The night began with the previously unknown The Safety Fire. A five piece, the band incorporate Blakfish style math/rock with a more heavy edge making it more math/metal. Using an apple mac laptop to provide various vocal effects and samples to fill spaces between songs, the band obviously had everything planned out fairly well. The tightness of the guitarists themselves was obvious and they moved as if in a full unit- hammering on and rarely ever crossing musically. With the rhythm's and time signatures constantly changing the crowd did not fully know how to react, especially as the bassist stared them down in a slightly manic way while the frontman bounded to the edges of the stage and bellowed angrily in some lucky audience members' faces. Current single "Huge Hammers" does actually feel like your eardrums are being pounded by soundwaves that have suddenly become strong metallic objects. A strong start!
Second band on were Glasgow's Bleed From Within. Sporting a front man like Scotland's answer to Oli Sykes, the band began mass circle pits and an insight into the heaviest genre of the night. Death metal with a one-minute screeching the next bellowing, style of vocal this band have been strong contenders in the game since the release of their debut album back in 2009. Since then they have lost a guitar player, but his replacement seems more than capable of filling those genre stamping shoes. Opening with the key track to their second release Empire- "The Novelist"- lead singer Scott Kennedy immediately launched himself into the crowd of 20-odd people stood at the front headbanging. Half bellowing the song himself, half allowing various fans to chant the words back to him, Kennedy is a true frontman for such a young member who seems fairly new to the scene. Sometimes rolling on the floor, other times leaning into the crowd and ordering them to bounce, his commanding nature meant you could not refuse such a request. Fan favourite "Servants Of Divinity" raises his head which sees the band members headband full pelt while double-kick drumming rumbles in the background. By the time the band have finished they look exhausted, especially Scott who thanks the audience gratefully for staying to check them out.
Finally at around quarter past eight it was time for us to Rise to Remain. Bounding on stage like a dog with a bone, Austin Dickinson (son of Bruce), smiles whole heartedly at the a hundred plus inhabitants of this small dingy venue tonight. Starting with the opening track from their album "City Of Vultures", "The Serpent" sets things to moshy from the start. Austin using more crowd spurring than his old man, his voice varying from a deep bellow, to a screech and then strong melodic singing. There's plenty to sing along to at these gigs and also plenty to get involved with- as soon as the lights went up, circle pits emerged and people were being thrown across the small audience. "Every time we've done a gig on this tour, the crowds reaction seems to increase and increase and tonight you've topped it Manchester!" yells Dickinson, before the entire band launches into new track "This Day Is Mine". It immediately becomes clear that the never-before-seen Ben Tovey is probably one of the greatest guitarists to have stood in front of me and played a solo. Song after song, he never slips up a note despite standing right on the edge of the stage and getting jostled by various activities from below. A truly inspirational player with some great guitar faces to boot! The band as a whole are extremely well practised and due to them only have a forty five minute slot, they mix and match between new and old (ish) material. A small section of the set is made up of tracks released before the album, featured on last years "Bridges Will Burn" EP. These tracks have some of the best reactions from the crowd with mosh pits a plenty. The set ends with the heavy "Bridges Will Burn" with Dickinson setting up a wall of death by splitting the crowd in half. "Blue team, are you ready?" he commands staring each member down. "Read team, are you ready?.......GO!" A painful charge but a great moment nonetheless especially when after the show, the band revealed they would be standing outside later on to meet their crowd. A very promising start from metal's new heroes.
Review by Callum Barnes