Given the strength of the lineup this year, the Taste of Chaos is particularly tasty; four top quality bands playing a fantastic selection of metal — what more could you ask for?
Opening things up are southern rockers Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, who are one of those criminally underrated and under-appreciated bands that once you’ve heard, you’ll love. Despite their regular frontman missing this tour, his replacement does a fine job, and the triple-guitarred assault on songs like the rifftastic ‘Darkest of Kin’ set a suitable tone for the evening. Please come back to these shores soon!
Next up, a band who can be depended on to deliver an amazing show; Every Time I Die. The fivepiece from New York waste no time in demonstrating their chops — they are crushingly heavy, wonderfully tight and a fine example of hour to annihilate a half-hour support slot. Vocalist Keith Buckley has the crowd in the palm of his hand, despite sporting a somewhat paedo-esque beard, while his brother Jordan and fellow axeman Andy Williams give bags of energy to the set, especially in the furious ‘Ebolorama’. In short, their set is a triumph.
Following the brilliance of ETID, the set from In Flames comes as something of a disappointment; they don’t seem to make anywhere near as much effort to get things going as the two previous bands, and their songs seem dull compared to what has already been heard tonight. The band are great at interacting with their fans and their performance is undeniably tight, but it still just feels like it’s lacking something. The rousing ‘Take This Life’ saves some face but all in all, they definitely com across as the worst band of the night.
No such with the headliners though — Killswitch Engage are one of modern metal’s giants and their rise to the top is in no small part thanks to their stellar live shows. Tonight is no different, ripping into ‘My Curse’ with great passion and power. While the antics of guitarist Adam D — tonight sporting a KsE cape and running from stage left to stage right like a lunatic — can often steal a Killswitch show, seeing them in a relatively small venue such as the Academy means you can’t escape how good the other three musicians are, particularly drummer Justin Foley, who’s footwork in quite incredible.
Then, of course, there’s frontman Howard Jones, who is now so much more confident and assured than when he first played this fair city with Killswitch back in 2002. His epic voice cuts through the rest of the band, and he controls the crowd as well as any of the great frontmen in the history of heavy metal. The band rattle through a fine selection of songs from across their albums, like ‘Rose of Sharyn’, ‘My Last Serenade’, ‘This Is Absolution’ and the appropriate ‘Fixation on the Darkness’ — appropriate because of the annoying choice made to light Killswitch from behind for almost their entire set. It’s bad enough being stuck at the back anyway, without having the band you’re trying to watch be in darkness. Still, it couldn’t take away from a fine set, and closing with their superb cover of ‘Holy Diver’ only leaves everyone in no doubt of what a great live band Killswitch Engage are. On showings like this, they are undoubtedly here to stay for a long, long time.