Killswitch Engage there I was, sitting at work when the show announcement was made and immediately I was psyched - Fallujah was coming to New Zealand, but wait - not a headlining show, they're special guests of Killswitch Engage - double that excitement level!

Now, I like Killswitch and own most of the albums but, truth be told I always found them somewhat generic in their genre. Don't get me wrong - this doesn't mean I thought they sounded tired, or unimaginative, far from it - it's more my musical tastes lay somewhere between "extreme progressive music for musicians and math majors" to "dirty filthy blackened death/doom" - Killswitch fell within that Grammy Award Winning "commercial" side of things that didn't truly excite me.

I was however NOT going to miss this show. Initially, I planned to sit this out from any form of media circle, and just enjoy the show like a normal metal head for a change, but as things happen I ended up taking up a photography slot from fellow Libel photographer Doug who couldn't make the show, then yesterday I learnt we no longer had a dedicated reviewer available so you get my thoughts - blurred memories  photos and headbanging to the blur of even later night photo editing...

The evening started with VIP doors opening at 7 pm - and the blessed heading in for their meet and greets whilst the rest of us remained outside.  Most of them seemed to be in and out rather quickly, except for one guy who got everything signed and spent at least 15 minutes chatting with the band in private - that'll be one concert he'll never forget, nor will it be one for the girl I met out front for which this was her first ever concert - I saw her again later in the evening, eyes ablaze with awe, excitement, or maybe just beer?

Anyway, enough preamble - Fallujah hit the stage with seemingly little fanfare and, just like their music were straight into the depths of progressive death metal. I really want to say they played this, they played that, but - it's all a blur, and ever since the introduction of MP3s and digital downloads song names rarely stick in my mind without that tactile feat of pouring over an album booklet. I'll just say this - Fallujah was awesome - visually a lot more clean cut than I expected for such a ferocious sound.

After a quick pack down, the audience were greeted with the Beastie Boys Fight For Your Right over the PA, and time.

For this tour, Killswitch are playing the entire 2002 release Alive or Just Breathing album, ironically one of the many I don't actually own by the band - so for me - ALL the songs were new, I had no idea what to expect song wise, riff-wise, and let's just get this out of the way right now - I said before I didn't think that Killswitch Engage really did much for me, that was on record - but THIS - THIS WAS LIVE - THIS WAS RAW - THIS WAS METAL.

They had me.

I'm not really sure there's much more I can say from this point really - this was a band that KNEW how to work the crowd, at times guitarists leaning out over the crowd, not just themselves but their guitars, so that fans could touch, and maybe even mess up a solo or two. I saw bloodied patrons leaving the circle pit with smiles on their faces, I saw bar staff bounce with glee over the spectacle before them, I saw more engagement in this one show - from fan to artist, and artist to fan.

At the end of the show, amongst the hot, humid Auckland ear - NO ONE was just breathing - they were ALIVE.

Set List:

  • Numbered Days
  • Self Revolution
  • Fixation
  • Serenade
  • Life 2 Lifeless
  • Barely Breathing
  • Sons of Man
  • Element
  • Temple
  • Vide
  • Rise Inside
  • Hate By Design
  • My Curse
  • Alone I Stand
  • Beyond The Flames
  • Strength of the Mind
  • In Due Time
  • Heartache


  • Rose of Sharyn