Power of Metal.dk Live Review

Location: The Junktion, Cambridge, England
24 February, 2014
Soulfly, Savage Messiah, Unit 9

It’s a small venue. I don’t think more than 300 could fit in here. It’s in a good location though, and there’s an inexpensive multi-storey car park behind it which means I am not driving around aimlessly looking for parking.

While I’m on the guest list there is some confusion about my pass as to whether or not I can interview the band. I get taken to a polite young American chap who tells me I am not down for an interview. All good though. Another guy approaches me twenty minutes later saying he’d been looking for me (it was he that took me through to see this American) and hands me a photo pass for Soulfly, explaining it is only valid for the first two songs. More about that a little later.

Unit 9 are evidently very much in to their southern sludge/stoner metal but it’s very difficult to hear anything with any degree of clarity that would allow for an objective review. I moved around the room to see if it sounded better anywhere else but it didn’t, I’m sorry to say. The crowd knew it, too. They barely move and at this point there are less than 100 people there to take notice of anything. A shame because they’re local, but if it sounds awful then it sounds awful.

Savage Messiah are a welcome relief to a not so good start to the evening and whatever sound issues were present before are not there now. I’m thinking the Unit 9 guys haven’t got the hang of how to set their gear up yet, I’m afraid. I remember Savage Messiah from a few gigs they’ve done with Evile and the blend of Maiden/Priest style vocals with a solid thrash metal base is brilliant. If only they’d sorted out the frontman's lead guitar volume it would have been better, but they were very entertaining and they have a new album being released on the 10th of March entitled ‘The Fateful Dark’. They are deservedly well received.

There are technical difficulties before the gig starts. Toni’s bass tone isn’t right, something isn’t working properly and the guitar tech (I presume that’s who he is) is fiddling and fumbling around trying to get things sorted out. He doesn’t. Toni comes out and after a few minutes has done what this guy had trying to do for the last 20 minutes. Now the gig can start.

I am in the photo area with some other photographers (or rather, some actual photographers) because even though I am not a photographer and I don’t have the ideal equipment I am not passing up the opportunity to get a few photos. Enter the idiot. The incompetent tech from before has taken it upon himself to barge over to me and demand to see my pass. That’ll be the one security has just let me through with. I don’t get even one second to show him and he ushers me away. As I am leaving he adds a shove in the back for good measure (man I wish I was as cool as this guy) and sends me flying in to a speaker. I don’t think he even realised, so I found my pass – having now had more than half a second to show it – and I approach him and show him what it says – “SOULFLY. PHOTO PASS”. He mumbles something and to be honest I am so disgusted and pissed off at the way I have been treated that I left. I then watched other photographers get a grinding from the guy. I earned a massive black eye for the trouble. I don’t think he intended to injure, but then, his actions were completely unnecessary. It means no photos of the gig. Sorry about that. Anyhow, back to the gig.

Firstly I have to hand it to Zyon Cavalera – 21 and holding his own doing what he loves. He is visibly nervous – concentrating very hard – like his world doesn’t exist outside of that drum kit while he is there. He does a solid job but doesn’t look like he is enjoying it. I’m not saying he isn’t, you just wouldn’t get that image from his body language. Total concentration.

The band has recently released ‘Savages’ and we are treated to some new material from that album which goes down well. They plough through a lot of material and don’t talk to the crowd very much other than telling them to ‘fuck shit up’ in circle pits. I don’t get near it because I prefer to watch the band instead of watching my back – besides, I am already in pain courtesy of Bam Bam Bigelow who is sat at the side of the stage no doubt praying that there isn’t another problem with the gear that he can’t handle. Last thing I need is to be smashed around in a circle pit.

A few Sepultura songs make their way in, namely ‘Territory’, ‘Refuse/Resist’ and, of course, ‘Roots Bloody Roots’. I find it hard that they are referred to by so many as ‘covers’. He wrote the damn songs after all.

I’m on the losing side of a ‘which half of the room can shout the loudest’ contest. I’m surprised they have time for it given the amount of material they have got through already – a feat in itself given the fact they had to start later than 2130. They finish with a couple of bars of Maidens’  ‘The Trooper’. Despite my completely unjustifiable treatment I really enjoyed this gig as did everyone around me. A testament to the staying power and significance of Max Cavalera (and indeed Soulfly) in the metal world – not that it was in question.

They’re touring around the UK and Europe before having a break in April and then heading to Russia in May. Well worth going to – just steer clear of overzealous road crew.

Set List (order of songs towards the end might not be accurate, apologies)
Cannibal Holocaust
Back to the Primitive
Fire/Bring It/Defeat U
Execution Style
Troops of Doom
Seek n Strike
Wasting Away
Living Sacrifice
Master of Savagery
Roots Bloody Roots
Jumpdafuckup/Eye for an Eye

Matt Fabi