Sadly due to the snowy weather, obviously brought in by Ghost, local support Hawkeyes had to cancel only moments before the gig after being stuck on the motorway for hours.
This did not lessen The Defiled’s attitude and stage presence. Opening the concert, after a huge intro song complete with low bass drums that ripped your skin off they kicked into the song Sleeper and then going into The Resurrectionists. Though initially the huge stylised hair and make up may be off putting to some, they managed to win over some of the more dubious members of the crowd. Whilst they all had great stage presence and frequently moved to the far ends of each side of the stage special mention has to be given out to the keyboard player. Throwing his instrument about and rolling all over the place whilst still managing to hit his required notes, as well as several photographers with his mic stand, and provide evil backing vocals. Though the songs are enjoyable, heavy riffing with the catchy chorus and chanted sections, the sub-basses were annoying after a while. At first the sub-bass was disgusting and brilliant, yet after the third or fourth song it kind of got a bit stale and predictable. The band were let down by the poor sound, perhaps unnoticeable at the time to those engaged in the music but the overly distorted guitars and vocals were obvious when Gojira came on stage.
The French metal giants Gojira are possibly the tightest band in the world, as well as the second heaviest (close behind Meshuggah). A short intro track featuring wind-chimes (super metal) played whilst percussionist Mario waited patiently behind the kit. As the rest of the members walked on they quickly went into the opening track of their latest album L’enfant Sauvage, Explosia. Vocalist and guitarist Joe Duplantier (Mario’s brother) participated with the crowd very minimally asides from introducing a few songs and thanking Birmingham. Participation was not needed, the crowd were loving the songs and going absolutely insane. Gojira showed that they didn’t need any gimmick with their music nor any costumes to prove themselves, black t-shirts, unkempt hair and a total mastery of their instruments. It was surprising they did not headline the tour despite being heavier, much more technical and probably more well known than Ghost, yet they did not let this hinder their performance. Displayed amazing musician ship and accuracy that must be admired by all musicians, they destroyed the stage and left an adrenaline fueled audience waiting for the most talking about band of the past few months.
Ghost walked onstage to Jocelyn Pook – Masked Ball. Once all the Nameless Ghouls were assembled, only distinguishable by their symbols and instruments, they played Infestissumam and Per Aspera ad Inferi off of the forthcoming album, sharing the title with the former song. After the latter track they died the familiar bassline of Con Clavi Con Dio filtered through underneath the feedback and those at the front exploded in a flurry of headbanging youths, and elders. Ghost’s gimmick is much better than hairspray and eyeliner. There is a magical aura over their identities with no one truly knowing who the members are, suspicions over vocalist Papa Emeritus II, but nothing known about the Nameless Ghouls. As Papa went to the various sides of the stage, he was always under the ever watchful eye of the video cameras and phones, making eye contact with various crowd members, as well as homoerotically stroking the lead guitarist during solos added to the strange fantasy of Ghost. The band have songs, notably Year Zero, with stunning chorus sections which if the crowd didn’t sing along to on the first run through, they would on the second. After a short interlude they returned to the stage and ended with Monstrance Clock before disappearing in a cloud of smoke.
All the bands had their own genre of music for this gig, and their own appearance. Whilst The Defiled’s slightly more accessible music could have been a crowd-pleaser, the technical majesty of Gojira and the magical aura of Ghost were all the audience will talk about for many days. Truly and inspiring experience and though it’s early definitely a strong contender for gig of the year. Go and see Gojira and Ghost as they are two of the best bands in any genre at the minute. Ghost also have the added live aspect that Gojira lacked, though did not need.
The Defiled are releasing Daggers in the summer of 2013.
Gojira have released L’enfant Sauvage and is available most places.
Ghost will be releasing their second album Infestissumam April 9th.