The UK’s own Heart Of A Coward (7/10) open the show and although the venue is barely a quarter full, their brand of Meshuggah-esque riffs and the commanding presence of frontman Jamie Graham have those in attendance nodding approvingly. Greater things definitely await.
Darkest Hour (7/10) follow and their Melodic Metalcore/Melodic Death Metal mishmash has its ups and downs; quite literally when the band attempt a dodgy 3-man human pyramid which provided more chuckles than thrills. Lame Gymnastics aside, the band play a solid set with new tracks “Wasteland” and “Rapture In Exile” particularly impressing.
For all of Heart Of A Coward and Darkest Hour’s hard work in warming up the crowd, it was Machine Head (10/10) everyone was waiting for and when you can open a gig with “Imperium”, one of the greatest Metal tracks of this millennium, you know that a band has recached a point in their career where their back catalogue has reached biblical proportions.
With chants of Machine F*ckin’ Head bouncing off the walls the band were given the reception their epic brand of Groove-Thrash fully deserves. The full force of “Now We Die”, “Ten Ton Hammer”, “Locust”, “Aesthetics Of Hate” and the stone-cold classic “Davidian” was felt by every single person in the room, the band connecting one and all in a brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Metal that broke the 2hr barrier and many eardrums in the process.
Most noteworthy is how Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn’s partnership has reached a level of synchronicity to rival the greatest guitar duo’s. At times their interplay was sublime, at others they appeared telepathically linked, such was the perfection achieved. New bassist, Jared MacEachern (ex-Sanctity frontman) and stalwart drummer Dave McCLain provided a rhythmic backbone that was also flawless but all eyes were on talismanic frontman Robb Flynn; as charismatic a leader as any band could ask for.
Machine Head and Robb Flynn’s unshakeable vision has reached a zenith and with performances like this surely we’ll next be seeing them headlining arenas; a conclusion that would be thoroughly deserved.