Absolva – Sound Control, Manchester, 31st May 2014

.@louelladeville_ @planetmosh review of Absolva .@soundcontrolmcr .@babylonfireuk .@asylumcityzoo .@ChrisAppleton88 .@AbsolvaDanBate .@Rocksector

Absolva's Chris Appleton and Dan Bate
Absolva’s Chris Appleton and Dan Bate

What better way to end a fifteen date UK tour than by coming home! Local lads Chris Appleton and Martin McNee along with bandmate Dan Bate from Absolva did just that at Sound Control Manchester. With new album Anthems To The Dead having been released on 5th May 2014, to much critical acclaim already, these guys have a lot to celebrate and celebrate in style they did. In fact the entire night was a celebration of Manchester Metal bands with the party continuing afterwards in Grand Central.

The party started with Asylum City Zoo and unfortunately I only caught their last two songs. I got a copy of the setlist and the first of these is called New Song!!!, I suspect this means the song is, as yet, untitled. As I walked in Bobb, in a fetching kilt, was a doing a bit of a comic line! ‘I know some of you have come to Manchester to see One Direction we’re going after’ New Song was a mellower one with a bit of a Red Hot Chilli Peppers bass line and some bullet drumming. After New Song only one song remained Transplant with plenty of ‘Hey Hey Heys’ and Bobb taking his furry hat on and off at every available opportunity. What I did see of Asylum City Zoo was very heavy and very entertaining. I’d certainly go and see them again. I do like a nice pair of (hairy) legs in a kilt!

Asylum City Zoo
Asylum City Zoo

Bait the Hook
Circus of Souls
New Song!!!

Band Members:
Mark: Vocals/Guitar
Rishi: Guitar/Vocals
Tom: Drums
Bobb: Bass


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asylumcityzoo

Website: http://www.asylumcityzoo.com/

Mark Dunford - Babylon Fire
Mark Dunford – Babylon Fire

Special guests on the whole tour were Babylon Fire who I’ve seen a few times before, and always on the same billing as Absolva. They started off with the very fast, very heavy I Still Remember with Absolva’s drummer, Martin McNee, joining them on stage dressed as a caveman or was it Wilma Flinstone? Whoever he was he certainly had a big bone which he used as an air guitar! Some great riffs and a bit of synchronised head banging from Mark D and Ryk. Shattered Crown another fast one, then Mark D asked ‘Manchester make some noise. Did you miss us? The next song should remind you exactly who we are’ and Freight Train certainly thundered along just like a speeding Freight Train.

The band then went from ‘Old school to new Babylon Fire’ with new song Flight of the Falcon which, if anything, was even faster and heavier than the old school Babylon Fire with some fantastic riffs and an abrupt end.  Cheers said Mark D ‘Two more songs for you, then it’s our brothers in arms Absolva. The tour has been tremendous.  Thank you to each and every one of you who keeps music alive’ The Clarion Call had Martin/Wilma back on stage playing his bone along to the screaming riffs. My feet were sticking to the wooden floor by this stage, the sign of many a spilt cider as people danced along to the music! ‘One more from us’ and ‘One more thanks to Rocksector Records, they’re doing more to keep music alive than any other record label out there’ brought us to the last song from Babylon Fire Blood In Blood Out yet another fast one which saw Mark D stood in the photo pit for some audience participation. ‘Blood In’ from Mark ‘Blood Out’ from the audience ‘Thank you so much Manchester. Good night’ was the end of a very fast, very heavy set from the local lads and had everyone nicely warmed up ready for Absolva.

Rishi Mehta and ......
Rishi Mehta and ……

Set List:
I Still Remember
Shattered Crown
Freight Train
Flight of the Falcon
The Carrion Call
Blood In Blood Out

Band Members:
Mark D: Lead Vocals
Rishi Mehta: Lead Guitar & Vocals
Ryk Swillo: Bass & Vocals
Mark Cooper: DRUMS


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/babylonfire

Website: http://www.mwaweb.com/rocksectorbands_babylonfire.htm


The Absolva boys were back in town. ‘Good evening Manchester. Manchester make some fucking noise’ said Chris to a few whoops but not loud enough as Chris repeated ‘I said Manchester make some noise’ and, obviously satisfied with the volume level of the whoops this time, he said ‘We are Absolva and we play British Heavy Metal’ and Absolva (plus one) started with Devil’s Mouth the opening track on their new album ‘Anthems to the Dead’ with some superfast riffs and drumming to match, and some piercing screams from Chris. The second song Victimiser reminded me of Metallica’s Seek and Destroy another fast one with some great riffs.

Luke and Chris Appleton
Luke and Chris Appleton

Chris asked if anyone had been looking at Facebook as they’d mentioned a special guest ‘Please welcome Mr Luke Appleton’ I had noticed Luke up there on stage playing guitar, and now seems a good time to mention him. A brief history: Absolva arose from the ashes of Fury UK (Chris and Luke Appleton and Martin McNee). Luke left to join Iced Earth. Chris and Martin formed Absolva, originally starting off as a four piece, with guitarist Tom Atkinson. When Tom left Absolva continued as a three piece, which is the line up we see today. Whilst there’s no lack in quality with skilled guitarist Chris being the one and only, there was the added bonus tonight of a twin axe attack from the two Appleton brothers. The title track of the new album came next before Never Back Down a catchy song with the chorus ‘Won’t back down, never back down’ which saw Chris holding his guitar upright and doing a bit of a slide with his fingers.

There were definitely plenty of fans there and someone shouted ‘Absolva for Bloodstock’ Chris advised that the next one was from the live album ‘Absolva Beyond Live’ released in September last year, before Free followed by Killing Season which is on both the live album and ‘Anthems to the Dead’ Killing Season saw more bullet drumming and the twin axe attack again. From Beyond the Light another song from the live album, and also from the first album ‘Flames of Justice’ saw Chris showcasing his brilliant guitar playing skills flipping his hand over the fret at great speed, and Luke and Dan playing to each other. There was certainly some hair flying up on that stage!

Chris Appleton - Absolva (Photo by Rachel and Ian Gilchrist)
Chris Appleton – Absolva (Photo by Rachel and Ian Gilchrist)

Audience shouts of ‘Ab-sol-va, Ab-sol-va, Ab-sol-va’ had Martin, who had ditched the caveman suit before taking to the stage with Absolva, joining in with bass beats in time to the shouts. Soul Remains started with some riffs before Martin joined in on the drums. Only When It’s Over was a much mellower, gentler song and half way through Chris shouted ‘Make some noise everybody’ which led to a few shouts from the audience. The song continued in it’s gentle vain, then got a bit heavier and louder with some great riffs.

Chris announced that the next song was from the album Anthems To The Dead and told us that they were ‘Very proud of this one. The last track on the album. Silent Sacrifice’ What a great song with some She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult style riffs. Taste the Blood came next and this one reminded me, a little, of Motley Crue’s Too Young to Fall in Love. After which, the three guitar players went off stage leaving Martin to do a fantastic drum solo. The rest of the band then came back onstage, and Chris called us all forward to get an audience picture before Flames of Justice, the title track from the first album. Definitely a popular song with audience. Chris said they weren’t going to do an encore but would leave us with one song and left us with a little speech ‘We’ll be at merch stand after. There’s an end of tour party at Grand Central. See you over there. A big thank you to our special guests Babylon Fire. We’ll be headlining SOS on 19th July’ and the last song Code Red from the first album Flames of Justice had the twin axe attack again and some great riffs. The Babylon Fire guys joined Absolva on stage bransishing shaving foam pies which they launched at the band! Leaving Chris stood with a big black towel wrapped round his head at the merch stand afterwards! A great end to the UK tour and if all the shows on the tour, have been as good at this one. Fantastic! Absolva have a headline slot at SOS Festival and a couple of dates in Scotland lined up, before they head off on an extensive European tour in October and November.


Set List:
Devils Mouth
Anthems to the Dead
Never Back Down
Killing Season
From Beyond the Light
Soul Remains
Only When It’s Over
Silent Sacrifice
Taste the Blood
Flames of Justice
Code Red

Absolva (Photo by Rachel and Ian Gilchrist)
Absolva (Photo by Rachel and Ian Gilchrist)

Band Members:

Chris Appleton : Lead Guitar & Lead Vocals
Martin Mcnee : Drums
Dan Bate : Bass Guitar & Backing Vocals


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/absolva

Website: http://www.mwaweb.com/absolva_home.htm

European Tour: http://planetmosh.com/absolva-announce-headline-european-tour-dates-for-september-october-2014/

About Louise Swift

I first went to a gig in 1981, Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. I haven't kept count of how many gigs I've been to over the intervening years, but it's a lot! My favourite bands are AC/DC then, in no particular order, Anti-Nowhere League, Slaughter and the Dogs, Towers of London and Dirt Box Disco. I tend to like Glam/Punk and rude offensive lyrics, not sure what that says about me but as Animal would say 'So What!' The question was recently put to me - did I write for any online publications? My reply - No, but I'd like to! Planetmosh was suggested and I found myself offering to review Aces High Festival. Easy peasy I thought! Well not quite, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well! I had sixteen bands to research. I found I actually enjoyed that and it kept me too busy to be making lunatic comments on Facebook! ;) Then I felt a bit inadequately qualified. I mean, who am I to comment on others, when my musical expertise extends to being able to play a mean Greensleeves on the recorder and a passable Annie's song on the flute! Haven't picked up either instrument for years! What I do have, however, is over 30 years of experience as a gig goer, so I can comment on what I like and what I don't! It's only my opinion and, if I don't like a band it doesn't mean they are bad, just not to my own liking. I admire anyone who has the guts to get up on that stage and have a go!