Ok, I’m gonna sum this whole night up in just two simple, effective words.
Now to tell you why.
Because it’s frickin’ Gojira, Klone and Trepalium. Together! And it was the most excited I’ve been for anything in a fucking long time.
But I must elaborate a little…After a two hour drive consisting mainly of listening to Aeon and drinking over mixed Vodka and John Smiths (I wasn’t driving) we arrived at the Exeter Lemon Grove, which is on the university campus, and spied many a good friend in the queue. More shenanigans ensued including hearing Trepalium sound/line check and a security guard telling us the PA was a bit fucked so they were gonna open later. Off to a good start then…
The doors opened 20 minutes late and Treplium had to start pretty much straight away so I ended up missing the first 10 minutes of their set, though we were all grooving away outside while we queued up and finished pre-show bevvies.
I got in just as ‘Insane Architect’ began and instantly my ass was shaking. Chugging some Jager to get the liver lubed up like a 10 dollar hooker, I got my beer and surveyed the small but rapidly growing crowd. It was like a sea of bobbing heads, such was the level of groove. It was clear that Trepalium already had a lot of fans in the crowd and the cheers they got were impressive for any opening band. Of course, the highlight of their set was the incredibly, insanely and magnificently infectious and simply fucking awesome tune that is ‘Sick Boogie Murder’ – a song containing some of the most memorable riffs I’ve ever heard in my 26 years as a metal fan.
Something that guitarists Nicolas Amosse and Harun Demiraslan should be immensely proud of writing. Honestly, I WISH I could write riffs that got the kind of reaction the crowd gave. The moment the fairground sample started there were fists and horns in the air and an almighty roar from everyone in the room, which by now, was about respectably full. There were people headbanging, pitting AND dancing (myself included for a brief spell) and the atmosphere is one of a collective purpose. To rock the fuck out.
And those PA issues we were told about earlier (thankfully) didn’t seem to be affecting things too much. A couple of sound glitches in terms of (vocalist) Cedric Pundas levels not being loud enough and at some points, it seemed like he was belting things out with even more gusto to counter the issue. Overall, it was nothing I would complain much about as it was all successfully countered by the vibe put out by the band as a whole.
Not that there would have, or should have, been any doubt as to how well Trepalium would have gone down tonight but it was clear that if half the crowd were fans at the start, then the entire crowd were fans by the end of it. Well done guys! A truly fantastic set to kick the night off.
Rating: 7/10 (8 if there had been no sound issues)
After a short break and more funtime boozings (naturally) I made my way back into the throng for Klone. Having not heard of them before I’d endeavored to try and familiarise myself as best I could with a few tunes on you tube in the run up to the gig. Their setlist was, unfortunately, mostly lost on me as inebriation had kicked in and I didn’t catch many of the song titles but the track that ultimately stuck out for me was the awesome ‘Into the Void’ from their recent release ‘The Dreamers Hideaway’, taking heavy groove with the progressive approach of bands like Tool but with actual balls instead of metaphorical ones (I’m not much of a Tool fan, so sue me!).
Whether the crowd were actually more familiar with them or not than I was, I don’t know. What was clear was that the crowd loved what they were hearing and seeing. Considering the melodic approach to their sound with as much singing as there was shouty/growly vocal work, courtesy of Yann Ligners fantastic lungs and vocal chords, the audience lapped it up and the already fantastic atmosphere was raised up to impressive levels as each song was followed by near deafening roars of approval.
By this point, I’ve nearly lost my voice and my free arm (the other holding beer, of course) is fucked from excessive fist pumping. In fact, as I write this now some days after the show, I can still feel the stress I put my arm under. A clear sign of just how good this band and their set was.
And then the moment we were all waiting for arrived…Gojira took to the stage, the crowd went mental, and we all have our ears crushed by the wholly inspiring writings of 4 crazier Frenchman.
Sadly I was in the pisser at this point trying not to bring up the bar everywhere when I heard the place erupt like Krakatoa and Mount. St. Helens combined and turned up to 11 and I once again missed the vast majority of an epic opener, ‘Explosia’, returning only to catch the last minute or so. The response however couldn’t have been better for them and it was clear that they intended to return the favour with a killer set.
There’s always one specific track you really want to hear a band play live and you always hope it’s going to sound as good as you hope it will. For me, that track is ‘Flying Whales’. I fucking LOVE that song and I was kinda hoping to hear it a bit later in the set but none the less, hearing Joe roaring out the name to bring us into the song sent me into a bit of a frenzy. For those 5/6 minutes, I fully represented the shaven windmill with true style and finesse by not spilling beer everywhere.
This skill didn’t manage so well when they launched into the fantastically chuggy ‘Backbone’ and followed it with ‘The Heaviest Matter of Universe’ which, by the time it had finished, had left me with next no beer, a sore neck, an even sorer arm (as described earlier) and a little more than a dizzy feeling.
Thankfully ‘L’enfaunt Sauvage’ and ‘The Art of Dying’ gave me a brief respite to gather my senses and some time to actually watch the guys play as I realised I had spent most of the set so far not actually watching them. You know what? They’re REALLY fucking good performers. It seemed like they had divided the crowd into thirds, playing largely to the third in front of them and showing plenty of acknowledgment to individuals in the crowd.
The rest of the set started to blur for me as the beers and other gig enhancing extras took effect but suffice to say that ‘Toxic Garbage Island’ and ‘Wisdom comes’ whipped the crowd into a manic frenzy, while ‘Oroborus’ brought the tone down with its trance inducing hammer/pull off patterns.
At this point we were left with just Drummer Mario for a few minutes as he treated us to a drum solo. I hate to say it but this was the low point of the night for me, and much of the crowd from what I gathered there and subsequently through Facebook chatter. For such a good drummer, the solo left much to be desired. I have to admit that I spent the majority of the solo chatting with an old friend in the crowd.
The only reason I can think of for it being as lack lustre as it was, is maybe he was too tired to really go for it and if that’s the case then maybe they could have skipped it. Or at least done it earlier in the set. With only 2 songs left in the set, ‘The Axe’ and ‘Vacuity’ and an encore of ‘The Gift of Guilt’ the solo only served to break the flow on the end of an otherwise monumentally amazing set.
All three bands tonight demonstrated that it is still possible to be original in today’s metal climate; appearing to share at least parts of a vision to make heavy as hell metal music and meshing it flawlessly with experimentation and tuneful melody to create something distinctly different.
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Vocals/Guitars – Joe Duplantier
Guitars – Christian Andreu
Bass – Jean-Michel Labadie
Drums – Mario Duplantier
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Vocals – Yann Ligner
Guitars – Guillaume Bernard
Guitars – Aldrick Guadagnino
Batterie – Florent Marcadet
Bass – Jean Etienne Maillard
Sax & Samples – Matthieu Metzger
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Vocals – Cédric Punda (KK)
Guitars – Nicolas Amosse
Guitars and additional Keys – Harun Demiraslan
Bass – Ludovic Chauveau
Drums – Sylvain Bouvier