Darkest Hour

support Between The Buried And Me + Misery Signals
author PP date 13/12/06 venue Islington Academy, London, UK

The last two years have seen the rise of 'supertours' in Europe to the delight of music fans all around the continent. This year's Taste Of Chaos tour featured the emo-lover's dream lineup, Deconstruction tour last year had some of the most up and coming punk acts, and time and time again we see bands flying across the pond in groups where all bands are capable of doing a headline tour without the help of each other. Tonight was the time for one of the most anticipated tours UK and London has seen this year, when Darkest Hour brought over Between The Buried And Me and Misery Signals - a lineup over which most metallic hardcore fans nearly fainted when it was announced several months ago. After all, Darkest Hour did release the best album of 2005 if not the decade, and Between The Buried And Me's latest effort "Alaska" has risen into a cult status within the genre as well, and Misery Signals' newest album "Mirrors" has seen great response from the press and fans alike.

Misery Signals

Islington Academy probably wasn't ideal for tonight's lineup, where a less polished, more darker venue like the Underworld would've done better instead of the glossy Carling Academy Islington, and the fact that there were still tickets available to the show at doors told me that Underworld could've sold out, but Islington's 800-capacity venue saw the lineup only fill the floor with the upstairs completely closed from general public. Misery Signals was the first band to kick off, and a surprising portion of the venue attendants was dancing along with horns in the air to their belligerent hardcore songs filled with subtle melodies. The band strolled through a couple of old songs, with frontman Karl Schubach aggressively running from side to side on the stage, delivering ear-bursting hardcore like it should be delivered: no gimmicks and no stage tricks to compensate lack of talent some bands have, just pure energy-dominated passion for the music. "The Failsafe" from the latest album "Mirrors" stirred the greatest response from the crowd, with minor singalongs around the crowd, with people screaming "An act of desperation" at full volume. The pits looked evil and at least myself I tried to avoid the scene kids doing the 'trendy mosh', meaning clenched fists and hyperactive helicopter rotor-style movements purely meant to cause as much damage as possible to anyone standing by. Great opening act, which got the crowd excited for Between The Buried And Me.

Between The Buried And Me

It would've been easy to mistake Between The Buried And Me to be the headliners tonight, as within my vision a lot more people were wearing their shirts than Darkest Hour's, and the response they got as soon as they entered the stage was mindblowing. This is understandable though, as "Alaska", much like Darkest Hour's "Undoing Ruin", is widely considered as one of the best albums of the decade, and given that the band had never played in the UK before, the Darkest Hour crowd had been infiltrated with countless BTBAM fans from all around London. It's fair to say people tonight were expecting one hell of a performance, but I don't think anyone was prepared for the behemoth of a show Between The Buried And Me put on tonight. They were simply the heaviest, most brutal, most passive-aggressive band I've ever seen on stage, and especially Tommy Rogers will haunt my nightmares for weeks to come after the show. Today, as I am writing the review, a vivid image of Tommy standing on stage with a born-to-kill expression on his face, doing his incredible growls and changes in pitch and pace effortlessly while using his hands like the dictator's you've seen on video recordings during your history classes. Tommy simply dominated the crowd, he implicated fear on us and delivered his vocals in a manner that was shaking the whole venue. His repulsive, grotesque vocals were contrasted by the overwhelmingly beautiful melodic passages which were, like all other parts, note-by-note perfect. I don't think anyone could have avoided cold shivers on their backs during "Selkies: The Endless Obsession" or singing along with their arms raised high during the beautiful choruses of "All Bodies". The venue was so engaged, that it truly looked like everyone in the crowd tonight had come to see Between The Buried And Me only. I wrote in my review of "Alaska" last year that I would buy a ticket to see the band "just to see if it's even remotely possible to pull this off live", and the answer to my question is: Yes, and it will blow you mind.


Darkest Hour

After the shattering Between The Buried And Me set, the crowd started to scatter from the front - that is until Darkest Hour stormed onto the stage, given their great live reputation circulating in video upload sites like Youtube and Google Video and the rumours of their previous shows in the UK. As always, the set began with the foreboding introductory feedback of "With A Thousand Words To Say But One" and the band timed their jump onto the song perfectly with vocalist John Henry starting to storm back and forth the stage straight away. This was my third time seeing the band play live in three different countries, and the third time they couldn't get the vocals working properly. First time at Malmö Festival a year ago, they sounded horrible due to the outdoor venue not being able to adjust the sound levels accordingly, prompting Henry to state "it sounds like the new Metallica album up here". The second time in Melbourne, the vocals were literally buried underneath the rest of the instruments, and it was difficult to hear Henry at all at least near the front where I was residing. Tonight, the levels were fine but John just couldn't get his vocals to sound like on the record. Perhaps he did this on purpose, or it's a new direction they are taking on the new album they are currently writing, but many of the lyrics were not decipherable and clearly audible like on the record or like in Malmö. Instead, he had opted for a much more hardcore unrecognizable-mess style they used on their past albums, which certainly added ferocity to their show, but at the cost of those precious singalongs that now only happened in "Convalescence" and the "My hell is a blank piece of paper" part of "This Will Outlive Us". Of course, this could be just a venue sound problem and it was not that radically different from "Undoing Ruin" either to be a huge annoyance. The band kept themselves together as tightly as they always do, with plenty of rockstar like guitar-lifts and highlights on solos brought straight to the face of the fans closest to the barrier. It's too bad Between The Buried And Me completely stole the spotlight tonight, as there was nothing wrong with Darkest Hour's set, which would've got a grade higher normally, but when comparing against what we saw just before, the balance had to be shifted the other way.

John finished the set with a bit of humour, starting to climb the steel pillars holding the stage together during the instrumental end to "Tranquil", and when the song finished he just shouted "See ya, I'm going up here" and disappeared to the second floor to the amusement of everyone witnessing. Overall, this tour's London stop was an amazing night, even if Between The Buried And Me came out as the biggest winner tonight, gaining countless new fans and making old fans excited about their upcoming new album in 2007. It's too bad Darkest Hour didn't play "Marching To The Killing Rhythm" tonight, because that would've topped their excellent setlist.


  • 1. With A Thousand Words To Say But One
  • 2. An Epitaph *
  • 3. Low
  • 4. The Patriot Virus
  • 5. Sound The Surrender
  • 6. These Fevered Times
  • 7. This Will Outlive Us
  • 8. Convalescence
  • 9. This Curse *


  • 10. Old song *
  • 11. Tranquil

* = unrecognizable song, used anecdotes & Google, don't hang me when I'm wrong. If you know these are wrong, let me know in the comments, thanks.

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