Live Review: Napoleon w/Catch Fire & Familiar Spirit!

After a 9 year run, Exeter’s Napoleon will be calling it a day after tonights final show. Having released a second full length album in “Epiphany” via Basick Records this final tour represents the only dates for the album. The Melodic Passionate Technical Metal Groove quartet are much loved and like Carcer City who are calling it a day with a final show at UK Tech-Fest are going to be much missed on the UK Underground Metal circuit.

Familiar Spirit [6/10] are a Technical Nu-Metal band that fuse a rap-scream vocal with some clean and unclean lines. Those vocals are pitched over nuanced Wes Borland riffs with a bit more of the DJent groove to them in places. The problem is that that the cleans fall flat in the atmospheric and that they use some form of backtrack or vocal effect to make that vocal sound bigger. “Reach” is a standout cut in a set that sees an 8 string guitar and a 5 string bass on stage when only a 6 and 4 are needed.

Catch Fire [5/10] seem to have expanded their line-up, unofficially at least to include former Shields Guitarist Sam Kubrick, though nothing has been announced officially. The band suffer technical issues from the very start with a high pitched squeal throughout the opening song and a complete lack of guitar sound in places. Essentially a post-hardcore band with clean sung vocals, they are the melodic side of the likes of A Day To Remember with none of the heavier aspects. Kubrick’s leads are a point of difference and lift everything from its base state but there is not much else to write about here sadly.

Napoleon [10/10] might be exiting stage left after tonight’s set but they go out with a band rather than a whimper. Their technical groove laden material is an absolute pleasure and how a band this good could be calling it a day, especially with “Epiphany” being such an amazing newly released album is criminal. The crowd hang on every word, headbang to every riff with circle pits galore and hands raised from the first note to the final flurry of “Afterlife”. As send offs go, the crowd match the bands high energy output and there isn’t a single person, including frontman Wes Thompson that can believe it is indeed the end. The guitar work is mesmerising, the vocals harsh, the bass bouncy and the drums pounding, for one last glorious set.

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