support Misery Signals + Your Demise + A Textbook Tragedy + Lower Than Atlantis
author AP date 30/01/09 venue Islington Academy, London, UK

Once again I'll aim the preamble to this review at the crowd at Islington Academy this cold Friday, which, while far less problematic that than of Bring Me The Horizon at Southampton University last Halloween, earns little respect from me. What is it that drives teenagers to flail their arms and legs around without the slightest respect for those members of the audience who have no interest in participating in the pit? Something is very wrong if the vocalist of a hardcore band has to pause because a fight breaks out between someone at the edge of a pit, who probably dished out a punch in response to getting a karate-mosher's foot in his mouth, and a shirtless ball-cap-and-swoosh-cut emo kid whose sole purpose for being at a concert seems to be to hurt as many others as he can. If he is reading this, I'd like to recommend taking a look at this article. And let me finish these boring bits by once again apologizing to the first support acts, Lower Than Atlantis and A Textbook Tragedy, for arriving too late to catch their performances.

Your Demise

That I am at pains now to find anything interesting to say about Your Demise should give some implication of just how dull and uneventful the band's performance is, both musically and in their demeanor. Why do some bands settle for mediocrity when others do their everything to distinguish themselves? What's worse, the band's vocalist George Noble comes across no less faithless and unambitious as the band's music, acknowledging that he will never make it, and that we should support him now while it lasts. While what lasts? Short support slots for bands that take pride in their work and strive to better their peers? Or is he actually under the impression that brainless chugga-chugga with no structure and no character qualifies as something worth raising an eyebrow about? Okay, it could be a lot worse; there's indication of experience (enough to perform in a venue like this, at least) but what does it matter when even the jumping seems too contrived to be convincing. There's nothing here which could not have been done better by some other metallic hardcore band, even if a small number of the band's core clientele, the slam-dancing maniac, disagrees. I like to think they're too preoccupied to lay much weight to the quality of the actual performance anyway.


Misery Signals

Fortunately this next band is far less systematic and derivative in its approach; again both performance-wise and musically. Although just about any half-decent show would have done in order to sweep the previous one under the carpet, what Misery Signals put on display tonight defies even the highest expectations I have come to have for them. Stunning musicianship, a dominating stage presence, three albums' worth of excellent material, and the element of unpredictability combined, this band looks and sounds like everything that Your Demise will never be: a band with the passion and will to set themselves apart. When Stu and Ryan fill the room with the soothing clean parts of "The Failsafe", Karl spreads his arms as if to embrace the atmosphere in the sold out venue, something that he and his band can take full credit for creating. And that atmosphere is hard to put in words. It's that overwhelming satisfaction which raises the hair on your back and sends chills down your spine because the experience is almost otherworldly. All this sounds rather hyperbolic of course, and my explanation is that you just had to be there.

If ever, Misery Signals' performance tonight shows that some music reveals its full beauty only within the confines of a crowded venue; when every bass note incites a small adrenaline rush, and every melodic interlude engulfs the room leaving it mesmerized. It's shows like this, which you can relive again and again just in your memory, that make me feel privileged and proud to be a part of this subculture. Alas, a short(ish) supporting slot does this band no justice.


Architects are the shooting stars of the British scene, hailed by local and foreign press as the future of British metal; and with an album like the recently released "Hollow Crown" (a review of which you can find here) it's easy to see why. With Bring Me The Horizon's seeming inability to reproduce their excellence on record live in mind, however, it is with some skepticism that I greet this band. This is unnecessary, it quickly becomes clear, as Sam Carter seems to be exactly the kind of frontman that Sykes strives to be: kind of a dick, but convincing, not to mention able to do live what he can in the studio.

At times Architects come across like a faster, more brutal and less abstract version of Misery Signals, and such confidence merits a very positive reaction from the audience, myself included. Their setlist is justifiably dominated by new material, though it's songs like the re-recorded version of "To the Death" and the encore, "Buried at Sea" which incite the most riotous response. Still something is missing from the package and it's hard to put a finger on what that something might be. Misery Signals' show just before could of course have put just about any band to shame, which might have placed an unexpected pressure on the headliners, and since there is nothing discernibly wrong with Architects' performance either, it must be the lack of variety in the band's material that drags their grade down.

Make no mistake, these songs sound beyond awesome live, as they do on record, but their similar nature makes it easy to lose focus with the result that some songs just fly past without causing much commotion other than the continuous each-other-bashing going on in the moshpit. One way or the other, Architects' performance is proof that they can and should be regarded the crowned kings of contemporary British metal; and I for one will be seeing them again the first chance I get.



01. You'll Find Safety

02. Always

03. Early Grave

04. Borrowed Time

05. Dethroned

06. To the Death

07. We're All Alone

08. Numbers Count for Nothing

09. Hunt Them Down

10. Follow the Water


11. Buried at Sea

Photos courtesy of Martin Foot

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