Gig review: LAWLESS, Betrayal – The Sugarmill, Stoke, 27 December 2014

Lawless - The Sugarmill, Stoke, 27 December 2014

Hailed as the album launch gig for R.I.S.E the new album from the mighty Lawless, it’s also a homecoming gig hence the sold out ticket allocations ensuring a packed night for all. Support tonight is from 2 local bands, both of whom have family ties with Lawless: The Event and Betrayal.

The Event - The Sugarmill, Stoke, 27 December 2014

The Event, a great rock/pop 4 piece; full of youth, attitude and energy kick out a vibrant set which included songs from their new album due out in January. They pull influences from many of the rock genres and combine them into a highly likeable and listenable sound.

‘What It Feels Like’, their latest single, sees some great multipart harmonies and dual guitar riffs as does the final song; the heavy riffed ‘Waking Heaven’ definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Betrayal - The Sugarmill, Stoke, 27 December 2014

, formed 8 years ago by twin brothers Carlo and John Caci, mix together the hard edge of Heavy Metal with the intricacies and shredding of thrash. Tonight’s set draws from their latest album ‘Stick To The Promise’.

Warming us up with the slow burning ‘One Man’s Heaven’ which sees Carlo battering out the bass line matched by Sam Ogden on the drums, all bought together by Phil on rhythm guitar.

Title track ‘Stick To The Promise’ gives us the first hint of shredding guitar before the might instrumental ‘Johnstrumental’ gives Caci the chance to show us how it’s done as he piles on the intricate licks. A damn good band who really need to play a longer set as there are great songs on the album including the MMA cage fighting theme ‘Full Contact Contender’.

Lawless - The Sugarmill, Stoke, 27 December 2014

Now to the main event, Lawless launching their new album R.I.S.E currently available via Escape Music following their 2013 for that label ‘Rock Savage’.

Their 12 song set was equally divided between both albums highlighting their knack of penning classic heavy metal numbers but with a modern edge shown by the big riffs, virtuoso guitar solos, melodic hooks and clean, powerful vocals.

Up until a month ago Lawless were a 4 piece but have recruited Jamie Crees and the way he and existing guitarist Howie G played off each other it seemed like they had been onstage for a hell of a lot longer.

Lawless - The Sugarmill, Stoke, 27 December 2014

This was my first Lawless gig and I knew it would be a belter as a line-up that includes members of Persian Risk, Demon and Headrush would certainly deliver. Of the 6 songs played from R.I.S.E my highlights were the set opener ’1914 (Ghosts of No Man’s Land)’ which came over like a melodic Dragonforce with some “Whoa oh oh’s” to get the crowd warmed up.

‘Rise’ was riff heavy crunching stadium rock with strong backing vocals. ‘Song For A Friend’ was my set highlight, It is an epic power ballad and the heartfelt vocal delivery from Paul Hume should assure the song has radio airplay written all over it.  Perhaps if it was 1985…

Lawless - The Sugarmill, Stoke, 27 December 2014

‘Kiss My Glass’ was like early Whitesnake as a ‘Lovehunter’ vibe flowed through it and set closer ‘Heavens Raining’ was a Zeppelinesque slow burner.

The brand new songs were welcomed as much as the older ones which just shows the quality of the new material.  Older song stand-outs for me were the anthemic ‘Heavy Metal
Heaven’ and a thrashtastic ‘F.O.A.D’ which goes to show that it’s not only Venom who can write songs called ‘Fuck Off And Die’!

Great gig to end the year and we can look forward to future Lawless gigs in 2015.

Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley

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