War From A Harlots Mouth

support Arsonists Get All The Girls + Salt The Wound + A Plea For Purging
author PP date 12/02/10 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

The first thing that has me raising eyebrows at The Rock is that there's a retarded amount of people hanging by the merch area and the back-side bar. The stage side of the venue is still closed for sound check, but I'm not sure if that's the real reason because the nearby wall is dominated by multi-coloured, BIG WRITING, br00tal graphics-printed t-shirts, hoodies and other stuff the bands have brought along. Soon enough the stage area is opened, and a stream of deathcore-cled scenesters is allowed inside, plus me, the odd one out, with only minimal knowledge to the bands playing tonight, having spun A Plea For Purging's latest disc once, same for Arsonists, and War From A Harlots Mouth only a couple of times in the hours leading up to the show, but decided that four hyped bands from the deathcore scene playing together is an opportunity far too sweet to miss.

A Plea For Purging

First up were the Tennessee-based up-and-coming metalcore heroes A Plea For Purging, fronted by their absolutely massive vocalist casually drifting across the stage, delivering some spot on screams and growls throughout the performance. The un-passionate movement from both him and the rest of the band at first signaled a boring performance to come showmanship-wise, but as soon as the band's two mind blowing guitarists took the lead, pummelling some sickeningly good melodic and technical leads at the crowd, all the whilst headbanging and keeping themselves in constant small movement, it was enough to sell the band for me. The song structures alone had my eyes fixated on the stage, changing between the good vocal delivery and the fretwork of the axemen - something mirrored by the thus far thin looking crowd. They may have been standing still for the most part, but at least I noticed everyone's head nodding and feet tapping, which is always a good sign. Of course, there were the generic breakdowns inserted in nearly every song, and if these would be cut from A Plea For Purging's music, the tracks would have a much better melodic flow and they'd no doubt be high up on people's hype-hype-hype list. The karate moshers didn't seem to mind though, and provided many hilarious moments to this writer especially because as the floor was almost empty, they had all the space in the world to look fucking retarded. Honestly, if you think this looks anything other than stupid, you should probably move to Texas. Regardless, A Plea For Purging's set as a whole was a surprisingly decent and professional affair. I'll be checking them out next time they'll be playing here, for sure.


Salt The Wound

So if the two guitarists were the highlight of A Plea For Purging's set, then the focal point of Salt The Wound was undeniably their charmismatic, hyperactive vocalist Mat Wessoly. Constantly engaged in either sprinting across the stage or jumping around, he provided the energy needed to wake up the crowd and not before long, the people were centered right in front of the stage, and it was that interaction that made Wessoly's performance feel that much more powerful and in-your-face. It always gives a better picture of a show when the vocalist is constantly leaning down to the crowd, either screaming in front of their faces or lending the microphone to numerous amount of people who - surprisingly - knew the words to the band's songs. Tonight was to be the last time Denmark would ever witness Salt The Wound, as they broke up recently after releasing just two albums, but they wanted to finish their final European tour before moving to other adventures. This, I'm sure, was another reason why the band were on their toes tonight, ignited into an explosive, entertaining modern deathcore show full of high energy songs that lended themselves for intense crowd activity. No experiments with the setlist, just the band's best songs, so pits were stretching from left to right with people crashing into each other, and on stage you had Wessoly demonstrating just how versatile he is on vocals, switching effortlessly between styles from shriek to growl to screaming all the while rushing around the stage like a maniac. Easily the best band on the bill tonight in terms of performance, shame they've broken up, I'd go see them again.

Arsonists Get All The Girls

Now the first words I jotted down my notes about Arsonists Get All The Girls were "rave metal". Those funky keyboards these guys have make HORSE The Band's equivalent tracks sound normal. The second item on my notes is "horrible clicking noise from bass guitar" which dominated the sound for the first four songs, rendering the band's sound useless for much of that time. However, the band were full of energy with lots of jumps and storming around the stage with no band member standing still, leaving the sound as a secondary priority to the spectacle we were all witnessing in front of our eyes. Only after FOUR songs was the bass guitar failure finally taken care of, and it was here that the band's atmospheric keyboard-meets-Between The Buried And Me-esque-guitars-sections lived up to what I had briefly heard on record. These dance-inducing passages were the highlight in every song, and it puzzles me why they aren't in a more dominant role as the songs would be so much better, and the keyboardist would have more to do live as well instead of just rocking out whilst not really doing anything. In fact, this band would outright "rule" if they did that. But even though the performance is energetic and good initially, soon it becomes clear that the songs just don't live up to the stage show, and I'm starting to better understand why BL graded their latest record only 5½ out of 10. This reflects to the crowd's response as well, because what was initially an enthusiastic, crazy response in the pits, ends up dying towards the end with people content just standing still and watching the stage. And the longer that AGATG play, the more convinced I become that their songs are much, much weaker compared to the two bands before. Like any gimmick-ey band, the novelty wears off all too soon, so a performance that started out as a 7½ is reduced to a 6½ show, which isn't even saved by the bassist, drummer, and vocalist all changing positions in the last song, with the first mentioned rushing into the crowd with the mic in the hopes of generating at least something equivalent of a response to finish the set on a good note.

War From A Harlots Mouth

The same applies to the War From A Harlots Mouth show, which not only suffers from lack of crowd present (it felt like Salt The Wound and Arsonists Get All The Girls had the most crowd attention tonight), but also from a distinct feeling that maybe they shouldn't be headlining just yet, at least not outside their main markets UK and Germany. "It's so fucking quiet, it's Friday, what's wrong with you guys", asks the vocalists towards the end of their set, but the answer is actually simple. War From A Harlots Mouth, for all their intriguing jazz interludes mid song, energetic headbangs, and good movement, just don't have the songs to carry the band as much as the first two bands tonight. The structures sure are complex, but as a whole, they're just not that good of a band, there's no nice way to put this unfortunately. Aside from about six or so people at the front, whom the vocalist constantly engages with the mic, most people seem more interested in re-filling their beer - despite the fact that it's not even happy hour just yet - and just watching from a distance than actually showing any kind of response to these guys. Now don't get me wrong, the band tries really hard on stage and no doubt puts their everything into the performance, but it's just not enough when you don't have either of the two essential elements to a show (songs+crowd). A highly elevated dosage of the seamless deathcore-to-jazz-to-metal transitions could've ensured that War From A Harlots mouth wouldn't have been the only band where I had to check my mobile phone a few times to estimate when they'd be done with their set.

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