The modern day landscape of metal and all its sub-genres hasn't seen anywhere near the amount of picture-esque landmark moments that the 80's, 90's, or even early 2000's saw, and it's fair to say that both creatively and commercially; metal had a rough ride through the late 2000's - early 10's. The last two years has seen a change in the winds of metal though, and every band on stage tonight has played a sizeable role in it happening. If we've been starved of landmark moments in heavy music this decade, this tour is an exception to the rule.
Death metal bone rattlers Venom Prison [7.5] open proceedings, and the size of the crowd here to see them tells you everything you need to know about this band. Opening support slot playing at 7PM is a poisoned chalice for most bands, but the O2 Academy if fleshed out to see the quintet, and with good reason too. 'Abysmal Agony' and 'Celestial Patricide' are ferociously pungent in there delivery, the blast beats live long - and the strictly inhuman vocals of Larissa Stupar are nothing less than volcanic like eruptions fed through growls. If you thought you were done with death metal, Venom Prison will be the band to show you why you fell in love with it in the first place.
Power Trip  bring a whole new ball game of heavy to the table though, it's less overtly brutal than their predecessors but absolutely no less effective. It's power thrash riddled with groove and the gargantuan medley of riffs thrown in at every turn of pace make for a version of thrash metal which you'll struggle to find anywhere else - and that's really saying something. The opening riff of 'Soul Sacrifice' gets every neck muscle in the house on tenterhooks, you can't help but immediately stand and take notice. It's 7:50PM and there's already been double digit circle pits so far tonight, people are truly invested in what's on show. Dazzling solos mixed in with hardcore tinged metal vocals and a relentless rhythm section to boot; in Power Trip we have a band that could easily define modern day thrash metal.
There's a strange atmosphere as Code Orange  take to the stage, this feels like the main event - it's a packed house, everyone is paying full attention. It all speaks of the genius that was the hardcore crews latest record Forever, and the band deservedly seem to be spreading like wildfire throughout the alternative world. You can't help but feel unsettled as the band approach the stage surrounded by nothing but beaming red lights, but it's the best kind of unsettled you could want to be in this situation, it's the kind of unsettled that is preparing you for the most cataclysmic of thunderstorms.
Code Orange bring a level of anguish to their tones that is truly inescapable, 'My World' sets the tone and lets anyone who is not currently aware of the band know: these guys don't fuck around. The down-tuned brutality of 'Spy' leaves a gaping hole in your chest while the heavy vibrancy of 'Bleeding In The Blur' adds an element of anthem to a hardcore band who seemingly possess every single characteristic you could hope for. 'Forever' and 'dream2' cap off an audaciously bare boned set, Code Orange need nothing but themselves to get their message across, and they have every chance of being the biggest heavy band in the world if they keep this up for another few records.
By the time Trivium [7.5] make their way on stage you'd hardly blame anyone for being exhausted, we've been put through a scarring metal masterclass tonight, however one strum into 'The Sin And The Sentence' from Matt Heafy and the uproar begins again, you never forget just how loved Trivium are world over, but it's always nice to be reminded every now and again.
The new material comes across strongly, with 'Sever The Hand', 'The Heart From Your Hate' and 'Beyond Oblivion' in particular showing a Trivium that feels fully glued together, fully motivated, and reinvigorated after a somewhat lacklustre record in 2015's Silence In The Snow. There are some songs that are surprisingly dropped though, both 'Strife' and 'Dying In Your Arms' would have pumped even more energy into the atmosphere tonight, though the one-two of 'Like Light To The Flies' and 'Drowned And Torn Asunder' keep the intensity sewn together as the set nears its end.
Inevitably though, the opening drum fill of 'Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr' sends shockwaves through the crowd. Gaping holes open for circle pits, bodies bounce around like it's a royal rumble, there's screaming in unison, it's complete chaos. This is followed by set closer 'In Waves' in which you can barely hear Heafy's chorus screams over the top of the crowds, it feels like a bull in a china shop - the energy and passion is palpable, there's only a select few bands in the world who can receive this level of reaction from a crowd, and Trivium are masters of it.
There was a time where you could understandably be concerned about where the future of metal was going, that time has come to an end. The three supporting bands here are all going to be pivotal in where heavy music goes from here, and for Trivium? They've proved they've still got plenty left in the tank to be the band feeding the thriving evolution happening around them. Make no mistake about it: heavy music has a future, and it's now.