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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: Zornheym (Live Review By Paul H)

Zornheym, Agrona, In Which It Burns, Fuel Rock Club

With the Rolling Bones playing across the road on the same night, it was a brave move for Eradication Booking Agency to go toe to toe with the geriatric appreciation society; not that there was much cross over in fan base but because of the utter ball ache of getting in and out of the city centre on such a night.

With Ante Inferno unable to fill their slot, Pembrokeshire four-piece In Which It Burns (8) stepped in at the last minute and for the small crowd who arrived early enough to catch them it was well worth it. The band formed in 2016, and comprise Steve Flynn (lead guitar), Dan Mayhew (drums), Michael Thomas (bass) and Wayne Mayhew (rhythm guitar and vocals). IWIB don’t conform to the usual metal stereotype appearance, although there is sufficient there to ensure you could have a good guess about what they play. Frontman Wayne Mayhew does look the part, and his snarling delivery was impressive, fitting the band’s aggressive social commentary superbly. The band play hard thrash to great effect and sounded tight despite the intense heat which the band clearly felt. With two EPs under their belts, the band has a good set of material which was well received. Issues of racism and social injustice are amongst the topics addressed; good stuff. Hatred In Disguise was the stand out track but there was plenty here to demand a repeat viewing. Hopefully the band can get back soon because they deserve a bigger audience.

Having launched the magnificent Realm Of The Fallen a mere two weeks before, this was Agrona’s (9) third appearance at Fuel within a month. Not that you would have known, as the South Wales black metal monsters delivered yet another blistering set, sufficiently imposing and confident to headline a venue ten times as big. With the sound even better than recent shows, the band blasted yet another hole in Fuel’s ceiling as their gathering commenced with The Treacherous Dead and celebration of all things evil commenced. Vocalist Taranis once more orchestrated proceedings from the pit, the faithful gathered at his feet for the ritual. Supported by the ever-fiery vocals of Adara, the spewing bile flowed with ease. Short one member, the band made light of being short one member, Phoenix’s lacerating guitar cutting through the mix.

Alongside him bassist Kreulon displayed a terrifying new mask, one that proved to be a little too oppressive by the end of the set. Some adjustments needed! Meanwhile drummer Ankou was on double duty, racing off after his set to get to Swansea to play with Cranial Separation. The man is a machine. With their music now established, it was a challenge to pick out highlights but Storms End never fails whilst Unbound and Summoning The Void were both immense. This was the band’s last South Wales show for a while, but they have gigs across the South West coming up, so get across the border and support one of the most exciting bands on the UK scene now.

Following Agrona is always a challenge but Swedes Zornheym (8), making their Welsh debut and only their second UK appearance were up for it. With duel guitars and no bass, the band’s melodic extreme metal relies heavily on loops and tapes and there were a few challenges during the set, which were resolved thanks to the excellent sound tech and a little help from Alyn Hunter (who gets a bonus point for his efforts!). The band’s first album, Where Hatred Dwells And Darkness Reigns is a bit of a monster and the band’s efforts in the live arena allowed the tracks to translate well. Vocalist Bendler is an imposing sight, muscular and tall and equipped with pipes of gravel. Alongside him, lead guitarist Zorn seemed unaffected by the heat, throwing out solos and riffs for fun, ably supported by fellow guitarist Scucca. Meanwhile drummer Angst was rarely on his drum stool, and between songs spent much of his time standing on top of the stool peering out at the audience.

I’d like to see these guys in a setting where they had more space to express themselves and with the sound gods on their side. As usual, Fuel opened the doors to all and sundry towards the end of the set, meaning that the room filled up with punters who had been to see the Stones. With Metal 2 The Masses to follow the next evening, and the band close to completing their set, I made a quick exit. Once again, a superb night’s entertainment, for the princely price of ten Welsh pounds. Thanks to Gavin for persisting with these shows; a shame that the scene isn’t as well supported as it should be as this was great stuff.

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