Asomvel, Black Water Chemistry, No Glory & Cadacus, Fuel, Cardiff
For me heading into a gig to watch four bands you have never seen always has a sense of anticipation about it, the not knowing whats to come is always something that brings me back to the venues of the UK again and again. Yes of course with bands such as Skindred, Vintage Trouble, Evil Scarecrow etc you know what to expect so that's why you go back but with unknown bands you have buzz you got when you first saw your established favourites. So with beer in hand I walked into Cardiff's only dedicated metal club for three local acts and a headliner that are even after three records can still be considered as being in the underground.
Happily opening act Swansea's Cadacus (7) were a good start to the night, playing modern heavy metal with thrashy licks and classic sounding guitar solos to about 10 people although this meant that the fronntman could perform in front of the stage which strangely gives the best sound, Cadacus were fine way to kick off the evening their mix of classic and modern was well received, it's just a shame their weren't more people weren't their to see it. I'd happily watch them in a support position again as for a young act they had a spark and some killer licks, although they may not have the name long due to them being sued by a litigious American band with the same name, watch this space.
Next up were No Glory (6) who play bluesy biker rock that is similar to London based Pig Iron but with more of a melodic shine, it's their less gritty approach that reflects the score, none of the songs really stick with you the riffs are groovy but don't have the guts of some of their peers meaning the set was little by the numbers. They had a positive reception from the crowd but because of the headliners I would have expected something a little louder and rawer.
Taking the main support was Newport metalcore crew Black Water Chemistry (7) who really I can't say much about, I'm not the biggest fan of metalcore and even though they performed slickly and had the requisite breakdowns and chunky riffs the music did little for me, although I was pleased that the vocals (normally the deal breaker for metalcore) were actually listenable. As I said if you're a fan of the genre you'll rate them higher but for me it wasn't particularly entertaining.
With small changeover and the room now filling with some simply resplendent facial hair it was time for the main event with founder member Lenny Robinson strapping on his guitar, Josh Stephen took the drums stool and Ralph picked up a Rickenbacker bass and assumed the mic stand. Then it was time for the steamroller, formed by Robinson and original bassist/singer Jay Jay Winter, Asomvel (8) have a sound that they will never compromise for anyone, even after Jay-Jay's death the band continued their Motörhead hero worship with scuzzy, 'proper rock n roll' born in a bar fight.
The spirit of Lemmy lives on through this band they are a three piece that play proper rock and roll with an attitude. Ralph is even a dead ringer for Lemmy both vocally and physically playing a Rickenbacker like a lead guitar. Their set was frenzy of non stop riffs from start to finish, banging the head and kicking the ass with every riff from To Hell With All The Rest, through the mental Kamikaze, threatening Stone Cold Stare and even showing they can still punch above their weight with new song The Nightmare Ain't Over.
The one criticism I would have is that they are not as ear split-tingly loud Motörhead who would have brought this venue to its knees. Still with the many bands trying to emulate the sound of the hard rock legends, very few do a heavy rocking good time like Asomvel. Sometimes a band is born for the stage and this is clearly true of this three piece they give their own slant to the look, the sound, the riffs and the 'take no shit' attitude of possibly the loudest rock band ever to walk the Earth, with a couple of beers and few Jack and Cokes it's music delivered with an Iron Fist to the head.