|Crowbar/Shaped By Fate/Hammer Of The Gods - Bristol, O2 Academy - 15th January 2011|
|Written by Darrel Sutton|
|Saturday, 22 January 2011 05:00|
As I walk into, what I must admit is, far from my favourite venue, I am very encouraged to find that this gig has been upgraded from the appalling Academy 2 to the main hall. This means we're a) going to get the full bore Crowbar experience through the main PA and b) we're actually going to be able to see them. Result.
I must admit I was back to my usual tardy self and only managed to catch the last couple of songs from Hammer Of The Gods, but what I did hear was some quite tasty metalcore not a million miles away from Killswitch Engage or Diecast. Making them ones to check out again, definitely.
Next up were Cardiff nutjobs Shaped By Fate and I was curious to see how they would fare in a decent sized venue as the last time I caught them was in the Purple Turtle in Camden with about thirty people present. They really give it their all at every single show and their noisy-as-fuck Converge-esque metallic hardcore seems to go down pretty well, particularly when they bring out Jimbob, of the sadly defunct Taint, for guest vocals mid-set. They do seem a little lost on a big stage though and frontman Paul's between song banter is almost a whisper, but nevertheless another valuable step for them in the run up to their new album which will hopefully see them get more tour supports like this one.
But, let's be fair, when you come to a Crowbar show, no matter how good the supports are it's all about the main event. It's hard to put your finger on just why Crowbar seem to hit the spot in such devastating fashion but when they kick straight into their groove you are simply blown away by their simplistic heaviness. A million bands could try and cover them and get nowhere near the real thing. Mixing old and new they are on fire tonight, with the new line up really clicking from the off. The addition of Matt Brunson (who also played with Kirk in Kingdom of Sorrow) in particular really has given the guitar onslaught a new density. The obviously larger than anticipated crowd are also well into proceedings and 'All I Had, I Gave' ignites a pretty sizeable pit. Their upcoming album 'Sever The Wicked Hand' also gets a few tracks aired with 'Cemetery Angels' really shining with its faster pace. Kirk Windstein seems really happy back at the helm of Crowbar, having spent the last couple of years ensconced in both Down and Kingdom Of Sorrow and his new found sobriety doesn't seem to have blunted his ability to cave your chest in with some of the most killer riffs in existence. Nor does it seem to have blunted his desert-dry humour, particularly when it comes to lambasting his long-time mate Jimmy Bower "You know, the drummer with the big tits!"
And so it is, for the best part of an hour we once again get shown that musical heaven really is all about simple heaviness in the key of B. Fuck what shit Manowar might spurt, this lot get more heaviness out of three 4x12's than Messrs DeMaio et al can get out of twelve times that number of amps, without having to resort to wearing loin clothes and getting oiled up.
All Hail Crowbar.... The True Gods of Heaviness. Enough said.