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Stripes Bar, Brentford FC 27 August 2004

A chance to catch two UK metal acts before next week’s Bloodstock festival up at Derby. Season’s End are a six piece fronted by the very talented Becki Clark on vocals and play a hard edged style of goth metal. Their album ‘The Failing Light’ is well worth tracking down and live the music steps up a rack in the hardness and fullness of the band’s sound.

My personal favorate track on the album, ‘Touch’ started the set of mixing a pounding rhythm and heavy riffing topped of with Becki Clark’s soaring vocals. Full credit to her, as many female vocalists I’ve heard live just can’t rise above a full metal assault (bar Doro Pesch of course!) Other album tracks getting an airing in the tight and compact 45 minute set were ‘One Sadness’, ‘Nothing After All’ and ‘A Ghost In My Emotion’ which rounded the set of nicely. Good also to see a metal act using keyboards and as a lead instrument rather than just intros only like many acts do.

Onto Intense, who are busy promoting their new album ‘Second Sight’ which is a cracking mix of power meets thrash metal. After the intro of ‘Premonition’ it’s into ‘One Twenty’ and the metal riffing monster that is ‘The Winged’. Good to see some heads banging on this one, although sadly not mine as lack of long hair and age takes its toll!

Vocalist Sean Hetherington has that classic metal voice that can belt out the big metal numbers and then dip into a slower, brooding number like ‘Seeds of Betrayal’. Older numbers still feature including the awesome ‘Dark Season’, with the two guitarists Nick Palmer and Dave Peak coming into their own. Even with a new bass player the rhythm section was tight and the drums played at ferocious speed at times! ‘War Of Angels’ rounded of a superb set and you really need to see Intense live to get the full power and effect of their music. Nice touch at the end of the set when the band and audience sang Happy Birthday to the band’s merchandise lady.

If you are off to Bloodstock next weekend go see both these band’s as I guarantee you won’t be disappointed and you can witness some of the best metal the UK has on offer at the moment.

Review: Jason Ritchie

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