Cyberthrash Heaven

The British weather decided to give its populous a winter taste of what's to come by giving the queue of metal fans waiting to get into Manchester's Music Box a rapier like chill. It was eight o'clock before the doors finally opened, half an hour after the scheduled time. The bitter cold swirled around the rather smallish crowd and were relieved to finally get into some kind of warmth. We were subjected to the usual and unnecessary support fodder in the guise of SSS from Liverpool, who gained a little interest from the sparse crowd.

Finally Biomechanical hit the erm...stage. The Manchester Music Box is basically Jilly's Rock Club. The stage is a cleared, raised seating area in the main room. There are three major problems with this venue, the first is the low stage. With the band only being raised by a foot, unless you're at the front, it's almost impossible to see what's going on. Secondly the sound is and has always been terrible, and lastly there's huge pillar right in the middle of the standing area. Biomechanical's performance was instantly hampered by all three elements when they launched into 'The Empires of the World' opener 'Enemy Within'. The bottom end was almost non-existent even though bass player Jon Collins was playing like a fury, or at least I was assuming he was playing like a fury, because all I could see was the top of his head.

The nearer you stood to the front of the stage the less you could hear, vocalist John K. Obviously there's nothing wrong with standing further back except for the pillar slap bang in the middle of the watching area. Biomechanical's music is intense and quite intricate and anything less than a good solid sound turns their set into a bit of a mush, which is what happened tonight. However, Biomechanical are a great band, very experienced and still managed to perform admirably and had the attention of most of the crowd. John K has a magnificent and versatile voice which was highlighted in the band's excellent cover of Judas Priest's 'Painkiller'. Special note must also go to the sweeping guitar playing of Jamie Hunt. I may not have been able to see his guitar work, or his actual being for that matter thanks to that damn pillar, but I know top class axe work when I hear it, and when coupled with fellow guitar player Chris Webb, the whole axe attack rivals that of Dragonforce.

The band sensibly stuck with tracks from the new album including 'Regenerated' and the jaw dropping 'Truth Denied'. The latter finished off a tidy and highly enjoyable set even with all of the above problems, but with the mushy sound I would surmise that fans with knowledge of their material would have gotten more out of this performance than new comers. Chatting with vocalist John K after the show, he said it was their third show in the Manchester Music Box in as many weeks. It's a shame they've never managed to get their feet on to the Academy ladder, venues that are arguably more organised and have better facilities.

In short, Biomechanical are a great metal band but were only as good as the venue would let be. A shame indeed, but I urge all of you to try and catch them live a soon as possible.