FATE GEAR at Metal Matsuri, London
The future is steam-powered.
Metal Matsuri caused something of an exodus of musicians from Japan. While the festival's acts were piling on to airliners and racking up the air miles, steampunk heavy metal band FATE GEAR were, if their Twitter account was to be believed,
heading to the UK aboard the steam-powered airship that bears their name.
The airship’s commander, ‘Captain’ Mina formed FATE GEAR back in 2015, adding yet another group to the plethora of metal bands that shook out from the demise of DESTROSE. Their high-concept melodic power metal brought yet another flavour to Metal Matsuri’s eclectic mix of rock and metal bands.
FATE GEAR have had something of a shifting roster, albeit nothing to the same extent as DESTROSE. Before settling on the current line-up, they were augmented by a selection of guest vocalists and even the occasional violinist. They
were joined by former DISQUALIA singer IBUKI for this London adventure.
Their entrance music belied their metal style as FATE GEAR took the stage accompanied by gentle Celtic violins. They looked the part, decked out in Victorian steampunk fashion and Mina had her customary flying goggles perched on her forehead.
IBUKI gave everyone a blast of her fearsome vocals, announcing FATE GEAR at max volume and peeling off a high-pitched vibrato scream that launched the opener Scars in my Life. The Celtic thread ran through the next number Queen of the War too, and the mix of metal guitars and violins gave the song a strangely "Game of Thrones" vibe.
IBUKI stopped for a quick chat, admitting she can’t speak English well, but she stuck with the tried and tested “Are you ready to rock?”, which was enough to get the crowd shouting out their readiness. It’s just as well they were ready, because FATE GEAR came at them hard with the aggressive MEGABULLETS. Scarlet-haired keyboardist Yuri, who’d been calmly going about her business before, unleashed some raucous screamed backing vocals.
Things calmed down a little with the slow burner Shinsou, before a double header of songs - Romancer and Skykiller - that started life as DESTROSE tracks, penned by Mina in that previous life. After dipping into her past, Mina looked to the future, promising the crowd that FATE GEAR would be returning to London in the new year, which was met with a roar of approval.
The pace picked up as FATE GEAR headed into the final straight and Haruka smashed out the high-speed double-kick beats of 7 Years Ago. Mina might be captain and IBUKI makes a powerful frontwoman but the real livewire of FATE GEAR is bassist Erika.
She cut loose with the headbanging, sending her long blond locks flailing in all directions and got up to all sorts of antics, bounding around the stage like a maniac, pulling faces and clambering on speaker stacks. Her infectious enthusiasm got the venue bouncing, at one point playing bass one-handed and punching the air in time with the crowd.
They saved the title track from their latest album Headless Goddess for the big finish which saw IBUKI let rip with some wildly over-the-top vocals, backed by Yuri’s death metal screams. Not to be outdone, Mina cranked out an impressive extended guitar solo and of course, Erika tore the place up with more furious headbanging, capped off by swirling her bass round her neck on its strap.
While the crowd showered FATE GEAR with cheers and applause, the band flung guitar picks and drum sticks in to a forest of grasping hands, all desperate to nab a souvenir. There was time for a selfie before the crew of the good ship FATE GEAR retired backstage.
01. Scars in my Life
02. Queen of the War
07. 7 years ago
08. Fate Gear
09. Headless Goddess
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O2 Academy Islington
The Metal Matsuri headliners talk about their new album "CONFESSiONS" and plans for the future.