Saturday 16th March, 2002

The Charlotte, Leicester, ENGLAND.


This was a gig that benefited from the Saturday night setting here in Leicester. The Charlotte was very well attended, with the best turnout in recent memory, this ensured the venue was pretty much full. There were three bands supporting Will Haven tonight, namely Beg To Differ, 3rd Strike and Defenestration.

Unfortunately, Beg To Differ wasn't witnessed for this review, so the first band was 3rd Strike who came from the USA. Their performance was a very professional and well performed set of nu-metal that musically, in many ways harked back to the early 90's power metal days. With the inclusion of shouting and rap vocals into the songs, you can pretty well get the idea of the sound. The band was made up of a motley collection of larger than life characters, including the almost obligatory large, bald, heavily tattooed vocalist that seems to come as default with many bands from the States. The impression was one of nothing new to see and when they did a cover of Paranoid mid set, nothing more could be said either. So, nothing wrong with their talent or performance that a prescription of originality couldn't sort out, and a placing on a different tour that may provide a more tolerant audience for their material.

When Defenestration took to the stage, there was a strange unrest within the audience, manifesting reactions as diverse as cheers of encouragement and welcome, to shouts of insult and even laughing. They played well enough and most of the songs were recognisable, but the sound was so bad with the bass and drums far too dominant, they all but lost the guitars in the mix. This made the riffs hard to follow and with Defenestration's sound being structured very much around heavy, almost stoner style, Sabbathy riffs, you can imagine it lost quite a lot. Somebody please shoot the sound engineer (if there was one). With the set being less than 30mins, it did seem to improve for the last song but most of it was marred.

There was also a definite lack of stage presence by the female leader, but the biggest problem was more to do with her vocals, which were poor at best and agonising at worst. Alternating between 'singing' and shouting, there wasn't a note sung anywhere near in tune during the whole performance. This was so disappointing, because having enjoyed much of their album One Inch God, seeing that there is plenty of talent evident in the band and it's obvious they're enjoying themselves up there, it leaves you feeling that things should be much better.

At last Will Haven burst into life and totally transformed the atmosphere. This was just a great gig by the four metallers from Sacramento, USA.  Monumental, monstrous, downtuned riffs were the order of the night, with awesome songs pounding across the audience and the audience frequently diving, moshing and surfing throughout. This has to be one of the best gigs in memory from here at the Charlotte for attendance, atmosphere and intensity. The band were so professional and motivating, getting the whole crowd moving as one, heaving around as a living wave of bodies.

In just over an hour, a mix of songs from their three albums ruptured over the crowd, in an intense barrage of low-slung riffs, hammering rhythms and screaming vocals. It is difficult to sum up the enjoyment of this gig with just words in a review; the songs were awesome, the band were awesome, the sound was awesome (they had their own soundman!) and the atmosphere was, err well… awesome. If you're into intense metal and you want to see it played at it's best, then you just have to experience this band live. They were fucking awesome…


(The word 'awesome' appeared on an unlimited licence with special permission of Bill and Ted. Cheers dude's…)


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