Emmure

support Chelsea Grin + Obey The Brave + Attila + Buried In Verona
author PP date 02/05/13 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

As I head toward KB18 tonight the area outside the venue is overwhelmed by people almost a decade younger than me; teenagers in crazy hair colours and weird clothes alongside people wearing tank tops who have barely turned 21. It's a ridiculous sight but yet one that you'd expect to such a scene-heavy show, so needless to say, I go in with little to no expectations - if not outright hostile ones - once the venue opens. After all, I'm expecting five bands who sound exactly alike to each other based on what I've been told, ones that shun songwriting in favour of a dumbed-down breakdown obsessed approach.

Buried In Verona

Buried In Verona

Turns out my preconceptions are incorrect. Buried In Verona, who originate from Australia, prove straight away that they have more to offer than mere breakdowns. Their vocalist, for instance, reminds me a lot of how Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying handles himself by projecting himself over the crowd dominantly with a thick, roared scream on top of dynamic metalcore riffs that leave the so-called 'breakdowncore' bands far behind. The only problem is that the band suffer from immense sound problems, where 80% of their set consists of the instruments coming across as crackling sounds from the amps while there's a painful amount of circulating feedback from the vocals in the process. The band has great energy and bounce synchronously according to the heavy sections of their songs, but it's hard to convince anyone when your sound is as shit as it is today. They are also visibly annoyed by the spectacle, ranging from calling out "we'll be at our merch stand killing ourselves after this show", to giving the finger to the sound guy (I assume) at one point. That said, once the sound finally resolves itself, Buried In Verona showcase an exemplary performance of energy and conviction that proves yet again that some of the best bands in any genre originate from Australia. Without the sound problems, this would be at least ½ grade better, if not more.

7

Attila

Then again, it turns out that my preconceptions are exactly correct, as soon as Attila hits the stage. They are the direct opposite of Buried In Verona: zero percent about artistic integrity and writing good songs, and one hundred percent about image and attitude. Let's start with their vocalist, who alone looks like a glam rock star with his leather jacket, sun glasses inside and a crazy rock star hairdo. The image alone will draw legions of scenesters their way, but the problem is that despite the occasional electronic theatrics, their songs are retarded. Especially the slowed down breakdown sections with deep growls, it's impossible to take these seriously because of how ridiculous they are. That said, the crowd is into it and a legion of fans at the front is screaming back the cleaner lyrics and even some of the screams at the band, but I suspect this has more to do with their appreciation of the band's image than their actual music, which, although better than Chelsea Grin's by a long shot, is still pretty bad by all objective measures. Decent energy, terrible songwriting.

5

Obey The Brave

Obey The Brave

It takes about ten seconds of an Obey The Brave song to demonstrate just how much more capable these guys are musically than Attila. Dynamic, high-octane riffs that are flush with melody meet big, anthemic breakdown sections that recall The Ghost Inside and others from the lingering melodic hardcore scene. When the band clicks like they do on "It Starts Today", these moments are back-chillingly awesome, although it certainly feels like the crowd appreciates these guys less than any of the other bands so far. That's probably to do with a) that they are more influenced by the hardcore scene and b) that they write actual riffs, unlike the rest of the bands tonight minus maybe Buried In Verona. Where the other bands get stuck into humongous breakdowns that start from nowhere and equally lead to nowhere, Obey The Brave at least connect these together with meaningful passages of actual musicianship. There is one problem, however, which is that being a new band with only one album out so far, they don't have enough solid songs to keep me entertained for the entirety of their 30 minute set. Instead, halfway through we hear a lot of anonymous filler, which is combined with the band's somewhat more restrained showmanship compared to the first two bands tonight, so despite their best songs in the end of the set elevating your impression of the band, holistically they're still quite average.

Chelsea Grin

Chelsea Grin

Now, as for Chelsea Grin, I tried to go into their set with an open mind considering I haven't listened to them that much in the past. I knew of their reputation of being the ultimate breakdown band with a bunch of scene-music passages patched in between, but I had no idea they were this fucking terrible. Seriously, how many one-chord breakdowns with low-end growls can you have in a single song? Hundreds, apparently, if you are Chelsea Grin. These are neither catchy nor brutal, they are just idiotic, and most of the time I'm bewildered by the amount of people who seem to be here just to see this band play. Sure, a song like "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is pretty catchy, what with its electronics giving some dramatic flair and the cleaner vocals adding in some contrast, but for every decent song they've written they also have horrific breakdown obsessions like"Cheyne Stokes" or "My Damnation". Interestingly, a song like "Lilith" has a sequence which sounds like it was taken from a Between The Buried And Me song, so it looks like the band can write more profound musical passages if they want to. The question is, then, why don't they want to? This chug-chug-chug breakdown shit made me want to slash my wrists at the show, because of how uninspiring and bland it really is. This despite the decent movement and energy from the band. They also barely even address the crowd, which speaks of arrogance, but also fails to create the sort of crowd connection that we see Emmure do in a moment.

4

Emmure

Emmure

Emmure, on the other hand, are a totally different beast from the get go. Not only is their stage presence strong and convincing, but their music, although dumbed-down and extremely simplistic nightmarish breakdowncore, carries a certain degree of immediacy that Chelsea Grin and the others simply don't possess. They have the most energy tonight out of any band on the bill, and they constantly address the crowd creating a strong and believable dynamic between the band. Once they delve into material from "Speaker Of The Dead", which is their best album if you ask me, the crowd goes crazy and there are even small sing/scream alongs to be heard. A few people are even crowd surfing despite the low ceiling at the venue. "Solar Flare Homicide" and "Protoman" both sound huge, where especially during the latter the screams remind me of the legendary Zao at times, which I find is a weird comparison for Emmure but that's what it sounded like that night. Ravaging screams, impossibly heavy chug-chug breakdowns, and an overall expression that's at least partly rooted in hardcore... I should hate this on paper, but Emmure make it goddamn hard to hate them tonight. "Demons With Ryu" and "Children Of Cybertron" are other highlights in a setlist that's very strong tonight, consisting almost exclusively of the good material that Emmure has written. Why about half of the people have left after Chelsea Grin I have no idea, because the crushing power that Emmure deliver their set with has left all other bands tonight far behind.

8

Crowd surfer

Setlist:

  • 1. 4 Poisons 3 Words
  • 2. Solar Flare Homicide
  • 3. Protoman
  • 4. Sunday Bacon
  • 5. I Thought You Met Telly and Turned Me Into Casper
  • 6. Dogs Get Put Down
  • 7. Cross Over Attack
  • 8. Demons With Ryu
  • 9. Drug Dealer Friend
  • 10. R2Deepthroat
  • 11. Children of Cybertron
  • 12. 10 Signs You Should Leave
  • 13. When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong
  • 14. MDMA

Photos by: Rasmus Ejlersen

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