War From A Harlots Mouth

support Arsonists Get All The Girls + Salt The Wound + A Plea For Purging + Desolated
author AP date 17/02/10 venue Joiners, Southampton, UK

This will be the second review of the same tour within a week, but bear with us. I have exchanged most of my London gigs this semester with local ones to avoid the chaos that is the railway between Southampton and London and to save up some money, and War From A Harlots mouth's show at the fantastic Joiners was going to be the first of many such gigs to come. Having read PP's evaluation of the tour a few days before, I had very few expectations - so imagine my surprise when the show featured an extra band from the local scene who managed to scrape the floor with the four American and German bands.


Desolated are a local band from Southampton who, according to the description found on their MySpace page, play fuckin' death metal. Everything about this five-piece screams outrage - the harrowing guitars tuned down to about drop G; the two-plus breakdowns present in every one of their songs; the ridiculous triggered bass explosions; their dubious stage presence. Against all odds, however, the music works on merit of being so over-the-top extreme - something that the band is able to transform into one of the most impressive live performances I have seen from resident bands. Vocalist Paul deserves huge applause for his ferocity, coming across in looks and voice as the long lost twin brother of Jonny Davy. When the volume is cranked as high as it is tonight, his growls, brees and screams sound downright terrifying, while the breakdowns, which border on self-irony, add to the effect. The various other band members deserve a mention too for their decimating energy, their instruments strapped so low they damn near scrape the ground. When they're not headbanging in coordinated unison or executing technical riffs, they're leaping across the stage, plunging into each other and generally behaving like rowdy, in-your-face motherfuckers. As their set draws to an end, I not only find myself blown back in awe from the sheer volume of the music, but I am genuinely blown away by a band so young putting on a performance that outshines most of their established peers!


A Plea For Purging

A Plea For Purging impressed us with their music alone, with the technical riffing of guitarists Blake Martin and Tyler Wilson stealing the spotlight, even if vocalist Andy Atkins does his best to gather a fair amount of respect himself, with a note-by-note rendition of his studio performances. There can be no question as to why he is nicknamed Dozer, because when that cannonball starts rolling, there is no stopping it. Fortunately for us near the front of the stage he prefers to move about casually and throw the occasional wild stare at us during guitar solos. Still, all eyes seem to be fixated at those alone and the performance itself is nothing to yell hooray about. Just three days after the gig I have trouble recalling much else than standing in solid awe as the guitarists unleeashed one soaring harmony after the other - except for the abundant breakdowns of course, which reminded me of the pitfalls of August Burns Red's performance a couple of days before. A decent show kept afloat by impressive instrumentation.


Salt The Wound

What A Plea For Purging compensated for with their music, Salt The Wound unleash with added gusto. Not only do the seven-string guitars sound absolutely monumental (that is, when they are not being used to generate boring breakdowns), but the performance bears all the hallmarks of a farewell show. It may be the band's last tour ever, but Matthew Wesolly appears unaffected, putting every inch of his charisma to good use. Seldom does one witness a vocalist so full of confidence and rigour as Mr. Wesolly, and while the band's deathcore-tinged music does little to impress me, I find myself owing tremendous respect to the band for performing with such glowing austerity. This is by no means the kind of show that will go down in history, but it is passionate enough to warrant some praise. Formed in 2001, Salt The Wound are the veterans tonight, and their performance is a testament to their experience - if only the music were a little more mind-blowing.


Arsonists Get All The Girls

Arsonists Get All The Girls were the odd one out, their electro-packed grindcore bearing more resemblance to bands like Iwrestledabearonce and Rolo Tomassi than the thick hardcore, metalcore and deathcore otherwise on offer at the Joiners this evening. Consequently NB and I had been looking forward to this band the most, and thankfully their performance leaves no man cold. From start to finish these boys are all over the place, swaying between impenetrable walls of grindcore noise, happy dance beats and electronics. Compared with the other bands tonight, the music is far more versatile and consequently much more interesting, and when you couple this with an explosive stage presence, you've got yourself a pretty decent cocktail. Still it's hard to let loose and enjoy every moment of it when you're not familiar with the band's catalogue, so the music, as impressive as it might be, blends into a grey mass for half an hour, during which you know you would enjoy it that extra bit more if you knew what the hell was going on.


War From A Harlots Mouth

War From A Harlots Mouth spend some time pretending to sound check and perfect the mix, but it is obvious that they are waiting for the people to get back in from their smoking breaks. Alas, it seems that the crowd has diminished following AGATG's set, which as PP put it, speaks essays about why WFAHM should not be headlining these kinds of tours just yet. They might enjoy a loyal following in Germany, but to most other countries they're that small foreign band who no one really knows. Well, except for one German dude in attendance tonight, who pulls some unfortunate kid off the stage who wanted to do some MC:ing (whatever the fuck that means at a metal show), and exclaims that he knows all the band's songs. Vocalist Nico Webbers invites him on stage to prove his worth, and what d'you know, he does actually know his shit. The next two songs are delivered with dual-vocals, which is a nice perk in an otherwise stale performance. It's not WFAHM's fault entirely, because they're still giving it 110% on stage, but when there is no crowd to please, it must be hard to remain focused.


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