Saturday, 3 November 2012

Evile + Wolf - Norwich OPEN - 27th October 2012

So, after a week or so of inactivity (otherwise known as uni work) I've come back today with a new gig review and a couple of album reviews, from now on I will also be trying to write a couple of new segments: "Sound Of The Underground" where I review an album that may not have shown up on most people's radars but I feel shows a lot of promise, and "From the vault" where I review a "classic" album and offer a new perspective.

So without further pissing around, here is my review for Evile and Wolf's co-headlining gig in Norwich. Enjoy...

Evile are a band that makes me proud to be an English metalhead, because for a country that is the birthplace of heavy metal, we have remarkably few good younger bands to show it nowadays, in comparison to our neighbours in Europe and our cousins across the pond anyway. But these guys have taken America's oldest original metal sub-genre, Thrash and made it their own very successfully. After seeing them give a spectacular performance at the main stage on Sunday at this year's Bloodstock, I knew I should go catch them at the year own show, and I was definitely not disappointed.

After stepping into the venue, which was scarcely more than a slightly large basement with a bar and a stage, I was bemused as to how good a show Evile would be able to give considering the venue size.

I can very happily say I was proven wrong.  Unfortunately I missed local opening act Rammerator (great name right?) But both Evile and co-headliners WOLF, one of Sweden's leading NWOBHM revival bands, performed spectacularly and showed that venue size doesn't matter if the bands are good enough.

Before this gig I only had knowledge of a handful of WOLF's (8) songs, having caught 15 minutes or so of their early morning set at last year's Bloodstock, but after seeing a full set from them I can definitely declare myself an avid fan. With their classic galloping riffs, sing-along choruses and wailing duel guitar leads, WOLF take us straight back to the height of NWOBHM and it sounds so damn good you can't help but headbang, the crowd is filled with hairy men in patch jackets tonight keeping the spirit of classic metal alive and it's a site that instills me with pride for being a metalhead.

With 6 albums released, WOLF have a wealth of material to draw upon. And while the 3 latest albums are the main sources of songs for the evening, a few early numbers such as "Evil Star" and "Genocide" appear alongside new favourites like "Voodoo" and "Skull Crusher". All I can say about WOLF is that they're genuinely enjoyable to watch. You could go to a gig of theirs without knowing a single one of their songs and still have a fucking great time. The one problem I would point out is that due to the enclosed space and low ceiling of the venue the bass and drums tended to overshadow everything else in the mix, particularly frontman Niklas Stålvind's high vocals. Otherwise a fantastic set from a talented band.

After a hurried set change over Evile (10) take to the stage. And within the first minute or so of fan favourite "Enter The Grave", they prove why they are one of England's premier young metal bands. Apart from the odd bit of audience banter from frontman Matt Drake, Evile are relentless in their performance, thrashing away with tune after tune, until everything comes to a stop and bassist Joel begins the slow intro to "In Memoriam", their tribute to former bassist Mike Alexander, who was tragically lost to a Pulmonary Embolism in 2009. "In Memoriam" is definitely a favourite of mine and the entire audience goes quiet with this song, save for singing along to the chorus. You can see that this song is very near and dear to the guys in Evile, and they pour their heart and souls into performing it flawlessly. I'm not afraid to admit I did tear up slightly at the emotion shown in the song.

For the rest of the set Evile continue to assault our sense with speed, melody and technicality in equal measure. After "Thrasher" and a handful of songs from their latest album "Five Serpents Teeth" Evile bring their set to a close with a magnificent performance of "Infected Nations", however moments later they return to bring the metaphorical house down with the frantic high speed "Schizophrenia".

On the way out my friends and I had the chance to chat to the guys in WOLF, and I must say, they're some of the nicest guys I've met at a gig, they seem genuinely happy to have the chance to play anywhere and really enjoy performing. I even managed to get a picture with them, and a guitar pick which really did make this an excellent gig for me, I can recommend both of these bands without hesitation.

WOLF Setlist:
  1. Make Friends With Your Nightmares
  2. Hail Caesar
  3. Full Moon Possession
  4. Voodoo
  5. Steelwinger Savage Reaper
  6. Skull Crusher
  7. Evil Star
  8. The Bite
  9. K-141 Kursk
  10. Genocide
  11. Venom
  12. Speed On

Evile Setlist:
  1.  Enter The Grave
  2. Cult
  3. In Dreams Of Terror
  4. Centurion
  5. Man Against Machine
  6. Metamorphasis
  7. In Memoriam
  8. Thrasher
  9. Eternal Empire
  10. Origin Of Oblivion
  11. Five Serpents Teeth
  12. Infected Nation
  13. Schizophrenia (Encore)
Me with the guys from WOLF :D

Evile's Five Serpents Teeth is out now on Earache Records
WOLF's Legions of Bastards is out now on Century Media Records

All photographs courtesy of Umor Haque

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