@ Newcastle Trillians, May 2 2011

This is The Defiled’s first chance to really impress at a regional and more intimate level after they did enough to gain much critical acclaim following the release of Grave Times in February.  

Attempting to set a high level for the night, South West metallers Cities On Fire kept a tight set throughout. Whilst their metalcore sound is ordinary, they did have an undertone of melody pinning their best work. The unsigned five-piece have only been together for two-years and probably do have a future in the genre.

Local act Beyond The Grave have circulated the North East with their head-puncturing brand of modern metal for some time now, which does beg the question – what’s next for them?  Dedicating a song to the recent news of Bin Laden, Nowhere To Hide was the thrashy highlight of their performance.  Regardless of their next step, there’s one thing certain – they’ll continue to appease many a metaller in the region.

When Romeo Must Die decided to distribute their debut album Hardships In Season via a Metalhammer give-away a couple of months back, they definitely gained some fans.  The sheer vivacity of their set was met with an equal zest from the Newcastle crowd that signified just that. The no-nonsense five-piece arguably delivered the most engaging show of the night with a forceful bastion of thrash and groove. Frontman Adam Frakes-Sime wouldn’t settle for second best when it came to anticipation – ordering his minions to move toward the stage before launching into a brutal vocal assault on the senses.

For The Defiled, things are beginning to flow in full swing. After debut album Grave Times was released less than two months ago to great critical acclaim, the London quintet have moved positively on a one way street, steadily convincing droves along the way.

Call To Arms began proceedings for the newcomers. The Defiled may dislike the stigmatized, genre buzz-word that is metalcore, but with the sheer number of crushing breakdowns prevalent – there’s no doubt that’s exactly what this is.

Keyboardist The AvD does however, bring some aspects of electro to the fold, which is at it’s most effective point when the chorus allows lead singer Stitch D to beam a mellifluous waning.

In fact, The AvD was wick with a charismatic mania that saw him constantly propping his keyboard in strange positions – almost like he believed it to be a guitar. There’s no doubt his involvement is essential and when he pours Jagermeister down a few fans’ throats – who else could argue?

Despite the fact Grave Times offered a little more than your average metalcore album, there was a certain samey feel to the whole performance on this night. The chug-a-chug breakdowns were all too similar, too often and therefore monotonous. There’s a machine-like formula with The Defiled that seems to work well on record, but does no favours on the stage. It’s all about tastes, but instead of a constant offering of (albeit crushing) breakdowns slung into a manufactured, sonic hot-pot, a development of variety is needed.

This isn’t going to stop The Defiled from delivering enjoyment to hyped fans of a good ol’ breakdown or those who want a consistent but formulaic outlook on song structuring.

Calum Robson