August Burns Red - Wage War - Betraying The Martyrs - Live Review - O2 Academy Islington
August Burns Red - Wage War - Betraying The Martyrs - Live Review - O2 Academy Islington
5.0Overall Score

It’s that time of year where festivities and merriment are rampant. Everyone is drinking themselves silly and getting into the swing of the Christmas spirit, but this year Santa has brought something extra special to all the good little metal heads of North London. A truly brutal show for those who have been waiting patiently, August Burns Red. This is a show that a LOT of people have been waiting for and where better to have than in Angels o2 academy Islington, an intimate and easily packed venue.

To get this show started we are welcomed by the Parisian band Betraying the Martyrs, and boy did they kick things off to a good start! From the get go the room is lit with a deep eerie red, then the band rushes on and brings the noise. The lead vocalist has one of the best and deepest screams around, really brining you the guttural notes you want to hear for Christmas. For a relatively small venue this is a large band of six musicians, two of which are vocalists. You have the front man brining you most of the screams and interactions and then you have the keyboardist who really puts on a show by singing and screaming from the board and then when the breakdown comes he picks it up playing it like a keyboard guitar swinging his head round like a mad man! A true entertainer. What was really interesting was their particular style, it has some touches of doom metal with the crazy fast drums and the keys brining the slight gothic organs but they really go hand in hand. When the keyboardist jumped into the crowd to hold him up for the chorus of the last song then we knew these guys truly love what they are doing. A proper opening band that deservers their own headline soon!

After the short interval, you could feel the electricity and excitement in the air for Wage War. This band from state side, specifically Ocala in Florida (which isn’t known for its Hard-Core and Metal scene) really wanted to put on a show for us Londoners. Straight away they open with a mental fast paced song with strobe lights and circle pits, by this time the venue is nearly fully packed. At this point you knew it was going to be a crazy show. They used all the tricks in the book, from circles pits to crowd surfing and in the height of their show they managed to get a wall of death! Now this is what we like to see on a Thursday night. Unlike the first support Betraying the Martyrs, Wage war has a more intense and face paced style and that’s saying something. They have a guitar, bass and drum tone that brings more a brutal metal vibe rather than a gothic one, the front man Briton Bond (no really, that’s his name) can hit these screams really well and still be able to hit these high melodic notes proving how damn good his range is. The pinnacle of their show was when they played ‘Stich’ which the crowd roared in excitement, this is arguably their most known song. Throughout this song the crowd is going crazy! Everyone is in a mosh pit and getting sweaty, August Burns Red knows how to choose their supports to get the crowd nice and limber for the main event.

Now for the reason a lot of people came to the show, August Burns Red. The venue is now fully packed and its near impossible to move around, for a photographer that’s not ideal but for a fan this amazing to see this many people see one of your favourite bands. This band is a proper throwback for a lot of fans to their teenage years in the metalcore and hard-core scene, this is the band that was the gateway to whole plethora of other bands. August Burns Red clearly felt that this show was special, they had an entire hour and a half set planned Which is insane! That is very rare to see.

Like their supports they wanted to keep up with the energy and mayhem that the evening started off with, so all they needed was some strobe lights, a shit ton of riffs, they brought that and more. This Pennsylvanian metalcore group are veterans in their genre and they wanted to bring it all, nostalgia and fresh meaty riffs. They played a heap of their older songs and a ton from their new album, which keeps their old and new fans happy. The most impressive thing about this show apart from how insane it was, is fact that the front man Jake Luhrs (who looks like he was raised by a family of lumberjacks) managed to keep his beanie on throughout the entire show. This guy head banged, ran around and just created pure mayhem without it even slipping, real skill! All jokes aside this was a really special show and it will be pressed into the minds of many new and old fans for years to come, this was one not to miss.


Photography & Review 

Thomas Daniel Pratt



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