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Apologies – I turned up late and happened to miss the start of The Haunted’s co-headlining set tonight, so I’ll start about 10 minutes in!

Although there were tickets still available on the door, the venue seems pretty packed. The Academy 2 is in it’s larger configuration, with the side wall open, allowing punters to spill out on to the balcony of the main venue and peruse the merch stall in comfort.

The reason the venue seems pretty packed is due to the obligatory metal staple – the circle pit. Yet another show that I’m reviewing where there are a large selection of the younger members of the crowd getting over the stress of their homework by running around in circles and shoving friends and foes alike.

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Sweden’s The Haunted are here tonight in support of their latest album “Versus”, and they sound pretty good. The vocals are a bit quiet, but I’ve heard non-headlining bands sound a lot worse in this venue. I’m not sure why, but I expected the crowd to be more “up for it”, especially seeing that The Haunted have been together for over 12 years now. There seems to be the usual hardcore of fans down the front, and a few dotted around the rest of the venue, but they don’t seem to have a whole lot of support, at least when I walk in.

The Haunted’s brand of metal, with its thrash, groove and melodic death metal influences seem to be winning the crowd over, and the applause seems to grow as the show goes on. When their hour is up, the whole crowd seem to be converted, and are all chanting their name as they leave the stage.

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After a quick turnover, it’s time for Massachusetts’ All That Remains to hit the stage, and they hit the stage running. As opening track “The Air That I Breathe” starts, the crowd, who are clearly here to see this band, go mental and the biggest pit of the night opens up in the middle of the crowd, engulfing a large percentage of them, and pushing the remaining punters towards the walls of the venue. The first thing that strikes me is that this band is awesome. Their style of metal is quite melodic, with traditional dualing guitars, and an amazingly quick yet tight drummer in Shannon Lucas. Somewhat unusual (but in no way wrong) is petite female bass player Jeanne Sagan, especially when you hear her “death metal growl” backing vocals.

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The sound, as with The Haunted’s set, is good Academy 2 sound, although the vocals still seemed a little quiet, but the crowd more than made up for that, as they appeared to chant every single word of every single song back at the band. So much so, that vocalist Philip Labonte proclaims that “You guys have just made my fucking night”.

The thing that I really like about ATR is just how accessible their brand of metal is. Whereas bands at the moment seem to be getting more and more technical, ATR seem to be concentrating on writing solid riffs, and making tunes that you can bang your head to, as opposed to confusing the crowd with random time signatures and syncopated beats.

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The band finish their main set with their two main crowd pleasers – “Two Weeks” from 2008’s “Overcome” and “This Calling” from 2006’s “The Fall Of Ideals”, and the crowd go even more mental than ever. The crowd start to leave, happy and smiling, when ATR hit the stage again for their encore, 2004’s “This Darkened Heart”.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a band that has made such a positive impact on me so quickly. Go out and buy their albums now!

All That Remains setlist:
The Air That I Breathe*
Undone^
Become The Catalyst*
Not Alone*
The Weak Willed*
Chiron^
It Dwells In Me*
Before The Damned^
Indictment*
Six*
For Salvation~
We Stand*
Two Weeks^
This Calling*
This Darkened Heart~

~ from 2004’s This Darkened Heart
* from 2006’s The Fall Of Ideals
^ from 2008’s Overcome

Review – Tony Hackett
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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