Review by Sian Eardley
Photo by Martin Kaluza
Abyss: a young group of teenage lads forged from the institution of Endon High School, you may think they’d be Stoke’s idea of some sort of Glee effort, but boy would you be wrong. I like to think I have a keen eye for knowing music and spotting potential when I see it, and, as God’s honest truth, NEVER during all my years reviewing now, have I seen such a young but accomplished band. Liking their metal, and inspired by the big rock gods such as Hendrix, Ozzy and Metallica, Abyss draw on this and don’t just reproduce metalcore with a raving front man who may as well just chuck his own guts up down a megaphone…. Instead here are four sixteen-year old guys with the whole musical world at their feet, and they do it with so much grace, vigor, articulate soloing, melody and enthusiasm that they do it better than some of the professionals. For saying that they’re already at this level at the beginning of their gigging career, it’s obvious they could go somewhere if they keep on rocking and keep on being committed.
Too approving you say? Well let’s break it down… They deliver a cracking 40 minute set, most of which comprises of their own, and very original material, even when there’s a slight fault with some of the equipment and some grizzly-bearded metaller brute steps on stage to sort it during their set, the show goes on and it doesn’t even phase them. There’s no crazy windmilling, just appreciation of their musical craft, no screamo, no whiney, hormonal rubbish like the previous band on stage prior to Abyss, where the girl might break down in tears any minute over her high school crush, that, or she just broke a nail whilst holding the mic. They deliver a mature, tangible, encouraging and thought-provoking set, with no Stoke twang in sight, which is usually off-putting to the ear during song, and it actually made a nice change to see a lead bass vocalist.
These guys have clearly been educated well in their rock roots. ‘Breakout’ best demonstrated this with their Creed/SOAD inspired ethereal opening riffs, which were outstanding for such a young band, and very promising. Their renditions of ‘The Boys are Back in Town’, and ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ were perfect, and made me feel so rock, I wanted to whip Guitar Hero out right on the spot. ‘Crazy Train’ was unleashed, and again, the standard of playing was unbelievable. Journey’s classic ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ (which you may frown at), also made an appearance, but it was a brilliant way of bringing everyone together, and they made it their own with a rock/shred approach, whilst nailing those catchy and intricate solos. Good job Fellas!
They ended on their oldest song: “Wasteland’, which they wrote in 2008 when they formed, and it had a solid feel-good vibe, especially evident in the chorus, which I can only describe as similar to: ‘Team America **** yeah!’ What was especially impressive was that after 3 years, they play it with the same fun and fervor as seen here on stage.
I was really, and honestly blown away by Abyss and can’t wait to see more things from this rockin’ teen band.