(Andy Synn has a few thoughts to share, and a few bands to recommend)
As some of you may know, I’m in a band. And you may also know that we just spent this last weekend “on tour”.
Of course, I put “on tour” in scare quotes because, in reality, it was just a quick three-date weekender, and nowhere near the epic, continent-spanning effort those words often imply, but it was still our first chance to get back out “on the road” in a long, long time.
Even though it was only a short (but sweet) run of dates, however, we’re still all feeling the post-tour blues right now, especially considering the third (and final) show of the run was easily the best and we were all really settling into our groove and ready for more.
Alas, it was not to be (though we’ve got more dates in the works for June, and then we’re hoping to get across the channel for some EU dates in September/October, and even possibly looking to the US at some point next year) but we’re still left with a lot of really good memories, made a lot of new fans, sold a fair bit of merch (including several copies of the new vinyl edition of our latest album) and got to meet and see a handful of new bands to boot.
And it’s those bands I want to talk about today.
First off, obviously, we have to talk about our wonderful tour-mates Vulgaris, who stepped in at the very last minute when Allfather had to pull out.
Not only are these London lads an absolutely lovely bunch of genuinely nice and easy-going people (always useful when your tour is very much a DIY, skin-of-your-teeth, kind of affair) but they’re also an absolutely killer band in their own right, one whose impressively wide-ranging yet already well-honed sound – an at times aggressive, at others more atmospheric, form of Blackened Thrashy Sludge (Thrudge?) – is absolutely packed with still-untapped potential.
That really was what was most impressive about the quartet, in fact… despite being such a relatively young band (their first album, Asundre, was only released last year, and I have it on good authority they’re already working on the follow-up) it’s great to see that they’ve already found their own sound and voice, even if it is still a little rough around the edges here and there, because it generally takes most bands (including mine) much longer to do this (if they ever do).
Give them a listen, give them a like, and keep your eyes on these boys over the next couple of years if you know what’s good for you.
The first show of our little weekender to remember took place at Scruffy Murphy’s in Birmingham, a city (and a venue) which has always been good to us before, and which continued to be very good for us this time around too.
Opening the show were TumanduumbanD, an up-and-coming instrumental two-man Doom band (get it?) whose blend of hypnotic, stomping drums and bombastic, fuzz-drenched bass-lines – all wrapped up in a swaggering, post-Sabbath meets Hammer Horror Satanism vibe – is well worth checking out if and when you’re in the mood for something as irresistibly infectious as it is suffocatingly slow.
The Birmingham show also featured a pretty damn kick-ass performance from Staffordshire-based Technical Thrash crew Elyrean who – despite having recently undergone a line-up shift (if I’m not wrong this was singer/guitarist Will Edwards’ very first gig on vocals) – delivered one seriously intense, and spectacularly tight set that really set the bar for the rest of the evening. They’ve got new stuff in the works, or so I am told, so make sure to check out their latest single just below this.
The Reading show was actually kind of touch-and-go at one point, so I’d like to take this opportunity to send out an extra special thanks to End of Salvation for not only stepping in to make sure the gig could go ahead but for also putting the work in to get the work out and get people through the door on the night.
They’ve got a long-gestating new album scheduled to come out at some point this year, and you can sample an early taste of it in the form “Sickening Pride” below.
The final show of the “tour” was at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston, a venue we had always heard very good things about, but which we’d never had the opportunity to play… until now.
And, let me tell you, while this was our first time there it most certainly won’t be our last, as this was probably one of the best gigs we’ve ever had, both due to the large and extremely enthusiastic crowd (thank you so much, each and every one of you, for coming to the show) and to the unfailing efforts of both the support bands who went all out to help make the night a success.
Openers Worship the Sacrifice, while still a relatively new name on the scene (their first single is only just over a year old at this point) gave a highly energetic performance which, in spite of a few technical gremlins, quickly got the crowd warmed up and moving. And while they haven’t necessarily locked down their own sound just yet – it is still very early days after all – there’s no substitute for experience, and I’ll be very interested to hear what they sound like once they’ve got a few more miles, and a few more gigs like this one, under their belt(s).
The other “local” band on the bill, furious Death-Thrash five-piece Evisarize, definitely came to play, and most definitely brought their A game too, smashing their way through one seriously intense and unrelentingly aggressive set of ultra-tight riffing and uber-fast drumming – all topped off with a bevy of bellowing, barking, and unflinchingly belligerent vocals – which made an instant impression on everyone in attendance, including yours truly. You can give their debut, self-titled album a listen via the embed below, and let’s all cross our fingers that we get something new from these guys sooner rather than later!
So there you go, I’m going to leave you all with a bit of homework – you’re now required to check out at least one of these bands before tomorrow – and go stretch out some of the kinks in my neck and/or spine (what can I say, it’s been a while!). And maybe, just maybe, I’ll end up seeing some of you around next time we hit the road.
That’s awesome. Must have felt great to hit the road again and play to some metal crowds. Props to you and Beyond Grace – particularly, as you all seem like first class tour mates.
We definitely try to be. We’ve had a few bad experiences before now ourselves, but most of the bands we’ve toured with (mostly much bigger than we are) have all been really decent, so we always want to try and pay that forward if/when we can.