For a Welsh hard rock/metal band to be headlining one of the biggest arenas in the nation’s capital city is quite an achievement. The lads have come a long way since their self-titled EP way back in 2004. On the outside it may look like an easy road, but the band has suffered many trials and tribulations to get where they are today, which makes tonight even more impressive. Coming off the back of a long tour supporting their latest album ‘Fever’, you would think that to headline Wembley Arena would be the last thing they would want, but as they hit the stage full of swagger and presence, it is apparent to everyone that they are here to party tonight.
Rewind a couple of hours, and Californian metalcore mob Atreyu (**) hit the stage. Their generic sound is definitely not suited to the environment, and never fails to reach the bulldozing scale it does on record. Older songs like ‘Bleeding Mascara’ and ‘Right Side Of The Bed’ sound the best, whilst newer songs like ‘Becoming The Bull’ and ‘Gallows’ lack any punch whatsoever. As set closer ‘The Crimson’ rolls around, it’s apparent that frontman Alex Varkatzas is spent as his vocals fall miserably flat.
Surprisingly, Bring Me The Horizon (****) are on top form, and their gritty sound sounds polished and well executed tonight. Whilst it’s no surprise that they bulldoze their way through their brutal metalcore assault, it is a huge surprise that they seem as well suited as they do to the setting. Songs like ‘It Never Ends’ and ‘Chelsea Smile’ cause absolute carnage in the pit. The band brings onstage friend Sam Carter (Architects vocalist) for a dramatic run through of ‘The Sadness Will Never End’. They even have the courage to throw in the slower ‘Blessed With A Curse’, and as closer ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’ kicks in to a huge wall of death, the band find themselves cut off mid-set leaving the crowd confused and the band angry, as it was later revealed that this was done for safety reasons.
After what seems like an age of a wait, Bullet For My Valentine (***) finally hit the stage to a sharp one-two of ‘Your Betrayal’ and ‘Pleasure And Pain’. From this moment on, the Welsh heavyweights bulldoze their way through a mixture of old and new songs. Heavier cuts like ‘Scream Aim Fire’, ‘Waking The Demon’, ‘Alone’ and ‘Room 409’ turn the floor into a battleground that is not for the fainthearted. However, an ill-advised slowing of procedures for ‘Bittersweet Memories’ seems to go down reasonably well too. The band returns to a bruising ‘Hand Of Blood’ followed by an epic ‘Tears Don’t Fall’, which manages to incite the biggest circle pit of the night so far. ‘Begging For Mercy’ may seem like a strange set closer but it is executed to perfection, and it provides one last chance for mayhem down on the floor.
A truly remarkable night, and Bullet really deserve all the plaudits. Based on tonight’s performance, it’s clear that they’re going to continue turning many doubters into believers, as they managed to do to myself over the course of the evening.
Written by Oliver Thompson