Thrash metal titans Sepultura arrived at the modest Muni Arts Centre, which was chosen as the replacement venue for the now defunct, perhaps more fitting Millenium Music Hall in Cardiff. With them they bring along fellow noise makers Counterhold, The Exiled and Revoker, who have recently been signed by the infamous Roadrunner Records.
At the beginning, the crowd is small and the majority of fans were in the bar area, gearing themselves up for Sepultura, but opening band Counterhold (**) didn’t allow this put them off. Even though their set was short, the band did well to appease the people watching. Their blend of thrash/hardcore/American influenced metal was a good opener for the gig, and it got the crowd in the mood; heads were nodding, and a few people were even trying to start a moshpit, all to the delight of frontman Steve Jenkins. After their set, there were a few people milling around their merch stand, which shows they did manage to get more fans.
Next up on the stage were The Exiled (****). Their intro was haunting, a Cradle Of Filth-esque track, and it wouldn’t seem out of place being played in a graveyard in the middle of the night. It was the perfect intro for a band whose main sound relies on the basis of visceral noise. The next track was in the vein of Machine Head, Mnemic and early Trivium. Drummer David Jones is like a machine, the guitars are melodic and the vocalist summed up the sound: in-your-face, vicious and uncompromising. The breakdown was one that a seasoned metal band would drool over, and the crowd showed their appreciation with head-banging and applause and shouts at every opportunity. The third song was a particular highlight, as it showed the band’s closely-knit structure, and it got practically everyone moving, the pit was crazy, limbs everywhere and hair flying in the air. The rest of the set followed in a similar way, with the drums being the pick of the lot, although this doesn’t take anything away from the other musicians. They are a tight and impressive band, the makings of a metalhead’s dream, and the way they played would have definitely captured more fans.
Revoker‘s (**) sound clearly belied their appearance. It was an evil, well-oiled machine that propelled the band to the depths of the shadowy lairs of the metal world. They could easily be compared to Machine Head, at times Alter Bridge and even showed essences of the evening’s main act, Sepultura. Every track was well thought out, the guitars weren’t showy unless they needed to be, the drums were a constant satisfaction throughout and the vocalist was a crowd pleaser, in the sense that he got everyone involved and the band played off him. The progression of the tracks carried on throughout the set and the music got more heavier. They are a band well-suited to support Sepultura but, all in all, they were too cliché and it’s been heard before.
Sepultura (*****) came to the stage with the crowd eager for a traditionally uncompromising gig. The atmosphere had been built, the crowd had formed and the venue was filled with anticipation for a show that comes to Pontypridd very rarely. It seemed as if everyone there had been waiting years to see the band live, and undoubtedly. That wait was worth it, as Sepultura showed how it’s properly done. Vocalist Derrick Green walks out to a rapture of applause and shouts. ‘Chaos A.D.’ was the song of the set that was the instigator for the crowd to finally let loose. The band played tightly, Green once again showed his pedigree, and as every Sepultura fan knows, the breakdown is one that makes the fans go crazy. It’s a favourite with the crowd and the band, by the look of things, and it is perhaps the strongest song that was on offer.
Throughout their set, Sepultura kept up a blistering pace and the moshpit was relentless throughout. They showed why they’re so hyped and why they’re still around after all these years. Set closer ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ was an immense last stand, as it’s arguably their best known song, there wasn’t a head that wasn’t moving. They left the stage to terrific applause, and I’m not wrong in saying that I wasn’t the only one who could have watched them all night long.
Written by Rhys Milsom
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