Miss May I + Fit For A King+ Void of Vision+ Currents @ Mama Roux’s 24 January, 2018

Up first at Mama Roux’s tonight we have Currents, freshly signed to the prestigious SharpTone Records and looking to make an impact.

Frontman Brian looked confident onstage and commanded a reaction from the crowd; perhaps a little to early on to orchestrate a bone-crushing wall of death but the crowd seemed to appreciate the effort they put into their set. Their debut album ‘The Place I Feel The Safest’ (2017) contains some hidden ‘djentcore’ gems such as ‘Apnea’; a strong Holding Absence vibe with Sam Carter-esque vocals.

Second up tonight we have Void of Vision; a band I’ve met previously before last year when I interviewed them for Birmingham Live. Back then they were supporting Chelsea Grin and on their first ever stage in the UK; it was great to see them all back and still chasing their dreams, couldn’t have happened to nicer guys either. The Melbourne boys come back with a new EP in ‘Disturbia’ (2017) with ‘Ghost In The Machine’ being in instant favourite for me and ‘Grey Area’ reminding me more of Loathe with the intro but still holding it’s own in typical post-hardcore fashion.

Older bangers such as ‘Sun//Rise’ and ‘Nightmare’ are left until the end but go down a treat, lead singer Jack developing his screaming style to add more venom to the lyrics. Jack; sporting a t-shirt from an Amsterdam coffeeshop, sums up the band for me, they’re just a bunch of lads having fun and the music isn’t half bad either, UNFD (In Hearts Wake, Northlane, Parkway Drive) once again doing the business for Australian hardcore/metal.

Next up we have Fit For A King, a band I’ve heard of many times before but never actually seen live. The clean vocalist came on during Current’s set and collaborated with them; the crowd seemed to love it. ‘Shadows and Echoes’ (2016), instant classic metalcore vibe, the likes of Parkway Drive and Like Moths To Flames. ‘Dead Memory’ and ‘Disease’ followed suit, all three songs from ‘Deathgrip’ (2016) and featuring some very juicy chugs and demonic screams from Ryan Kirby.

Throughout the set Ryan showed his appreciation to the crowd by grinning and headbanging along with his long hair fluttering through the air.They hit their oldschool fans with ‘Slave To Nothing’ (2014) which was faster and more raw(r), leaning more towards the hardcore side of metalcore; the likes of As I Lay Dying. Overall, the majority of their set consisted of ‘Deathgrip’ (2016) material but I enjoyed their presence; Ryan Kirby and Ryan O’Leary blend their cleans and harsh vocals around brilliant drumming, comparisons can be made with Oceans Ate Alaska.

Mama Roux suddenly filled up with people, eagerly anticipating what was about to go down. Miss May I are an American band from Ohio, formed in 2007, just one year after forming they signed to Rise Records and released ‘Apologies Are for the Weak’ (2009) one year later. They have since released 5 more albums, ‘Monument’ (2010), ‘At Heart’ (2012), ‘Rise of the Lion’ (2014), ‘Deathless’ (2015) and ‘Shadow’s Inside’ (2017).

Jumping straight in with ‘Lost In The Grey’ (2017), Levi Benton gets the crowd going with a huge metalcore vibe, starting with epic screams and building upto a beautiful and melodic chorus with bassist Ryan Neff. Comparisons can be made with Bury Tomorrow and their nice blend of screamed and clean lyrics. ‘Deathless’ (2015) was an evidently heavier sound, those bloody chugs could’ve taken down Chuck Norris, the hardcore element is more highlighted here.

‘Hey Mister’ (2012) took me back to my Sixth Form days. The brutal sceams of Levi here are stunning and he has the crowd in the palm of his hand. Everyone knows the chorus and they sing it out loud, arms aloft. Some moshpit action breaks out but the size of the venue makes it hard to contain. ‘Swallow Your Teeth’ was ended with an insane drum solo by Jerod. Time and time again, the man holding the sticks comes up top and proves just how vital the role is when performing live.

They’re taking it back earlier, ‘Forgive and Forget’ (2010), has a specific type of snap to it, the type of sinister tone only achieved from earlier works. Levi’s vocals are much less refined and more expressive, the guitars are expertly timed around the vocals though, yes I’m going to mention them again Parkway Drive. The fans in the room truely show themselves here by going absolutely crazy. Despite the harsh verses the chorus is much more poppy and coherant, the experimental nature of the music was evident from early days, much like earlier work from Bury Tomorrow or even Bullet for My Valentine. The band were just finding their feet while writing this and it’s still reviting stuff.

‘Relentless Chaos’ (2010) definitely had much more of a metalcore vibe to it with the single note guitar work and spacey vocals, crushing down with Levi’s screams. Is this Killswitch Engage? This is left to the end purely for it’s melodic nature, everyone who knows the band knows the words and gets involved.

It’s been swell. Cheers for that Miss May I, now I have to go back to work with no voice and aching limbs.

Review and Photos: Neale Hayes

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