Live Review: Crystal Lake w/Aviana, All Faces Down & Exiles Of Elysium | The Flapper, Birmingham

Your new favourite metalcore band, Crystal Lake from Tokyo, Japan, recently embarked on their first ever UK headline tour. We managed to catch up with their antics at a cosy little venue in Birmingham, and this is how it all went down:

Speaking of first things ever, a four piece known as Fade//Decay [7] are making their debut performance as the first support band onstage for the night. Vocalist Alex Grays screams comparable to that of Wage War’s Briton Bond, impress the admittedly small early turnout with their debut single ‘Pain/Negativity’, this band has potential to start building immediate traction in the heavy music scene.

Wolverhampton based Exiles Of Elysium [5] are up next, who turn out their doomy sounding guitar riffs in explosive bursts, while vocalist Andrew Horton chooses to spend the entire set off the stage, and a good part of it down on the floor as he churns out varying styles of screams and growls.

All the way from Austria, come post-hardcore/easycore unit All Faces Down [7]. Bringing in a mish-mash of sounds reminiscent of Silverstein in some places and Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! they manage to secure some crowd participation in the form of hand waving and repeat after me ‘whoa’-ing before leaving the stage in the hands of Swedish metallers Aviana [6]. This is where the show really begins as clinging to the low ceiling rafters, frontman Marcus Vic incites the first mosh pit of the night. And the second. And the third. Cutting their set short due to timing issues that occurred somewhere during set up, the band perform a quick stage exit, as the crowd packs tight ready for the main event.

“THIS IS A WARNING TO YOU ALL” roars Ryo Kinoshita, as Crystal Lake [9.5] reach the climactic segment of opening song ‘Prometheus’. The Japanese metalcore veterans already have the room in the palm of their hands, mosh pits have broken out and people are already falling onto the stage as the crowd surges around in exhilaration. As if the small, no barrier gig wasn’t intimate enough already, Ryo begins to hold the mic out to fans during heavy hard hitter ‘Matrix’, on occasion pressing his face right up against members of the crowd, achieving dual vocal moments and creating a for one night only, yet completely unseverable bond between the band and the fans at the front. “We got any Limp Bizkit fans in here?” Kinoshita yells through a devilishly teasing grin. “This is a special treat just for you”! Sheer chaos ensues, more mosh pits, people stage diving, more face to face action from Ryo, guitarist Shinya Hori bearing a wide smile whilst providing the backing vocals for the bands set staple cover of ‘Bizkits huge hit ‘Rollin’ as the band captivate their audience, urging them into a sea of uncontrollable headbanging.

“So, Black Sabbath are from Birmingham... what’s your favourite Black Sabbath album?” Ryo asks the crowd, to an almost universal reply of ‘PARANOID!’. “I like Sabotage” he responds. After a raging ‘Hatred’, Crystal Lake sadly only have time for a few more songs, making the odd decision to cut their latest single ‘Apollo’ out of the setlist instead of any of the older material. This is unfortunately due to the 11pm sound curfew looming dangerously near, with only time for two more songs due to the delay in stage times earlier in the evening. Despite this, they close out their set on a high with a run through their anthemic ‘Beloved’ and the crushingly heavy ‘Omega’.

Amid promises of a return to the UK in the (hopefully near) future, the band disperse to mingle amongst the remaining fans, but not before taking a group photo with the entire crowd which was uploaded to their facebook page shortly afterwards. An unforgettably intimate night with one of Japan’s finest, Crystal Lake are a band that require your immediate attention, their engaging and inclusive performance unmatched by almost all others in the genre.