Well… where to start with this one? So, this year has already got off to an outstanding start and the momentum hasn’t let up one bit. As far as the state of how rock and metal are holding up in 2017, tonight showcased precisely how healthy and vibrant our beloved scene has become.
Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley (Photos From Nottingham, Rock City Show)
Though it’s a Thursday, and the weekend draws nigh, things kick off at Cardiff University’s Y Plas with a reasonably strong opener courtesy of German metalcore quintet ANY GIVEN DAY . With the floor being only half filled, AGD certainly had their work cut out for themselves. Managing to get a few heads nodding and a pit or two flailing away, their crowd interactions did seem a little forced, however it’s never an easy job for any opener considering the line-up.
Sonically, their sound was not doing them any favours, but this didn’t matter so much as eyebrows exploded off people’s foreheads when their rendition of RIHANNA’s 'Diamonds' came out of complete nowhere; even getting the bar staff moving. The guttural to melodic structure of AGD combined with their beefed-up riffs hold their own, but not enough to make you want to go back for more, but a respectable and enjoyable effort none the less.
As more bodies fill the floor, it’s with intense anticipation that the stage gives way to Brighton’s unmeasurable BLACK PEAKS . If there was one band that could champion British rock music in the twenty-first century, look no further than BLACK PEAKS. Their 2016 debut album Statues, in the opinion of this reviewer, is one of the strongest releases of the last ten years. No matter how many listens you invest into this record, it still continues to challenge at every step. Only witnessing it live do these pieces begin to fit and the picture sharpens. Opening with euphoric 'Saviour', jaws didn’t have the time to drop when the quartet, without stopping for breath, spearhead into the belter that is 'Glass Built Castles'.
Lead-singer Will Gardner has total command over his audience as the rhythm section of the century, bassist Andrew Gosden and drummer Liam Kearley, pound through and support the euphorial riffs of guitarist Joe Gosney. The set was made complete with brand new tracks 'Home' and 'Fate Won’t Seal The Heart'. Words can’t even begin to describe our excitement for a sophomore release that this four-piece teases tonight.
It’s always a good thing to have a bit of variety in life, and given the wildly extensive range of subgenres metal has, it’s always an exciting experience to witness something completely out of left field. CROSSFAITH  tick all the boxes tonight and have the Plas going utterly fuck-nuts-mental. The Japanese electronica-metal outfit aren’t so much reviving nu-metal, as they are looking to put the bounce back into metal with their own distinct accessible sound. What they bring to Cardiff tonight is pure, unbridled and unflitered energy. Though on record they are perfectly acceptable, it’s the live circuit that CROSSFAITH show their true colours. Opening with 'Xeno', the title track of their last full length album of the same name, it’s an all-out party atmosphere that becomes an unstoppable assault on the senses. Wearing their influences on their sleeves, they up the ante by pounding out a flawless cover of THE PRODIGY's 'Omen' that sends Cardiff into an utter frenzy. With barley any time to breathe, the Japanese five-piece end on a high-note with 'Jägerbomb' and 'Countdown To Hell'. Wondering what the hell just happened, CROSSFAITH came, saw and destroyed.
BURY TOMORROW  have become bit of a household name in the metal community over the past few years or so. Given their mainstream appeal and ability to fart out an absolute banger, you’d be very hard pressed to get a disappointing show out of this Portsmouth/Southampton metalcore five-piece. It has been over two years since their last major headline tour, and being the last but one date on this Earthbound Tour, they have lost none of the hunger and ambition to put on a show. As the tour’s title would suggest, the 2016 album of the same name is played in force with seven tracks being featured in their set. Opening with 'The Eternal', a lung-draining tune that has Cardiff gasping for air, sets the scene as it slams into our ear-holes.
Despite some technical difficulties, it would take a lot more than a faulty plug to give these guys the stage-shits. They handle themselves professionally and come roaring back with a vengeance, making up for minutes of time lost. As a band, they have honed their skills and funnelled their passions into this album and the sheer exhilaration on display tonight is unreserved. As vocalist Daniel Bates interacts with his audience, the inevitable question rises, ‘You guys tired?’ And how the crowd responded… The band goes silent as a very patriotic (and somewhat steaming) rendition of the Welsh national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy’n Nhadau, comes roaring towards them. As BURY TOMORROW stand in awe, it isn’t every day, or indeed any crowd, you get such a reaction.
Though they may not have the pizzazz of their support, BURY TOMORROW shower Cardiff with riffs a-plenty and after an encore that consisted of 'Man On Fire' and set closer 'Lionheart', it’s easy to see why that this metalcore outfit are so beloved. Tonight seems more like a celebration of metal/rock than anything else. Witnessing such vivacity, only cements metal as an undeniable and unclenching creative force that continues to grip the UK with all it’s might, which doesn’t look to let go any time soon.