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Monday 26 August 2019

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

Control The Storm, Callus & Land Captains, The Gryphon, Bristol

Temperatures soaring again for the bank holiday so where better to sweat on a Friday night that the sauna above a metal bar also known as The Gryphon in Bristol. This was a triumphant return for the headliners following their impressive set at Bloodstock just two weeks earlier.

A crowded and sultry room greeted us as we arrived to catch opening band Land Captains (8) start the evening. An unexpectedly good start too, with the Bristol four piece impressing with their groove based hard rock. Confident from years of gigging in other bands, the nucleus of the band, vocalist Sarah Lewis and guitarist Hugo Bowman (Fragile Things) are ably supported by the large presence of bassist Justin Cool and drummer Jamie Gilder. Roared on by a healthy and supportive crowd, Land Captains proved to be excellent entertainment, their thumping hard rock versatile and engaging. The band could take it down a notch mid-set, with Lewis’ smoky tones capturing the attention. The band’s first video single Automatic was worth the entrance fee alone, a perfect rock pop track that should enable them to gain a higher profile very quickly.

Back in March Hogpocalypse, the self-released album from Callus (5) received a lukewarm response from our reviewer Mark, who called it “ambitious but flawed”. The Lancaster trio certainly have the energy to drive their music forward, but like Mark, after a couple of songs their hybrid mix of thrash, sludge, doom and stoner became a little repetitive. Fewer punters in the room at least allowed the watching to be slightly less moist and whilst I couldn’t fault the band for their effort, especially on the elongated instrumental towards the end of the set, little of it was particularly memorable on the night.

Control The Storm (7) somehow crammed into the venue leaving about 20 feet for those interested punters to squeeze in. The band were in buoyant mood, and with good reason. Their show at BOA was superb, with tons of pyro and the band maximising the wide expanse of the Sophie Stage. So, it was down to earth with a bump but this was a party night and it showed in a rather slipshod performance, built on fun and celebration more than anything else. A very muddy mix with levels all over the place didn’t help but with the vocal support of their fervent fans adding to the chaos, the band blasted through old favourites and tracks from the excellent Forevermore album. I’d really like to see Control The Storm in a larger venue, such as The Fleece or The Exchange where their intricate symphonic metal blend would work with a better sound system. It’s hard to be critical on a night like this. I hope the band can push on and look forward to seeing them again when the environment is more suitable.

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