Veil Of Maya at Sub 89, Reading (UK) 02/05/12

Chicago death metal band Veil Of Maya bring the noise to the UK...and they’ve brought some mates.

The almighty noise of Volumes and Structures get the Reading crowd nicely worked up over their short sets, whipping up some fierce circle pits and slam dancing.

Lining up for their first ever UK show, Vildhjarta are greeted with an excited roar. A lot has been made of this “Swedish fucking metal” band and they live up to that and more – air-tight rhythm section combined with colossal guitars which makes for a sound heavier than your mum (yeah that’s right, your mama jokes). The excellent double attack of head-banging vocalists Daniel Ädel and the impossibly young and good-looking Vilhelm Bladin scream along to the beating, unbelievable speed of drummer David Lindkvist.

Band of the night award goes to deathcore destroyers, Betraying The Martyrs. They show their Swedish tour mates exactly how it’s done when it comes to being a current band at the top of their game. Lead vocalist Aaron Matts’ malevolent presence draws his band members and faithful crowd alike to him: if he says, ‘jump!’ they say, ‘how fucking high?’ Matts’ evil screams mix perfectly with keyboard/vocalist Victor Guillet’s clean vocals and their trade-off for centre stage oozes expert showmanship. The energy from the stage is sweaty and contagious – in a good way.

Headliners Veil Of Maya are hugely exciting to watch. Devoid of any kind of stage choreography they have a chaotic control about them that makes it impossible to look away – even after four hours of solid metal over the night and your ears scream ‘I’m dying!’ Ice cool guitarist Marc Okubo leads from his massive guitar riffs taking his band on vast flights of technical metal fancy. The vastly talented Brandon Butler’s vocal chords handle everything the other dual-singing bands can do comfortably – having one lead vocalist makes Butler’s talents stick out all the more.

The bad thing about this bill was the sheer amount of metal – no one band gets the time on stage they deserve. And yet the best thing about this bill was the sheer amount of metal. Blood, sweat and the promise of partial deafness for a week.