Live Review: Trivium w/Heaven Shall Burn and Malevolence at Hammersmith Apollo!

As a dark cloud remains over Brixton Academy the organisation required to move tonight’s show across London to the Hammersmith Apollo (the only other 5000 capacity venue in the city at what seems very short notice) to ensure goes ahead has to be applauded. The cancellation after the rescheduling this tour, originally booked in December 2020 would have not only been unpalatable but unthinkable so credit where credit is due, the show must go on and it does. It’s actually hard to believe how much the World has changed since the last time we saw Trivium live. That was a pre-pandemic show at Brixton Academy on the tour for “The Sin And The Sentence” that took place in the heat of a summer. The set of Power Trip from that night living long in the memory as the band suffered many a fainter, needing to stop playing so people could be rescued on multiple occasions. It was also a show which saw us gain a new found respect for vocalist Riley Gale, a man who has sadly since departed this World while leaving a lasting legacy.

Sheffield Shredders Malevolence [8/10] may not have been on the original line up of this event but make their presence felt as their stock is at an all time high. A bruising 30 minute set that combines Sludge Metal and Hardcore elements sees security tested early doors as the crowd surfers go up in between circle pits. Having seen them ignite the New Cross Inn two years ago, new album “Malicious Intent” has served them well and if you pardon the Pantera pun, taken them to a new level. Confident and assured they rattle through cuts like “Self Supremacy” and “Remain Unbeaten” with the verve and swagger of a headlining act at a venue of this size, taking a moment to remind the audience to pick up anyone who falls and look after each other. It feels like a homecoming and they’re all smiles they pause for a photograph at the end of the set, promising to return headlining later in the year when they return from America. All that was lacking was the appearance of Matthew K. Heafy for a rendition of “Salvation“.

This co-headlining run sees German legends Heaven Shall Burn [7/10] unveil the flag of a battleship behind the stage, not side on but face on as if it’s sailing into the venue, guns pointed directly at the audience. By their own admission it’s been somewhere approaching nine years since the Melodic Death Metal quintet were in London and they’re not only grateful to Trivium for bringing them out on this run but also dedicate a song to them. As ever the interplay between the guitarists is phenomenal, those genre classic leads as vibrant as ever with man mountain Bischoff having a curious echo effect on his microphone as he roars through the uncleans. “My Heart and the Ocean” goes down a storm as does “Ubermacht” as the band sound very much like they’re at European Festival. This simply wouldn’t work in a smaller venue.

Trivium [10/10] are in a reflective mood tonight as frontman Matthew K Heafy announces that it was at a show at The Garage in London in 2005 was a breakthrough moment for the band as it opened the door for them to play Download Festival for the first time. They take to the stage behind a black curtain which comes down during the opening cut after the crowd sing a long to “Run To The Hills” by Iron Maiden and the reveal displays a huge backdrop of yellow and red Japanese art depicting a trio of warriors and a pairing of dragons. There is a trick of the light as the warriors turn from skin colours with tattoos to blood red, just part of a phenomenal light show that accompanies the set. Crowd interaction is impromptu with fists pumping and heads banging but it’s the humming of the lead guitar melodies that is awe inspiring. Despite being titled “The Dead Men and Dragons tour” the band play a career spanning set from “Rain” and “The Sin and the Sentence” to “In The Court Of The Dragon” and “In Waves“, nailing every solo amas the capacity crowd sing every single word. Matthew K Heafy has a trio of microphones on the stage, center, right and left and runs between them, doing different vocal parts from different places meaning that the whole audience gets to see the master at work. Guitarist Corey Beaulieu deserves a lot of credit as arguably the most underrated member of the band, his backing vocals have improved and his ability to interweave leads and solos with Heafy is magnificent. Then there is drummer Alex Bent, whose kit towers above the band and looks like it needs a ladder to get to. He’s constantly moving, standing up, siting down, tilting, twisting and contorting, seemingly using his whole body to generate the power play the instrument and create different sounds in a way that makes others look lazy. One of the nights highlights sees both Alex Taylor and Josh Baines from Malevolence brought back to the stage mid set for a rendition of “The Deceived” from “Ascendancy“, the left handed guitar of Baines a curiosity, especially when he is given the solo by the Americans. Given the quality of the bands output one of the surprise inclusions is the Bay Area Thrash inspired “To The Rats“, from an album which bassist Paolo Gregoletto has been particularly vocal about not being a fan of in “The Crusade“, but again it goes down a storm with impromptu headbanging and horns in the air. Tonight Trivium can do no wrong and the grand finale and huge sing-a-long of “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr” brings the house down to rapturous applause. Long live the Kings.

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