SerotonalSerotonal, Fall.Out, The Elysium Falls

Barfly, Seel Street
31st March 2008

Reviewed by Matthew Ford

Liverpool's Barfly showcased three very different bands who played varying shades of rock and metal. All proved themselves at least worth watching and, despite it being a Monday night, plenty were there to see them in action. Arcane Demise - who had been originally been scheduled to play - eventually had to pull out, but it turned out that the bands left on the bill did more than enough to make up for their absence.

First up were The Elysium Falls, who performed here for the first time in public, despite having been a band - albeit with various lineup changes - since 2004. It was a short set, and it was therefore difficult to come to any real conclusions as to the quality of their music. Their experimental rock may have been a little lost on some of the punters waiting for the more metallic strains of the following two acts, but the band had certainly come prepared. The Elysium Falls are already a tight unit and show some promise for the future, incorporating varying styles into the mix.

The second band to perform was Northwich-based Fall.Out, who have already made a name for themselves by gigging around the country with well-established acts such as American Head Charge and Raging Speedhorn, as well as working with metal legend Andy Sneap. Already active for around six years, the band's experience has shaped them into a fine live act (they remain unsigned), and the level of enthusiasm and intensity which goes into their performance almost second to none. Immediately confronting the audience with a furious energy, Fall.Out's music is a relentless attack that mixes thrash and death metal with a slightly more modern approach, as well as throwing in complex, 'technical' elements just for the hell of it - guitarists Hayden and Davey utilised the two-hand tapping technique in dual harmony, while Daz Jones spat into his microphone and pointed frantically at seemingly random audience members. Meanwhile, drummer Ed did an extraordinary job of beating his skins in time despite suffering from bronchitis. This is testament to the level of effort that the band evidently puts in. Even if they're not to your taste, it's impossible to ignore Fall.Out, and they will leave a deep impression.

By the time Serotonal were ready to start their set, a fairly sizeable crowd had amassed. The band initially formed in 2004 and, following modifications to their lineup, are currently a five-piece, and have been building up a worldwide following via the internet. Their frontman is none other than Darren White, original vocalist for scouse death/doom metal pioneers Anathema, as well The Blood Divine and others. This fact alone must have been enough to entice at least a few more punters through the doors of the Barfly, but Serotonal are by no means riding on the coattails of it. Their music speaks for itself, and these musicians have been playing long enough to enable them to concoct an intriguing and potent blend of ambient and electronic influences to compliment the heavy rock and metal at their core. The band's set was mainly comprised of the heavier stuff, particularly noteable in new songs 'Self Control Seizure' and 'Chaosmind', whose strident metallic riffing is perfectly suited to headbanging. Each of the musicians seemed entirely at home on the stage, confidently relishing every moment, and with good reason; watching Serotonal, it is evident that they are a band very much in the ascendant. It's taken them four years, but with a debut full-length album imminent, it looks like they are ready to set the underground alight on disc, as well as on stage. See them live, and you can expect dynamic but concise metal songs, top drawer musicianship, and a bit of in-between song banter. Serotonal are not to be missed.

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