Absolva - Highbury Garage, London, 01/05/14

A new star rises in the metal firmament...

The first night of the tour and what an absolutely blistering gig this was. This was near-perfect heavy metal of the 21st Century and the clear message was that our music is alive and screaming and has a massive future.

The volume was a throwback to the old days when you used to leave a gig with your ears ringing. That simply doesn't happen any more but Absolva took us right back to metal's glory days while making it crystal clear that they are the torch carriers for the future and the defining sound of the modern day.

The sound quality was near perfect too and frontman Chris Appleton involved the Garage crowd from the off. Not that they needed much encouragement as this band are good enough to let the music do all the talking but Chris has become the complete and expert frontman who can easily have a large crowd hanging on his every word. He's the lead and rythym guitarist as well, plus chief songwriter and band leader and his talent appears to know no boundaries. I wouldn't be surprised if he drives the tour bus and cooks the breakfast as well.

It's not all about Chris though as Dan Bate and Martin McNee also shine on stage. Dan is a blistering player, both visually and soundwise. He must be using specially reinforced instruments, the way he hammers his bass. Drummer Martin McNee not only demonstrated his worth with his dependable and brutal beat-keeping but with his drum solo. Drum solos usually mean it's time to go to the bar to refuel but he kept this crowd captivated with a skilled and captivating display.

The bottom line is that these guys totally mean it and the way they relay their message is infectious, uplifting and impossible to ignore.The set-list below should have contained three more tracks but the gig ran slightly late and Absolva had to slightly adapt their set. That means that when you catch them on the rest of the tour, you get more than we got in London.

Surely Absolva will be playing high up the bill at large festivals sooner rather than later. They certainly deserve that. Cream always rises to the top so you'd be well advised to catch them in the mid-sized venues this tour. Tickets are selling fast and some of these venues have already sold out as word is spreading fast now. Absolva won't be staying on this level for long, that much is a given.

Setlist:

The Devil's Mouth

Victimiser

Anthems To The Dead

Killing Season

From Beyond

Never Back Down

Free

Soul Remains

Only When It's Over

Taste The Blood

Drum Solo

Flames Of Justice

Empires Code Red

Live photo by Sean Cameron; This article originally appeared in Metal Talk Webzine (www.metaltalk.net)