Once again I find myself in Camden Underground for yet another sold-out gig. This time round we have Californian metalcore band Of Mice and Men, and their merry crew of support from Crossfaith, With One Last Breath and Bury Tomorrow. Certainly a loud and wild evening was ahead of me, so I took my place on the small side balcony above the crowd and got my camera ready.
Crossfaith are the first to perform tonight and I admit to not knowing what to expect from the 5-piece hardcore/electronica band from Osaka, Japan. As they quietly glide in for sound check earlier in the day, they explode in a giant ball of insanity once on stage. A far cry from earlier, they’re a bit like The Prodigy meets Akira on an acid trip as they rock the foundations of this venue. Halfway through their set Tatsuya –the drummer- leaps out from behind his kit to thrash about wildly on stage, before seemingly back flipping back onto his stool. Vocalist Kenta barks orders to the crowd to get rowdy and the whole floor rumbles into action. Surprisingly enough, Japanese dubstep, metal and 8-bit sound effects work extremely well and the crowd responds positively to the high-energy set, particularly their own version of Prodigy’s Omen. Kazuki and Hiroki (guitar and bass respectively) launch themselves into a frenzy, and Terufumi (synths/programming) provided the rest with much enthusiasm. Wall of deaths aplenty here, and a marvellous kick-start to tonight’s events.
I believe the setlist is as follows and in no particular order: Monolith, Jagerbomb, Omen, Blue, The Dream The Space, Snake Code and Stars Faded In Slow Motion.
Extremely loud, enthusiastic balls of energy, looking forward to seeing more of these guys in the future. 7.5/10
Gallery of photos here: Crossfaith Gallery
Next up are my favourite lads of the evening, With One Last Breath. Having seen them previously supporting Asking Alexandria, they are very much at home in this line-up and are very excited to get the ball rolling. They explode into Forgive Never Forget, Spencer Costello’s trademark growls ripping through every eardrum in the place, and Sam’s clean vocals weaving throughout, a good balance which works well over the melodic guitar, bass, and pounding drums. While not as crazy as Crossfaith, they still provide a good amount of pits and crowd surfers as they fervently stomp across the stage, both vocals and instruments sounding clear and crisp reverberating around the walls and pillars. The highlight of their setlist is new song After the Suffering (official video on YouTube now), the screamed/growled verse and sung chorus formula is similar to a fair amount of bands in this genre yet it works very well here. The bass and drums’ aggressive chug create depth for Spencer’s screams, and Sam’s vocals resonate distinctly with his brother Joe’s guitar melody. Being a band that has only started to tour fairly recently, they’re definitely working hard to create a distinguishing sound for themselves. They also include From Wreckage I’m Reborn from their upcoming album as the finisher for their set; a song –for them- on the more heavier side, the chorus loud and aggressive and gets their fans’ (affectionately called WOLBies) blood pumping and eager for more.
The setlist included: Forgive Never Forget, After The Suffering, Broken, Wake It Up, Hell We Create, From Wreckage I’m Reborn.
A pleasing, concise performance by each band member; much deserving of praise. 7.5/10.
Gallery of photos here: WOLB Gallery
Next up we have Bury Tomorrow, 5-piece metalcore masters from Hampshire, who are unmistakeably the prime example of metalcore-done-right. These lads explode onto the stage with a force often only seen with bands that have been around much longer than 2006. They kick off with Anything With Teeth and Waxed Wings, and almost instantly the venue is full of crowd-surfing fans launching themselves from the barrierless stage. Vocalist Dani provokes the audience into an anthemic, middle-finger raised roar, his guttural voice steady and sure above the gravelly guitars and double bass drum pedals. I will say that after a whole evening of various screaming vocals, Jason Cameron’s clean vocals are definitive and masculine, and are easy on my own ears, boding well for the choruses of their setlist. The bass seemed somewhat hidden under the heavy riffs but it mattered not as the fans were clamouring for their heroes, swarming the stage and even during one song, had female fans sitting on their shoulders as they played. Dani looked like he was enjoying himself and climbed above the heads of the crowd onto the side of the room, shuffled along and catapulted himself into the waiting arms below without losing his composure. There’s a good choice of songs from debut studio album Portraits (2009), as well as three from their upcoming album The Union Of Crowns.
I believe the setlist is as follows and in no particular order: Anything With Teeth, Waxed Wings, Royal Blood, Lionheart, An Honourable Reign, Casting Shapes, You & I.
An impressive performance overall, giving Of Mice & Men a run for their money. 8/10
Gallery of photos here: Bury Tomorrow Gallery
Last but not the very least is Californian metalcore heavyweights Of Mice & Men. Heartthrob vocalist Austin Carlile beamed with pride as the sweat-drenched atmosphere erupted in further excitement (just give kids a bunch of e-numbered candy and you’ll almost get the same reaction) as they throw themselves into Still YDG’N. Sporting a Union Jack vest and a dictator-attitude, he commands the crowd to sing along with every song. Despite Shayley Bourget having left the band earlier in the year, OM&M have yet to find permanent filler for the clean vocal side of things, so Austin gives a sufficient attempt alongside his fry scream technique. Songs such as Ben Threw give the guitarist an excuse to disappear into and swim upon the crowd. Ohioisonfire and O.G. Loko are performed by all the lads with such earnest and force that it leaves the very foundations of the Underworld in ruins. Wave upon wave of crowd surfers swamp the stage as Austin follows suit and dives off the railings himself, being held upright in the masses.
“Each and every single person sing this as loud as you can, I’m not gonna sing a single fucking note; this is your song. This one is called Second and Sebring. This microphone is yours!” And with that, his troops sing loud and in unison for the concluding song, and I’m taken aback by the passion emanating from all corners of the room. The band aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, but Austin, due to the nature and meaning of this song (he wrote this for his deceased mother) is slightly lump-throated… hopefully understanding that his mother will indeed be proud of him and the band for their achievements. They are a band on course for bigger things for sure.
The setlist included: Still YDG’N, Those In Glass Houses, Ohioisonfire, Westbound and Down, The Ballad of Tommy Clayton, I’m a Monster, Ben Threw, Product of a Murderer, O.G. Loko, Second and Sebring.
A band on the rise fast. Precise, aggressive and passionate. 8.5/10.
Gallery of photos here: OM&M Gallery
Considering the overall age range of the fans (the majority being 14-20 year olds) they behaved rather well which isn’t always the case with gigs such as these. Everybody looked out for each other in the pits, the atmosphere was positive and there was a good party vibe throughout the evening.