My Ruin / Speed Theory / Sanctorum / Illuminatus
23 October 2008
Islington Academy, London

My Ruin’s three support acts on this Religiosi Tour were rotating slots and the honour of opening the London show fell to a band very familiar to Rockers Digest, Illuminatus. The multi-national Nottingham based four piece have really solidified as a live unit and despite suffering on stage monitor problems turn in a towering performance. When Julio Taylor screamed the line “We’re hopeless” during opener Captive State, he couldn’t be further from the truth. Out front the sound was pristine with Jon Martin’s guitar positively singing during new song You’ll Never Know What This Means, which hinted at great things to come from the band’s second album.

The muscular instrumental Wrath Of The Lambs saw Felix Rullhusen pounding his kit and led into Black, with Leo Giovazzini making full use of all six strings on his bass. The bassist had apparently put his shoulder out moving gear but there was no sign of this as he tossed his bass around. Another new song The Rising Tide led us to the closing Wargasm with its heart wrenching guitar melody ensuring the band left on a high.

Illuminatus set list:
Captive State / You’ll Never Know What This Means / The Wrath Of The Lambs / Black / The Rising Tide / Wargasm

Colchester’s Sanctorum modern take on thrash metal is next up, with opener Carved In Stone reminiscent of Machine Head. Sorrow Of Man is quite simply thrashtastic and in Ash Lewis the band have their very own Alex Skolnick to pepper the aggression with melodic solos. Centre stage, Aaron Sly attacked his guitar whilst barking out his aggressive vocals. Occasionally a clean vocal is thrown in tempering the caustic approach.

The catchy nature of Fallen recalls Children Of Bodom, but without keyboards, with Call To Arms and Take It All wrapping things up with crunching guitars. The band plucked their whole set from latest album Ashes Of Redemption, which would seem well worth checking out on this promising first taster of the band.

Sanctorum set list:
Carved In Stone / Sorrow Of Man / Against Us All / Fallen / Call To Arms / Take It All

Speed Theory pick up where Sanctorum left off and move the intensity up a few notches. I’d heard good things about these lads from Wolverhampton and it was quickly easy to see why. Frontman Wes Davies roared “London, tonight you are mine” as opener Heist kicked things off with guitarist James Dodkins and bassist Stuart Beardshaw performing synchronised windmill headbanging either side of the stage.

Davies is the band’s baby faced assassin with mad hair. When not roaring into the microphone or running through an impressive solo, his stage presence is strong and he has a jovial nature with the crowd, at one point joking “You’re very quiet, what you looking at?”. This is not a one man show however and when Davies has to go AWOL due to a malfunctioning guitar, Speed Theory capably continue without missing a beat. A few cuts including the title track from forthcoming album Blood Money indicated good things to come.

Speed Theory set list:
Heist / Hit The Dirt / Blood Money / Cursed / Below Zero / Vengeance Is Mine

To be honest it was the support acts that were holding the interest for me tonight. Whilst I quite appreciate the music of My Ruin, Tairrie B’s constant caustic vocals leave the sound a bit one dimensional for my tastes. The clamour at the front of the stage to get as near to Tairrie as humanly possible reflected that My Ruin do have a very loyal fan base, although one that appeared to have shrunk considerably since I last saw the band at the larger Electric Ballroom back in 1999.

The uniform black and white monochromatic look gave the band a striking presence, but most eyes were trained on the stylish frontwoman. Spending large amounts of the set in the photopit, Tairrie thrived on connection with her crowd who are also gifted the microphone to expertly mimic their hero.

The big bearded Chris Lisee on bass and handle-bar moustached Mick Murphy stick to their respective sides and let Tairrie take the limelight. That’s not a lazy role, as together with drummer JD they lock in tight and their groove filled riffs at times surprisingly recalled vintage Clutch. None more so than on a cover of Rick Derringer’s Rock’n’Roll Hoochie Koo which was dedicated to Tairrie’s friend Adele, who’ll be familiar to anyone owning the band’s latest live album, Alive On The Other Side.

The live album’s title alludes to the live changing car accident in which Tairrie nearly lost her left arm. The fiery singer relives the incident with the song Through The Wound which concludes with Tairrie revealing her scarred arm to the crowd.

I wasn’t sure whether I would last the duration of this set but I was surprised to hear Tairrie announce the final song of the set. Whilst My Ruin are unlikely to make it onto my iPod playlists, the strength of their live performance tonight can’t be denied and their faithful left satisfied.

My Ruin set list:
Stagefright / The Devil Walks / Memento Mori / Not This Time / Religiosity / Cold Hands, Warm Heart / Vince Vaughn / Metamorphosis / Through The Wound / Me Without You / Nothing Is Sacred / Rock’n’Roll Hoochie Koo / Ready For Blood / The Beauty Medley

My Ruin
Speed Theory