Even on a rainy Wednesday evening, the crowd of the O2 Islington Academy seem hungry for the night of heaviness to begin.
Tonight was the first time I saw the first 3 bands of the bill so I was excited to see what the night had in store!
First up, SENTINELSfrom New Jersey USA. Now, what can I say about these guys? Well first of all they seem happy to be on stage. For half of the set, I was watching drummer Dave Rucki have the biggest smile on his face while smashing the shit out of his kit which is so great to see. Not only that the whole band having fun but there was no tough guy attitude from these guys which is rare in the metal genre.
The band had a fantastic sound, mixing some great ignorant style hardcore with moments of early Meshuggah & The Acacia Strain.
A great opening set & total surprise to see an opening band hit with such an impact, as soon as the show ended I had to give them a listen on Spotify!
One of the most explosive sets I’ve seen from a band for a long time. Not only did the band never stop moving, headbanging or moving around their stage but singer Ethan Harrison is an unstoppable force. Charamsitc, commanding the audience & putting on a fantastic vocal performance. The band move away from the “deathcore” title like the rest of the bands tonight & merged so many genres. Songs like “Torture World” are breathtaking & hard-hitting, the audience singing along with the melodic chorus of the track gave me chills! I hope I get to see these guys again in London soon!
Now unfortunately the next band for me fell a bit flat, ENTERPRISE EARTH. The passion from the band was there & I could see they love playing but like a few bands on the night they had a “backing track” either for the drummer’s click, samples or instrumental sections. Which a lot of bands do now, but for me when a band leans into a backing track it can take me out of the show and unfortunately that’s what happened with Enterprise Earth.
Since listening to the band’s material after the show I feel that their live sound is a lot weaker than in the studio. This might have been a sound issue for the band or just the band biting off too much than they can chew when in the studio but I hope the next time I see the band it’s a different story.
Now here comes the UK slam kings INGESTED. The last time I saw Ingested was supporting Bleed From Within, Without a bass player & new touring guitarist. Even with a change to the lineup, the band killed it like always. Tonight was just the same. Opening with “The List” the whole venue went mad, pits opened up, people started crowd surfing & the band hadn’t even played half a song!
That’s how well Ingested goes down in London!
Last time the band previewed a new track “Rebirth” now months later & released as a single it was great to see how the crowd responded to the track. Very positive I would say seeing the number of limbs I saw flying during the song’s breakdown.
During the last half of “Invidious” the power went out on stage, so none of the band’s gear worked. Where bands would fold under the pressure while waiting for the power to come back Ingested show how seasoned they are by making light & fun of the situation.
Lead singer Jason even instituted the first silent wall of death which was hilarious & even some of the loudest WWE Rick Flair WOO I’ve ever heard! Even though they are ridiculously heavy, Ingested shows off a bit of that manchester humour they have! Even with the on-stage issues, this was again a top-notch performance by the leading brutal death metal band the UK has to offer.
Just before Ingested set the world had learnt about the passing of death metal legend Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder) & hit the audience and tour package hard. Ingested dedicated their set to Trevor & before Fit For An Autopsy played they came on stage & asked for a moment of silence for Trevor which was a beautiful & tragic moment. But the audience didn’t let the grief affect the night, if anything it made tonight’s show even more special & celebration of Trevor’s life & his love for heavy music which he used to support thousands of bands over all genres.
As the lights dimmed & the band rejoined on stage & the intro to “Oh What The Future Holds” starts you can feel the electricity in the air & the band rings out a heavy open note as the crowd screams with singer Joe ““Oh What The Future Holds!!” and the front crowd & mosh pit explodes. Following perfectly into “The Sea of Tragic Beasts” FFAA show they are in perfect form. Pete & Jose keep the drums & bass section of the band tight & super heavy. They are a perfect combo together!
“ Far From Heaven” shows just why Joe Bad is one of the best vocalists right now in the deathcore/metal spectrum. His vocal range is absolutely absurd & he is a mesmerising stage presence.
During the track’s bouncy verse sections seeing guitarists Tim & Pat switch places or stand together during a play was fantastic to see the chemistry the band has together. You can tell this isn’t a job for these guys, they play because they love the music they create & love the fans!
Getting to see the band play “Heads Will Hang” is always a highlight for me as it’s one of my favourites from their past catalogue & just like every time they make the track feel epic & monumental.
Ending the show with an encore of “Two Towers” was a surprise, A very good one as it’s one deep in the new album but its fit perfectly
Even after twelve track setlist Joe’s vocals are perfect for the beautiful melodic opening of the track & hearing the crowd sing along with the last piece of energy they had was magical.
As the bad build to the bridge & breakdown the crowded pit & crowd surf for the last time of the night. Making FFAA’s latest headline show in London one they will never forget.