The minute I stepped through the door, I thought ‘I shouldn’t be here’. It was Halloween, Kitteh and I thought that we should do something because neither of us could do our usual respective Halloween activities and we chanced upon Parkway Drive and Comeback Kid touring together. “You wanna do it?” “Hell yeah I wanna do it!” and the tickets were booked. But stepping through the doors, into a barrage of scene mullets, fat girls with too much eyeliner and brightly coloured band t-shirts (seriously, what happened to black?), was almost too much to handle. I guess I forgot that hardcore is a bit ridiculous these days.
At the merch stand, Kitteh got major props from Bleeding Through’s super awesome keyboardist Marta (“That necklace is soooo cool, where did you get it?!” “To be honest, Claire’s… the Halloween stuff is surprisingly good.” “No way!!”), I picked up a bitchin’ Comeback Kid shirt and we kicked back, relaxed, paid far too much for a VK and a coke and waited for the next band to come on, having already missed We Came As Romans, who I’m sure were very good as they had dinosaurs on their t-shirts. Your Demise, who to my surprise were British, came on and we ventured on in. Despite being just the second band on, they had a lot of support from the audience who two-stepped and floor-punched their way into a frenzy. Your Demise are great hardcore – absolutely full of energy with enough melody to actually make a song while still being heavy as fuck. They’re not too serious, but it was clear that there was a lot more depth than just ‘mosh mosh mosh’ in their sound. War From A Harlot’s Mouth were up next, but they didn’t leave a lasting impression. They were vaguely akin to Caliban, so in other words, heavy German metalcore. You get the picture.
Emmure, however, were something incredible. Glorious deathcore hailing from various parts of the US, they shocked and awed the crowd with an amazing performance. Vocalist Frankie Palmeri has a voice that sounds like a bowel movement in his throat – deep, distressing and potentially cathartic. Emmure are an insanely intense band; every song is like a direct assault. There’s no bullshit either; the band’s there to play, not chat to the teenies on the front row. I wasn’t in the mosh, but I believed it to be brutal, much like the sound coming out of the speakers. It’s impressive stuff, so definitely check them out if they’re over again.
Bleeding Through are a band that Kitteh and I have been waiting to see for a while. And oh man, they were definitely the heaviest band of the night. Marta is just so impressive to behold – the headbanging whilst rocking the keyboards was so intense she probably got some kind of concussion. The songs from the latest release sound amazing and the band were on top form. They’re so typically American though – Brandon says thank you after every song, everything’s posi until they tell us they’re enemies of everything and I dunno, it gave the set a bit of a weird feel. However, it’s forgivable because Brandon is ridiculously beef. So so beef.
Comeback Kid are also in the same boat – they’re a band I’ve been wanting to see for absolutely ages. And they delivered, holy shit they delivered. They also played a lot from their latest release and the new songs sound great; that perfect mix of crushing yet melodic hardcore that Comeback Kid are renowned for. I got a bit too excited when they played Broadcasting. The sound wasn’t as good for Comeback Kid as it should have been – the levels were a bit off, but nevertheless, it was an exciting set. While they may not be quite as fun to watch as bands like Your Demise and headliners Parkway Drive (who to be fair, are just mental), they’re certainly captivating. Not the best set of the evening but pretty damn close.
The best set of the evening, truly, must be reserved for Parkway Drive. It may have been their first time in Birmingham, but they owned the venue entirely. The set was divided into two halves – they played songs from Deep Blue, the new album first, and then a mix from Horizons and Killing With A Smile. When I say two halves, I literally mean that – a quick break in the set to change the back drop, put out some palm trees and to try and make it feel a bit more like Byron Bay. Dinghies and beach balls all inclusive too. The sound was sorted out entirely and every note in Winston’s growl was audible all the way to the back. Parkway Drive are excellent showmen – there was a mini circle pit on stage, they got the crowd going insane over an Australian football and you felt like you were part of something grander. The inclusion of older songs in the set was pretty impressive, especially Romance Is Dead and Guns For Show, Knives For A Pro, which sounded amazing. As a devotee to Killing With A Smile, I was happy. When I say I’ve never seen anything quite like it, that’s not hyperbole, that’s fact – Parkway Drive are just insane live, and insanely good at that. The new giants of hardcore are here.