O2, Bournemouth


On a dreary Friday night the crowds are amassing at the O2 in Boscombe for what can only be described as a cracking deal 4 bands for less than a tenner! And is it an interesting mix of bands, from the atmospheric post hardcore aroma of Devil Sold His Soul to the metalcore stylings of The Defiled, as well as the hard metal sound of French outfit Gojira, to the old school, mellower (comparatively), sound of Swedens Ghost.

It’s never an easy task for a band to open a night when their craft differs greatly from the other bands around them, but Devil Sold His Soul bravely plunged in at the deep end to encourage a thin crowd to witness what they had to offer. Their sound could not be more fitting for a venue packing the O2’s opera house class acoustics, as soaring reverb induced waves of noise throb fluently as front man, Ed Gibbs demonstrates his endless tenacity in his screams, yet triumphant quality in his vocal work elsewhere. It’s a powerful sound, with an almost possessing quality to it. Those around me who seem less familiar with the band even seem in touch, with the bands mesmerising presence unavoidable to notice. Standout tracks such as “VIII” and “End of Days” provide sufficient evidence as to why 2013 is hinted to be a huge year for this band.

The Defiled
The Defiled 1234567

The Defiled take to the stage bathed in red light and unleash a brutal assault on the senses keeping the audiences attention. As the bass drum shakes every fibre in your body whilst the guitars cut through you the keyboards take to the air as the first track completes. The stage has the bright white outlines of two coffins off setting the predominantly flashing red light show. As their set progresses the audience warm up from what seems like cold shock from the opening salvo,through each track they energy grows. The third track, Black Death, opens a sample before unleashing a barrage of drums. As the start their track the moshpit has kicked off good and proper. The sound seems a little off, and almost random during there set as Stitch D.’s vocals seem a little drowned and overtaken by the bass and drums.


Gojira 1234567

At 20:30 Gojira hit the stage. Now, if Defiled were an onslaught then these guys were taking no prisoners.

With a simple but totally effective stage set up, the crowd had swelled dramatically and all eyes were focused on the French Technical Groove Metallers. Pounding drums and plenty of crashing cymbals provided a fiercely muscular rhythm foundation. Joe Duplantierís guttural vocals pulled you in, as the guitars relentlessly drove the message home. They dazzle the crowd with fast, nimble guitar work, flicking between fast licks and hard driven riffs, the band make full use of the O2 stage. Delivering an aural barrage, almost reminiscent at times, of an early to mid-Metallica but with a harder modern edge. As their set progressed, it seemed that every head in the house was nodding along to the music. The circle pit that had opened up on the first note raged with complete abandon through-out the entire set.

As they played their last track of the evening I even caught a glimpse of some crowd surfing – that’s what we like in the face of health and safety where a lot of venues prohibit the age old practice. These guys did not disappoint their fans, and no doubt gained some new ones.

At 21:50 the house lights dimmed as the dry ice flowed, the faint outline early of a cathedral windows could be seen at the back of the stage through the smoke, as piped music filtered out into the audience.

The crowd has thinned out considerably, by the time Ghost are on stage, giving more room on the O2 floor and almost making the evening feel more intimate. From discussions with varying people in the crowd there is a very mixed opinion on Ghost, as it becomes apparent that some were only there for Gojira. But Ghost were the headliners so the music gives ways to a cappella chanting which bursts into Infestissium as the Nameless Ghouls on stage are silhouetted in their robes. The crowd cheered as Papa Emeritus II appeared on the stage and started singing in what can only be described as a premeditated, almost religious style (I appreciate the irony of these words!).

Compared to the opening acts the Ghost is a very laid back affair. The audience were entranced by the whole spectacle. Those that remained were not disappointed, as they band moved onto Con Clavi Con the energy from the audience increased and as the song ended Papa Emeritus II took a bow and gave us all a blessing.

Throughout the entire set he remained calm and moved about the stage with a refined dignity, giving an additional solemnity to the event. You almost get the impression that every moment is carefully considered and planned, even as the break into “Elizabeth”. Their whole show screams of simplicity from the minimal stage trappings, the well positioned lights, simple backdrop, all lent to the focus being on Papa Emeritus II and it worked! The group had the audiences’ undivided attention. No gimmicks or distractions, aside from the virtual anonymity of the band.

Ghost 1234567891011121314

The crowd burst into movement for the opening of “Stand By Him” and sing along to “night of the witch” although the audience have trouble being heard over the PA. Even when urging the audience to clap there is certain amount of consideration not usually found at rock gigs. Yet the congregation obey his command. “Satan Prayer” was delivered with precision as the smoke continued to flow. This is one of those few gigs where the band sound as good live as they do on CD and this fact is not lost on the audience as the bass shakes the venue to its core.

The five ghouls are almost stationary on stage as the keyboards play “Genesis” whilst his unholiest is off-stage and in his absence the mosh pit became more agitated as if being released from Papa IIís watchful eye gave them free reign to go crazy. On his return the moshpit respectfully dissolved as he blessed each Ghoul onstage to cheers of appreciation from the audience. As the next track kicks in the mosh pit returns and the audience has a renewed energy, as if blessed by his very presence, although his gaze appears to be disdain when he stared out over his disciples. But that might just be the cadaver make up!

…And then he speaks for the first time:

“This is a great show,
Join us in a Ritual”

At 22:44 they left the stage, the crowd chanted for their return, so return they did, closing the show with “Monstrance” and with very little fanfare the crowd were left to try and understand what had just happened as the PA played out:

“Come together,
Together as one,
As Lucifers son.”

This is one show we had been looking forward to recently and we were not disappointed! With the differing styles apparent between all the bands, I can understand why some people left after they had seen the band they came for, however they missed a real treat not staying for the gig as a whole. After all that is the unerring beauty of rock music, to have such a varied mired of styles all converging under the same alternative banner. Uniting us in a love and passion of loud music, but at the same time dividing us into separate tribes within the same genre.

Set List
Con Clavi Con Dio
Prime Mover
Secular Haze
Stand By Him
Death Knell
Satans Prayer
Year Zero



Words by Jon.
Pictures By Dan O’Gara.
Backup Words by George.
Correct Words by Ross.
No Words by Chinners (but if we had videos he would upload them).
Moral Support by Dan Roberts and Chloe Cooper.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace