Tonight’s gig is headlined by New York deathcore merchants, Emmure, who are back in Birmingham a few short months after opening for Parkway Drive at The Ballroom. Academy 2 is packed out with hardcore kids and they’re here nice & early thanks to a stella support line-up.
I miss openers, Buried In Verona, but make sure I’m in attendance for one of Canada’s finest hardcore bands, Obey The Brave. Their album, Young Blood, has been getting plenty of time on my iPod since its release last year and tonight they show what an impressive live outfit they’ve become with ex-Despised Icon frontman, Alex Erian, grabbing the crowd’s attention from the word go while his bandmates hammer out the fiercest of rhythms, all with a healthy dose of sub-bass. Highlights include the immense Get Real and Live & Learn. Their set is over all too quickly and I look forward to them returning for a longer headline set some time.
After such an immense start, it’s all the more disappointing when Attila appear, complete with sunglasses (!) and take things in an altogether cheesy rock n roll direction. Sure, the heaviness remains in the music but it can’t shroud the fact that Atlanta, Georgia residents have very little substance to their music. Most of the crowd lap it up but, for me, the end can’t come soon enough!
Thankfully, Chelsea Grin bring things back on track with a mighty performance that solidifies my opinion that they’re a band worthy of more attention. Perfectly suited to warm things up before Emmure, their brand of solid deathcore sounds so much better in a live environment than on record and in frontman Alex Kohler they have a genuine star. The whole band play brilliantly though and, with breakdowns heavy enough to compete with the best, tonight’s crowd welcome them with open arms.
Headliners, Emmure, don’t look too phased having to follow their fellow countrymen and start as they mean to go on with the brutal 4 Poisons 3 Words, from 2011′s Speaker Of The Dead album. It’s a ferocious statement of intent and, for the rest of their time on stage, the New Yorkers never let up for a second. Their 14-song set includes highlights from their decade-long career, ending with a triple whammy of Children Of Cybertron, 10 Signs You Should Leave and a final assault of When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong. Their catalogue may not have too much variety, but what Emmure do, they do better than most and their gigs are always great fun.
All in all, a fine evening of extreme heaviness. Personally, the highlight was Obey The Brave, but, with the exception of Attila, all the bands were on form tonight and the audience leave more than satisfied.
Review & photos – Steve Gerrard