GIG REVIEW: MTV Headbangers Ball Tour Live at Electric Brixton, London
Heavy metal nostalgia came back to life when MTV Headbangers Ball finally hit London on 6th December 2016 after starting in Germany. An event I have been waiting months for, the bands did not fail to put on a fierce, heart pounding show.
Modern metal band Unearth from Massachusetts kicked it all off. Buz McGrath’s unique, heavy shredding style and finger tapping technique with frontman Trevor Phipps crowd interaction couldn’t quite get tonight’s audience into the ‘headbanging’ mood. It wasn’t until “Never Cease” came on that the crowd finally reacted. Their usual drummer couldn’t join them on this tour and was replaced by Jordan Manchino who performed equally well. They put on an energetic show and played well while doing so. They definitely deserved a better audience.
By the time Canadian Kataklysm hit the stage the venue was half full. Singer Maurizio Lacono shouted “we’re here to warm things up” and tore up the place with a tight performance of “The Black Sheep”. They certainly did warm things up when the circle pit finally opened up albeit briefly. I thoroughly enjoyed this band especially when the crowd sang along to “Thy Serpents Tongue”. The drums in this set reminded me of a heavy machine gun with a jackhammer thrown in, I was fixated. They ended their set on a high with “The World is a Dying Insect” leaving the audience wanting more. An engaging performance put on by the quartet with their on-stage head banging which reminded me of Rotting Christ.
Ensiferum impacted the crowd with the growling vocals, guitar solos and accordion adding a unique twist creating folk, melodic metal. All of which was happily received by the audience as they were enthralled in one big party at the front with flags flying high. It was amusing to see metal heads throwing out line dancing moves to songs like “Warrior Without War”.
Finally, the band everyone came to see. Iced Earth thrashed the stage with their intense heavy metal sound. Starting with a heavy performance of “The Great Heathen Army” which had a Viking vibe to it taken from their album currently in the works. They continued with title track off the record “Plagues of Babylon” and “I Died For You”. Stu Block really is the definition of a hybrid vocalist, effortlessly utilizing his vocal style to different genres of metal. Crowd participation was extreme yet passionate when the pit opened up from the front to the very back when the song “Pure Evil” started. It was insane and something I’d love to see again. The current line up seems to work really well, so watch out for their album ‘Incorruptible’, expected for release in May 2017.
All bands set a standard of brute force and exhilarating melody. This is a tour not be missed. It was a diverse line up of metal bands performing to a diverse crowd. Catch MTV Headbangers Ball in a town near you this month or regret it!