of Robin Urdino is the start of the next installment of music this evening. As a vocalist he can boast an impressive diversity, beginning with the heartfelt soothing of “The Nobleman” before he and the rest of his band, The Mire, slam into their jarring post-metal. It’s some of the best the UK has ever offered the genre, with some top-notch musicians like Blake Mostyn who alone is mesmerising enough behind a drums kit. They finish with “The Rift”, a track kicked off by a battering ram of a riff that is a prime example of how good they are at writing stompingly good metal.
At the start of the evening, walking into the venue meant being smacked about the face by an exasperating wall of heat. Now that Black Breath are about to play and the crowd has packed the venue completely out, the excitement of the metal fans waiting is matched by the rocketing temperature. When they do fire into their set all perspiration worries are forgotten, and their heavier than hell tracks like “I Am Beyond” mean uncontrollable head banging ensued. There are more high octane action-fuelled thrashing riffs and Neil McAdams outcries from other tracks featured on their 2010 “Heavy Breathing” album, followed by the news that one of metal’s newest and brightest bands will release another soon at “a time when it’s a lot colder”.
Words by James Fox
Photography by Jack Sheen