Babylon Fire – Album Launch @ NQ Live 17/11/2012



Damagescape / I.C.O.N. / Derision

NQ Live, Manchester. 17th Nov. 2012


            It was getting a bit cold outside by the time I rolled up to NQ Live, but this wouldn’t be the case for long. DAMAGESCAPE were already on stage and I was gutted to miss the beginning as they are a band I’ve never seen before and I was really looking forward to them. However, my disappointment was short-lived as they strode through their brief set of five tracks with well-rehearsed professionalism and delivered them all to an appreciative crowd that loved every one of the their good, old-school style rock songs. A couple of the songs were ballads and lead singer and guitarist Gemma Fox’s sultry voice was just perfect for these.

            I.C.O.N. was next up on stage. Another band that were new to me, and was I in for a surprise! They assaulted my ears with a no-nonsense approach to performing their particular brand of Heavy Metal with brutal vocals and in your face shredding guitar. The rest of the band were no slouches either, with thunderous drumming and solid bass lines. For me, Mark Sagar on vocals was the star of their set. He was always encouraging the crowd to get going and participate one way or another, whilst delivering his vocals with growling efficiency.

            The crowd had been steadily increasing throughout the sets of the first two support bands and was now getting to a healthy size when DERISION fired up their set. And, they were LOUD! DERISION, to my eyes, gave the impression of being Lancashire’s answer to the Vikings; all long hair and beards, and totally unafraid to come out and commit violence in the name of their hardcore Heavy Metal. Their violence being made with screaming and shredding guitars, hammering drums that Thor himself would have been proud of, and bass that sends the sensation of cold steel passing through your body. The growling vocals just added to the immensity of this band. I thought they had that old school thrash sound in places that Evile have, (DERISION supported them at their recent Manchester gig), and some pleasant melodic tunage in places occasionally that fitted in nicely. All three support bands did their job of warming up the appreciative crowd well, and I would recommend going to all of them to you all; you will not be disappointed by any of them.

            There was just time for a trip to the bar, (it’s thirsty work watching all these bands, you know), and a natter with friends old and new before the sound of the evening’s headline act, and the main reason we were all in attendance, making final tuning adjustments grabbed our attention and engaged us in the jostle for position to best view one of Rocksector Records rising stars; BABYLON FIRE! They enter the stage to the intro of the instrumental track Gates to Oblivion before firing into The Clarion Call. This is the opening track from the debut album, Dark Horizons, and one I’ve heard them trying out live before they went into the studio to record said album when they supported Revoker earlier this year. It has improved since then and the live performance now was better than listening to the cd. The crowd were well and truly up for this gig, and they showed just how much by all the jumping around, head banging and fist-pumping throughout this opening and, indeed, throughout the entire set! Darkness Draws Me In opened up with some thumping drumming from Mark Cooper before Rishi Mehta and Ryk Swillo joined their frenetic sticksman on guitar and bass respectively. This song has a great mix of hard riffs and melodic interludes capped with powerful vocals from a frontman that prowls the stage all night like a tiger in a cage looking for an escape. Mark Dunford’s vocal skills have matured significantly from when I first saw them at SOS Fest in 2010 to a point where he has now reached the level that is perfect for that BABYLON FIRE sound.

            The night was all about the album, and we were treated to eleven out of the twelve tracks on the cd, (only Cycle Of Addiction was missing), plus Freight Train from their The Day The Angels Died EP, including my personal favourites of I still Remember, Shattered Crown and Stripped Away. Every song was greeted with immense enthusiasm from the healthy crowd who never stopped moving all night; proof that live music is still one of the best experiences you can have with your clothes on, (probably!). And, it obviously spurred the band on as you could see how much it meant to them to be playing the music that they have nurtured from the seeds of small ideas, through the conception of arrangement, and onwards to the birth of their opus and the naming of Dark Horizons, and the reception that each and every song received. This album rates as one of my favourites of the year, and one that I cannot ever see myself tiring of. It may have been a long time coming, but believe me, it has been more than worth the wait! And, by the way that merchandise was shifting; I’d say that those parting with their hard-earned readies were in agreement.

            Keep your eyes open for all the bands mentioned above; buy their music and go see them live. It’s better than watching them on video streaming sites and helps them finance any future releases.


BABYLON FIRE – set list

Intro (Gates to Oblivion)

The Clarion Call

Darkness Draws Me In

Blood In Blood Out

Stripped Away


Shattered Crown

I Still Remember

Wrath of The Fallen

Within The Mouth of Madness

Freight Train

Rise Through Babylon


James McPhillips


Posted on November 21, 2012, in Gig reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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