Breed 77 + Susperia + Illuminatus + Sworn Amongst @ Birmingham Academy 2 – 21st May 2009


Opening tonight’s Insects and Attitude Tour was Sworn Amongst, a Yorkshire 4-piece with lots of hair. It was a heavy set of fast paced guitars, drums and a husky screaming vocal. The song ‘Exploited’ displayed a fast guitar solo that got a few nods of approval from the rather sparse crowd. ‘Severance’ slowed the pace down a little, but the hair swinging remained. They had bags of energy and each song varied in pace, giving a more interesting set, however their sound was quite unoriginal. The last song ‘Rejection’ continued the onslaught of brutal loud thrash making it a great start to the night. It was a good set that got a decent reaction.

Second on was mixed nationality Illuminatus, with a Brit, a Spaniard, a German and an Italian, this band has a lot of flavour to create an interesting and unique sound. They began with the opening track ‘Captive State’ off their debut album ‘The Wrath of the Lambs’. They have a more melodic and gentle sound than the other bands in the line-up, giving a nice contrast. The music was tight and sometimes eerie, but the vocals were a combination of some weak singing and some dynamic screams. I liked the idea behind this however I feel that they didn’t quite pull it off live. ‘Wait’ had a great gentle vocal and the song built up in volume before Julio Taylor descended into some gripping screams. A stronger melodic vocal had started to emerge now and really showed their live potential, however it came too late. The audience gave them a decent reception but they lacked enough bite to really get the crowd on their side and moving with them.


The penultimate band tonight was Norwegian 5-piece Susperia. Drums built up the suspense and they launched into a fast paced metal frenzy¬, with screaming vocals that mixed singing with roars. Usual lead vocalist Athera had not long suffered a heart attack and so Guardians of Time vocalist Bernt took his place. After hearing this news it all suddenly made sense. The music was really strong, however I felt that the vocals really didn’t quite fit with the fast riffs. It often seemed out of sync and sometimes disappeared altogether making the melodies disjointed and this actually contributed to losing my interest in the set. As the band failed to capture my attention I became more easily distracted by being blinded by intermittent bright lights that shone over the crowd making me look away from the stage. This was something that became increasingly irritating for me as the set went on.


The great beats of ‘Release’ and ‘attitude’ got me back into it again momentarily but they just couldn’t hold my attention for long. Each song rolled into one and some just fizzled out. The vocals did get more melodic and strong as the set went on and they did have some loyal fans in the crowd dancing to every beat. They showed great professionalism especially when they had technical problems; they just played through it without letting it affect them in any way. In general though, the atmosphere was flat. Susperia’s set didn’t grip me and because of this it went on for way too long. They finished 5 minutes after the scheduled time for when the headliners were supposed to start. This made the night drag and I was really quite relieved when Susperia finally left the stage.

To make matters worse, it took another 30 minutes for Breed 77 to come on stage, but it was worth the wait. Paul Isola’s distinct vocals at the beginning of ‘La Ultima Hora’ rang out before a great crisp beat took over and got the crowd finally moving. The mixture of metal and flamenco flavours set these Gibraltar born Brits head and shoulders above the rest. ‘Blind’ sees Isola elevate himself above the rest, showing his dominance as a great front man that commands attention. The guitar solo in this track is clean and crisp and demonstrates their superiority over the rest of the line-up.


Throughout the set the crowd joined in with the flamenco hand-clapping, that was commanded by the band. This just emphasised the different vibe that this band creates. A mixture of Metallica influenced metal with Spanish flamenco guitars and drumming provides an exotic twist to metal that is highlighted by switching languages between English and Spanish. Alternating between melodies and screams, head banging pace and soft ballads, they gave us a great unpredictable mix that kept the crowds attention. It was loud and powerful but sometimes this meant that the backing vocals were drowned out.


After apologising for the delay in the release of their new album ‘Insects’ they played a few new and now exclusive tracks that got the crowd dancing, head banging and enjoying themselves. Other noted tracks of the night were ‘Remember That Day’ with immense drums and the power ballad ‘Floods’ that softened the mood.

After calling for action to fight against the Government, Breed launched into ‘Revolution’, ‘World’s on Fire’ and ‘Insects’ before ending with their cover of the Cranberry’s ‘Zombie’. It was a great energetic end to a thoroughly entertaining set.

Review – Karen Trenbirth
Photos – Ian Dunn

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