It has been a while since I’ve visited the Cambridge Portland Arms which is a shame as it’s only a short bus ride away. Tonight there were four bands all almost completely new to me except Orestea who’s CD had arrived in last weeks post, so after selecting one of the fine real ales available out front it was to the back room for the music.
First up where Alone with the Wolves – metalcore to the bone, with some extra fast pounding beats towards the end of their set. Next To The Lions were a mixed collection of styles, all good and ranging from straight metal to growling death metal – within the same song you could find elements of Sepultura and more indie related rock in conversation with each other, complemented by screaming guitar solos. They even dabbled with some nu-metal playing a cover version from the computer game “Halo” – I never really got nu-metal (or Halo), so I couldn’t have named it (edit – it was Bodies by Drowning Pool – thanks Facebook!). Great stuff and this was only band two of four – I’ve seen support bands in much larger venues that weren’t a patch on these guys.
Vier from Brighton were the main support on the tour and took the stage shortly after 9. I tried to think how many all girl bands I’d seen before and could only think of Girlschool and Crucified Barbara, Vier in sound were somewhere between the two. Awesome hard rock to full metal, fast guitar fretboard wizardry, and lots of headbanging both onstage on offstage.
Vier’s Time Bomb Taste has a huge chorus, one that I think will do the band well. I get them to sign a copy of their 2 track CD between sets which they do enthusiastically. Great show – it was over too soon.
Orestea start dark atmospheric intro – followed by crunching heavy guitars and soaring vocals from Lisa Avon, very radio friendly metal with massive hooks that gets the feet tapping instantly – at moments it reminded me of seeing Epica a couple of weeks ago. I’d been playing their Love Lines & Blood Ties CD for the last couple of days – great metal – maybe Lacuna Coil with a touch of Slipknot and Pantera. Luke on guitars is helped out by Vier’s Charlie Olsen on one of the songs as seen in the picture – this captured the tone of the evening – having fun with great metal.
There was a cover version in the set as well to which everyone in the crowd joined in singing – except me, I’m guessing it was a pop song just metall’ed up – but showing my age I was clueless to what it was, but it succeeded in raising the already great party atmosphere that was in the room. (Thanks to Orestea replying on facebook I now know this was Bad Romance by Lady Gaga!)
Technically the music was great – awesome guitar work with evil hooks and relentless rhythms. Both Vier and Orestea would have benefited from larger stages as it looked a bit busy for energetic 5 pieces but a spectacular show from some bands that are at the beginning of their careers. I get the feeling that one day these bands will be playing larger venues where the beer will unfortunately not be as good as it is in the Portland Arms. A great night of rock and metal!
To the Lions: http://www.tothelions.co.uk
Orestea Myspace: www.myspace.com/orestea