Emmure – O2 Academy 2, Birmingham, 8/4/13

The Mosh Lives tour wound its way on down to Birmingham once more and a rather large bunch of noisy hardcore bands decided to make a mess in the second city. Nice. Kitteh and I took our earplugs and our tank tops/KISS leotards to our home away from home, the O2 Academy 2, and spent an evening surrounded by enthusiastic teenagers enjoying some beefy breakdowns.
Buried In Verona (2.5/5) started us off. Aussie metalcore with synths meant sexy accents but generic tunes for the most part the other night. While they were full of enthusiasm, the set wasn’t bad, but ultimately forgettable. However, with a line up ever in flux and a wildly differing back catalogue to choose from, it stands to reason that given time and a longer slot, Buried In Verona could have a lot more to offer. Canada’s Obey The Brave (4/5) didn’t skimp on the facial hair or the quality with a set to smash your face in for. Although in their current form, Obey The Brave are relative newcomers, they’re all really deathcore veterans, and Alexandre Erian and co led the Academy crowd to a sweaty and satisfied state with a series of brutal and relentless mosh-heavy anthems. Obey The Brave make no compromises and the end result is a heart pounding experience.

At first, I thought that Attila (3.5/5) were going to suck. The first two songs seemed to be more style over substance as the band paraded around the stage in perfectly chosen outfits and played formulaic songs with highly predictable basslines. But then, something magic happened. Vocalist Chris Fronzak started displaying some ridiculous range and everything began coming to life. The tone and depth of his screams in a live situation is enviable. Deeply enviable. Everything became tons of fun after that, with particular highlights in ‘Party With The Devil’. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for Chelsea Grin (2/5). While technically, everything was fine – the band were tight, competent and everything else you’d expect in the more techy end of the genre – their set was just dull. There was no change in tempo or tone throughout, and while they maintained a good rapport with the crowd, no amount of synths or snappy dress sense could save it. The second to last track displayed some promise, but went on for too long and the set as a whole just fell flat.

Ah, but nobody was really there to see any of them anyway. Emmure (4.5/5), the Queens deathcore titans, were at their finest. Frankie Palmeri is equally charming and vicious – one moment, he’s thanking the fans and reminding them to keep safe and in the next, he’s launching into a violent tirade with ‘Solar Flare Homicide’. The band as a whole fit the hardcore dynamic to a tee but with an enthusiasm and power that’s slowly dying out in the genre; at first, they’re imposing, but ultimately ready to mosh as hard as the kids in the pit. As tempting as it is to dive into the pit, it’s also just worth standing back and watching as Emmure do their thing; they’re completely arresting. The set consisted of all the classics, and not as much material from their latest effort, Slave To The Game, as I would have expected; but that left room for all the best stuff from Speaker Of The Dead and Felony anyway. Opening the set with ‘4 Poisons 3 Words’ left Kitteh positively shaking with joy. Believe me when I say, the mosh definitely lives, and definitely will continue to if left in the hands of Emmure.