With ice forming on the roads and dry January in full effect it seemed a bit quiet as I arrived at The Vault for my first live music event of 2021 but, with DJ Pagan already blasting some fine metal classics from the PA, the scene was well set for a night of the heavy stuff with Apothis and Granite Wolf as staged by L’Islet Records.
Once it came time for newcomers Apothis to take to the stage the venue seemed to suddenly fill with a real sense of anticipation for their set and it’s clear that, in only two months since their debut, they’ve gained quite a following.
As they launched into their set it was once again clear why as they were loud, crushing, tight and powerful from the off and never let up for the best part of an hour.
Balancing a real anger and passion with an engaging charisma and a confidence that never headed towards arrogance they were captivating and a highlight (and, somewhat, an encapsulation of their sound and outlook) came on a storming run of Beartooth’s The Lines.
With the audience kicking off a mosh on the confined dancefloor space of The Vault, the band were called back for an encore which topped the whole thing, including guitarist Drew Baudins riding the shoulders of one of the crowd around the venue and, as I have given them my new band of 2020 award, it’s always nice when an act not only lives up to, but surpasses, expectations.
Once again the band and audience seemed to find that energetic feedback loop that makes for the best performances and, with riffs galore, Granite Wolf didn’t disappoint.
While maybe less brash than in the past, for the most part, the music did the talking here and got heads banging and bodies slamming with possibly the first wall of death I’ve seen in The Vault the band drove through their set of groove-tinged metalcore in excellent style.
Leaving the audience still wanting more Granite Wolf handed back over or DJ Pagan to round off the night and this made a great way to start the year with a bang, setting the bar for events to follow while continuing to show what feels like something of a youthful rejuvenation for heavy music in Guernsey.