Fearless VK@ Newcastle O2 Academy, April 18 2013

Born entertainers, blessed with commercially astute pop sensibilities, capable of stretching the boundaries of metal and backed by a dedicated army of devoted fans, a seriously affecting set was never in doubt.

And that was just from support The Dead Lay Waiting.

If Fearless Vampire Killers were billed as the main event then their best buddies did such a great job of getting the party started it almost backfired on the headline act. Almost. 

FVK have gone from wannabe upstarts lacking consistency to super-confident old stagers unlikely to allow the support band’s stellar set to affect their focus. They didn’t.

If The Dead Lay Waiting visibly rattled Fort Hope – sandwiched in between two bands on top form – then the Vampire Killers thrived under pressure. This was their show and they finished off a fantastic evening in style.

There’s no doubt Laurence Beveridge and Kier Kemp represent one of the most compelling double acts in metal right now – the deadly duo’s fusion of theatrics, vocal versatility and six-string wizardry evoking memories of Alice Cooper, Freddie Mercury, Matt Bellamy and more.

Both could easily carry most bands single-handedly but FVK have never been most bands. The dual frontman dynamic is essential to their unique sound and sense of urgency. Not for the first time in Newcastle it brought the house down.

Weeks earlier FVK had opened the Kerrang! Tour on Tyneside to critical acclaim but the chance to play a headline set was an opportunity too good to miss for a band driven by fierce ambition and a relentless work ethic.

Concede. Repent. Destroy. is becoming an increasingly familiar and addictive anthem for metal’s new generation and there are plenty more where that came from. Latest single Diamond Dust & Crimson Reign proves the point and the latter suggests there’s plenty more in FVK’s locker yet.

Still ignored by rock’s old school it can’t be long before fans of progressive metal turn on to the most exciting and expansive British rock band since Muse. For now FVK remain the closely guarded preserve of the teenage underground but very soon the secret will be out.

Simon Rushworth