|Revoker/Lifer/Fell On Black Days/Dead City - Ebbw Vale, The Institute - 1st June 2012|
|Written by Ian Bell|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 04:30|
Tonight was all about some top notch musical entertainment in a top notch venue, and all for only a fiver. Yes a fiver, and we're not talking tribute bands here folks, as they generally cost more than a fiver to watch, as some no marks bang out other peoples songs, normally very badly. We're also not talking local school and pub bands either, we're talking four bands with their own material and careers all at varying levels of success be it at local, national or international levels, all with the potential to go much further, or should go much further - if all things were equal.
So on the metal menu tonight we have Dead City who despite being relatively new already have an E.P 'Judgment' available and have gained some airplay on BBC radio. Fell On Black Days have debut album 'Talion' lined up ready for world domination in August, and their next live outing is supporting the legendary Diamond Head. As for Uber Rock regulars Lifer, they're using all their years of experience promoting their highly recommended album 'Cursing Them Out'. And as for tonight's headliners Revoker, they are fastly gaining notoriety after the release of last year's critically acclaimed 'Revenge For The Ruthless' album and are using tonight as a warm up for separate European tours with Anthrax, Fear Factory, and Lamb of God. This if of course in addition to previous headline tours of their own and other major supports with the likes of Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne, and Sepultura. Tributes bands? Who needs 'em with line ups like this.
Dead City kick things off with a bang and for set opener 'We Bring Storms' there are sadly not that many yet in attendance. By the time of the second song 'A Call For Strength' however the few that are in have now grown in number and enmasse are slowly but surely shuffling closer to the front of the stage at the invitation of Lewis Brownhill, who for new song 'Circling The Unseen' has suddenly relocated to the dancefloor joining those making the effort for the band in a spot of mutual windmilling. Dead City are passionate about what they do and in delivering their corrosive brew of thrash metal with a death metal vocal attack the potential is there in abundance, making them a band to keep tabs on. As their short set closes with 'The Art of War' you would have had to have been wearing a blind fold and ear muffs not to have noticed that they had gained more than a few admirers tonight.
Fell On Black Days are introducing new bass man Glenn Newbrook tonight, mixing his rock solid four string thump with their spine crunching guitar work and hardcore vocal approach to provide the self proclaimed kings of 'nod your bonce metal' with an added live dynamic. And that is exactly what you get with FOBD, metal with a modern twist that gets the kids of today going mental yet even the oldies who have long time retired from any form of pit action can't help but nod along. The numbers at the front though swell to the point of front man Gavin Robinson declaring it to be "the biggest crowd we have ever played to in Ebbw Vale", and their reaction is nothing but 100% OTT from opening song 'Walk Away' through to closer 'Talion'. In-between, even as early as second song 'End With Me' the circle pit is open for some early and very brisk business, I mean what more do you want on a Friday night? As mentioned earlier the new album from FOBD is due in August and no doubting you will read all about it at Uber Rock some time very soon.
The warcry of "Ebbw Vale, are you ready motherfuckers?" can only mean one thing. That the band as subtle as a gynaecologist wearing a gas mask, Lifer, are on stage and ready to unleash unrivalled doom upon the natives of Ebbw Vale. Lifer are their usual brutal selves tonight and with no disrespect to either Dead City or Fell On Black Days they immediately raise the bar a notch or two as their experience and stage mileage shines through as they open with 'Curse Them Out' that comes complete with the usual frenzied crowd response. Frontman Scriv as always delivers a stunning performance vocally and the rest of the band are as tight as hell. To be honest I have yet to see either a half arsed or an under performing Lifer, and why their status hasn't reached the levels it should have done by now is a difficult one to understand. However in this shallow shitty world that we live in and even more so in the even more shallow music industry of today it may be partly explained by the band themselves when Scriv dedicates 'Long Time Dead' "to those in their forties like us". 'Goathead' goes down an absolute storm too, yet this may have been largely down to Dibble demanding that "as you have all been drinking you must love us", and he certainly isn't wrong as quite simply you are left to reflect "well that sorted the men from the boys" as team Lifer leave the stage, straight and direct like a solid punch between the eyes yet leaving everyone drunk with admiration.
"We are Revoker from South Wales" declares Jamie Mathias as 'Time to Die' the opening track of both tonight's set and the band's debut album 'Revenge for the Ruthless' kicks in like firework night in Balotelli's bathroom. The band are obviously enjoying being here tonight as there are smiles all around on stage which may be due to the excitement of the touring summer they have lined up ahead of them, or more realistically the fact that since they last played this very venue 12 months earlier they today finally managed to find the logo back drop that went missing when they last played here. Whatever it is the kids are certainly feeling the good vibes and by the time 'All Rise' is played the crowd gathered stage front actually hit borderline mental which when followed by 'Great Pretender' only escalates the pit action into Olympic standards. I have to admit that I'm not a massive fan of covers (as if you couldn't tell by my introduction) but Revoker have made AC/DC's 'T.N.T.' their own, and tonight it is actually a stand out moment of the set especially with the backing vocals support of Dead City's Lewis Brownhill, Fell On Black Days Gavin Robinson, and Lifer's Scriv. This can only be topped with the modern day "caught in a mosh" that is 'Stay Down' and as expected everything erupts in front of the stage, 'Outlaw' eventually bringing the evening to a close. This is a band on top of their game right now and the confidence levels are over spilling from the cup of Revoker, make sure you catch them somewhere near you soon.
Perhaps the only minus about tonight was that for this superb package, this quality night of entertainment, in such a friendly and accommodating venue, and all for only a mere fiver (hey I won't be able to buy four chips for a fiver when I get to Download this year never mind see four quality bands), is that there wasn't a bigger attendance. I don't know but maybe if this had been billed as the headliner being a Revoker tribute band and you were charged double your money for entrance then it may have been packed to the rafters, such is the messed up world of the music industry right now. Oh, and like many with a pocket full of merch tokens to spend here tonight helping to support local talent, you really had to be in the know to locate any for sale, but that really is just me being pedantic I guess. Good times indeed in the heads of the valleys, don't let your apathy tell you otherwise.
To pick up your copy of 'Revenge For The Ruthless' - CLICK HERE