live review

Helmet, Kings Arms, June 18th, 2011

Helmet, Kings Arms, June 18th, 2011

June 18 2011
Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland

Reviewed by Richard Thomas
22nd June 2011

Arriving too late to catch Cobra Khans set, we squeezed our way into a packed Kings Arms just as Beastwars were beginning. Being the first time I've seen them live, i was blown away; big thick slow riffs rolled over the audience as their fantastic vocalist growled and barked his way through their set. His stage presence is startling, there's no thrashing around, just slow stares and omnipotent poses which fully complement the bands great work. Beastwars definitely have their own thing going on live, and they're unmissable because of it - and an awesome album to back it up too.

After a brief lull, the crowd erupted as angular riff guru Page Hamilton took to the stage with his new Helmet crew, having had difficulty in the last few years to hold down a stable lineup. But the back catalog is a big one, and the band soon got stuck into their work like seasoned pros, mixing up old favourites like "Ironhead", "In The Meantime and "Unsung" with newer work like "Birth Defect". My personal favourite of the night was a mega-dense "I Know", a massive concrete-slab of a tune which drew comparisons with Bailterspaces immensely loud and epic sonic depth. Hamilton was very much enjoying himself, loving his Speights Gold and happily asking for crowd involvement on his plan to leave his ex-girlfriend a specific birthday message, (luckily for her the band freestyled a bit of improv riffery to drown him out as he was 3 digits into her cellphone number - it was a short 'message' if you get my drift).

Dropping "Turned Out" and "Milquetoast" into the encore left everyone satisfied, a great set by a band that may seem occasionally one-dimensional at times on their albums, but live their sonic frequencies fully wash through you in all their glory. All in all, a great night out from one of metals finest flag-bearers.

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