Andrew O’Neill: A History of Heavy Metal

So the Edinburgh Fringe is in full swing and with my dissertation finally over I have been able to catch a couple of shows.  Unsurprisingly, Andrew O’Neill’s History of Heavy Metal was one of the first that caught my eye.  Those of you who are regular attendees of Sonisphere and Download may be aware of O’Neill, as he has regularly appeared on the comedy stages of both due to his musical leanings.  Far from being a gimmick, O’Neill genuinely appears to live and breath heavy metal and because of that has put together this show, allowing him to talk about heavy metal to an audience that – assuming they have seen the name of the show – know what to expect.

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Machine Head at Liquid Rooms, 31/7/2014

Sometimes you just know that a gig is going to be special.  Machine Head deciding they were going to go on a UK club tour, was very much one of those occasions.  This is a band that on recent trips to the UK have played Wembley Arena and headlined Bloodstock.  Now they are crammed into a venue which bands half their size could easily fill.

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Nine Inch Nails at The Hydro, 20/5/2014

Photo Credit: Tomaso Mainardi

Some bands are made to play small dingy clubs, others are meant to fill arenas.  While I’m sure Nine Inch Nails would destroy your average club, their set at the Glasgow Hydro shows that they are very much in the later camp.  It was hardly a surprise to see Trent Reznor return to the Nine Inch Nails model, after taking several years out on hiatus during which he won an Oscar, but the return of the band that made the man was still greeted with joy by fans.  Nine Inch Nails are a band that transcend genres, being as equally loved by fans of Joy Division and Depeche Mode as they are fans of Slayer and Black Flag.

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Killswitch Engage and Trivium w/ Miss May I and Battlecross at the O2 Academy Glasgow, 4/2/2014

I think it's Jesse, one day I'll get the hang of this photo malarky.
I think it’s Jesse, one day I’ll get the hang of this photo malarky.

Package tours are becoming more and more common, but few this year are likely to elicit the response that the announcement of Trivium and Killswitch Engage taking to the road together did.  These two metal titans have been on redemptive paths in the last few years.  Killswitch reuniting with Jesse Leach and remembering how to kick ass (although I was actually a Howard fan) and Trivium slowly rebuilding their damaged reputation and fighting back up to the top of the metal ladder (which they should have been on top of a long time ago.)

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Skindred w/ SOiL and Viza. 27th January 2014 at Glasgow O2 ABC.

Skindred
I thought this picture looked a lot better when I first took it.

The fact that Skindred aren’t the biggest band in the world right now is a tragedy.  However, it is reassuring to look out over the Glasgow ABC and see that while it isn’t sold out, they have pulled one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen them play to outside of festival bills.  Maybe the message is finally getting out there about these incredible performers.

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Hactivist w/ The Algorithm and Incyte at Electric Circus Edinburgh, 30/11/13

Hacktivist at Electric Circus.  Credit: Stuart Iversen
Hacktivist at Electric Circus. Credit: Stuart Iversen

Hacktivist are a band that have thrown themselves into the metal worlds conscience in the last couple of years and made one hell of a bang.  Combining the down-tuned eight string guitars of the djent movement with grime and hip hop vocals is something that will make many traditional metal heads grind their teeth in anger and the truth is it appears to either inspire hatred or love from most that hear it.

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Heart of a Coward w/ Charm the Fury, Malevolence and From Sorrow to Serenity at Classic Grand 18/11/2013

I realise this is bad even by my standards, but my phone refuses to flash when it drops below a certain battery level.
I realise this is bad even by my standards, but my phone refuses to flash when it drops below a certain battery level.

I can’t remember the point when bands on stage started getting younger than me but it does always kind of depress me.   From Sorrow to Serenity are the latest example of that as they are handed the chance to open up the show Monday night at the Classic Grand.  They are very young, or at least look very young and like many bands that are that young are also kind of generic as they put on a set of heavy djent inspired metal.  They are also very reliant on their backing track, so much so that they suffer some technical problems when the drummer doesn’t have one of their songs on his Ipod.  Saying that there is certainly nothing horribly wrong with this performance and if these guys go in the right direction they’re worth keeping an eye on.

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Defenders of the Faith 4, Glasgow Barrowlands 15/11/2013

Image courtesy of Metal Hammer

Defenders of the Faith is becoming a yearly event that those into heavy metal do not want to miss and once again Metal Hammer magazine have outdone themselves by putting together a bill that is sure to appeal to the masses.  All this meant that when it rolled into Glasgow last Friday night it was always bound to be an occasion.

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