Harm's Way

support Twitching Tongues + I Exist
author AP date 18/07/13 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

Having lounged in the sun for the best part of two weeks in Turkey this summer, I felt it was high time to make my return to writing concert reviews. And rather than ease back into it with some soft indie rock or pop-punk, I opted for a rather more hard hitting alternative: the first proper hardcore show of the latter half of 2013. Despite it being holiday season, I am positively surprised to find a good 50 people at least entertaining the same thoughts as me, and so in keeping with tradition, with a brew in my hand, I enter the murky confines of KB18 to behold the evening's first act.

All pictures courtesy of Philip B. Hansen

I Exist

Hailing from the Australian capital city Canberra, I Exist are - for me - musically the most interesting act on tonight's bill. Stylistically they reside in sludgy hardcore territory, and carve an identity for themselves with profuse infusions of blues. The newer songs from "II: The Broken Passage" (2011) and the "Humanity Vol. III" EP (2012) in particular tease my appetite for groovy, South state riffs; enough so that the band's rather static live presence makes less of a difference to me. The excellent "Black Unicorn" for instance, sends my thoughts toward Helhorse, though Aaron Osborne's vocals are considerably more influenced by straight-up hardcore; whilst "Mammoth Falls" bears a strong resemblance to the speed sludge of Black Tusk. I Exist handle themselves well in the live setting (the same cannot be said of the audience though, who with the exception of one enthusiastic fan remain in static arms-crossed postures throughout the band's performance); when one of the guitarists wrenches a string, Osborne fills in the musical void with friendly banter, complimenting Denmark for its super-bacon (stegt flæsk) and demanding a round of applause for the originally Tasmanian princess Mary of the Danish royal family.


Twitching Tongues

Twitching Tongues from Los Angeles, CA are a far less crushing proposition than I Exist, taking a more old school punk inspired approach, with vocalist Colin Young utilising almost exclusively clean vocals. Even so, however, Twitching Tongues are still very much a hardcore band, as is proven by their penchant for injecting a weighty breakdown here and there, a gesture that seems to go down well with tonight's audience. Musically Twitching Tongues fuse such a vast array of influences (allegedly ranging from Type O Negative through Mercyful Fate to Obituary!) that I am hard pressed to slot them in any one genre, and consequently I find it difficult also to latch onto any particular aspect of their music. They're a more energetic bunch than I Exist to be sure, but they do little to tempt my interest with their songs.


Harm's Way

By far the most brutal band on the bill tonight, Chicago, IL based Harm's Way approach hardcore completely without reins, and the result is an urgent and off-hinged performance which to my surprise clocks in at just 25 minutes. It's all well and good though as the band's songs tend to be brief blasts of flaming fury, and in terms of their live presence Harm's Way put the preceding acts to shame with an all-shattering barrage of cacophony. If you haven't had the chance to experience Harm's Way live, then perhaps the most informative thing to say here is that their vocalist is called Judge Hammers and, despite being somewhat short, is one of the most outrageously muscular frontmen I have seen aside Brandan Schieppati and Tim Lambesis. It's a look that gives Harm's Way an air of threat, especially when this monstrous mass of biceps and pegs is darting all over the place flanked by the equally frenetic guitarist Bo Lueders. A short but sweet assault of uncompromising hardcore.


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