Cutting Edge – Beholder/Zocalo/Silas/Sizen/Avenge Thee + Naime, Camden Underworld

Review by by Charlie Webster
Photography by Jo Blackened – Altercarnated Photography
There was a great vibe going on in Camden tonight & the venue got packed early with everyone anticipating tonight’s bands.
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In retrospect Avenge Thee And Name (3.0) seem like a strange choice to open for the night ahead, who have a wall of sound approach to their music rather than a riff and hook style that’s the main flavour of the rest of the night, and when combined with the sound quality that always plagues first acts, makes for hard listening for the duration of the set. Having said that its obvious these guys love what they do and slowly they win over a lack lustre crowd one by one.
Vocalist Adam Westgate is full of confidence and communicates with the crowd constantly and even incites a cheer for his mum at one point (bless), but you cant help but feel it goes too far at times and pulls back the momentum he’s built up, slowing the transistion between tracks and maybe not keeping the audience as interested as he’d like until we’re treated to their final track ‘Song 2’, which shows a much more mature level of composition lacked by some of the previous material.
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From the word go Sizen (4.5) are a different animal altogether, a rolling rhythm sweeps out from the stage that can only be done justice by the late great Tommy Vance pointing in all our faces and saying the word “ROCK”. Its undeniably clear that they’re a band with a real grasp of musicianship and song writing with great melodies and catchy riffs. Guitarist Dudley manages to fill the sound out effortlessly and in a way a lot of bands struggle to do with two guitarists, vocalist Max Andrews is on top form with a real power to his voice that he makes seem so easy without a strain in sight.
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Pretty much everything you could ask for in a good tune is here, awesome guitar solos, technically proficient but played with true emotion instead of just show boating, and all backed up by bassist Dan and drummer Loz, who provide a fantasic rhythm section to an overall huge sound. Its tight as hell and the whole way through people were swaying with the sound whether they knew it or not. You just cant help getting into music this good played this well. The hooks keep coming and the momentum feels unstoppable.

The only thing I can ever see hindering this band would be that they are too good at writing SONGS that would fall on ears too used to the generic clone music scene of today, and thats a problem any musician would gladly welcome.
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Like Sizen before them its more than obvious that Silas (4.6) are a tight unit, I’ll admit to being slightly apprehensive as someone had referenced a certain group of hell-raising cowboys when describing them to me previously, but soon my doubts are blown entirely out of the water. Unlike many bands that came before them and will undoubtedly come after them, Silas arent trying to imitate or down right rip off the sound so many know and love, rather its purely an influence within their own music.

Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, and even a touch of late Throwdown style sounds meet my ears with a respectful tip of the hat giving off the urge to drink up and enjoy the metal.
Frontman Dave Runham certainly knows how to command a crowd and is doing so without breaking a sweat, the venue lapping up every word and giving its full attention throughout. Theres some real gems played and the final two tracks are awesome examples of what Silas are capable of. Closing track ‘Stuck in the grind’ includes a solo proving that axe man Tom Ross more than knows his way round six strings and would no doubt be appreciated by a dyed red beard.

This band have more groove than a sumo wrestlers rear end and if i ever need music for a party, these guys would be booked for the whole damn night.

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Zocalo (4.0) take the stage and their sound instantly compliments the previous two bands, but for whatever reason it just doesnt seem to have the same amount of punch or impact, whether thats due to the band themselves or just how high the benchmark was set for them (as im sure a lot of bands would struggle to follow Sizen and Silas alike).
Everyone in the band is pretty proficient in what theyre doing and overall its a tight set. Front woman Sarah certainly has a voice on her but it feels too smooth when paired with
the dirt laden music behind it. This kind of thing comes down to personal taste and everything is
sung/played well, but when combined just seems to clash in style too much.
Good set, good musicians, but maybe their night would have benefited by being billed before the previous two great live bands.
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Some bands look good on stage, play well, doing everything right and perform their hearts out. And then some bands add something else, they have that little something extra that you can never quite put ur finger on. Beholder (5.0) are one of those bands, from the get go you get a feeling coming from the stage that they are the next level, incredible song writing in spades and vocals that grab you with every line.

Vocalist Simon Hall has so much personality and presence, commanding the crowd and stage alike, this guy is memorable as hell, his voice soaring over the appreciative audience. The music rings out with a great blend of heaviness and groove, somewhat reminiscent of Nevermore musically but more accessable and out right enjoyable. Track ‘March of the Damned’ is a true live winner, combining so many captivating riffs and varied sections without losing track of where the song is going, its impossible not to get sucked into the mood and chant along.
This band deserve to be headliners, and if a nation of metal heads misses out on such a great act it would be a tragedy. Doing their performance justice on paper is nigh on impossible, theres something in there for any fan of heavy music.

Visit their myspace, buy the CD, go to their gigs. The British metal torch is burning bright!

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