Chester’s The Saddle Inn is a growing hotspot for live music in this historic city. With remnants of Halloween haunting the cobbled streets, November 1st hosts the launch show for In Depths’ new album, Devil In The Deep, as well as the last show for their vocalist, Liam Ruddock and guitarist, Connah Ward. Supported by guests Stand Silent and White Mammoth, the evening celebrates the local metal scene with all three bands having close ties to Chester.

Progressive metal quartet White Mammoth (8) are first to take to the stage. With a gathering audience, all clearly heavy metal fans, White Mammoth get the pub warmed up with growling harsh vocals, contrasting cleans and intricate guitar riffs. Distorted guitars, deep bass notes and harsh vocals create a dark, heavy sound setting the tone for the evening. They gradually introduce more prog aspects as their set progresses. Contrasting clean vocals, by both frontman Ben Rogers and drummer Sam Rogers, along with guitar melodies that enhance the sound. This is the second in a short succession of gigs performed by the prog-metallers who headlined their own show at The Live Rooms last month, and it’s great to see they consistently perform to a high standard.

Stand Silent (8) break down the barriers between the audience and the band as lead vocalist, Andy Casson, steps out into the crowd. Stand Silent’s sound moves away from the progressive aspects featuring in White Mammoth’s sound into a more produced sound that suggests tech-metal and metalcore influences. The high energy of the tracks is emphasized through the dramatic tone of Casson’s harsh vocals amongst the full sound of the instrumentation. Backing vocals from bassist, Jack Wilson, add further depth to the sound and complements the raw edge of the instruments involved in a live performance. Casson’s clean vocals, present on a number of their tracks, adds another texture to their sound and breaks up harsh tones. Eerie backing synths and bass drops contribute to Stand Silent’s full sound, making their performance very atmospheric.

In Depths (9) take the atmosphere of the venue up to another level. The depth of sound from the live instruments and backing track is balanced well. For those fond of the heavier sounds, the significant use of bass drops is fantastic. In Depths develop the progression of heavy metal genres over the evening, even further with combinations of aggressive, low toned harsh vocals, hard hitting bass and energetic percussion. The high energy is replicated through the crowd and significant number of hardcore headbangers, and vocalist Ruddock doesn’t stop moving throughout the entire performance. His theatrical approach of a dark demeanor aptly enhances the image of the band in combination with their sound. As their set draws to a close they are joined by a second vocalist, Callum Smith for the final two tracks. Ruddock’s and Smith’s harsh vocals combined created a heavy texture in the vocal line and added to the dramatic atmosphere created by the instrumentation. The two vocalists also alternate lyrical sections creating an interesting panning effect.

This dramatic evening of metal immersed the crowd in a state of high energy. With each band exploring various subgenres of metal, each performance added variety. It’s fantastic to see growing metal bands from the local area putting on such a great show.

Words by Holly Royle

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