Bleeding Through

support This Or The Apocalypse + Hand Of Mercy
author AP date 10/04/13 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

Wednesday, April 10th marked the 14th edition of our popular All Killer, No Filler events at Beta, and even despite sluggish pre-sales the turnout was damn good for a weekday. Good tunes were played by our DJs (in my subjective opinion and in the objective opinion of at least one other person), and as it turns out, fantastic performances were dished out by all of the evening's three bands - one of whom were of course playing their last-ever show in Denmark as part of their farewell tour: Bleeding Through. Read on to find out what I thought about it all.

Photos by Kenny Swan and Jill Weitmann Decome

Scott B. of Hand Of Mercy

Hand Of Mercy

Sydney, Australia based Hand of Mercy play very much the epitome of metallic, mosh-friendly hardcore of the Obey the Brave school of bands. They do so explosively; with the instant whoa factor that is to be expected of a band that has traveled more or less the longest distance between two points that exists here on Earth. Indeed, from the word Go! the quintet transforms into a flurry of up-and-down movement, instrument-swinging and confrontational attitude that reminds me of the Portugese group Devil in Me and the Canadian pioneers Bane. There is also a distinct Winston McCall vibe around vocalist Scott B., who bears the primary weight of conveying the band's ideology to the audience, who are sadly less enthusiastic about it all than such a performance deserves. Fortunately Scott and his pals are not ones to be fazed by a timid response - after all, it is quite likely that most people here know little, if anything about Hand of Mercy - instead using the breaks in between songs to thank us for the attention, and gradually affording himself more confidence with the crowd. Such confidence manifests through frequent strides into the center-front of the floor, where he shares vocals with a couple of guys that clearly do know Hand of Mercy and have memorized the punchlines. It's a great show, impeded only by a generally lackluster audience; one which raises the bar high for the evening's remaining two bands.

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Rick Armellino of This Or The Apocalypse

This Or The Apocalypse

Surprising it is then what This or the Apocalyse muster up immediately in their wake, laying the venue to waste with one of the standout performances of the year thus far - and one of the best I've seen at this venue since its inception. It is a performance that begins rather humbly, and I find myself only moderately intrigued during the opening track "Kill 'em with Guidance". But as "Power Hawk" and "A Damn Moment" roll in, the momentum grows and TOTA manifest themselves as nothing short of a menace - particularly vocalist Rick Armellino who, armed with a new cable for his microphone for the second song, warns us that he can reach the back of the room now and intends to rile not just the front, but all of the audience into a frenzy a show like this deserves. From then on we bear witness to a glorious tour de force that has band and audience alike seething with unhinged energy, blending into a a leagued maelstrom of flailing arms and legs, hazardously deep headbanging and oceans of sweat.

Rodney Phillips of This Or The Apocalypse

TOTA perform with such conviction it comes as hardly a surprise that very few people are not watching them right now, and one could be forgiven for thinking they, and not Bleeding Through, are the headlining act tonight. Backed by Beta's Rasmus, one of the best sound engineers ever to have graced a Danish venue methinks, TOTA deliver pitch-perfect renditions of brilliant tracks like "Hell Praiser", "In Wolves", "Americans" and "Subverse" to a crowd that cannot seem to get enough; and they do so with the stature of a band that lives to entertain. It's quite an impressive feat from a band who have only toured Europe once before, and for whom this is the first time playing on Danish soil. Here's hoping for a timely return!

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Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through

Bleeding Through

Though most people are probably still reeling from the discharge of unadulterated fury that was TOTA's performance, it is still no excuse for the considerably thinned out audience that stands in place to receive the revered Bleeding Through, for whom this is a bittersweet evening on which they must say goodbye to their fans (until, as vocalist Brandan Schieppati puts it, someone offers them one million dollars to headline a festival of course) and do so with a proper bang. There is the semblance of a teardrop glistening at the corner of Schieppati's eye on more than one occasion when he thanks us for our support and exclaims that he'd rather play to a half-empty room of people that all want to be there, rather than a support set for thousands of people that are there to see someone else. His banter in between songs may not be eloquent, but it is clear his every word comes from the heart; as a result, Bleeding Through's performance today is exactly the sort of emotive farewell show that should be expected.

The band - completed by guitarists Brian Leppke and Dave Nassie, drummer Derek Youngsma, bassist Ryan Wombacher and keyboardist Marta Peterson - cannot quite muster up a show like TOTA, but they compensate with one that is as genuine as they come, and with his enormous, muscular build, Schieppati is every bit as intimidating a vocalist as Armellino. Musically, Bleeding Through reside in much heavier territory than TOTA of course, especially as tonight's setlist draws heavily from material that was written posterior to the band's transformation from dime-a-dozen metalcore into fusing death metal, thrash and hardcore with a grandiose symphonic backdrop, courtesy of Peterson. As such, it may be the nature of their music rathern than fatigue that holds some of tonight's attendees out at the bar; songs like "Declaration", "Anti-Hero" and the magnificent "Orange County Blonde and Blue" sounds extreme even to the more seasoned metal aficionados.

Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through

Nonetheless, Bleeding Through work well with what they have, transforming this (probably one of the smallest shows on the tour, to be honest) into an evening marked by intimacy and, above all, quality. The sound mix remains perfect throughout, and Schieppati does an admirable job expressing his gratitude and riling the frontmost crowd members into violent moshing at every opportunity; from the back it is still a sight to behold, and the notepad on my phone is swiftly filling with adjectives like impressive, powerful and confounding. I'm not a huge fan of the band's pre-"Declaration" material, but when placed into a live setting, even the older songs like the fan-favorite "Love Lost in a Hail of Gunfire", "Revenge I Seek", "Rise" and "Turns Cold to the Touch" seem to exhilarate me. Indeed, Bleeding Through bow out in style tonight, and I have no doubts that there are some 50 Danish fans that go home with mixed feelings tonight, having had to accept that they might never see Bleeding Through again.

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