Triaxis, Counterhold and Blacksphere, Fuel Cardiff.
Ok, so first thing is first. I have never liked this venue for live music events as the sound is always dire and well... its just flat out not appropriate for live music either. I mean a "Cardiff's biggest rock club" playing Keane and Aqua in between sets? No, no thank you.
Annoyingly I experienced much of the same tonight but thankfully it wasn't quite enough to take the shine of a night of true honest metal music. Well, what I could hear of it anyway.
This female fronted band haling from South Wales hit the stage when the venue was practically empty, taking advantage of this I wandered to the front, pint in hand to check these guys out. Only having the chance to see Blacksphere once before from a distance I was pleasantly surprised by what they had to offer. A short set of about 5 songs offered us 4 rhythmic and groove filled power metal songs with a booming bass provided by a man who was simply known as "Carl". It was clear to see that Blacksphere enjoyed what they were doing here with smiles across their faces. The crowd seemed to agree as of the few people who had arrived had made their way straight to the front too. The highlight of this band was lead singer "Gayn" such a powerful and smooth voice
coming from a lady built so pettily was very impressive. Although due to the sound issues it was very difficult for her to really hit her heights as anything too powerful seemed to break the system. All in all a great little set from a band I would like to see again in different circumstances. The only downside, the encore? ...a cover! A cover of My Immortal by Evanesence to be exact. Despite it being a cover of decent quality, I am never a fan of band such as this finishing sets with a cover. I always feel they should leave us with their best and all being well, hopefully wanting more. 7/10
Counterhold are classic heavy metal 5 pieced band from Cwmbran. Laced with grungy undertones Counterhold threw themselves into their set with some good energy. Front-man Steve Jenkins doing his best to involve the crowd as they slowly started to filter in, who, in the most part responded well. Similar sound issues meant that unfortunately the vocals and lead guitar we're at times barely audible and muffled. This was a shame as on occasion when Jenkins's voice was clear it was obvious he possess a voice that a capable of both silk like melody and a sharp howling growl when called upon. However this didn't stop the band from powering on. Offering up a set that contained tracks from their new album All Of Them Slain and what they professed to be a couple of oldies that they hadn't performed in a while. Each song was delivered with some definite passion, and this we can have nothing but respect for. The grunge and sprinklings of aggression make Counterhold a similar band to the mighty Beholder live, the breakdowns make it hard for you not to bounce your head up and down as the set progresses. The only concern I did have is that despite the set being enjoyable and the love these guys show for their music, the songs did seem to all roll into one with little variance that I could detect. On this night it didn't really matter at all as the crowd interaction from front-man Steve and the traveling support made the set a good laugh. However I feel a longer set on a different night may struggle to power on with such aplomb. Finally the lads gave the crowd a choice of two songs for their finale, a nice touch I thought. A unanimous vote for Stand Or Die lead Counterhold to deliver what I had come to expect from them, a wholehearted song that finished with a bang. If you haven't seen these guys check them out. On another day I would liked to have given these guys a little more but I feel I would be overselling a little bit despite the positives. A band that have a lot to offer in the coming years in my opinion, keep an eye! 7/10
Now for the main event and a band I have held close to my heart since the first time I saw them, Triaxis. Haling from Port Talbot way these guys have proven to me on many occasions they know what they are doing and how to do it, tonight was no different. This slightly shortened set consisted predominantly of tracks from latest album Rage & Retribution and wow were we treated! The set opened up strongly with the in your face track of Sand & Silver... shredding riffs and mini breakdowns galore supported perfectly by one of the finest voices in music, supplied by the birthday girl Krissie Kirby. Each time I see this band I become more and more memorized and stunned by the quality and power of this ladies voice, simply immense. With no let up the band slid straight into the next tracks consisting of favourites Under Blood Red Skies and Sker Point, both delivered flawlessly and again with great passion from the band. The front row breaking out into air guitar and song united...
From drummer to vocals Triaxis to me really are a complete band, and this showed in the offering of The Infected... Clare Wilson laying down some fantastic rhythms while Owen pounded away on the bass standing on every object that he can find... a real highlight of this song is the jaw dropping talent of lead guitarist Glyn, fingers flailing up and down the neck of his guitar producing some of the finest sounds you could hope to hear from an instrument. The set moved on with a track from debut album Key To The Kingdom; Lies. Another favourite of the fans... and clearly the band also as they again threw themselves full force into the moment. As the set drew to a close some good and bad news was announced. The good news is that Triaxis are hitting the studio to start work on their 3rd album, the bad news; no more live gigs as a result (Booo!). Anyway, the final two songs were dealt with the in the manner that Triaxis only know how, a full on assault of music and vocals as Owen and Glyn undertook a fine impression of Status Quo mid track.
The final track was some what of a let down initially when announced for reasons I mentioned earlier... a cover. This though was a fine cover with a Triaxis twist. Iron Maidens Hallowed Be Thy Name rang out through fuel supported on mass by the fans as Krissie hit every note perfectly which taught me a lesson, if you are going to end a set with a cover do it properly and most importantly do it your way. The only disappointment that struck me in this set was again the sound, at times the wonderful voice of Krisse's was muffled and you could see that as the set went on she unfortunately was having to pull back a little vocally and with the microphone. Not the bands fault but this seemed to be a theme throughout the night, as I expected...
I cannot wait to see this band live again and hopefully many more times after that because they are quite simply a treat! If you want to see how metal should be produced performed and delivered live look no further than Triaxis 10/10