Hailing from Telford, UK the locally famous Crown of Helios have made some impressive movements in expanding their recognition across the borders and have even evolved to the extent where they have 4 songs recorded on their EP – Paladins. This dedication in itself justifies how ready this 5 piece metal band are in finally making a noticeable impact upon the wider music scene. To emphasize these talented individuals efforts, they modestly confirm that they have played shows with some recognisable giants in the metal industry, such as – Bleed From Within, who C.O.H play fascinatingly similar to in styles vocally and instrumentally when compared with B.F.W’s 2010 release Empire. On top of this there are many others; Odessa and LifeRuiner to name just two, whom C.O.H have performed with and have been influenced by. Other influences include such bands as The Devil Wears Prada and Born of Osiris.
I was fortunate enough to get the chance to have a few words with the now ex-guitar player Toby C.J. Carter before the gig began. I didn’t realise he would be so surprised at the chance of an interview, which he admittedly said he was nervous about but still in the same respect felt pretty cool! My friend Tom Keen from Deathcore band Salacious Crumb introduced us, and here’s how it went….
I asked what I’m sure all the followers of C.O.H. were itching to know – how did he feel about leaving the band? With a glimmer of a smile he replied with an outright no, but not for the reasons you’d think. “I feel like I’m moving on to bigger things than this.” Now 19, he’s been faced with the decision as we all do in our lives, regarding the decisions which he believes ultimately would be more fulfilling in his own right. Despite this, he admitted that what he’s helped create has been the “best I’ve ever done.” When asked what it felt to be playing his last gig for the ever-expanding phenomenon that is C.O.H., he answered excitedly that he was happy he had the chance to make one last impression to his supporters, and of course alongside his brothers one last time.
Following some incredible sets from the disgustingly brutal opening act Salacious Crumb and hardcore bands Carving a Giant and The Colour Line, I wasn’t sure whether or not Crown of Helios could follow such spectacles. All I had to go on was word of mouth, however I was suitably impressed with what I heard from their Paladins EP. Needless to say, expectations were high. Little did I know I was about to witness something beyond everyone’s expectations. As the introductions for the track Demons was plucked the majority of local support clapped in sync as the band readied themselves for giving the crowd something simply special. Marcus’ bass sounded slowly, signalling a growing rise in tension, hand in hand with the growing anticipation brought by an increasing pace. As the crowd had a split second to scream, the song Betrayed began in a defiantly heavy breakdown which set the crowd off exasperatedly. With vocalist Adam Preece’s face in a full grit of determination, the crowd responded with the beginnings of brutality, as the crowd began jumping into one another hoping to spark off a pit of their own. Guitarists Toby and Declan (Breckon) stepped forward to announce a spine shattering riff, following a drop which made the Crown go crazier then the crowds! – to which Adam screamed “Come on motherfuckers!”. The audience was more than happy to oblige, and a minuscule but no less brutal wall of death ensued upon the scene girls, who even themselves got were inspired to get involved. Following this, my ears were blessed with an astoundingly beautiful solo from Toby – matched by drummer Dan Hill’s efforts by banging furiously into a massive applause.
The ironically named 2nd song (although 3rd) began with the acknowledgement of Toby’s departure, which was met modestly in time to an insanely quick intro that blew me off my feet (literally, I was practically thrown in the air by the riled up crowd). As the song progressed Adam’s efforts were pushed to the boundries where it almost seemed he’d lost his voice for a brief moment, however dismissed doubts as he brought it back into another perfectly timed drop which the crowd recognised by releasing themselves upon him by carrying him in the air across the floor. Another breakdown caused riots as Toby and Declan reenacted yet another purely epic breakdown. Another, heavier wall of death breaks out and the energy levels reached an all time high (Adam: “Do some more of that stuff!”).
An inviting intro gave the crowd a chance to regain themselves. Meanwhile, Dan was kicking up a storm with the snares as the next song Elixir was announced by yet another awe-stricken breakdown which was instantly recognised by the fans; the room lit up with grins and moshes ensued accordingly. Adam invited the crowds closer as the room sang in sync to the verse which of led to an even bigger mosh pit. At this point it was becoming increasingly clearer how exhausted the band was getting. I was inspired by their raw energy and passion for what they were doing for their fans: they were clearly enjoying every split-second spent up on the stage. As the song reached a climaxing verse a clap sounded across the room as hands were raised for the next proceeding breakdown, which AGAIN was expertly timed and the result exacted itself in the responding pits. “I’m so fucking knackered. Toby, we’re going to miss you!!”
Just as I was thinking I’d seen near everything on offer the mighty Crown called the crowd onstage to the extent that I lost sight of them. The bar had been raised, I’ve seen nothing like this in all the gigs I’ve been too, it was truly a sight to behold. Bustling like ants on fire the notorious song Pegasus 92 was opened with a a funky riff with lead to a devastatingly hardcore breakdown to which the crowd went just… simply, fucking sick too! A mosh erupted which took over the whole floor, arms legs and feet flying I glimpsed at the band who were delightfully inspired, with grins on their faces and instruments in the air. Everyone screamed along in sync as the drums kicked expertly in turn. A shout shook the room yet again, as Adam begged the crowd “One more time!!”, which the fans were all too happy to exact for the final drop.
Finally at the end of an honorable half hour Adam appreciatively acknowledges his fans inspirational efforts happily, which was met with a well received round of applause, however all was not over just yet. Speaking to Adam after the gig he confided that the final song to be performed was wrote only last Monday night – ‘I wish Steve Mcdonald from Coronation Street was my best friend’. I really do fucking love these guys.
Distortion sounded eerily across the floor as I thought this battle was all but won. The noise grew louder and the crowd cried out for more, before a growl shouted and a breakdown erupted, leading to more fists, arms, legs, heads and every other limb mentionable was thrown viciously across the pits. The crowds got together one last time as Adam gave last strain of his vocals, Toby gave another beautifully crafted solo and Dan chimed the introduction of a devastatingly destructive breakdown.
As Adam was carried off one more time for a lap of honour the room was hot with fulfillment of an excellent performance which couldn’t have been matched. The passion these guys have for what they do is something which I feel ashamed to have doubted, they’re moving to big places in the world and I’m so, so happy that I had the opportunity to catch them at their rawest. If you get the chance to catch these gents playing do not miss out, it’s something that you’ll remember with a smile for years to come.
Toby, you will truly be missed.
Check out their Facebook page here for gig announcements and their free EP – Paladins!