The Rescue Rooms has always been a brilliant little venue, small enough to fill, large enough for a decent crowd. And that was before the recent major refurb: wow what a difference! The PA is suspended above the stage, raised platforms run partway down either side of the room and the spacious balcony comes equipped with a ledge to hold your beer. This place is one of the country's gems and deserves the best acts.
The line-up for the Sylosis headline tour is amazing with Chapters, Anterior and Malefice for support. Four bands on one bill, however, really highlights the only downside of The Rescue Rooms - the curfew. Being on the edge of Nottingham's residential area means the bands have to finish for 10pm.
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Chapters were first up. Highly recommended by Bailey from Sylosis, they served as a great warm-up for the night. Coming on early meant it was their job to get the people in and start them moving.
Anterior: an unusual name and I knew little about them before the night. They started early, but within a minute the crowd was going wild. The twin lead guitar cut through, then fat chunky riffs lead the moshers. The vocalist had little to do as a frontman but kept the fans occupied with circle pits and all the usual Metal mayhem. The band's sound through the PA was incredible, so clear you could hear every note and with Anterior I was glad of it. With and without earplugs, the music sounded fantastic. The end of their set came far too early and I wanted more. The crowd were encouraged to go for a wall of death and dutifully obliged. What a climax! Thrashtastic!!
Malefice were next up. The band were clearly up for it, starting at a blistering pace. Between songs, the singer engaged the crowd with all his might and charisma - which was formidable. The music and performance of Malefice was as tight, energetic and masterful as you could want, but the crowd simply wasn't theirs. The moment that summed up the band's anguish was vocalist Dale Butler's outburst to his drummer: “Chris, they're not listening, start the fucking song!” I felt for them; a great show marred by an unresponsive crowd. I got the feeling that their early finish was not solely down to the scheduling and curfew.
For the third time that night I watched a painfully slow turnaround as the stage crew needed to change the entire backline for each band. If only they had adopted the customary arrangements of the support acts sharing drums and cabs: all the bands could have eked out at least another track and not had to rush on early.
Headliners Sylosis hit the stage in such a fashion as is expected for headliners: greeted by repeated chants of “Sy-lo-sis!”. After a few waves and glances at each other, they launched into their set, moving round the stage with fluency and confidence. The songs were played well and the sound was tight. Josh's frontman credentials were not on show, instead concentrating on getting through the set. Beyond that, it's difficult to sum up their performance; it was in every way accomplished and satisfactory.
The band seemed to have a certain laissez faire attitude that may have been down to the open space at the back of the hall. Whatever it was, they appeared to be lacking the fire I'd witnessed at Sonisphere.
The performance was, in all other respects, faultless. I really enjoyed the set and wished they'd stayed longer. The single-song encore took them up to the curfew. And what a song: 'Empyreal' - it's hard to believe Josh had to learn to play and sing for the band's second album.
If you missed this tour, shame on you. We have a duty as British Metal fans to support our stars and keep Metal strong for the future. Sylosis put together an incredible line-up that deserved packed houses wherever they went. One good thing is that they are a busy working band so you're sure to be able to catch them again soon.