Chasing Dragons – The Key Club, Leeds (29th February 2020)

Parting is such sweet sorrow, this much is true. For the last decade, the ever thrashing, badass rockers in Chasing Dragons have been breaking boundaries with their gritty, power punching metallic vibes. The Leap Year weekend saw the last ever shows in this chapter of this musical journey and while this may be an emotional ride, you’d be an absolute fool to miss it.

Joining their last ever soirée were close friends and fellow local talent: Pulverise and Sertraline. The former absolutely storming it as opening act and bringing the crowd surging towards the stage with their brand of high energy partycore metal. Mix headbanging riffs with sensational grooves and a dash of Cypress Hill’s ‘Insane the the Brain’, and bam, you’ve got an dynamite start to your night. Following were the frighteningly fabulous Sertraline, whose new of their upcoming single and tour were almost as well received as their epic melodic metal set, with Lizzie’s radiant vocals soaring high against the heavy guitar and percussion.

Then, for the final time, the room darkened into an inky black and smoke radiated from the stage as the haunting opening ‘Factionless’ blasted into the room. With vocalist Laurie Carnan’s (Tank) exceptional voice holding its own against the thunderous drums from Katie Bullock, it’s such a rousing entrance to come on stage to. Then the crowd roared as Chasing Dragons graced the stage.

Faction album opener ‘How the World Went Black’ brought their final show to life with explosive riffs from Adam Smith and ballsy bass from Murf Sixx, with every single body headbanging as much as humanly possible. As the spooky synths of ‘Whitehorse’ blared, Tank’s voice truly began to shine. The power within her lungs is truly breathtaking, and her control is simply flawless. Faction classics followed with the infectious racy chorus of ‘Bare Knuckle Lover’ bringing joy to everyone in the room as Tank bounced around the stage, equally with ‘Parasite’. Piano led ‘The Connection’ saw a more melodious side to Tank, where we could appreciate her voice even more as it builds into an almighty crescendo, thanks to Katie’s galloping drums. Special mention must certainly go to Adam’s guitar skills as this understated track explodes into the most mighty of riffs, you can’t help but be impressed.

As if the crowd needed a second to breathe, the adrenaline alone was enough to keep these people excited for a week and a half. Nevertheless, Chasing Dragons threw a curveball as they all left the stage except for Tank, who equipped herself with an acoustic guitar to pay homage to her wife, with the beautiful, delicate track ‘Bravery, Honestly’. This followed by a cover of Shinedown’s ‘How Did you Love’ and their very own, quirky piece ‘The Mutiny’ were a wonderful unexpected gift, their talents seemingly knowing no bounds.

‘I’m No Devil, I’m Just a Girl’ threw us straight back into the rock side of proceedings, even if Adam admitted afterwards he was playing ‘Devil in Her Eyes’ instead. In fairness to him, he wasn’t too far off and the room was too jovial to care. ‘We Are The Wall’ and ‘For Kingdom, For Glory’ cemented the room’s love for their album Faction, but we soon took a trip down memory lane with ‘Throw Down Your King’. This anthem was four minutes of good old fashioned, foot stomping, throw your head back and scream epic lyrics kind of rock and roll. And boy, everyone did. With mosh pits appearing every which way you looked, band members taking turns at crowd surfing and Adam falling into the drumkit, this was a night plucked straight out of a classic 80s metal concert.

Admitting that was the first and only time Tank had ever crowd-surfed, it seemed that this was the night for dreams coming true. And what better place than in the comforting hands of your hometown fans. What couldn’t be missed throughout every moment of this show was the sheer joy on each member of Chasing Dragons’ faces. At that moment, you couldn’t possibly imagine any happier people in the entire world and it radiated through each and every person within that room. That is pure magic.

Synths sparked to life once again with the powerful ‘Like Gravity’ had the whole room reaching out in spirit with the lyrics ‘hold on to me’ taking on a whole new emotional meaning. Checkmate gritty track ‘Broken Jaws’ saw some fantastic backing vocals from both Murf and Adam before retiring offstage before the encore.

‘Spawn of the Succubus’ took you on a journey way back into years gone by, with roaring vocals and the heaviest of heavy metal you could possibly wish for. Finally, ‘Devil in Her Eyes’ brought the evening to a bittersweet close. Katie’s hammering drums, Murf’s deep, rousing bass and Adam’s spine tingling riffs right from the offset just showed everything we love about this band. This delicious mix topped off with Tank’s effortless voice is perfectly balanced, faultless and never overshadowed by this epic metal masterpiece even for a second. She undoubtedly has one of the most powerful, sensational voices in the industry. And for this reason among so many others, Chasing Dragons will be missed. There was no better way to end this show.

As the roars faded into obscurity and one band last selfie was taken, a few tears were shed from all dark corners of the room. Goodbye might seem too final a word for those as talented as we’ve seen in Chasing Dragons. The Hunters may have put down their weapons for the very last time, but it feels like so long, for now, rather than a final farewell for these exceptionally gifted and well-loved musicians.

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