Monthly Archives: April 2013

Live Review: Bring Me The Horizon – Academy 2, Manchester

Very few bands have divided opinions in the metal scene as much as Bring Me The Horizon have. Despite the split opinions Bring Me The Horizon have become the biggest Metalcore band in the country with their latest album Sempiternal reaching number 3 in the UK album charts. Tonight’s show at the Academy 2 in Manchester marked the start of their intimate tour to promote the new album.

First up were Prog-rock band Empress. These were quite an unusual pick to open for Bring Me The Horizon and it was clear that Empress were not going to appeal to everyone in the audience. This did not stop them from playing a great opening set. Taking elements from bands like Mastodon and Deftones, Empress have a unique sound that shifts between softer Prog moments to crushingly heavy riffs. Despite not everyone in the crowd loving them Empress were a great choice for an opening band adding some diversity to the line up rather than just having another Metalcore band. (8)

Next up were Japanese Metalcore band Crossfaith. Having made a name for themselves in the UK last year after touring with Of Mice & Men, While She Sleeps and playing Warped Tour UK it was clear that there were a lot of fans of Crossfaith here tonight with parts of the crowd chanting “Crossfaith” during their sound-check. Crossfaith exploded onto the stage with the opening track “Monolith” from their Zion EP and immediately mosh pits opened and the whole crowd was going crazy. This didn’t stop for their entire set which consisted of the entire Zion EP and the bands absolutely brilliant cover of The Prodigy’s “Omen”. Crossfaith continue to prove that in the Metalcore scene there are very few bands who can put on as good a live show as they can. (9)

Bring Me The Horizon take to the stage and are greeted with the loudest screams of the night. Its clear that everyone in this crowd have eagerly been awaiting Bring Me The Horizon’s return. They open with “Shadow Moses” and the entire crowd sing the words back to the band, its an incredible start to their set. Unfortunately following this song the band suffer from some technical issues meaning that fans have to wait a while before the band play their second song “Chelsea Smile”. Things then get even worse for the band as halfway through third song “Alligator Blood” the sound cuts out meaning fans can hardly hear the band. To make things worse a fire alarm is set off in the building, fortunately this was just an accident and there was no fire in the building. After all these problems Bring Me The Horizon were finally able to continue playing and started things back up with “Go To Hell For Heavens Sake”. From then on it was a great performance from Bring Me The Horizon with the new tracks from Sempiternal sounding incredible live. Front-man Oli Sykes has often been criticised for being a poor live vocalist but tonight his performance is brilliant and the rest of the band sound tight. For every song the mosh pits were took up most of the room and the crowd were going crazy for the entire set. Recent single “Sleepwalking” closes Bring Me The Horizon’s main set with a massive sing-along with the band then playing an encore of “Empire (Let Them Sing)” and “Antivist”, which saw the final Wall Of Death of the night. (8)

Despite the multiple problems at the start of their set Bring Me The Horizon still put on a great show and continue to prove why they are the biggest Metalcore band in the UK. While Crossfaith were the best band of the night it was clear that Bring Me The Horizon have improved so much as a live band and will soon be playing the biggest shows of their career. (8)

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Live Review: Lower Than Atlantis – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Tonight marked the final night of Lower Than Atlantis’ biggest headline tour yet. Playing the O2 Academy in Shepherds Bush, this was a huge show for the band. For a band who spent several years playing tiny little venues Lower Than Atlantis clearly wanted to make this a night to remember. Unfortunately due to the queue to get in I missed most of acoustic opener Mark Forster, the main thing I gathered was that he doesn’t like Frank Turner or hardcore music.

The first proper support band of the night was British rock band Blitz Kids. Blitz Kids have been making their way up the British rock scene over the past few years and there has been quite a buzz surrounding them. Based on tonight’s performance it is very hard to see why. The band only seem to have one song which they play several times over their thirty minute set; a mid tempo pop rock song with a quiet verse and a big chorus. After hearing two songs which sounded exactly the same, their set got very boring. With a lot of strong bands in the British rock scene its hard to see a place for a band as unoriginal and dull as Blitz Kids. (4)

Main support came from The Xcerts. Musically these were much more interesting than Blitz Kids. Not every song sounded the exact same and the band seem to have their own identity. Unfortunately for The Xcerts a lot of the crowd just don’t seem to care. Some of the crowd moshed to their songs but came across as the crowd trying to entertain themselves, instead of actually enjoy the band with some pits opening up at the most inappropriate points in songs. Fortunately the strength of The Xcerts songs mean the band are still enjoyable for the people who do care. (6)

With tonight being the biggest headline show Lower Than Atlantis have ever played the band pulled out every trick tonight. Beginning their set with a huge with curtain covering the stage and then dropping to reveal the band as they launched into “Love Someone Else” its clear that Lower Than Atlantis were going to make the most of headlining a larger venue with smoke cannons and confetti also being used throughout their set. They played through a setlist that covered every album Lower Than Atlantis have released so far, from their hardcore roots to their current radio friendly rock sound. There was something to keep every Lower Than Atlantis fan happy tonight including a section of Bretton song “The Juggernaut” which see’s the pit go absolutely mental. Eventually the band leave the stage and front-man Mike Duce plays a short acoustic set consisting of “Mike Duce’s Symphony No.11 In D Minor” and “Another Sad Song” both which see the crowd singing along. The rest of the band then return to the stage to finish their set with “Far Q” and “Beech Like The Tree”. Finally the band return for their encore of “Deadliest Catch”, not before they play a cheeky chorus of Electric Six’s “Gay Bar”. (9)

Tonight Lower Than Atlantis really proved they deserve to be playing larger venues by putting on one of the best performances of their career. Despite not completely selling out the show tonight its clear Lower Than Atlantis are one of the most popular bands in the British rock scene and the band are only going to get bigger. Despite lacklustre support slots tonight was still a fun gig thanks to a great headlining performance. (7)


Live Review: While She Sleeps – The Borderline, London

Last year saw While She Sleeps become one of the biggest names in British Metalcore. Their first full length album This Is The Six was met with critical acclaim and helped boost While She Sleeps to the top of the Metalcore scene. Tonight marks the start of their first headline tour of 2013 and there is no better way to start a tour than a show that sold out within hours of going on sale. And bringing Dead Harts and Feed The Rhino along as supports meant tonight was always going to be a crazy show.

First up was Sheffield hardcore band Dead Harts. At first things don’t start too brilliantly for the band. The sound quality of the vocals was poor meaning that they could hardly be understood and the band do look quite nervous at points onstage. However on their third song that all changed, the band simply erupted on stage, with their front-man hanging from a sound rig on the ceiling and singing like that as well as the first signs of the crowd moshing. From then on things were much better for the band. Dead Harts did exactly what an opening band needed to do at a show like this, get the crowd warmed up and ready for what is about to come. (7)

Anyone familiar with Feed The Rhino will probably tell you they are one of the best UK Hardcore bands around right now. And based on performances like tonight its understandable why. The band kick things off with “Flood The System” and immediately the room was going mental and it didn’t stop for their whole set. Front-man Lee Tobin spends as much time in the crowd as he does onstage and there is a constant stream of stage divers. Only on slower track “Tides” did the band give the crowd a chance to rest, but this also see’s all the fans in the room singing along before a huge wall of death happens halfway through the song. With set closer “The Butchers” Feed The Rhino borrowed a trick from Slipknot by getting the whole crowd to crouch down and prepare to jump up, however Feed The Rhino added their own twist to this with Lee Tobin joining the crowd for it. Simply put, this was an incredible show from one of the best UK Hardcore bands around. (10)

Finally While She Sleeps take to the stage accompanied by the biggest cheer of the night. It’s clear how much people have been looking forward to this show. Opening with new single “Death Toll”, the entire crowd were singing along and already there was a pit. The band were simply explosive onstage. Every member throwing themselves around The Borderline’s tiny stage. The band played a mixture of songs from This Is The Six as well as a few older songs from their EP The North Stands For Nothing. Every song is performed with the same amount of passion from the band who put everything they have into their performances. “Our Courage, Our Cancer” sounds absolutely massive even in this tiny room and everyone there was clearly having a great time. Its all over too quickly with frontman Loz Taylor announcing that they only have a few songs left before launching into “Dead Behind The Eyes” and set closer “Seven Hills” which see’s the room go insane. Loz calls for as many fans to get on stage as possible and almost every fan in the room tries to join him. Mic stands fly off stage and the room is pure chaos, its an incredible end to their set. The band leave the stage to the closing track on their album “Reunite” with every fan singing along. (10)

It is unlikely While She Sleeps will play rooms this small for much longer and based on tonight’s performance its understandable why. The band are only going to get bigger and better from here. And as one of the UK’s most hard working bands they really deserve the success. Feed The Rhino also proved tonight that they are ready to take over the UK Hardcore scene. Both them and While She Sleeps are two of the best live bands right now. (10)


Record Store Day 2013

Being a huge Frank Turner fan, the news that he was playing three sets throughout London on this year’s Record Store Day was the motivation I needed to finally go out and see what Record Store Day was really like. My plan was to visit all three stores where Frank Turner was playing, watch his sets and see if I could pick up any exclusive Record Store Day releases. So with that in mind, I set off early in the morning with my sister and our friend to our first stop of the day; Rough Trade East on Brick Lane.

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Despite arriving almost an hour before the store opened, a huge queue had already formed, with hundreds of people hoping to grab all the records they wanted. Between me and my sister we’d built up a considerable list of records we were after due to the limited availability of them. Despite being early there was a really friendly atmosphere within the queue as everyone discussed the records they were after and their chances of finding them. On a side note, shout out to Rough Trade Records for selling bacon rolls to people in the queue for breakfast. By 9:45 we finally got into Rough Trade Records. Immediately we searched for Slayer Records and successfully found the exclusive re-issue of their debut Show No Mercy. Right after I found the re-issue of arguably the greatest metal album ever; Dio’s classic album Holy Diver. We also managed to pick up Anthrax’s recent release Anthems and Rob Zombie’s latest single “Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown” on 10″ vinyl and my sister picked up Frank Turners RSD exclusive single “Recovery” on 7″ vinyl. So within one store we already managed to grab a load of records we wanted.

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Is 11 in the morning too early to play a show? Frank Turner certainly doesn’t think so. Playing his first of three shows today, he takes to the stage at the back of Rough Trade East to promote his latest album Tape Deck Heart, as well as to just promote Record Store Day itself. Before he even started playing we were lucky enough to meet him and get him to sign various records, posters etc. Playing alongside him today on the mandolin was Matt Nasir, a member of his backing band The Sleeping Souls. The pair started things with Frank’s latest single “Recovery” while the rest of their thirty minute set contained a mix of fan favourites such as “The Road”, new songs like “The Way I Tend To Be” and a cover of Frightened Rabbit’s “The Modern Leper”, before closing things with “Photosynthesis”.

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Once Frank Turner finished playing we then set off to our next stop, Berwick Street in Soho where Sister Ray Records had set up a stage for several bands and singers to perform on throughout the afternoon. We managed to get While She Sleeps “Death Toll” and Biffy Clyro’s “Modern Magic Formula” on 7″ vinyl from Sister Ray Records before catching Frank Turners second performance. This was a entirely different experience to this mornings in-store show as a huge crowd was around to watch made up of both Frank Turner fans and people just curious to see what was happening. Playing a slightly different set to earlier with the biggest change being a cover of  Tom Jones classic “Delilah” which the crowd loved. “Photosynthesis” once again closed the set, this time with Frank leading the crowd in a huge singalong. 

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Finally we made our way to Kingston to visit Banquet Records where Frank Turner would be playing his final show of the day. Arriving late in the afternoon the queue outside the store had finally died down in total contrast to the scenes outside the two store’s we had already visited. Our final purchase was Soundgarden’s King Animal Demos on 10″ vinyl. Frank Turner’s final show inside Banquet Records was smaller than any of his previous with him this time only performing to die-hard fans. The atmosphere in Banquet Records for this performance was incredible with fans singing every song except for the new tracks which they hadn’t heard yet. Frank even took a request from the fan who had transported the Tape Deck Heart flag to Kingston, which other fans had help to take all around the country. Again closing with “Photosynthesis”, Frank got the crowd to convince Matt Nasir to play the mandolin solo whilst striking a “rockstar” pose with one leg on the table. After they finished Frank then hung around to meet all the fans and end Record Store Day on a real high.

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Record Store Day was genuinely on the best days I’ve had. Seeing and meeting Frank Turner several times was absolutely incredible and I got some incredible records that were exclusively made for Record Store Day.  It really is a great day for music fans to go out and celebrate something they care about and I can see being something I will be part of every year now.

All photos were taken by Fran Dignon. For more check out her flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frandignonphotos/


Live Review: Don Broco – The Koko, London

Tonight was the final night of the second part of  Don Broco’s UK tour supporting their debut album Priorities. It is also the biggest headline show the band have played to date. Having completely sold out The Koko tonight was a big deal to Don Broco and could they rise to the occasion?

First up was British Pop-Punk band Decade. While there might not be much depth to their pop-punk songs they still play an enjoyable set. The odd mosh pit opens up during the set and enough of the crowd jump around and have a good time. Decade definitely get the night off to a good start. (7)

Next up were Pure Love. To put it simply Pure Love are one of the best live bands around right now. Throughout their 30 minute set the band keep surprising the crowd. Whether its front-man Frank Carter spending the majority of the set in the crowd, guitarist Jim Carroll appearing up on the venues balcony to play a guitar solo with Frank then climbing up from the crowd to join him to bringing the whole drum kit into the crowd for the final two songs. Its just incredible to watch and the band seem to be having the time of their life. Not only is the performance great but Pure Love have the songs to match it. The likes of “Bury My Bones”, “Handsome Devils Club” and set closer “Riot Song” sound absolutely massive, with Frank and Jim leading the crowd in a singalong during “Riot Song”. Frank Carter constantly makes jokes throughout the set keeping the tone lighthearted and fun, it really was just an incredible performance and would be almost impossible for any band to top. (10)

Unfortunately for Don Broco they just cannot quite top Pure Love. That’s not to say they weren’t great, but following Pure Love was always going to be tough. Opener “Priorities” gets the crowd bouncing right away and that energy carries on for their whole set. Fan favourite “Thug Workout” see’s an attempt at a massive “push-up human pyramid” as well as the biggest mosh pit of the night. The band bring their main set to a close with “Actors” which the crowd absolutely love, especially when front-man Rob Damiani calls for crowd-surfers. Don Broco then returned to the stage for a three song encore of “Yeah Man”,  “Hold On” and “Fancy Dress” with giant balloons thrown out into the crowd during “Hold On”. It is a great way to end the night but ultimately Don Broco’s performances does feel slightly underwhelming after Pure Love. (8)

So whilst tonight might not have been a complete triumph for Don Broco , they still proved they are more than capable of playing in these bigger venues and putting on a great show. Expect big things from Don Broco in the future. (8)


Album Review: The Story So Far – What You Don’t See

Image“What You Don’t See” is the second album from Californian Pop-Punk band The Story So Far. With many fans of the genre loving the bands debut album, expectations for “What You Don’t See” were incredibly high. Fortunately fans of The Story So Far are unlikely to be disappointed. However, everyone else might just find it to be little more than a decent Pop-Punk album.

The album starts strongly enough with opening track “Things I Can’t Change” sounding exactly like what fans of modern Pop-Punk would want from a song such as this; bouncing guitar riffs and huge vocal hooks. Second track “Stifled” continues in this manner, so does the third song, and the fourth song and the majority of songs that follow. If there’s one complaint that can be made against The Story So Far, it is that they lack variety. They write really good up-tempo Pop-Punk songs but that’s all they seem to do here. Despite this issue, there are still some standout tracks on the album such as “Small Talk” and “The Glass”.

Perhaps the complaints that the album lacks variety could be made against modern Pop-Punk as a whole and not just The Story So Far. “What You Don’t See” is far from a bad album, it just doesn’t quite reach the expectations that the current hype around The Story So Far has built up. (7)


Live Review: The Mosh Lives Tour – Islington Academy, London

Emmure returned to the UK on a headline this month after a successful run supporting Parkway Drive last November. Support for this tour came from Buried In Verona, Obey The Brave, Attila and Chelsea Grin. For fans of Deathcore this was not a gig to miss.

First up tonight was Australian Metalcore band Buried In Verona. Musically Buried In Verona might seem like fairly standard Metalcore but they do it extremely well. They play with a lot of energy and really try hard to get things going. Unfortunately due to their early set time the room is still quite empty when they start. However the few people who are there to see them seem to be enjoying it a lot jumping around and headbanging as well as a few die hard fans singing every word. By their final song the first pit of the night opens up and things really get going. Hopefully it won’t be long before Buried In Verona are playing higher up on line ups. (7)

Next up is Canadian Hardcore crew Obey The Brave. The band launch into a set of killer hardcore tunes and pits open up almost immediately. By the time Obey The Brave started the room had filled up meaning they didn’t suffer from the same problems Buried In Verona did. Frontman Alex Erian constantly called for the crowd to participate by moshing and opening circle pits. Again Obey The Brave have some die hard fans in singing every word back to the band. This was a great set from Obey The Brave. (8)

Following Obey The Brave was going to be hard and were Attila up to the task? The band certainly thought they were and so did a large portion of the crowd. Attila are clearly a band who love to party and this is what nearly all their songs are about. The problem with Attila is that their songs just aren’t very good. The energy might be high from both the band and the crowd but the songs are what drag everything down. Even worse are the screamed rap sections which are almost impossible to understand. However plenty of pits, crowd surfers and fans singing help save their set from being a completely awful. (5)

Fortunately Chelsea Grin are up next and what follows is 40 minutes of brilliant Deathcore. Frontman Alex Koehler delivers an incredible vocal performance and the band sound incredibly tight. The newer, more melodic songs such as “Lilith” and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” help to mix things up aduring Chelsea Grin’s set. Of all the support bands Chelsea Grin had the most fans in and they loved every minute of Chelsea Grins set. This was a performance almost worthy of a headlining slot. (8)

Finally tonights headliners Emmure take to the stage. Now Emmure are definitely one of the most divisive bands in modern metal Both loved and hated in equal measure. But tonight Emmure continue to prove that as a live band they are fantastic. Opening with “4 Word, 3 Posions” the crowd start moshing and singing along right away. However when they launch into “Solar Flare Homicide” afters things get insane. From then on its non-stop chaos from Emmure. Frontman Frankie Palmeri constantly moving around stage, his vocals sounding almost monstrous. Emmure’s setlist drew from all of the bands albums and every song went down brilliantly with the crowd. The moment set closer “MDMA” finished their were chants for more, this crowd weren’t ready to go home yet. Emmure soon returned to the stage to blast through a two song encore of “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong” and “Chicago’s Finest” which Frankie dedicated to every band that played tonight. Once they finished playing members of Emmure came down to the front to thank fans who stuck it out at the front all night. (9)

Overall The Mosh Lives Tour was a great night and it really did live up to its name. Most bands delivered brilliant performances and despite me not personally enjoying Attila, lots of people did.  (8)