St Helens metal heroes Deified celebrate the launch of their gloriously heavy new EP, Getintothis’ Nedim Hassan joined the party at their favourite hometown watering hole.
Cosy is not a term that does the Tank bar venue justice. In truth, it is tiny. A converted terrace house sandwiched between a larger bar and a fried chicken joint located on popular Westfield Street in St Helens town centre, it is easy to miss on a Saturday night. Yet Tank has become a crucial refuge for those interested in the St Helens alternative and metal music scene. Tonight it hosts the launch party for Deified’s scorching new EP, Inhuman Manifesto.
Over the past four and bit years since they formed, Tank has become a second home for Deified. As they rapidly made a name for themselves by winning Bloodstock’s Metal 2 the Masses competition in 2015, touring extensively and releasing their debut album Ascension in the same year, the band still stayed close to their local roots.
Deified are very much a St Helens band and have used their success to bolster the metal scene in the town through their annual Metal Mayhem events, also held at Tank. They also recognise the importance of their relationship with the venue.
“It’s such a small bar, but it brings the people in and it’s one of the only venues in St Helens that appreciates all genres” bassist Tom acknowledges.
“The scene here is made up of basically everybody we know”, jokes laidback, chain-smoking frontman Jamie. This modesty and self-deprecating humour underplays the strong reputation that the band have earned, not just in St Helens, but also in the wider metal scene. Their rapid emergence confirmed by their 3rd place in a global battle of the bands competition, the TBFM Factor, which also saw them secure a place on the roster of Pure Power Darkside management.
Yet, tonight one could be forgiven for taking Jamie’s words literally. The EP launch event has the feel of a very rowdy house party. Everyone seems to know the band. Hugs, handshakes and fist pumps for all the guys are in abundance.
The house party vibe is accentuated by the fact that the gig takes place in Tank’s beer garden, which is essentially a converted back yard. Sheltered by a large veranda featuring plastic roof panels and a wooden frame, the gig space dominates the overall environment. A halo of LED rope lighting gives the veranda an almost festive feel. The ‘stage’ is effectively a small square of carpet onto which a modest drum kit and amps has been set up.
The party warms up nicely during opening act Agent 47’s pulsating set. Songs such as Don’t Waste Your Breath, Suffer and Oblivion are groove-laden slabs of alt rock featuring elongated distorted guitar licks alongside catchy rock riffs. In places, the sound is reminiscent of Faith No More in its willingness to incorporate experimentation while maintaining a focus on accessible memorable rock songs.
Blackpool’s Daybreaker then launch into an energetic performance led by frontman Sam. A bundle of energy, he prowls in front of an eager crowd, before tilting his head back and screaming out vocals that drive along their dynamic brand of groove metal on tracks such as Screaming at the Sky and Pity. Highlights of their set include the menacing Path of the Righteous, which gradually builds in intensity. For the final song of their set, Daybreaker deliver a riotous performance of Sabotage by the Beastie Boys and the first mosh pit of the night breaks out. Bodies scatter everywhere, someone takes a tumble and (this writer’s) beer is spilled.
The brief carnage during Daybreaker’s set is easily eclipsed once hometown heroes Deified take to the stage. Opening with the frenetic Verger, the band are in celebratory mood. The crowd are equally as joyous and enthusiastically bang their heads as the band play each new EP track. Songs such as the monumental Iron Bird and the ferocious Dead Inside feature infectious combinations of technical thrash riffs from guitarists Alistair and Matt with a punchy groove metal delivery.
In the midst of the party, chaos temporarily ensues as one overly enthusiastic mosher propels himself into the band during Hellion. Part of the drum kit collapses, but the band take it in their stride. A brief call for a bit of “calm” from the unflustered Jamie, together with a few running repairs and we are back on track. The party heats up once again with a frantic fun-filled cover of Andrew W.K’s Party Hard before a sledgehammer heavy Crestfallen closes proceedings.
Prior to the gig, Jamie reiterated that Tank’s owners “love us and we love them”. On this evidence, it is easy to see why this love affair is set to continue. Lots of smiling punters flock to the bar and the party continues into the night.