It’s a shame that the most technical and adventurous of tonight’s acts suffers so badly from opening band syndrome. BLACK CROWN INITIATE’s  dazzling blend of guttural death metal and transcendent textures has neither the crowd nor the sound it deserves. What VOLUMES  lack in dimension they more than make up for in infectious energy.
Helped by stand-in screamer Joe Burgas, on loan from the headliners, their simplistic, downtuned chugging and dual vocal attack is met by a floor-wide pit and polyrhythmic body convulsions from band and spectators alike.
Co-headliners VEIL OF MAYA  have fiddly but murderously catchy riffs in abundance, but Lukas Magyar’s strained vocals fail to hit the heights neeed before Marc Okubo’s guitar cuts out completely, forcing the band to make an early exit despite a valiant attempt to battle on. BORN OF OSIRIS  have all the requisite parts to make up for VOM’s misfortune but there seems to be no connection between the sporadic subdrops, guitar flourishes and yelped dual vocals as the crowd remains unmoved by the spectacle. Material from last year’s Soul Sphere feels disjointed and sluggish, and it isn’t until the hooks of Machine and straight-ahead chug of Bow Down that the punters have some thing to sink their teeth into.