Of Mice and Men Live at Electric Ballroom, Camden

OF MICE AND MEN
w/ Memphis May Fire, Secrets

Electric Ballroom, Camden
10th October 2012

After selling out way in advance and with a queue lapping the outside of Camden’s Electric Ballroom, you know for a fact tonight’s show is going to be crazy. From an all-American line-up, Secrets are first to take to the stage. They are the perfect warm up act for this sort of audience, plenty of sub-drops and head bangs get the party off to a fine start.

When Memphis May Fire roar into action its clear that many of the Of Mice & Men fans here tonight are also deeply entwined in a love affair with this band. A vast majority of the crowd go wild. Considering Memphis May Fire aren’t headlining the response they get is very impressive. The room jumps as one to the bouncing riffs, with ‘The Sinner’ uniting the band and crowd in a mass sing along.

Before the show, Matty Mulllins discussed with Crossfire what he feels makes a great frontman, and with this performance he definitely put into practice what he preached; lunging across the stage and fully engaging the audience like the pro he is.

Secrets were impressive, Memphis May Fire took that up a level, but Of Mice & Men are just in a league of their own. Valentino Arteaga is a machine behind the kit. Alan Ashby and Phil Manansala create dirty, dirty riffs which entice permanent pits. Aaron Pauley takes care of clean vocals and finds near vocal perfection whilst pulverising filthy baselines that penetrate ear drums in the most heavy of fashions.

Austin Carlile has the audience in the palm of his hand. There are few frontmen that can work a crowd to this level but it’s not just his showmanship that is impressive, his vocal ability is superb. Holding growls for as long as he can then charging around the stage is no easy task.

With ‘The Flood’ and ‘The Depths’ (bonus tracks taken from the recent reissue of their 2011 release) causing just as much carnage as old favourites its becoming ever more obvious that Of Mice & Men are a dominant force in modern metalcore. No longer will they be playing club shows, surely the next step will be Academy shows. If their success back in America is anything to go by, a UK arena tour in the future isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. Tonight was hands down one of the best shows of the year.

Words & Photos: Emma Wallace

Between The Buried And Me Live at Sub89, Reading


BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME
w/ Periphery, The Safety Fire

Sub89, Reading
01.10.12

First on tonight’s bill is the home-grown talent The Safety Fire. The London lads play to a fairly full room considering they go on straight after doors. It seems the ever increasing crowd appreciates The Safety Fire’s techy-brand of metal and although not too familiar with the material played before them, the audiences’ reaction to songs taken from ‘Grind The Ocean‘ is positive, a promising sign for a band who are clearly targeting this market. On a completely irrelevant and non musical note, it has to be mentioned that The Safety Fire display facial hair at its finest. Their set was topped off with a glorious array well kept moustaches.

So away from male-grooming and back to music for a second or two, and its now Periphery‘s turn to take to the stage. With much loved drummer Matt Halpern being forced to withdraw from the performance due to a shoulder injury, a massive burden is placed upon the shoulders of Mike Malyan (Monuments) who has to learn the challenging set in 24 hours and perform to a hungry crowd. Well, the boy did good, there were no notable errors and he played with style, stamina and impressive levels of skill. And as for the rest of Periphery, well they owned the stage, it goes without saying Misha Mansoor was effortlessly exceptional and Spencer Sotelo domineered as a front man.

Between The Buried And Me really deserve to be playing to a sold out show but unfortunately the room is now only around three quarters full. Words cannot describe Between The Buried And Me’s levels of creativity, their captivating set travels through an odyssey of technical music; a progressive journey that climaxes with blistering riffs and intense vocals. Combing old favourites such as ‘Disease, Injury, Madness‘ (taken from ‘The Great Misdirect’) along with newer numbers like ‘Telos‘, BTBAM hold the audience in the palms of their hands. The band perform a masterclass, with a level of musicianship second to none.

Words: Emma Wallace

Must See Shows: October 2012

AUGUST BURNS RED
w/Devil Wears Prada
18 – NOTTINGHAM Rock City, 19 – GLASGOW Garage, 20 – WOLVERHAMPTON Wulfrun Hall, 21 – MANCHESTER Ritz, 22 – BRISTOL Academy, 23 – LONDON Electric Ballroom

For metalcore fans, this is quite clearly a phenomenal tour, not just for October, but for the whole year. Expect plenty of breakdowns, brutal mosh pits and many a sub-drop. Listen to ‘Meddler’ by August Burns Red and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

EVERY TIME I DIE
w/Stray From The Path, Last Witness
24 – SOUTHAMPTON Brook, 25 – BRISTOL Fleece, 26 – PLYMOUTH White Rabbit, 27 – BRIGHTON Haunt, 28 – CARDIFF Solus, 29 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 30 – WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms, 31 – MANCHESTER Academy II

Band after band said that Every Time I Die nailed it nightly on the US Warped Tour, and now over on our shores we are expecting exactly the same amount of carnage. With ETID being joined by Stray From The Path (who you might have caught with Architects earlier this year) and homegrown talent Last Witness this is a very healthy looking line up.

GALLOWS
w/Feed The Rhino
03 – BRIGHTON Haunt, 04 – EXETER Cavern, 05 – BRISTOL The Fleece, 06 – MANCHESTER Club Academy, 08 – NEWCASTLE Academy 2, 09 – GLASGOW King Tut’s, 11 – NOTTINGHAM – Rock City Basement, 12 – SHEFFIELD Corporation, 13 – STOKE Sugarmill, 14 – WREXHAM Central Station, 15 – LEEDS Cockpit, 16 – PETERBOROUGH Club Revolution, 17 – BIRMINGHAM Academy 2, 19 – LONDON Underworld

Their latest release received critical acclaim across the board, and now with intense front man Wade Macneil at the helm and Feed The Rhino as support, this isn’t just a must see show but a ‘you’d-be-really-fucking-stupid-not-to-go’ kind of show.

HILDAMAY
w/Landscapes
17 – DERBY Victoria Inn, 18 – GLASGOW Ivory Blacks, 19 – MANCHESTER Star & Garter, 20 – LIVERPOOL Format, 22 – LONDON Upstairs at the Garage, 23 – SOUTHAMPTON Cellar,24 – PLYMOUTH White Rabbit, 26 – PETERBOROUGH Met Lounge

We’ve noted Hildamay as ones to watch for some time now, and with a full UK tour to support their forthcoming album, hopefully this will be their time to shine. With Landscapes also on the bill this will be an awesome showcasing event for British talent as hardcore doesn’t get much more emotional and bleak than the way Landscapes go about it.

NEVER SAY DIE 2012 TOUR!
w/ We Came As Romans, BlessTheFall, Stick To Your Guns, For The Fallen Dreams, Obey The Brave, At The Skylines, The Browning, At Dawn We Rage
15 – UK Birmingham, O2 Academy 2, 17 – UK Manchester, Club Academy, 18 – UK London, The Electric Ballroom

Never Say Die Tours are always great but this year it features two of our favorite artists, Stick To Your Guns and Obey The Brave. Stick To Your Guns put on a hard hitting yet optimistic live show and Obey The Brave are sure to slay with their brutally heavy riffs.

PROXIES
11 – BUCKS Uni SU

If you are a regular reader of Crossfire you’ll know that we rate Proxies very highly indeed. Catch them at their live show to find out what all the fuss is about.

OF MICE & MEN
w/ Memphis May Fire, Secrets
08 – NORWICH Waterfront, 10 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 11 – GLASGOW Garage, 12 – MANCHESTER Moho Live, 13 – BIRMINGHAM Asylum, 14 – LEEDS Cockpit

Of Mice & Men are the buzz band of metalcore right now. Not only due to their ridiculously strong re-release of ‘The Flood’ which featured 4 astounding bonus tracks, but due to the fact that Austin Carlile and his band mates seem to fully engage with their fans.

STRAIGHT LINES
01 – BIRMINGHAM Rainbow, 02 – NORWICH Waterfront, 04 – KINGSTON New Slang, 05 – BRIGHTON Hydrant, 06 – SOUTHAMPTON Joiners, 07 – EXETER Cavern, 10 – BRISTOL Thekla, 11 – OXFORD Jericho, 12 – MILTON KEYNES Craufurd Arms, 13 – READING Face Bar, 15 – LONDON Barfly, 16 – CARDIFF CF10

After releasing their second (and awesome) album, ‘Freaks Like Us’ earlier this year, check out Straight Lines as they embark on an expansive UK tour.

THE DANGEROUS SUMMER
01 – EXETER Pheonix, 02 – SOUTHAMPTON Mo’Club, 03 – BRISTOL Trinity, 04 – NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms, 05 – GLASGOW Garage, 07 – MANCHESTER Club Academy, 08 – NORWICH Arts Centre, 09 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy 2, 10 – LEEDS Cockpit, 11 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 12 – KINGSTON Fighting Cocks

After releasing one of the albums of 2011 in ‘War Paint’, The Dangerous Summer have become firm favorites at Crossfire HQ. This October they are hitting the road with another of our loves, Don Broco.

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
15 – LONDON O2 Brixton Academy, 17 – LONDON O2 Brixton Academy, 18 – MANCHESTER O2 Apollo, 19 – GLASGOW O2 Academy, 20 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy

It appears everyone has a place for The Gaslight Anthem in their hearts, and rightly so. After a releasing another timeless album ‘Handwritten’ and performing a euphoric set at Reading & Leeds, The Gaslight Anthem are ready to take full control of the UK.

TRIVIUM
w/ As I Lay Dying
15 – MANCHESTER Ritz, 16 – GLASGOW O2 ABC, 17 – BIRMINGHAM HMV Institute, 19 – BRISTOL O2 Academy, 20 – NORWICH UEA, 21 – LONDON Shepherds Bush Empire

A titan of modern metal, Trivium, joined by one of the godfathers of metalcore, As I Lay Dying, in arguably intimately sized venues… this is going to be amazing.

Basement


Basement
Colourmeinkindness

[Run For Cover Records]

For only their second album, Basement’s ‘Colourmeinkindness’ oozes with maturity and sophistication. After just one play through its timeless nature is overwhelming, you sense you’ve have heard it before, but not in a negative, generic way; more in the sense that it has the overall feel of a classic.

The rasping vocals and chugging riffs of opener ‘Whole’ kick the record off to a great start and what’s most pleasing is that the rest of the album is just as strong. Although ‘Covert’ drops the tempo, the level of emotion rises as surly lyrics drone over the music in an almost Nirvana-esque style. It’d be easy to analyze each track positively, every song on the album is beautiful. But it’s lead single ‘Spoiled’ that sums up ‘Colourmeinkindness’ in all its glory. The engaging vocals delivered in a soothing nature contrast against a guitar tone reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate and Silverchair. ‘Spoiled’ and ‘Colourmeinkindness’ as a whole provide a breath-taking juxtaposition between peace and rage.

With Thrice leaving a void that needed to be filled by a modern emo/post-hardcore band, Basement look like the perfect contender. However after announcing a shock indefinite hiatus which will commence after the release of ‘Colourmeinkindness’ we are again left waiting for the next king to take to the genre’s throne.

It’d be fair to say Basement have made an impact on many hearts in a short amount of time. ‘Colourmeinkindess’ sends them out on an undeniable high leaving one to contemplate what great things this band could achieve if a future was still ahead of them.

Words: Emma Wallace

New Crystal Castles Material

Electronic duo Crystal Castles have announced their next record (III) will receive a global release on November 5th and is the first of their full-lengths to be produced entirely by Ethan Kath. The band have also revealed the album’s artwork.

After performing it live at Reading Festival, new single ‘Wrath of God’ was aired on Radio 1 by Zane Lowe on Wednesday 26th September. ‘Wrath of God’ and ‘PLAGUE’ (both from ‘III’) are now available to stream below and on the band’s Soundcloud.

Make sure you catch Crystal Castle’s dynamic live show as they hit the UK this November.

NOVEMBER
22nd – BIRMINGHAM Institute
23rd – NORWICH Norwich U.E.A.
24th – LONDON Brixton Academy
26th – GLASGOW ABC
27th – LEEDS Academy
28th – MANCHESTER Academy

ESO

ESO
‘Nothing Left To Lose’
ESO_album_review_Nothing_Left_To_Lose

Born from the ashes of old band esOterica, ESO‘s debut ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ is a bold revival that depicts the struggles of a band attempting to make their desired mark on an impossible industry.

The production of the record is beautiful, so it comes as no surprise to find that producer Matt Hyde (Slipknot, Fightstar) was the master behind the tracks. The overall vibe of ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ is that of an epic theatrical performance, it seems that’s esOterica touring experiences with Marilyn Manson and HIM have influenced ESO’s work on this album for the better.

The record’s stand out track comes quite early on; appearing at number three, ‘The Divide (feat.Wizard)’ sees the band perfect electronic rock, with subtly remixed elements and powerful vocals, its a song that could easily dominate a radio playlist, a club or gig. Just as Pendulum did with tracks such as ‘Propane Nightmares’, ESO have accomplished full crossover appeal with ‘The Divide’.

Unfortunately, ‘The Divide’ really is the only stand out track, with the twelve others becoming much of a muchness. Although the album runs smoothly each track needs to have more differentiation to turn this from a solid debut to an awesome album, perhaps 13 songs was a little overambitious and ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ would have been better constrained to 10 more varied songs for ESO to show off their talent.

Words: Emma Wallace

Deaf Havana

Deaf Havana
‘Fools And Worthless Liars – Deluxe Edition’

I have to admit, when I first heard Deaf Havana‘s material after the departure of unclean vocalist Ryan Mellor, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disheartened. It really lacked the punk bite that their early work was full of. But eventually 2011’s ‘Fools And Worthless Liars‘ began to grow on me, and I’d happily put it up there as one of the most solid rock albums to come from the UK that year.

Via a short documentary put out in summer 2012, the band announced they would be re-releasing the album later this autumn. Rather than just doing some fancier album artwork and a couple of bonus tracks, Deaf Havana went the extra mile and re-recorded the whole thing. Ever the pessimist and never fully content, front man James Veck-Gilodi admitted he didn’t feel the album completely reflected his taste in music where as this re-release does.

All of the songs have been reworked, some slightly, others completely, making the album a totally different listen to the record that appeared first time around. Tracks that were previously acoustic are now performed as a full band and rockier numbers are now toned-down gems. Its beautiful. Lets pick a few stand out tracks to discuss…

Opener ‘The Past Six Years’ feels like its heavily influenced by Irish Rock (think Flogging Molly), and despite being a million miles away from DH records such as ‘It’s Called The Easy Life’ it gets this album off to an optimistic and quite literally stomping start. Piano and vocal track ‘Anemophobia’ is absolutely stunning. Broken down to structurally core elements, James Veck-Gilodi sounds vulnerable and desperate against the lonely notes. Its a heart wrenching performance that could connect with even the emptiest of souls. During ‘Hunstanton Pier’ the guitar tone adds nostalgia and brings the lyrical content to life, but its ‘I’m A Bore Mostly’ that epitomises why this album is a must have.

The recording process of using multiple microphones placed around an old warehouse is slightly bizarre but the effect it has on the track puts it into a different dimension. As the music reverberates through your speakers it feels as if you are there with James as he passionately performs. Even the sound of him slamming the door as he leaves the ‘studio’ is included on the track, a unique element that adds a personal touch to the piece, emphasising the emotion.

Again it has to be said, this isn’t Deaf Havana of old, but thats not a criticism. Its not their early punk/hardcore style, its not their most recent mainstream rock vibe, it’s something else. It is a showcase of the band’s (and in particular their dynamic front man’s) extraordinary talent. It is a touching album which has re-worked a commendable original into something worth treasuring.

Words: Emma Wallace

Pierce The Veil Live at The Underworld

PIERCE THE VEIL
w/Crown The Empire, The Getaway Plan

The Underworld, London
21st September 2012

It’s a great feeling when you can sense excitement in the air. Tonight’s show at Underworld sold out long in advance and every punter inside this dungeon like venue is experiencing the same static charge that makes neck hair stand to attention. Senses are heightened as the show kicks off.

First on are Australian rockers The Getaway Plan. After a short hiatus the boys are over on our shores to seduce with their impressive melodies. Definitely the most mainstream of all acts on the bill tonight, but there’s no shame in that when the sophisticated ‘The Reckoning‘ is delivered to perfection. The Getaway Plan perform solidly, and will most definitely have drawn in a few new fans with their set.

Crown The Empire are what many dislike about metalcore these days. Their gimmick laden nonsense wins the hearts of the crowd but would see metal gods of the past turning in their graves. Random dustup elements, generic riffs and mock brutal breakdowns with dual clean and screamed vocals defines their music. Imagine The Blackout combined with Asking Alexandria finished off with an overdose of American sleaze. In their matching suits and styled haircuts Crown The Empire are every scene kid’s wet dream. Fair play to the band, they know what is working in the market currently, they will develop a loyal following from younger metal fans, but their musical integrity is questionable.

Just like with Crown The Empire, the average age of a Pierce The Veil fan at the Underworld tonight seems to be about 16. But the difference with Pierce The Veil is that their music can appeal to a much wider audience than those screaming in front of them; their music isn’t made to target a particular market, their sound feels sincere and a genuine combination of heart-felt cultural and musical influences.

With tracks from ‘Collide The Sky‘ now making a welcome appearance on PTV’s set list, their repertoire has been turned up a notch. The fast paced ‘Hell Above‘ makes for a triumphant opener that instantly portrays the bands intent to make this show a great one. ‘Bulls In The Bronx‘ contains one of this years sweetest solos and proves to be song structure excellence in a live environment. Old favourites like ‘Caraphernelia‘ and ‘Bulletproof Love‘ result in mass sing-alongs and crowd surfing frenzies. Ending with ‘King For A Day‘ sums up Pierce The Veil’s dominance, they own this show and have performed impeccably tightly in this crowed sweat box.

Pierce The Veil provide a masterclass tonight. Although they could be battling in an over saturated market, they are carving their own way, breaking out and away from stereotypes with something unique and undeniably special.

Words & Photos: Emma Wallace

Streetfight Silence

Streetfight Silence
‘Cutting Strings’

[Angry Badger Records]

On first listen Streetfight Silence’s debut seems slightly average, not exactly an album to shout about. But in fact this record is one of those that slowly but surely reels you in with the catchiest of choruses and hook laden tracks.

‘Low’, ‘Find Me’ and ‘White Flags’ are textbook pop-punk. Think back to early You Me At Six and Fall Out Boy, back when their music had grittier riffs yet still a strong ear for melody. Streetfight Silence have their own melodic genius in Russ Merry whose vocals are exquisite. Merry hosts a range that even idols Josh Franceschi and Patrick Stump would be proud of.

Surprisingly the stand out track from Cutting Strings is ‘6th November’ which showcases the bands emotional integrity through beautiful acoustic guitar work and heart felt lyrics. A song that will certainly appeal to many a City & Colour fan. ‘Pieces’ closes the album in a dramatic style culminating a successful first record for the young band.

A greater punch in the production department would make ‘Cutting Stings‘ a true force to be reckoned with. Hearing these tracks in a live environment is sure to give them the extra beef they deserve and inspire many a sing-along.

Words: Emma Wallace

Red Bull Bedroom Jam 2012 Live Final Review


Last Monday saw the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition come to an exciting climax with Dead Harts, Golden Tanks and I Divide competing head to head in a live final streamed for all to see via the RBBJ website.

The first act to take to the stage was Dead Harts. As soon as the northern lads launched into their brutal take on emotive hardcore it was clear to see that this event was going to be a weird one. The band were absolutely caning it onstage, but with an audience made up of journalists and industry professionals the mosh pit that needed to kick of never happened.

Although also falling under the umbrella of hardcore, Golden Tanks had a different style to Dead Harts. With a swagger similar to Every Time I Die, this band wear their influences on their sleeves. Personally I’ve seen this act numerous times before and they’ve torn the stage apart, but tonight it is a more restrained performance. Maybe the pressure of the strange setting has to the boys. Nonetheless James Illsley nails a sweet solo and Tanks’ performance is an overall success.

I Divide bring a whole different approach to the final, more than anything they are a straight up rock band, the sort of thing that would dominate a more versatile radio playlist. Vocalist Tom Kavanagh sinks into the performance, he is completely overpowered by the music and barely opens his eyes throughout their set, either that or he’s ridiculously nervous. It’s probably the least energetic performance, but sound wise the most refined, a polished effort from a solid band.

As far as interludes go, having Don Broco play a surprise set as the votes are counted isn’t bad! If I Divide looked polished, Don Broco are on another level of professionalism, ‘Priorities’ is rock music at its finest. Front man Rob Damiani even manages to get the surly press filled crowd a bit hyped up. Don Broco have really stepped up their game from the early days and it’s delightful to see the RBBJ alumni demonstrating why this competition is so significant to underground acts in the industry.

Finally, host Katie Parsons brings the three finalists together to reveal the winner. This year I Divide are crowned champions, and they look thoroughly ecstatic. Their second performance of the night to celebrate the victory is full of confidence and they justify themselves as a worthy winner.

It really is a cliché to say, but it was so hard to pick between the three acts. Dead Harts were ferocious, comparable to home-grown heroes While She Sleeps. Golden Tanks had riffs with groves as commendable as Cancer Bats but ultimately it was I Divide’s slick set and catchy choruses that stole the show.

Words: Emma Wallace