Chelsea Grin, Betraying The Martyrs, Make Them Suffer, Void Of Vision, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
A cold Monday night in Cardiff that was soon about to get its ass kicked by a few up and coming hardcore/deathcore bands. It’s quite amusing to me to say that Cardiff was just getting warmed up with some very aggressive hardcore music in Void Of Vision.
They were touring their debut album, Children Of Chrome. Wearing matching Baseball jerseys (lovely touch) - Melbourne’s Void of Vision took to the stage to the piano intro of // (that’s the song name) and combining hardcore drumming and the shades of Hatebreed riffage, they got a strong reaction. A lot of people had turned up to see these guys and I can certainly see why, they brought a lot of energy and the crowd had a lot to give.
This was going to be an enjoyable night from the word go. With only time for 5 songs, they swiftly moved onto Blacklist, another song which starts off relatively slowly - it’s not slow by any stretch of the imagination but when the verse starts, the pace picks up again. Next up was Ctrl Freak - this is where the deathcore similarities came into play, bands like Emmure, Whitechapel and the headliners use what I can only describe as Linkin Park-esque turntable intros and this was no different.
The setlist was running smoothly, great choice of songs being played so far, having listened to the album after the gig, they definitely put their best foot forward and finished the set with Nightmare (my favourite song from that set - it represents everything I love in deathcore), Lifeblood and Purge. A quick 20 minute set but the band made an absolute statement. The Aussie metal scene seems to be thriving at the moment with bands such as Thy Art Is Murder and Parkway Drive leading the charge but the world is seeing that Australia can also bring the heavy. A solid set and my score reflects this simply because it was essentially a taster of the band. I really look forward to see what they can do going forward. 7/10
Make The Suffer hail from Perth and a band I was hoping to catch them supporting Whitechapel on the Never Say Die tour last year but wasn't to get to the venue in time but a band I’ve followed for over a year. With two solid albums released, 2012s Neverbloom and 2015s Old Souls, their ability to shift the balance and tone of their material in ways that don’t just culminate into breakdowns but awesome piano/keyboard interludes set the band aside. Opening with Widower, a lovely keyboard intro followed by an absolute ass kicking then a hell of a growl by Sean Harmanis. They swiftly followed this up with Ether, a single they released last year which showcased Louisa Burton’s intricate keyboard skills as well as her backing vocals and she did a stella job. Very easy on the ears. Back to Neverbloom and the kick pedals of Elergies kicked the song off and they were just tearing through their material. Finishing off their set with Let Me In and Blood Moon, ensured a brutal and very technical setlist left the crowd happy, albeit sweaty, but happy. All in all a short set which was a shame but the material is fantastic and I’m sure they’ll be round again, with a single release last year, fingers crossed for an album release in the near future. 8/10
It’s time for French/British Emmure now in the form of Betraying The Martyrs. Supporting their newly released The Resilient album they had quite a lot of time to showcase their material and from the start, one work sprung to mind, Emmure. Everything from the material to the showmanship just screamed Emmure, except Aaron Matts did a great job of interacting with the crowd. Opening with the opening track off The Resilient, Lost For Words which consisted of heavy verses and a very Bullet For My Valentine-esque chorus. Dialling it back a bit to 2010s, Breathe In Life, they played Man Made Disaster in a set that mainly consisted of material from Breathe In Life and The Resilient. With three releases under their belt it certainly seems like Phantom is the one that is getting the less love with only Let It Go - not the Frozen version and that was made clear by the band. The crowd interaction was very lighthearted and was a good laugh but the material just wasn’t particularly doing it for me, the choruses more than anything as it seemed to get a bit generic. Not much more I can particularly say about the band, the crowd loved the set and the performance which was good to see but for me, I can only give it a 7/10.
Chelsea Grin took to the stage with the haunting intro of Skin Deep in a gig that focused heavily on the new material from the latest release Self Inflicted. With releases that have seen them progress not only from a musical standpoint but Alex Koehler has certainly matured with his vocals. Skin Deep seemed to be just the warm up in a very intense and intimate gig. Continuing with the onslaught of the new material was Clickbait which caused a storm with the music media as they all believed the song was about Metal Journalism (Gulps- Ed) and with lyrics such as “Fuck your magazine, Fuck your whole team” - it’s hard to suggest otherwise. The songs so far has brought the heavy and the technical ability of the band to about an 8 but there’s always to go harder and heavier and they proved that they could throughout the set.
Following the last of the new material for the time being in Strung Out, the band cracked out a couple of corkers from the Ashes To Ashes, starting off with my personal favourite Playing With Fire. There’s something strangely satisfying about 200+ people yell out ‘Burn, Burn, Burn, Burn, Let’s Burn This Bastard To The Ground’ and suddenly the crowd intensity skyrocketed and the pit opened up, cue indoor karate flailing. Continuing with the Ashes To Ashes material, the band slowed it down slightly, only slightly mind, with Angels Shall Sin, Demons Shall Pray. The setlist so far was fantastic and the crowd were really appreciative that the band were just there to play which to be fair, was really refreshing. Back to a duo of Self Inflicted songs in Four Horsemen and American Dream, the latter being a deluxe release single of the album, I was looking to see if they would vary their older material. They dabbled with 2011s My Damnation album with The Foolish One and My Damnation.
They had the crowd in the palm of their hands. They then tried their hand at what I can only describe as a Deathcore Ballad with Never, Forever which just reminded me of a Bring Me The Horizon song. They played a significant amount from the latest album and it just showed how strong the material was. This was followed with two more from the latest album with Scratching And Screaming and Broken Bonds. Chelsea Grin didn’t leave the stage for their encore, they said it would have been a waste of time and had a couple left in the bag. There could only be two songs left and they were Cheyne Stokes and the breakdown to end all breakdowns, Recreant. I was quite sad that they left out Sonnet Of The Wretched and Clockwork but this was an absolute stella set. A fantastic night with fantastic bands. Chelsea Grin seem to be the European festival circuit this year, (including Bloodstock- Ed) by all means check them out! 10/10