Asking Alexandria

support While She Sleeps + Motionless In White + Betraying The Martyrs
author PP date 25/01/13 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

You may wonder what a 27-year-old dude is doing amongst a sea of teenagers at an Asking Alexandria show in Amager Bio. I'm wondering that myself as I glance around the venue and find it full of misfits and misunderstood kids venting their frustration through these types of bands. But then it dawns upon me that for this generation, a lineup consisting of Asking Alexandria, While She Sleeps, Motionless In White and Betraying The Martyrs is essentially the equivalent of us older fans seeing As I Lay Dying, Darkest Hour, Killswitch Engage and UnderOATH at the same show. It's a solid package lineup with some of the most hyped bands within the metalcore and post-hardcore scenes, so I figured it's a great opportunity to check out what sort of material excites the scene these days.

Betraying The Martyrs

Betraying The Martyrs

The venue is only half full at this point because of an enormous line outside the venue (and subsequently to the wardrobe), but French symphonic deathcore band Betraying The Martyrs receive a solid reception and incite a few mosh pits, and even a huge wall of death in short order. Soundwise, they have some issues, because the symphonic element in their sound is almost completely drowned by the guitars and the drums, so a large chunk of their natural sound is missing tonight. Their keyboardist compensates though by spending all of his free time in doing crazy jumps, pacing across the stage, and even throwing himself into the crowd in a great display of energy. The rest of the band is convincing, too, even though the synchronized head banging does occasionally feel a little too rehearsed. The mixture of brutal growling, punishing deathcore musicianship, and emo clean croons is exactly what the crowd wants, because the pits are massive, intensity levels are high, and more and more people gather towards the stage to watch Betraying The Martyrs tear it apart. It's all one big flow of hair and energy on stage - this is how bands need to look like to convince skeptics.

8

Motionless In White

Motionless In White

Motionless In White is the first band on tonight who really looks scene. Their latest album suggests a newly discovered love for industrial / gothic music, with especially Marilyn Manson being a strong influence. This is further reinforced by the look of their vocalist, who sports face paint and a weird haircut that would fit in very well with the Manson band. Tonight, MIW play less material from the new album, which is good, because it's by far their weakest material to date. Instead, we get a couple of hits from that album, otherwise the focus is on older material. But despite the constant high pitch screaming by teenage girls, MIW are nowhere near as entertaining to watch live as Betraying The Martyrs were just before. They are more static, with less movement, and no jumps, although they still look and feel imposing on stage. At least in the beginning. It does get a little anonymous and bland towards the end, but since their music is practically geared towards an Asking Alexandria audience, they do well anyway in the eyes of the crowd. It's a solid support set that even receives a couple of small sing alongs, but they need more enthusiasm like Betraying The Martyrs, who simply played their hearts out right before them.

While She Sleeps

It doesn't take long for the room to clear up a bit once While She Sleeps start their set, probably because their take on metalcore is far more rooted in hardcore both in terms of sound and showmanship than any of the other bands tonight. They are loud, abrasive, and aggressive, and don't use many clean vocals, so the crowd doesn't get them the same way, even though it's obvious to anyone with ears that While She Sleeps are the best band on the bill strictly in terms of musicianship and songwriting. They have a small, but loyal following, who form an enormous circle pit stretching almost from side to side at Amager Bio, and ensure most people are clapping, jumping up and down whenever the band requests it, but there's just no way around it: While She Sleeps have the weakest overall response tonight, probably because they are the least emo band on the bill. In the past, they've been all over the place on stage, frantically storming across the stage almost The Chariot style, but they've calmed down since those days and only display brief moments of insanity tonight. It's more restrained, but still energetic enough to keep me entertained for the good 40 minutes that the band is on stage. They could've passed on creating another wall of death, though, because it's starting to be so cliché if you ask me.

Asking Alexandria

My ears are about to explode from high pitch screaming as Asking Alexandria finally take the stage, but then again that is to be expected from a crowd of 15-year-old girls. Why's that important to this review, you ask? Because I think it's fucking creepy that a 22-year-old guy is playing to 15-year-old girls (and in some instances, younger), while collecting bras to his mic stand. But then again, I'm just being a jaded old man because everyone at the venue seems to be really into Asking Alexandria's set. I get it: they have good showmanship, and their less aggressive passages sometimes bring to mind Papa Roach (seriously). It's a deadly combination for youngsters still in the process of discovering new music.

Asking Alexandria

However, it still feels a little bit off. The electronic passages in particular are quite funny, because half the crowd is trying to create a mosh pit while the other half looks like they're ready to start a rave. There seems to be that sort of confusion going on throughout their set, except for the mechanical breakdowns, which are plentiful in today's menu. These aren't always so bad, but especially the STUPID...FUCKING...WHORE breakdown is. Seriously. Fucking. Stupid. It's honestly retarded, and people should be able to see through that shit. It's moments like these that I think about those classic As I Lay Dying shows where the riff dynamics were excellent and the song didn't consist of endless breakdowns like most AA songs seem to do.

Asking Alexandria

Another part that annoys me throughout the night is the almost complete lack of enthusiasm from the band. Where all other bands have at least played with passion, Asking Alexandria look and feel like they're playing from a platform above like rock stars instead of as equals, as part of the scene. The other vocalists have all spent some time down by the barrier, but not Danny Worsnop. It begs the question to be asked, why not? But more importantly, it removes any intimacy or personal vibe the show could have had otherwise. The magic of a great show is missing, and at times it feels like everyone is just waiting for their biggest songs to come, even to an extent that some of the support bands had a greater crowd reaction overall. Even the more famous songs receive only small sing alongs instead of the echoing ones I had been expecting (well, aside from the OH...MY...GOD breakdown part, of course). But that's probably due to the reality that so far every band that has played before them has been far better musically than these guys. And definitely more genuine. The AA performance feels fake in comparison, simple as that, and fake does not earn many points in our books.

Photos by: Julie Weitmann Decome

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