LIVE: Bleed From Within @ Oxford Academy 2 [10/08/2013]

By Chris Marshman

With a headline performance at Throwfest looming, Bleed From Within stopped off in Oxford to give the O2 Academy 2 a long overdue beating. The good thing about festival warm-up shows is that fans usually get to see the headline act in full swing, pumped for the bigger performance on the horizon. Yet, without a full tour to lure in a really special guest or two, it’s regularly left to local hopefuls to get the evening started. Both were the case for tonight’s show.

Supporting your local scene is hugely important, but four fairly average garage bands were a bit too much to stand through. I Cried Wolf, God Speed, Bricks & Mortar, and Empire Divided were all handed their moment in the stage lighting, and conjured up some decent crowd responses, but merely showcased the gulf between the amateurs and professionals.

The Glaswegian headliners took just ‘III/Colony’ to blow the warm-up acts out of the water, setting the room ablaze in the process. Then bulldozing straight into ‘It Lives In Me’, little time was wasted in order to cram in as much from their latest record, ‘Uprising’, as physically possible.

Vocalist Scott Kennedy dedicated the set to Lamb Of God, who headlined Bloodstock Festival on the same night. It was all rather fitting, as the manner in which Bleed From Within deliver their metal gimmick-free follows admirably in their idol’s footsteps, while also matching them in precision, power, and outright love for the genre. Fans had the option to watch the masters at Catton Park, but instead witnessed potential heirs.

Just seconds after the final note of ‘Uprising’ ended, the empty stage was barraged with chants for one more song. Despite the setlist being dominated by new material, the encore of Humanity’s ‘Servants of Divinity’ unearthed the crowd’s loyal backing as they accepted the older track with gracious arms, even when slightly modernised to reflect their shift away from Death Metal.

Tonight, Oxford saw kings in the making. But with another tour announcement imminent, their coronation may not be too far away.