When I think of Basingstoke, metal is not one of the images that comes to mind. Before last Sunday I had never been and had never had any interest in going. That all changed when I realised that one of my favourite bands from Southwest and one of my favourite bands from Surrey (Cryostorm and Confessions of a Traitor, respectively) would be playing on the same bill as each other. This coincidence met with the coincidence that Sunday was my day off meant I hopped on a train to Basingstoke.When I got off the train everything was as I had imagined: sleepy, quiet, and with the odd group of loud drunks dotted about. As I followed Google Maps religiously towards the venue (Sanctuary) I became more and more dubious of what I was about to experience. Finally, as I approached the venue, which happened to be opposite a church on Easter Sunday (the humour of this situation not lost on myself or the bands), I could hear metal and that meant only one thing: I had found the home of Silkfest 2014. Silkfest is an annual event held every Easter with the proceeds going to a charity. This year the charity was St Michael’s Hospice. I arrived at about half two and was a little saddened to see not many people there. Granted, it is a small venue (though it has plenty of character), but it would have been nice if more people had turned up to support the cause. Of course I would not have attended had it not been for Cryostorm’s appearance and this brings me to my point of this article. Ever since I first saw Cryostorm and was gifted a squeaky penguin for being a part of their audience, I have loved them. Their energetic sound is impossible to ignore at a gig and Easter Sunday was no exception. The guys opened with I Am Anomaly; an unforgiving introduction to who they are and what they do. The audience may have been small but Cryostorm gave them what they wanted from the beginning. The next song, This Vivid Night, was when the headbanging started; a solid rhythm, coupled with proof that energy would be a consistent theme provided ample opportunity for this. It was in this song that I could hear a couple of people next to me begin to be somewhat awestruck with Cryostorm. Song number three, Beyond Victory, was my favourite of the day. This song has a deeper, richer, slightly more guttural feeling to it, making it possible to really get into the groove of this song as an audience member and move to your heart’s content. It’s a great excuse for Timmy Hodgson to show off how skilled he is on the bass. It was also in this song that the girls next to me were pointing at Andy Prowse’s (who filled in for Jack Gliddon on this tour) hands while he was playing and uttering “wow”s. The following track, Cryostorm, is another great one for audience participation as it doesn’t take anyone long to hear the repeated line in there “So fuck you…” And chant along. It’s always nice to be able to do this with a band you’ve never seen before as it adds a whole new level of inclusion between the band and the audience. This song definitely shows off Thomas Rørstad’s amazing skills as the band’s drummer too (though this is clear in all their songs). Furnacing (I Defrost) was the penultimate track and is another of my favourites as it’s change is pace and additional groove allows for a bit of dancing between windmills, keeping the audience on their toes and shooing away any monotony (though this is not something Cryostorm will ever have to worry about). Their set ended with Apocrypha (much to the dismay of the girls next to me who were now decidedly besotted with the band) and I think it was the perfect choice of a song to end on. It’s slightly slower, allowing the audience members to come out of the frenzy Cryostorm had put them in and giving the fresh whiplash victims a chance to listen without feeling the necessity of a pit. Overall, it was a great gig! I’ve always said Cryostorm has no weak link and it pleases me to see that is still the case. I will forgive James Baillie-Hamilton’s voice for giving up at the end of one song due to the fact the four lads have worked so hard for their tour, James ate a lozenge faster than anyone I’ve ever seen, and for the fact he’s one of my all time favourite vocalists. I only wish more people could have been there to see them play because they are worth a half an hour window in anyone’s life.
By Eileen Bate]]>