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Tuesday 30 October 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: Halloween At The Green Rooms

Halloween At TGR, The Green Rooms, Treforest

Normally a recording space for bands The Green Rooms has been relatively recently taken over by Jonny from Incursion and as such is re-establishing itself as a live music venue. Held over two days the Halloween spooktacular (sorry) was made up of a lighter rockier day and the harder edged metal day. Obviously we opted for the latter so we rolled up to the venue just in time for doors. It sits on an industrial estate, which was far scarier than the costumes on offer, although one Beetlejuice was particularly good. It's a little like a TARDIS inside a lot bigger than it looks outside, but the place is neatly arranged with a compact stage in a big room. With smell of beardy blokes, facepaint and hotdogs filing the air it was time to kick things off.

Starting the night with some groovy modern metal infused with a punk attitude, were We Come From Ashes (7). The vocalist barks for all he's worth prowling the floor (yes floor) as the riffs and breakdowns come thick and fast. They've got the hardcore punk elements which mean the songs are fleshed out through the sheer aggression on stage. A few technical bugs were evident but they took it in their stride and got the room rocking in the early evening. Next up were five piece metal machine Voidcaller (7) who were once again bringing violence through blistering death/grindcore riffs and barking vocals. Once more the singer stalked the floor creating his own one man pit at times, he's a big dude so if you see him at a gig I wouldn't pit with him. The distorted brutal riffs and a note perfect cover of You Suffer by Napalm Death worked into one another with of their own vicious numbers getting the long hairs windmilling voraciously.

So far so good with two bands I'd not seen, next it was a band both Paul H and Alex have seen so now it was my debut viewing of In Which It Burns (8) the progressive, experimental, extreme metal act that changed genres constantly one minute a ferocious thrash assault that took it's cues from Machine Head, Lamb Of God, the next minute they have some ambient prog thrown in to make sure they keep you on your toes. As they chop and change riffs the drummer Dan Mayhew blasts away letting Steve Flynn's lead take flight and Mike Thomas (bass) and brother Wayne Mayhew (rhythm guitar) back him up with these enthralling riffs. If I'm honest one of the major things I took away from the show was that they have a lot of similarities to Devy back when he was heavy as the SYL sounds come in on Hatred In Disguise especially in Wayne's expressive vocals that move between death roars and black metal screams. The Pembrokshire band are trying to broaden their touring horizons so any potential bookers give them a chance you won't regret it!

Next is the one ink blot on the night a dual fronted heavy metal crew Remnant (5) have serious stage presence bringing banners and a monumental drum kit. The shredding guitar solos were the first real does of classic metal of the evening but for me it was all a bit too much. Having two vocalists doing the same thing in unison does very little for me, when you have both the male and female singer screaming and singing clean simultaneously there's not a lot of duality which makes you wonder why they bother with having two at all. The size of that drumkit meant that it did all get quite muddy sound-wise too and as much passion as the singers had to my taste it very rapidly became quite samey. Check them out you might like them, I didn't I'm afraid.

After this it sort of became my own personal gig as the crowd dwindled and the other bands set off on their way it left the folks at the Green Rooms, some assorted costumed revellers and your friendly neighborhood metal blog, still we weren't complaining as two of the bands on my most watched list were up next.

A man down and with frontman Steve suffering from a bad throat (everyone say aww). The Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses 2018 winners Democratus (8) set about playing their four piece set on a wing and a prayer. Rattling through their truncated set Zak battering things at warp speed we got the brilliant sort of new song Revenge Eternally which displayed not only how good Kerrin is as a guitarist but how good Spoon is as a bassist covering for Joey admirably in the chords. They fired out the big guns sticking to the growled tracks for Steve's voice meaning the menacing BTK was at its most dramatic since Bloodstock and the final shout along of Life For A Life had those of us who know the words singing along. As always Democratus are a pleasure to watch but the lack of audience was a real travesty.

Self described as "The Most Exciting Band In The Milky Way" the Space Trippers that are Fury (9) pulled their rocket ship into Treforest I'm search of metal, rum and Greggs. They had about 45 minutes to show a mostly unaware audience what they were about so relied on their most anthemic tracks the opening duo of Lost In Space and Space Trippin' started things off nicely into When The Hammer Falls and The Dragons Song which always goes down in Wales as we do love a bloody good dragon. The entire set was a party, the rhythm section of recent addition bassist Tom Fenn and depping bassman Josh Cureton brought vitality to the band as they gurned, posed and joked throughout their set. (The irony of session bassist wearing an And Justice For All T shirt was not lost on me)

Lead by the affable frontman Julian who leaves the flashy solos to Anthony Difford, as he carries the riffs and provides the smoked soulful vocals. Whether it's 4, 40 or 400 in the audience Fury are always about having a good time and with some of us more seasoned than others at watching them, I led the chants, call backs and singalong to alternate national anthem (of England) Britannia and the Queen tribute Now Or Never they had the few of us who were there waving and headbanging with all of our might. I may have lost my voice and done my neck in but my god I'm glad it was because of this band, criminally underrated see them if you get chance I guarantee you'll leave grinning like a mad thing. Most exciting band in the Milky Way? Maybe. In all of Albion? Probably.

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