When I heard about this show my attention was well and truly caught. Not only are Bloodshot Dawn an up and coming melodeath concern, having secured a slot on this yearâ€™s Bloodstock Open Air on Thursdayâ€™s Sophie Lancaster Stage, but also Dyscarnate have been making waves throughout the death metal scene, and had their album So it Came to Pass reviewed here to a warm reception. In the end itâ€™s a small miracle that this show actually happened given the fact that the original promoter pulled out at the 11th hour, leaving Diascoriumâ€™s Paul to assume this mantle, and the line up looking somewhat different than originally. Londonâ€™s Trifixion and Yorkâ€™s Shot Down Stay Down are absent from the bill, leaving local thrash/groove concern Tyrant to step into their shoes. Some may remember that the last time I saw this band my response was less than favourable. Unfortunately I arrive right in the midst of their closing number, and am thus unable to make a solid judgement either way. Although Iâ€™m assured their performance on that original occasion was a departure from the norm, it has to be said that the general opinion being voiced post-show only serves to reinforce my initial rebuff.
Moving on to Diascoriumâ€™s [4/5] set, it doesnâ€™t escape me that it may appear that this band have me on their payroll, but such is their aptitude at self promotion that itâ€™s difficult to see a metal show in this town without seeing them (recent Origin and Warbringer shows are a good case in point)! Their show is, as usual an education in unfettered technicality, and inspires some to stare longingly at guitarist David Bondâ€™s unashamed prowess. If you have any of their recordings in your collection itâ€™s worth noting that most of these numbers donâ€™t get a look in these days, and tonightâ€™s set is no exception, being comprised entirely of new and nearly new material. A favourite with audiences is the coalescing â€˜Triptychâ€™, whose final riff is repeated several times, each time slower and more neck-destroying than the last! This prompts spontaneous outbreaks of â€˜finger dancingâ€™ and an unprovoked spear tackle on vocalist Bernard! One small criticism of the venue at this point is that the house lights remain on during this set, subtracting from the ambience somewhat. Music-wise however, itâ€™s difficult to fault Diascorium as per usual, and their contribution kicks the show off with aplomb.
Next to take the stage are Portsmouthâ€™s men of the hour, Bloodshot Dawn [2.5/5]. Now, as we all know melodic death metal can be a peculiar beast, dividing opinion and producing material which boasts varying degrees of underground acceptability. Bloodshot Dawn fall into the â€˜very-proficient-but-a-bit-wankyâ€™ category. Their fare is predominantly thrashy in pace, with barked, hardcore-esque vocals and a proliferation of solos which straddle the boundary of cheesiness with teeth-gritting regularity. Unfortunately, they really donâ€™t have much of a USP, and what they play seldom stands apart from the legions of bands playing in the same vein. Additionally, the pace as well as the vocal delivery doesnâ€™t do much for their death metal credibility as blasting and gutturals are sparse at best. Essentially what we have here is quite melodic metalcore, with all that goes along with that label. Thereâ€™s also no getting away from the fact that front man Josh McMorran plays half the set with his fly down, making some of his monitor-lunging bravado downright dangerous at times!
Dyscarnate [2.5/5] make a dramatic entrance to an intro tape and have also tried their hand at basic choreography as Tom Whitty (vocals/guitar) and Henry Bates (bass) face away from the audience until their opener kicks in. Whittyâ€˜s skills as front man are quite considerable, never once does his ireful visage crack, and the conviction of his delivery is profuse. Itâ€™s a pity that the same canâ€™t be said about his musical abilities. Whilst drummer Matt Unsworth puts in a great show and Batesâ€™ bass playing is irreproachable (thank god they omit the dubstep-esque bass drops which are present on And So It Came to Pass) the single guitar sounds a little thin and the riffs likewise. The problem is that thereâ€™s too much emphasis on groove. To give them their due, Dyscarnate do play heavy, chuggy riffs very well, and tonightâ€™s audience are very responsive, forming what can only be described as a â€˜dance pitâ€™. However itâ€™s my considered opinion that groove upon groove does not a death metal band make. At the risk of sounding a wee bit elitist, itâ€™s fast dirty riffs and blasting which often if not always gives the genre its cock and balls. If youâ€™re going to substitute these key elements then youâ€™d better have something solid or very unique to do it with. Dyscarnate regrettably donâ€™t, and a lot of their riffs sound pretty generic. Even when they do explore the faster side, Whittyâ€™s riffs sound more like middle 8 sections than maniacal, no holds barred shredders. After what seems a lifetime, they finally drop a trem riff with a blastbeat in â€˜Kingdom of the Blindâ€™, but this seems like too little too late. Although the crowd seems animated, my gig buddy has sidled off to the bar, and itâ€™s only a sense of duty to OneMetal.com which has kept me from following suit.
In conclusion, therefore, perhaps the wrong band kicked the bill off, but then again this was always Bloodshot Dawn and Dyscarnateâ€™s show. I went expecting to have the way forward for UKDM highlighted for me, and went away feeling disappointed and unsatisfied. The search for the UKâ€™s next big death metal talent goes on.