Dai Lo / Shallow / Chasm.
Nottingham Old Angel
November 19 1999
Chasm haven't apparently rehearsed for about 8 weeks. And although things might be just a touch rusty in place, the only thing that they really suffer from is the old first band on stage syndrome. You know the one, where virtually no bugger watches the band. Well it's those peoples loss. With the giant projector beaming out overhead, the band get their heads down and push out a 25 - 30 minute set which is as good a display of UK nu-metal as you're likely to get. Not that they're entirely nu-meta mind you. It's just a flavour, there's also a little bit more emotion on the Far tinged 54. And a touch of aggression as after one track drummer Gemma stands up holding the remains of the snare drum she's just destroyed, before asking if any of the other bands could loan her a spare one. Si-DaiLo steps forward, though I could've sworn there was a worried look on his face after parting with the drum. Especially as Gemma doesn't treat the thing any better, and continues to hit seven shades of shit out of the thing. Things continue as they move through the likes of Almost There, Zen Lunacy and eventually bring things to a close with Block. They'll probably play better gigs than this, and they'll certainly get better responses than this - but it's still early days and they have to go through that first band on syndrome.
Which means tonight that Shallow don't. A few more people have made it upstairs as vocalist Tony announces, pretty much as he did last time they playe here, that they're Shallow from Stoke - on Trent. Didn't quite gel for me tonight, some new material so there's the familiarity thing to deal with, and it just seemed a bit laboured and dragged out. Mind you, Chris Chasm I'm sure said something regarding "they make your bollocks shake". Or something like that, a better quote than I'll ever come up with anyway. Or it could jut have been the presence of video cameras capturing the moment, as well as Nick who apparently is celebrating his bbirtday by attempting to consume more alcohol than any other person in history. And proceeding to fall over in the process. Star.But for whatever reason, even though there was nothing wrong with the set, it just didn't gell for me tonight. Sometimes that happens. Just because you like a band, doesn't mean you always make the connection.
Dai Lo it has to be said are on top form. From the moment they step on the stage and start with the slow burning Cold Harsh Truth they're in control. The video projector is bombarding a series of images taken from various movies, most illustrating various and graphic ways to die or be mutilated. It constantly changes throughout the set, proving to be a damn site more innovative than a number of "professional", ie signed bands, that take out much heralded projection packages on tour.
But even that still can't draw the gaze away from the band and in particular vocalist Shaun. It's a small stage, but he's a blur of energy. Constantly moving crouching and having a ball. Between tracks he's rapid firing the compliments, a bit like Mike Muir on speed. He's also got a spotlight in his grasp, and he's going to use it, picking out and highlighting the somehow still standing Nick." Go on, just another quadruple vodka you know you want to, you're a star" is Shaun's encouragement. Not that the bloke needs it mind you.
It's only the second time that I've heard the new material, but already it's begining to take root. Moths sounds like they've been listening to Blackrock a little - all stoner like riffs and a huge chorus, while Warhead is just massive. Huge riffs, a killer vocal melody by Shaun that feels so right because it sounds so familiar. It's so impressive that even the welcome inclusion of old favourites such as Twist The Knife, and Target are almost overshadowed. That was almost, they're great songs, but it would inreasingly seem they only hint at the bands capabilities. Despite it being a home town gig for them and the place looking pretty much full, still it seems most people are content to sit on the floor instead of even stand, let alone dance, despite Shaun's protestations that everyone is "magic awesome" and everything else. But it's Friday night, probably a little too much effort after a hard week at work. Personally I think all chairs should be banned in this instance. Or fitted with a small bomb or minor shocking device. Come on, sarcasm again ya gits.
It all ends with Nick somehow summoning the presence of mind to take the spot from Shaun and one by one illuminate the band providing the only lighting for the last song. And you know what, it actually worked very well. I think it was Junkmale that ended it, but I'm writing this a few days later in Helsinki, cos I didn't have the time immediately after the gig, so 'scuse the memory. It's bloody cold here n'all, and snowy. Brrr.
Cracking gig, bit of a shame about the crowd I reckon.
First thing Iíve had in ages from Century Media, is this double CD21st Century Media Blitz Vol 2 compilation. Youíll have seen plenty of reviews of this, and whether good or bad, theyíve pretty much all said the same thing, for a fiver you can get a double CD taster, including 1 CD dedicated to UK bands. Which is an absolute bargain and to be honest, youíve got no time, place or right to criticise the UK scene if you donít at least take the time to check this sort of thing out.
The first CD is the Century Media sampler. Plents of hardcore and metallic hardcore. Personaly highlights are Stampiní Ground, Arch Enemy. Iced Earth are a band that have intrigued me in that I keep reading about comparisons with Iron Maiden, and theyíve apparently released a triple CD live set recorded in Athens, so I was curious to hear a little of what theyíre like. They contrbute Last Laugh from the live set here, and itís not really like them, more thrashy. Acrimony start things off, theyíve split now, itís a groovy stoner thing, not far removed from Shallow or Blackrock, more evidence that the UK has, or in this case had, bands that can compete in this area. As of course it can do in all other areas. Merauder add their metalcore with Find My Way, Skinlab contribute Noah, Stuck Mojo add an offering from their live thing as welll, plus youíve got the likes of Tiamat with a gothic tinge, Moonspell, Sundown, Rykers, Turmoil, Lacuna Coil, Crytopsy and more. Interesting though that thereís nothing from The Gathering here.
Of the UK CD. Well, you should know by now that I consider earthtone9 and Medulla Nocte to be the finest extreme bands in Europe, possibly the world. Both extreme, yet completely different. If youíve not checked them out either live or the CDs by now, well, I can only repeat myself and tell you to. I canít really say how "interesting" it is to see Kill II This on this particular compilation (no trust me, I really canít!). Still, the track This World is one of their better ones. Shallow offer the rather tasty Eight Minutes To The Sun from their Live At Hemi Hemispheres EP. Elsewhere youíve got Freebase with their metallic hardcore offerings of Body About To Burst (pick up the split CD with Medulla). Raging Speedhorn do their Monkey inspired stuff, Tribute To Nothing offer one of their better tracks with the catchy Enemy, King Prawn are the masters of lunacy of course with Role Model, Labrat with Phuelled by Famaceuticals and more. You get the full on hardcore of Assert, the metallic leanings of Unite and Light Of The Morning, the stoner of Hangnail and more. I didnít believe it when I read it, but Sunlounge really are rockíníroll, and itís in a way almost completely out of context with the rest of the CD. They got voted on by the readers of Metal Hammer, which is fair enough. Good song, but personally I think there are a lot of better bands in the UK. But thatís just personal taste.
Yeah, if thereís one fault here, itís that the CD highlights the heavier more extreme side of UK metal, and of course not everyone is in to it.
Overall though, 2 CDs for a fiver. You owe it to yourself to check it out - you wonít like everything, but well, you ought to discover something here of interest. And the UK CD is way better.