Live Review: Emmure – O2 Academy 2, Newcastle, November 17th 2009

Emmure and Caliban join forces for a UK jaunt known as the Hard Knock Life Tour. Both a brutal, gritty perception of the heavier end of musical awareness, the name lives up to the bands. Break out the boxing gloves…

The Eyes Of A Traitor start the night off… Actually, sorry to break the fourth wall here, but who am I kidding? The band play to about twelve people, in what is an absolute shambles of a turnout. It’s a real shame because the four-piece sound like a band that should be drawing at least ten times that themselves. Their gritty and relentless tact for metal-tinged hardcore sounds clearly impressive, even with the punishing vocals being somewhat drowned out, and it’s a literal kick in the hind quarters to see frontman Jack Delany urging the “crowd” to move forward between each song, only to see nobody in the front half of the room. The polite applause that greets the band after their round is well and truly a scandal; deserving of a lot more, TEOAT still put in a gutsy performance to open well.

Minneapolis mob After The Burial get a chance to play to more of a crowd, a chance they relish. Their longer, more structured metalcore sound is impressive; full of kick drums, aggression and style. Many seem to agree, hardcore dancing and general twatting about taking pride of place on the floor and finally making this look more like a gig and less like a soundcheck. Though their sound, like arguably every other band on the bill tonight, gets samey and a bit tedious after a while, it’s the power with which it’s driven, which is arguably it’s best quality. More of the same, please.

German metalcore merchants Caliban finally draw a respectable gathering, and positively kick the living shit out of it. Those daring to venture to the barrier find themselves victim to a barraging vocal onslaught from frontman Andreas Dörner. Songs from new record Say Hello To Tragedy are a frequent appearance tonight, No One Is Safe and the bruising 24 Years sound genuinely terrifying. It’s a pity clean vocalist/guitarist Denis Schmidt can not be heard from a nat’s pubic hair away; the riffage killing off any chance of hearing any singing tonight. Tight as they are, Caliban were never the most original of bands, and while some songs may sound repetitive and stale to the untrained ear, finisher It’s Our Burden To Bleed tears up the room as best it can, given the circumstances, (though some may find the masses of goose-stepping and Nazi salutes a tad offensive, no matter how hilarious they are in person) and cements a powerful, fast and brilliant set. Roll on next year; they’re set to return for more of the same.

For an established band from across the pond, the fact that there is little over 40 people turning out to see Emmure is a shambles. Not that they seem to care; the five-piece show relentless chugga-chug and tear the room a new hole, encouraging punches, arms swinging, and all matter of hardcore dancing. For a band that can be seen as nothing more than a piss-take, they’re incredibly tight tonight. Frontman Frankie Palmeri clearly seems comfortable in these settings, and between asking his audience for assorted drugs, shows off his beastly growl. Tracks from new album Felony like Sunday Bacon and the title track itself prove to be particular highlights; there’s nothing more than brute force behind the band, but it’s all that’s needed to prove to be an enjoyable set. It’s somewhat of a pity it’s limited to circa 35-minutes, but giving a local the microphone to display his vocal skills proves to be a great if not unorthodox ending to the set, especially with said local announcing them offstage. Short set, criminal turnout, great gig.

George Cannings.

An interview with Emmure frontman Frankie Palmeri is to be posted soon!

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