Two weeks after it was originally scheduled, Killswitch Engage‘s UK tour rolls into London, albeit without now-hospitalized lead guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz. It’s not the first time the Massachusetts quintet have had to cope without him, and despite having had to postpone this show at the 11th hour, the massive queue stretching around the Academy shows that the crowd’s enthusiasm hasn’t waned any.
If only Bring Me The Horizon’s ability matched their enthusiasm. Baiting the crowd and constantly demanding circle pits is all very well when you’re an established, respected act, but tonight BMTH frontman Oli Sykes is nothing short of annoying; prancing around the stage whilst his band insist on shoehorning the same predictable breakdowns into almost every song they play. Ultimately, it is their departure which gets the loudest cheers from a largely disinterested crowd.
However, when The Haunted vocalist Peter Dolving tells us to “shut the fuck up!”, we obey. The Swedish thrashers may have diversified their sound on recent release ‘The Dead Eye’, but there’s no shortage of razor-sharp riffs in their arsenal to contrast their more progressive moments. Dolving himself seems rejuvenated; his powerful roars and energetic stage presence infused with enough conviction to get even the most jaded of punters pumping their fists in approval.
Killswitch Engage go straight for the jugular tonight; the metallic blitzkrieg of opener ‘A Bid Farewell’ whipping the pit into a frenzy. It’s immediately apparent that, although Dutkiewicz’s court-jester-with-a-guitar persona is noticeably absent, his replacement in former Soilwork guitarist Peter Wichers ensures that nothing is lacking in the sound department. “We do not deserve you guys!” declares an ever-humble Howard Jones to a crowd who greet new efforts like ‘My Curse’ and ‘As Daylight Dies’ with the same fervour afforded to Killswitch classics like ‘Rose Of Sharyn‘ and ‘My Last Serenade’.
In the absence of Dutkiewicz, Jones has become the on-stage focus of the band, and their closing cover of Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’ is a fine chance for him to demonstrate why he is regarded as one of the finest vocalists in modern metal. Tonight may not be Killswitch at the height of their powers, but their ‘show must go on’ ethos has done them proud.