roadrunner_uk headed to London on Sunday night, for the Metal Hammer 'Hammered at Christmas' one-off show, including In Flames, Chimaira, Lacuna Coil, Caliban and Koma *edit: sadly Koma were unable to play the show and pulled out of the line-up a few weeks previously*. It was to say, a very eventful and exciting few days...But enough of that and more about the gig, as I said I would!!!
The show would be staged at the Hammersmith Apollo. This was the first time roadrunner_uk has had the opportunity to see a show there, and on consideration, it was a very fitting and well organised gig! A mixed crowd came to see this one-off display of metal, due to the welcome slight-variety of music produced by each band. Still, something there to suit everyone's tastes!!!
Next up on the bill was Roadrunner 'newcomers' Caliban, stemming from Germany (if you didn't already know). The second time in a month roadrunner_uk would have the pleasure of seeing this brilliant new band perform, after supporting Machine Head on their latest UK tour. After the first time, and making such a good impression, roadrunner_uk was more than eager to see them again and show support 10x!!! Running to the bottom of the floor, wearing Caliban T-shirt proudly and singing word for word, it was instantly apparent that something was wrong!!! Nothing wrong concerning the band and their performance ability, but technical difficulties from the venue, regarding the guitar!!! With great dismay, these 'Gremlins' would force the band to cut thier set unbelievably short and call it a night!!! The crowd, surprisingly, showed great support and encouragement and shouted "CALIBAN, CALIBAN!" as the band exited the stage!!! Though they weren't given the opportunity to prove themselves and cement their abilities in new comers, possibly new fans, there seemed to be a strong enough following of the band in the crowd to say that should they come back to the UK again, Caliban will need not worry about thier shows' attendance!!!
Following Caliban were Roadrunner favourites Chimaira. Knowing they no longer have anything to prove, Chimaira take to the stage with the presidence that they have come to do whatever it is they see fit...And to the MANY thanks of all their adoring fans, that would be to Rock the shit out of their most Metal night!!! Kicking off with crowd favourite 'Pure Hatred', it was obvious from the start that the majority of the people at the gig this night were there because, no...FOR them!!! With the kind of intensity that could rip through to the Earth's core, both band and crowd worked to shake the venue right down to it's foundations!!! Some surprises from Chimaira came in the form of Mark (Hunter, Vocals) and Rob (Arnold, Lead Guitar) taking to the stage with new haircuts!!! Both choosing to forget the wintery conditions outside and opt for shaved heads, not quite to the bone, but a vast difference from the dread-flailing and hair-spinning days that preceeded them!!! Reasons to these 'new looks' were suggested by both band and Roadrunner officials, but that will have to be left for the imagination, as only us lucky few to find out may have been told in confidence!!! ;) Other surprises turned up in songs played from the highly underated Roadrunner debut album 'Pass Out Of Existence' and new material written recently in the studios!!! 'Severed', played brilliantly if not a tad experimental, was sure to have the crowd fist pumping into the air and circling the floor with excitement!!! New song, which name has left roadrunner_uk (as it was named after a classic WWF Wrestler for playing sake and not to be kept as a title), would see the crowd going 'ape-shit' to every unheard guitar riff, drum-blast and vocal-growl played! If this shows anything from things to come with Chimaira's forthcoming album, it's going to be brutally-beautiful!!! By the looks on every Chimaira fan's face, they already can't wait!!!
The first co-headliner of the night would be Lacuna Coil. Sadly, not a band particularly favoured by roadrunner_uk, and very much un-listened to. From the songs that were witnessed, it could be said they played tightly, and proved their popularity with existing fans, but really there was nothing there to keep the attention of anyone who was there predominantly to see any of the other bands. Each member of Lacuna Coil clearly masters of thier instrument of choice, but bringing nothing original to the night other than two vocalists and a sound that could be described as nu-metal, and could've be heard years ago!!!
Lastly, and the night's finishers, were In Flames! Before the band even got the opportunity to get on the stage, you could tell something big was going to come of this!!! Roadies frantically setting up pyrotechnics and equipment, and the crowd surging into the auditorium to see this astonishing band!!! On they gracefully strode, ready to give the people what they wanted...And oh did they!?!! Riffs that could shake out fillings, rhythms that would rattle your ribcage and vocals that meander into your inner ear and shred your brain like LeatherFace waving his chainsaw inside you skull!!! It's hard to say what happened between the first bang and flare of the pyros and final chord of the bands set, because they were so jaw-dropping it was hard to pay attention to what was actually happening!!! Being grasped by the music in such a way that only the person in front of you, who's back your drooling down may show any sign of flicker, but even that would be hard to take the stakes away from the band that night!!! They were magnificent! Extremely unbiastly, they were the band of the night, showing every band before them a thing or two!!!
Our Roadrunner boys did well, if not for a few difficulties!!! They certainly brought something new to the night that only a Roadrunner band can, and they made us all proud!!!
...Now, time for roadrunner_uk to get some rest and heal the battered bones and bruises, the pits were brutal!!! It may take a long time to get over that adventure...Well, until Killswitch Engage play Glasgow and London in January!!! MAYBE!!!