Tonight at the esteemed London Roundhouse, there is sense of unity in the air between subcultures as hardcore aficionados, pop punk connoisseurs and 7 string fanatics alike come together to experience 4 bands of decidedly different genres play a cracking show of heavy music.
Florida based Deathcore bruisers Wage War are the first act to open up the evening. Although not the only heavy band on the bill, as most of the audience is here for the Amity Affliction it is expected that these technical and challenging openers will receive a lukewarm reception from the crowd. However despite this they put on a hard-hitting show and set the bar for heaviness for the night, which will definitely be matched by the rest of the bill (We’ll wait to see if it’s exceeded).
Next to try their hand at decimating the stage are Long island Hardcore punks Stray From the Path. Not a band known for shying away from expressing themselves – the band launches into set opener “Subliminal Criminals” and the Rage against the machine comparisons are never more apparent, both sonically and philosophically. From the get-go front man Drew York makes clear that they’re not a band that exists to simply sell merch, rather one who use their platform to bring awareness to important issues- from police brutality to child abusers, which their song D.I.E.P.I.G is a stand against – you feel like you’re watching a hardcore version of Zach De La Rocha. As Sam Carter from Architects joins the stage to do his vocal bit in ‘First World Problems’ you see yourself truly witnessing a brotherhood and an important band in the hardcore scene.
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The audience is gearing up to see Amity but not before Australian ambient-groove metallers Northlane go on to give the stage a penultimate bludgeoning. Blasting through tracks from their debut Discoveries all the way to their newest release Node, you go on the journey of a band who have been finding their sound and crafting a crevice in which they live, which is somewhere within the midst of ambient, djent and metalcore. The set oozes groove from every corner, with a low end-bass thump that can be felt shaking the roundhouse to its very core. Vocalist Marcus Bridge has now been in for a good year and a half and feels like part of the stage furniture, flitting effortlessly between soothing cleans to brutal and piercing yells which serve as the icing on the cake of incredibly skilled musicianship found in all of the band, but noticeably within their skilled drummer Nic Peterson.
We have now seen 3 top-tier up and coming heavy acts, but nothing could have prepared us for what was in store from the Australian post-hardcore behemoths Amity Affliction. From the first line of “I Bring The Weather With Me” the crowd shout back and scream every lyric. Amity’s stage show is on top form today and rivals the biggest live acts, with tinsel exploding out at the crowd during every breakdown and so much smoke bellowing out from the front stage you’d think there was a volcano hidden there. The dynamic between Joel Birches and Ahren Stringe’s growled and clean vocals work perfectly; with Ahren soothing the crowd who scream back Birches growled responses with incredible gusto. .
Dan Browns lead guitar melodies come though with crystal clear clarity whilst the chugs and breakdowns from Kyle Yocum hit the audience like a battering ram. This is especially obvious within their more decidedly heavier offerings such as ‘Lost & fading’ which saw Moshpits erupting the standing area ad nauseum.
As they encore into “Pittsburgh”, “Don’t lean on me”, and “This could be heartbreak.'” We are reminded that the reason Amity seem to be so big despite having flown under many’s radars is because they manage to blend so many of the best parts of Metalcore and Post-hardcore to create a hybrid that appeals to a broad spectrum of listeners from under the sun, and thus manage to appeal to both the hardest Metalhead or someone who just listens to pop-rock on the weekends. Tonight has also been a celebration of international heavy music, with two bands from Australia and two from the US It shows that heavy bands from overseas can make their dent in the market here, and we hope the influx of up and coming bands do not stop.