Stone The Alchemist @ Sugarmill 18/01/14

Very recently the Stoke music scene has been given a swift kick up the arse to gain some audience attention. This realisation immediately hit after Incarcerate played locally and putting on a superb show. There was a time to act, and Luke Mansfield of Of Legions put things in top gear and came up with a Facebook group to discuss local music. One of the next gigs to come up is this one, The Sugarmill being a heavyweight in the small venue category remains a strong attraction for music.

Tonight had a rather full venue, with headliners Stone The Alchemist being highly anticipated. Including them are 3 other bands on the bill, that’s Fallen, Behead The Bride and Hex.

Hex, were the first band on, dressed up quite mid 80’s and reminding me of bands like Ratt with the bandanas on their heads and most of their songs sounding quite classic. They were the softer sounding of all the bands, having a massive vibe of bands like Guns N Roses influencing their music.

The lyrics are rock n roll and matched their music greatly, even their lit up logo in the back was pretty decent. Their set nicely included a drum solo, which seems to be a rarity in bands locally at the moment and it was a breath of fresh air.

Next up is Behead The Bride, who sounded instrumentally solid. Even though they were great performing, the singer and bassist of the band kept forgetting a few lyrics to a few of the songs which were slightly sloppy. His guitar strap also broke, only for him to handle the situation perfectly which some members of bands I’ve seen normally panic in situations like that. Drummer Will eases speaking with a nice drum beat so there isn’t any awkward silence. The solos and riffs were great, which seemed more fitting for the next two bands instrumentally.

Fallen, stepped onto the stage in front of a busy crowd, a lot of them seem to follow the band. A great fan base made the venue very lively and kept the atmosphere pumped and alive. Performance it was great, as tedious as this sounds in this review, they were instrumentally great. The vocalist was good throughout, though when speaking it was confusing if that was his normal voice or put on for show. It worked I suppose, they are so far one of the most decorated live band in Stoke on Trent at the moment.

And now the headliners take the stage, Chris Munday, their vocalist, mentioned to me having “pre-gig nerves”. However, he didn’t seem nervous whatsoever as Stone The Alchemist; were immense.

His vocal range is superb and one of the finest I’ve seen locally and confidentially commanded the band to victory. Even though there wasn’t as strong as a crowd compared to Fallen, performance wise it was better than them. The guitar tone was beautiful, quite (I dare say) “Djent” I think it is, a heavy tone with great playing ability from Matt Cartwright. It was a very packed set, with music of different feelings and emotions. One minute they are heavy (War) and next minute it’s calm and proud (Circles)

It was nice to see a wall of death as well that isn’t made up of 2 people at The Sugarmill for a local gig, it isn’t the pleasant of sights for some people, but I always find them fun to watch. At this point it was halfway through the set and the crowd returned to their lively state Fallen put them in.

The moshing and head banging was constant throughout, as the set remained in strength earning them a superb live presence. War was the highlight of the night, its progression and unexpected change in genre got the crowd in their hands, and concluded a satisfactory night.

All 4 bands were firm tonight when it came to performance, but the headliners mind f***ed the audience with progressive and poetic brilliance.




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