Breed 77 / Susperia / Illuminatus / Sworn Amongst
22 May 2009
Islington Academy, London

Due to a 10pm curfew for a club night, doors for this show were brought forward to 6pm meaning even with an early finish at work I still managed to miss openers Sworn Amongst.

Next up were Illuminatus who we’ve praised quite a bit on RockersDigest and that’s not going to change with this review. With only a short slot Illuminatus don’t mess about, packing in five songs including two new ones. The familiar Captive State opened the set, with the newly shorn Julio Taylor packing emotion into the “We’re hopeless” refrain. New song Cave In comes at us like a pulsating wall of noise with the sound surprisingly clear enabling the song to envelope us.

The instrumental The Wrath Of The Lambs got heads nodding, before the metronomic rise and fall of new song Red hinted at good things to come. As ever Wargasm closed the set in style. A very solid performance from Illuminatus and I look forward to seeing them again very soon with Prong.

Illuminatus set list:
Captive State / Cave In / The Wrath Of The Lambs / Red / Wargasm

Thus followed a rather long delay whilst the stage was set up for Susperia. Such was the wait it felt like the opening two acts were cut off at a separate gig and those arriving, at what was still an early time, were blissfully unaware that they’d even played. This was a co-headline show but as Susperia took to the stage it was clear that the majority had turned up for the other headline band.

Susperia were without frontman Athera for this tour who was recuperating at home following a triple heart by-pass and main artery replacement. Thankfully he was now out of hospital and his replacement tonight was Bernt Fjellestad of fellow Norwegians Guardians Of Time. Fjellestad performed well throughout and those not knowing he was not the regular singer would unlikely have noticed. Deservedly Fjellestad was introduced to the crowd following the excellent Chemistry.

The problem I have with Susperia is that they are continually morphing from a sound that mixed well Bay Area thrash with a more traditional Scandinavian sound to, well frankly Testament. This has even gone as far as having Chuck Billy guest on their latest album Attitude. The main issue is that Testament do Testament better than anyone and Susperia’s latter compositions pale against the real thing and indeed against some of their own material, particularly that from 2004’s Unlimited. The three high points of the set Chemistry, Devil May Care and Home Sweet Hell were all drawn from that release and were spaced across a set which felt overlong. A cover of WASP’s Wild Child failed to ignite a crowd already lost and waiting for Breed 77.

Susperia set list:
The Urge / Chemistry / Release / Elegy & Suffering / Devil May Care / Character Flaw / Attitude / Cut From Stone / Wild Child / Home Sweet Hell

The crowd had increased and moved forward as Breed 77 took to the stage with La Ultima Hora from 2004’s Cultura album. For those not familiar, the bulk of Breed 77’s line-up hails from Gibraltar and there is a great deal of Spanish influence in their style of metal. With acoustic guitars mounted on stands, Breed 77 often throw in a bit of flamenco guitar, forming their signature sound.

Frontman Paul Isola has a nasal quality to his vocal which at times draws comparisons with System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian. Isola takes time to apologise for the delayed appearance of Breed 77’s new album Insects and four tracks are previewed from it. Amongst those The Battle Of Hatin stands out as something of an epic in Breed 77 terms, and is reaches aggression rarely seen to date in the bands back catalogue.

The new material is received warmly but it’s the fan favourites, particularly Petróleo (You Will Be King) and World’s On Fire that set the crowd off. In fact the turn out and response is highly impressive given it’s been three years since the In My Blood album.

Breed 77 set list:
La Ultima Hora / Blind / Wake Up / Petróleo (You Will Be King) / Alive / The Battle Of Hatin / Floods / Remember That Day / Revolution / Worlds On Fire / Insects / Zombie

Breed 77
Sworn Amongst