Shattered Skies, Severed Illusion & Shadows Of Serenity, The Gryphon, Bristol
Having only recently listened to Shattered Skies' debut album, I was excited to see that they were doing their first headline tour of the UK stopping off in my favourite drinking establishment in Bristol The Gryphon. So a short jaunt to Bristol with an old friend was in order to catch this band that impressed me so much on record. As we entered the venue we went upstairs into what was essentially a small room with a drumkit at the end, this gave the entire evening a feeling of bands playing in your front room.
Shadows Of Serenity
First up were metalcore band Shadows Of Serenity who had a prowling vocalist screaming his head off while the band laid down a thick metalcore riffs and beatdowns. With their mix between brutality and melody Shadows Of Serenity are a good watch especially because their frontman is affable, funny and totally mental creating a one man mosh pit and then trying to do a frontflip and destroying a mic stand (for someone who is of my size this is no mean feat). Definitely worth a watch and a band that could go on to do well with the right support run. 7/10
They paint themselves as a hardcore band which immediately pushed me away; not my kind of music at all I'm afraid. However when they merged their Hatebreed style hardcore punk metal beatdown with what can only be described as progressive rap metal with rapid fire vocals and screams; I felt the walls of the already small room closing in. In a certain place and time this would be great but here they did seem slightly out of place. 5/10
So the main event and this Irish four piece arrived on stage and the intro Collapse Of Man started up before the band exploded The End And The Rebirth which kicked things off with their djenty palm muted guitar riffage and got every head nodding from the off. Jim Hughes' 6-string bass was the main rhythm punching you in the guts, while working with Ross McMahon's technical drumming to create the muscular riffs that Ian Rockett can add his amazing guitar solos and melodies, now as the song began, Sean Murphy's sang the first lines and then nothing, the mic had failed but with a bit of jiggery-pokery the sound came back meaning that Murphy's excellent clear, melodic voice was audible and singing with passion. As I said in my album review Shattered Skies are a very technical and progressive band but they also write some fantastic songs, keeping up the pace they moved straight into 15 Minutes before harking back to their Reanimation EP on Beneath The Waves which merged from their heaviness and melody brilliantly, things slowed a little on Attrition from the same EP adding light and shade to proceedings. More technical issues with the mics throughout meant that Murphy's voice dropped in and out, due to the size of the venue though and my proximity to the front (something that happens not very often) I was still able hear him. Into the thumping technical power of Show's Over and the band were wrapping up but not letting the pace drop at all, the band were going for the throat with their heaviest tracks, impressing the surprisingly large crowd as they did. Finally unfortunately it was time for the final track and as the piano intro of As The Seas Divide built up into the the strongest song as the night and as the first verse started once again the mic totally went kaput so with a quick switch to Rockett's second vocal mic and we were back on course for a song that is a natural finale sending the crowd home very happy indeed. Shattered Skies are an amazing band playing very technical modern metal with lashings of musicality, they know how to win over a crowd and they are humble about the fandom that has quite rightly evolved around them. In future I'm sure I'll be looking back on this as a the flashpoint for something much bigger. 9/10