Prog.Metal.Madness! took over the New Cross Inn on the 5th of August this year with help from eleven amazing bands that are regulars on our radio playlist and it was a fantastic day full of some great performances and of course copious amounts of beer! This isn’t a review, we wouldn’t be so coarse as to review our own gig but we felt we wanted to give a little write up for those who wish to remember a great day out and others who sadly couldn’t make the event…next time eh?!
As ever with these things (and 11 bands, over 60 people expected to be in the right place at the right time) we had a couple of small hiccups along the way, the first being that the assigned engineer for the venue was stuck in traffic on the way in which put us half hour out of schedule, but being the professional he was he quickly settled into the crows-nest and had the sound superbly balanced without a hitch. I have to give Redwood Avenue a huge shout at this early point, they had traveled from five in the morning across from Wales to open the show and spent much of the time before helping us shift tables and setting up the stage, all with manic grins and cheerful disposition. These guys were superb!
So, the place is set up, we have out first beer in hand and the audience is slowly starting to grow…it’s time for the first band:
I wasn’t sure what to expect from these guys tbh, they are lovely folk, they are hugely dedicated to have traveled for such a time to come and open a show early afternoon. I’ve been playing a few tunes on the radio from their forthcoming EP and have been thoroughly impressed with what I’ve heard but I’d never seen them live. I needn’t have worried. The boys took to the stage like they were born there, the crowd were sparse at that point but completely transfixed as they tore their way through tracks from the EP. Definitely a band to look out for in the coming months!
DUST OF NATIONS
I’m a big fan of their debut and self-titled album which is so crammed with opposing ideas and melodies that I couldn’t wait to book these guys to see how they pulled it off live! Being currently short of a drummer and bassist they took to the stage as a three piece (two guitars, one keys/synth/keytar and lappy maestro) and proceeded to stun us with the intensity of their playing! Set closer ‘Rapture’ is my favourite of their tunes and sounded massive live, cheeky carnival sounds and all! With a new album in the writing put these guys on your list of ones to track!
These guys are pretty new to the scene, having only formed last year but bringing out a stunning debut EP in ‘Imbalance’ packed with heavy riffage and big explosive choruses. I was looking forward to see how this translated to the stage and I can now tell you…it’s even better for it! Dual vocals handling the rough and clean sections as well as a nice harmony or two whilst a tight and energetic band crashed through the entirety of their EP, that was a treat, and then they dropped a surprise cover of Pantera’s ‘Walk’ and we were all sold.
The second Welsh band on the bill had also had a huge trek to get to the venue that day, I was worried they wouldn’t be able to play after chatting with singer Antony Jones (bless him) who had only just completed a night shift before travelling all that way and looked fit to drop…until he got on stage and transformed into an absolute powerhouse! The band were amazing, taking the stage by storm and ripping through tracks from their two EP’s, the crowd was growing and absolutely transfixed by their performance.
THE PARALLAX METHOD
The only band to have played both Prog.Metal.Madness! Live events (we may look at making this a thing) are one of the most original,inventive and tight bands on the Prog Rock/Metal scenes. Every time I have seen these guys I have watched the crowd, its quite fun to spot those who have never heard them before go from casual onlookers to spellbound converts within the space of a few minutes. The band went through choice tracks from both the Squid and Owl EP’s without a break, thirty minutes of non-stop instrumental music may sound like torture to some but to anyone who’s seen them the magic is never long enough.
Mixed emotions for this one as it was sadly the last appearance of guitarists Sebastian Dymiter and Elliot Robinson within the band and as such may have been the last time that their debut EP ‘Anguish’ was played in full. What wasn’t sad was the fact that they absolutely smashed it, these guys don’t take to a stage, they own it. The musicianship is second to none, the songs first-class and the energy couldn’t keep them on the stage, they spent half of it within the audience itself. I grinned my head off for the duration of the set only to lose it at the end as I recall what the end signified. I wish them all the best and hope this just gives us more projects to follow in future!
The bands ‘Naturalis’ album is without doubt one of the best albums of last year, I have listened to it countless times and still can’t get enough, however, despite being prolific in their shows this year I have missed them every bloody time…hence they were top of my list of bands to book for this show! I was not disappointed! With stunning musicianship, twisting melodies and beautiful harmonies Maschine worked through some of the longer tunes from their latest and debut albums and left me wishing they were playing the entirety of both. Just plain beautiful…and the crowd seemed to think so too!
The three piece stoner, space-rock, doom merchants Awooga slowed the pace with crushing riffs and haunting vocal melodies. Drawing from Alpha (last years EP which is still available for FREE! on bandcamp) with some choice new numbers from their forthcoming album they hypnotized us with their laid-back yet tight as hell delivery! Awooga are spell-binding to watch, if you haven’t caught them yet then be sure to before the ticket prices rasie substantially, and look out for the new album drop, it’s going to be immense!
Another band I always seem to miss on the live circuit and now I’ve seen them I’m kicking myself even more so for this! Sentience were a ball of energy on stage, ferociously ripping through tunes from their latest EP ‘Oleka’ and others in their back-catalog to a much appreciative crowd. A beautiful blend of Prog and Tech which appealed to the whole crowd and had folk up on their feet. The band played perfectly and left the crowd wishing for a whole lot more…exactly they way they should.
With a gorgeous mix of Prog, Tech and Pop, Shattered Skies bounded round the stage with the confidence and skill of a band who know eactly where they are headed after line-up changes and decisions on musical directions earlier this year. That was all left behind as they took to the stage and blew us away with a selection of songs taken from their back-catalog and latest EP ‘Auxilium’. With chunky riffs, technical playoffs and huge melodic vocals they had the crowd eating out of their palms! Will be good to see where this year takes them musically!
OUR HOLLOW, OUR HOME
Taking to the stage a little later than expected due to issues earlier in the day didn’t phase Our Hollow, nor the crowd which were awaiting them. No prisoners were taken as they ripped through a full set of beautifully stomping anthems from their albums sweeping from harsh to melodic in the blink of an eye! They had the crowd singing along and left us wishing that we had another few hours left in the day to enjoy more…dammit, the day went too damn fast. Our Hollow, we thank you.
So, overall I believe it was a jolly good day had by all. A huge variety of fringe metal styles which hopefully had something for you all. I couldn’t knock any of the bands, hell, we booked them as we love them all. Let us know what you thought, if you think we should do it again and who you’d like to see!
Last Pic, a very happy PMM team! 😀