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  • Metal vs Hardcore

    22. Jan. 2009, 17:28

    Tue 20 Jan – xBishopx, Ringworm, Kingdom, Hang The Bastard, River Freshney

    The first band on tonight are Hang The Bastard. They're one of those bands that are constantly touring (especially in London), yet for some reason i keep missing them live. Tonight they play on of the tightest sets I've seen - everything works for them and with such precision and drive they deserve to be much higher on the bill.

    The second band are River Freshney - and unkown to me it's their last show (thankfully!). As they launch into their first predictable thrash/metal 'song', it is only a handful of the old faithful that gather at the front. To me the music wasn't enjoyable but endurable. The fact that their song titles includes; Sex With Minors and Titwank, showed that they were just a dumb thrash band with nothing to say. As the lead singer introduced the next song, Your A Queer - I had enough. Stupid lyrics is one thing - homophobic shit is another. I don't have time for that crap. I walked out with my friends. I think River Freshney put it best, when on their myspace it reads "It gets no shitter than this". That's one thing we agree on then.

    The third band to take to the stage are xBishopx. They seem to be one of those straight edge bands that people either love or hate - and the crowd's reaction showed just that. They were however the first band that appeared to get some of the crowd genuinely excited! Their approach is steadfast bellowing lyrics backed up with hard hitting breakdowns, which can appear more tough guy than it actually is. The new album 'Drugs' is considerably better than previous material - yet for me live they still lack that certain something to make them stand out from so many other bands.

    Kingdom were the band I came to watch. It is their first time in the UK and vocalist Davin has twisted her ankle in a stage diving incident and she still has the brace on, this however takes nothing away from the band's deleivery tonight. Kindom set things off to a roaring start with a cover of Straight Edge, by Minor Threat. The also played tracks from their 7" Nine Lives, as well as several new songs which are to appear on on thier new release The Rage That Guides (31st March - Eulogy Records). Kingdom let their true colours show and are not afraid to be in your face with their socially aware ideals and meaningful lyrics - all backed with solid crushing fury. Brilliant.

    I only caught a mear glimpse of headliners Ringworm - yet they looked as if things went down well. As i havent heard anything by them and that I'm not into metal, I don't see how i could do them justice reviewing them.

    Sometimes the mix of hardcore and metal bands on a bill work and sometimes they don't. Tonight was one of the later, and each may have suffered from the split in the crowd. For me tonight's performances from Hang The Bastard and Kindom made it all worthwhile.
  • Royal Rumble

    22. Jan. 2009, 17:21

    Sat 17 Jan – Royal Rumble 2009

    Royal Rumble, put on by A Hero's Trial Promotion is the 2nd show for the young promoters. Being an all-dayer which showcased some of the best and up-coming UK and Euro hardcore bands is quite an achievment to say the least! Even more impressive was the organisation and large turnout of the gig which ran smoothly (with time to spare!)

    It's 2.20 and the first band on are Search Party, a relativly unknown band hailing from Glasgow - this is their first show out of Scotland! If the band has any pre-gig nerves they certainly didn't show as they launched into a solid set for such a young band. I would strongly recommend anyone reading this to download their free demo on their myspace. I hope they manage to venture outside of Scotland in the future.

    Second on are Lone Wolves, who offer up a raw mix of thrash/metal and hardcore. If I'm being honest, they wouldn't be a band I would typically listen to - but these guys are not only tight live they sound brilliant. They guys won't be unsigned for long - if anyone has sense.

    Next on are Chaos Days, whilst I can't fault the band on their fun and technically tight performance, I personally wasn't keen on the frontman's voice. Although I think I think it's good to mix things up a little in an all dayer (and i love several pop-punk bands) Chaos Days for me didn't seem to fit into an otherwise strong hardcore line-up.

    I've only seen Santa Karla once before, last year at Bar Monsta they were ok then. The Santa Karla of today are 20x better. The hardcore/metal band from Kent are the first band of the day that seem to grab the crowd's attention throughout their set. Their fast paced crushing sound blasts through the speakers and refuses to let go until they finish. And even then i was left wanting more. Their EP 'A Thousand Deaths' is worth your attention.

    Anyone who has an intrest in UKHC will have heard of More Than Life, and if you know me you'll know how much i rate them. Even though the band only performed in the very same venue a few days before, where the reception wasn't as involved, tonight holds no such qualms. Kids two-step, fist punch, scream they're hearts out. Get on it.

    Lower Than Atlanis are still a band that I've never quite got. They make several Gallows jokes through out their set, but funnily enough do sound similar live. Not that this is all a bad thing! Or that they mean it. There just seems to be quite a few other bands out there that are along the same lines but are better at it.

    The seventh band of tonight are Burn Down Rome, who last year released their blinding album 'Devotion'. After their set i'm itching to give it another spin! The vocalist takes a few songs to get warmed up, but at their best they offer up some brillant songs, laced with passion, intelligent lyrics and swirling guitar riffs.

    Gold Kids are flying the flag for Europe as the only non-UK band on the bill. Good job their on the bill because they're bloody brilliant! The band wear they're hearts on their sleeves and passionate would be a grave understatement to describe vocalist Andre. Raging like a man on fire, the band are on top tonight. Gold Kids have just released 'The Sound Of Breaking Up' on vinyl you say?

    The ninth band on are Dreaming In Oceans. There was some confusion on the day whether they would be playing due to rumours of another break-up - but thankfully they did show up. On record I 've never much rated Dreaming In Oceans, yet for some reason tonight live they slay it. It's crushing breakdown after crushing breakdown and the crowd lap it up. It might appear as hardcore by number but it works and they go down a treat. Whether they are a staying power however, will remain a question for now.

    The penultimate band is This Is Colour, another band which i never quite followed but by the looks of tonight's crowd certainly have the support behind them. They are more metal than hardcore, yet are still able to comfortably transend with either audience. 'Brothers In Arms' is their highlight and seems to gather the best response. With a new album just out on TDON Records and a honing of their sound - things could seriously open up for TIC.

    After 6 hours of relentless bands, with sing-a-longs, stage dives (and maybe a few too many spin kicks!) aplenty, you might think the crowd would be worn out by now. This however doesn't seem to be the case when the headliners are Dead Swans. As the first chord of 'Lines Of Seperation' play things kick off and they don't slow down from then on. And with trampoline stage dives and crowd invasions things don't get much better than this! Headlining and drumming up such support across the UK and beyond on an EP and split 7" alone, makes me realise that much greater things are yet to come from the UK's best hardcore band. 2009 should see the release of Dead Swan's debute album - and we're all holding on with baited breath.

    Round 2 next year.
  • Killing the Dream, The Carrier, More Than Life, Unrestrained

    15. Jan. 2009, 13:20

    Tue 13 Jan – Killing the Dream, The Carrier, More Than Life, Unrestrained

    As the crowd trickle in they are greeted with the first band of tonight - Unrestrained. The band, from Vermont, USA, are relatively unknown amongst most present and it is their first time in Europe. However this doesn't seem to faze the band, as they launch into an impressive set. With vocalist Ender addressing issues such as rape Unrestrained demand the rooms attention. The sincerity of their message is backed with the in your face relentless passion. If anything, their set tonight proves that there are bands that still care and keep fighting for what they believe in. With a 7" in the works, Unrestrained are ones to watch!

    More Than Life are an upcoming UK hardcore band that have recently released their debut EP on Anchors Away Receords. They have steadily been increasing their fanbase and tonight shows that with people singing the words right back. MTL play through their EP in it entirity in a mix of fast paced beats, shattering vocals and heartfelt lyrics. Saturday will see them play again in the same venue alongside some of the best UK hardcore bands at Royal Rumble (all dayer).

    Stepping things up a few nothces are The Carrier, who are no strangers to passionate hardcore. They play all 3 tracks form their current EP, as well as several other tracks with a pummelling fury. No 51 is a personal highlight and is played with blistering intensity, as the band let ring, "No love can save me!" Their emotionally charged set wins over fans new and old.

    Fractures, is in my opinion one of the best releases of 2008 - something which may have been overlooked by some. Having listened to it relentlessly for the past few months, it was suffice to say my expectations were fairly high! These were filled when Killing The Dream emerged onto the stage with an explosion of force. The band's shear power were delieved in some of their best tracks such as Thirty Four Seconds and Consequence (what comes next). Killing The Dream are a band who are constently evolving their sound, yet somehow keep their orginal fury and essence. Killing The Dream prove that they are a staying power within hardcore and offer an alternative to the rehashed and over used sounds of a few to many bands in today's scene.