Gig Review: Trivium / Heaven Shall Burn / Malevolence – O2 Academy, Glasgow (12th January 2023)

This year’s looking to be a busy one already, with the tour dates just lining up. They’re doozies as well, if tonight’s triple-header was anything to go by. The cold wind and constant drizzle would have soaked the queue outside the Academy had there been one, but we were surprised to more or less walk right in at 6pm… because the gig didn’t start until 7:00. Dammit.

Malevolence (c) Watchmaker Studios

Still, it got us plum spots on the floor by the time Sheffield monsters Malevolence ambled on stage, looking all casual before laying complete and utter bloody waste to the sizeable crowd who’d arrived in time for their set. Malevolence have been together for a good few years (we rather liked their most recent album) and have obviously practised their live performance, as evidenced by their lauded Bloodstock show in 2022. They’re fun, they’re brutal and they’re well oiled.

With obvious influences from many metal genres in their sound, there are few criticisms with either their music or their show. The opening trio of songs all had a really slow, chugging, beat-drop segment – something that would have been better had those tracks been spread out in the set. By the time they hit the third one I was thinking “Does every song they do have this in it?” Well, no, they don’t. There’s much more variety to come.

Also, they could do with flowing the songs into one another a little better. Every song ended, the set paused a little, and then the show restarted once everyone was ready. Absolutely minor stuff, but worth taking on board.

Otherwise… bloody hell. They showed no nerves and absolutely ran rampant for 40 minutes. The crowd was given encouragement to pit, to bounce and to surf though very little encouragement was needed. The circle pit induced midway through was – end to end – larger than the one that Trivium themselves had going. As a warmup band, the only real problem is how the hell are the bands further up the bill going to compete? They come across as really nice guys as well, ensuring that fans watch out for one another while beating the crap out of their friends.

No doubt they’ll be back around at some point, and they will absolutely command a smaller venue in much the way that Wargasm blew the Garage away last year.

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Heaven Shall Burn (c) Watchmaker StudiosA band that actually influenced our headliners, Heaven Shall Burn brought a multi-layered yet scathing sound to the Academy for their hour long set. They’re not an act I’m that familiar with, but there were plenty of fans in the venue, and they were more or less relentless for their time on stage.

Their abrasive sound was tempered by some atmospheric backing tapes, and some nice lead sections from the guitars. Again, they encouraged plenty of crowd interaction and the audience duly obliged, By the time they ended, there were plenty of sweaty bodies making their way to the bar for something refreshing.

As the German contingent left the stage, a black curtain came down to cover the preparations for the headliners. As the clock struck 9:30 (ok, not literally) the speakers cranked up with Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills”. With no band on stage, the entire venue raised their voices to every word and as the final notes rang out, the curtain dropped.

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Blinding lights and primary colours vaporised the front three rows as Trivium blasted into golden oldie “Rain”. Matt Heafy seemed to be channelling his inner Devin Townsend; head shaved shiny, brightly coloured shirt on and tongue sticking out between riffs. Bassist Paolo Gregoletto looked like a mini-Matt with a similarly shiny pate, and they were joined by the hulking Corey Beaulieu who exchanged guitar duties with Heafy. The ever-reliable Alex Bent thundered on the drums for the band’s 90 minutes of metal madness.

Trivium (c) Watchmaker Studios

Heafy, as ever, took the limelight. He’s a natural, charismatic and pleasant, having become even better at this job as the years have gone on. During breaks between songs he harked back to the band’s first ever UK tour in 2005 (I was there! Leeds Cockpit on May 10th) and how the UK really gave the band their first leg up. This is something I’ve heard from so many bands, mainly US ones, and it’s something we should all be proud of.

I have to say, though, it’s when you see the band live that you can really appreciate the vocal efforts of Beaulieu and Gregoletto. When listening to the albums at home it’s easy to assume that so much of the melodies and exchanges are the result of good production, mixing and so forth. Heafy has a phenomenal vocal range from the melodic to the growls, but in many instances you’re actually hearing his two co-frontmen. Watching them on stage, it’s surprising how many of the vocals in some songs are down to them. Of course, this also helps alleviate the punishment Heafy puts on his vocal cords.

The set was all-encompassing, stretching back to the band’s earliest years and of course covering 2022’s In The Court of the Dragon, though surprisingly only the title track got an outing. The gaps between songs were filled with the usual crowd-pleasing banter, and the new Glasgow chant of “Trivi-Trivi-Trivi-fucking-um” which I’m sure will be back again the next time that Trivium are in town.

Saving the best for last, there was no encore as the foursome ran straight into “In Waves” and “Martyr” to finish bang on time to keep the venue and council (and old fans like to who wanted to get home for a cuppa) happy.

There are few bands as tight musically as Trivium, and they demonstrated that tonight. Credit, though, to whoever put the whole bill together. This isn’t a Trivium show, but a whole package – much like that night in 2005 with themselves, Three Inches of Blood and Still Remains. Quality from start to finish.

Pics by Watchmaker Studios

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