It’s time for another show that was moved from the now deceased venue of the Cockpit to the Key Club and tonight is a celebration of all things European as Leeds is treated to a night of bands hailing from the UK and Sweden with support in the form of a Spanish band.Support band Killus are most definitely on the right path to being the new Murderdolls. Clad in customised in horror movie inspired jeans that are almost enough to give the likes of Rob Zombie (and his wardrobe) trouser-envy. Their industrial goth-metal holds strains of Marilyn Manson, whilst infused with snippets of horror voice-overs and synthesizers. This band are an absolute spectacle and tracks like Feel The Monster are the highlight of this painted up, blood-soaked affair. This a band definitely worth checking out, even if it’s just to see for yourself whether or not the bassist is actually insane…

On the subject of spectacles, Sweden has a chance to show Leeds what it has to offer musically, and Avatar do the job perfectly. Their whole marching band/carnival ringmasters look complete with frontman Johannes doubling up as the band’s demented clown mascot is reason enough to pay attention, before they even begin to play. However, the music lives up to their image and as they kick off with Hail The Apocalypse, the crowd are hailing Sweden as well for this theatrical breath of fresh air to the modern metal scene. Let It Burn and Bloody Angel are delightful before Johannes, with the utmost self-assurance, announces his own song Paint Me Red as a ‘metal anthem’. Vultures Fly is an epic headbanging show case, while Murderer is a creepy story about exactly what it says on the tin, with its varying whisperers and screams providing dynamics that can sometimes be missed in a metal show. Smells Like A Freakshow prompts the band to demand the crowd go ‘Avatar insane’ with them, before they make a brave move and end with slower, stripped back song Tower which, in all its haunting, spectral-ness works well as a set closer. Avatar bring macabre and morbid to their table of tricks and twist it with their own carnival circus vibe, which makes them quite unlike anyone else at the moment.

IMG_3109Bringing a similar energy but with less theatrics (if we’re disregarding bassist Vincent Hyde’s hellish disturbing mask…) the Defiled are a lot more down to earth and all about the metal. As I Drown is still as infectious as it was when Daggers was first released, with front man Stitch D looking slightly concerned there is actual pouring water (check the As I Drown lyrics) dripping from a pipe above the front row of the audience. Black Death and Blood Sells from earlier album Grave Times are visceral as ever, reminding the masses how grungy their own brand of metal used to be pre-2013.The whole crowd cramped into one of Leeds’ smallest proper venues trying to bounce along to the irresistible riffs of Unspoken causes a certain amount of tumult, however No Place Like Home solves this problem by being a much more ‘thrust your fists in the air’ kind of song. This is the first tour the band have performed Five Minutes as a band rather than acoustically, and having just released a heart-breaking video featuring fans sharing their stories about loved ones they’ve lost, it was bound to be an emotional moment. During the pandemonium of keyboards being flung everywhere, gut wrenching riffs and masses of heads being banged, the Defiled pull off this change in pace with honesty and integrity, especially keyboardist the AVD who is clearly touched by this track, adding to the moment of sincerity between band and fans. During the encore, its back to the usual proceedings and the 100 mile an hour Sleeper whips the audience into a frenzy before Call To Arms says its piece as a constant crowd favourite. It’s an absolute crime that the Defiled aren’t as big as they should be; reams and reams of metal fans complain about the lack of balls in the genre recently- yet here are a band who could be one of the biggest metal bands in the UK, and instead are still having to tour the club circuit.

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Killus- Facebook/Twitter Avatar– Facebook/Twitter  The DefiledFacebook/Twitter Photos by Erin Moore at Forte Photography