The first gig of 2023, and what a way to start as Florida metal titans Trivium roll into Manchester, bringing with them German metal favourites Heaven Shall Burn with metallic hardcore troublemakers Malevolence kicking off the night.
What a way to kickstart the night as well. Victoria Warehouse was already crackling with anticipation as the Sheffield band wasted no time in whipping the crowd up into a frenzy through “Malicious Intent” and “Life Sentence.” By the time they were slaughtering through “Self Supremacy,” bodies started to spill over the barrier, while the biggest circle pit this venue has seen had security working overtime. Their opening set packed in eight numbers, but relentless renditions of “Remain Unbeaten” and “On Broken Glass” left you wondering what it will be like when they eventually headline rooms of this size.
It feels like it has been forever since German metallers Heaven Shall Burn have ventured the short distance from Germany to grace us with their presence. Well, having made the trip for this run, they made sure to give their fans a set worthy of the wait. Through the likes of the brutal “Bring The War Home,” the neck-snapping “Voice of the Voiceless,” and the ferocious “Behind A Wall of Silence,” the band delivered a performance worthy of the festival headliner status they have across mainland Europe.
Their set ends with their Edge of Sanity cover “Black Tears,” inciting many in the pit to sing the cover back at them before the familiar tones of “Endzeit” bring their lengthy, relentless time on stage to a close. It’s been a long time since Heaven Shall Burn has visited the UK; when they come back in August to appear at Bloodstock Open Air, prepare yourselves for what, on this evidence, will be one of the highlights of the weekend.
By the time the curtain drops and Trivium hurtle into opener “Rain” from their breakthrough Ascendancy opus, there isn’t a space on the floor that isn’t filled by somebody either throwing horns, banging their heads or slamming around the moshpit. The energy levels continue as a grinning, gurning Matt Heafy leads the band through pummelling renditions of “Like Light To Flies” and “Betrayer.” Three songs in, and already reports filtering through from early shows, are clearly not exaggerated.
Despite the show being stopped by the headliners a couple of times for safety reasons, the energy levels don’t drop. With Josh from openers Malevolence joining the mayhem on stage for a ripping rendition of “Drowned and Torn Asunder,” the band looks to be enjoying this as much on stage as the crowd is off it.
Whipping up the atmosphere with the light-hearted goading of the crowd with comments about other shows and how Manchester is setting the bar for the London show, Heafy shows himself as not only one of the leading frontmen of the modern metal scene but also a fantastic host and, judging by the massive smile across his face; he’s loving every minute of being back on the road.
With “Shogun,” “In Waves,” and “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr” bringing the night crashing to a blistering conclusion, Trivium and their touring friends have made sure the standard for metal shows in 2023 has been set ridiculously high with a night that left those who survived the punishing mosh pit nursing bruises, battle scars and ringing ears, all signs of a great night of metal.