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Live Review: Knocked Loose & Stray From The Path w/ Malevolence, The Devil Wears Prada, Gideon, Loathe, Justice For The Damned & Renounced | SWX, Bristol | 3/12/19

December 11, 2019

Photo: Theodore Swaddling 

 

Yep, you read that title correct. In what can only be described as an act of divine intervention, the Knocked Loose, Malevolence, Renounced and Justice For The Damned tour unionised with the Stray From The Path, The Devil Wears Prada, Loathe and Gideon tour for a one off show in Bristol. We popped down to the SWX to capture the absolute carnage that unfolded.

 

Despite it being 5.15PM on a dull Tuesday afternoon, a quite frankly ludicrous kick-off time for a large scale hardcore show, Holy Roar’s Renounced (8) instantly prove to be the catalyst for violence and two-steps aplenty. With the band having paid their rightful dues to the national scene over the past six years, the quintet’s craft is a striking amalgamation of authentic metalcore conventions from the golden age of the genre, with content from this year’s Beauty Is A Destructive Angel bridging the gap between the historic roots of the genre and the razored edge state of the current scene. With the early birds taking advantage of the room available to partake in the art of no contact moshing, it’s easy to see why the Reading band are often regarded as one of the most brightest flames in modern metalcore.

 

Easily the group that have travelled the longest distance for this show and respective tour, Sydney’s Justice For The Damned (7) appear to be an original proposition for the majority in attendance. Yet, with their scorched material, it’s one that leaves a lasting memory. Brutalising and callous, the band’s urbanite hardcore and grit coated deathcore play into the hands and ideals of the core orientated gathered here.

 

Lashings of neurotic black metal stampeding and murderous sonic bludgeoning animate violence within the crowd swiftly and directly appeases the more deathcore inclined within the horde now flooding into the venue. Whilst this may be Justice For The Damned’s first excursion on our shores, going from the melee taking place, it’s clear that their travels to our distant land are more than worth the trouble.

 

Photo: Theodore Swaddling 

 

With the SWX now pushing maximum capacity, this set feels like the natural culmination of Loathe’s (9) success thus far. Blinding and skirmishing, Loathe are a flurry of contemporary white hot rage, with tracks from 2017’s blistering The Cold Sun placing them among their headlining peers in terms of excellence. Whilst the national alternative scene has sang Loathe’s praises for a few years now, this set truly showcases the sheer astounding excellence that the Northern innovators retain.

 

However, what truly amplifies their supremacy is content from their forthcoming sophomore full length I Let It In And It Took Everything, with the recently released ‘Gored’ seeing limbs and appendages violently clashing to the Meshguggah-esque tones ratting the venue. Going from this set, Loathe will certainly violently scramble to the very summit of the national scene in the coming year.

 

With their subtle nu-metal influence within their sauntering and confrontational sound, it’s no suspire that Gideon (7) ignite the pit within seconds of launching into their set. Whilst the notion of nu-metal conventions in an environment such as this may seem contrasting, tracks from the group’s latest record Out Of Control are completely free of the stagnant and cliched tropes that plague the genre and the perception that stereotactically surrounds it.

 

Crashing through the fierce ‘2 Close’ and ‘Style’, whilst American metalcore may not completely align perfectly with those seeking beatdown and authentic sonic violence at it’s most challenging, there’s a level of iron integrity within Gideon’s sound this evening, with their craft adhering to the ethos of hardcore. Closing this brief encounter with ‘No Love/No One’ it’s easy to see why this band have quickly gained a swarm of diligent fans over the past several years.

 

Photo: Theodore Swaddling 

 

It would be difficult to host a celebration of hardcore and metalcore without the inclusion of the trendsetting The Devil Wears Prada (7). Now in their 14th consecutive year of activity, it would be perfectly understandable if the band where adjusting to a slower pace in the recent years. However, for the majority, the Ohio pioneers are still as formidable and as intense as ever before.

 

Riding high following the release of their 7th full length The Act, whilst the introspective and enigmatic content from the release may be unknown to the vast majority, it’s clear that The Devil Wears Prada know their place as a band that once introduced many to the wonders of metalcore many moons ago. Understandably, there’s a light dusting of material from The Act present, content that highlights the growth of the band recently, but for the majority this is a set that’s catered for those who grown up alongside them.

 

The instant blasts of ‘Danger: Wildman’ and ‘Assistant To The Regional Manager’ immediately awakens the inner adolescent within the older millennials present and the introductory chainsaw sample of ‘Anatomy’ is a recipe for instant bedlam. It’s a moment that swiftly harkens the fact that The Zombie EP is still one of the best American metalcore records ever released. Whilst the genre figure heads could have spent their fleeting set obnoxiously pushing their latest record, The Devil Wears Prada provide a performance that highlights just why they’ve been heralded as one of the most prominent metalcore bands for so many years.

 

Photo: Theodore Swaddling 

 

Out of all the eight bands playing this behemoth of a lineup, it’s the name of Malevolence (9) that probably strikes the most amount of adrenaline into the hearts of men. The brawling street urchin lovechild of prime era Slayer and Pantera, for those unbelieving of the esteemed power of Malevolence, tonight is the show that blindingly highlights the fact that this band are truly the indisputable leaders of the current UKHC scene.

 

Violently seizing the attention of the SWX with a vice grip, Malevolence are a band that just instantly cause ultraviolence in their wake. Even with the SWX now seemingly past maximum capacity, the arrogant and obnoxious ‘Condemned To Misery’ and ‘Severed Ties’ see the hardcore aficionados gathered attempting to two-step and crowdkill to the fierce benevolent sonic art being forced upon the Bristolian population. It’s a set of nonstop motion and energy, one that radiates the hulking violence and aggression that Malenovece are renowned and feared for.

 

Even with their set being a brief blast of musical aggression, a constituent trickle of bloodied injured flee the melee whilst clutching busted noses and split lips. Certainly, such a sight to those new to this scene and genre will find this alarming, but it’s merely path of the course for those who have witnessed Malevolence before. However, the premiere of new content in the form of ‘Keep Your Distance’ suggests the fact that Malevolence are on the cusp of releasing their most volcanic work to date, with the ironised downtuned leads of the track whipping the SWX into a flurry of aggression. With their forthcoming album being teased as one of their most aggressive records to date, it’s clear that Malevolence are only beginning to tighten their grip on the UKHC scene.

 

Photo: Theodore Swaddling 

 

When Stray From The Path (9) first visited Bristol they played to less than ten people at the now renamed The Croft. Even then, there was something evidently special about this band. Everyone present on that unassuming night just knew it was just a matter of time before Stray found themselves the subject of global praise. With that in consideration, it’s not particularly surprising to see the hardcore crossovers storm a large venue such as the SWX - but it certainly is gratifying. Launching headfirst into the political venom of ‘Fortune Teller’ and ‘The Opening Move’ prior to igniting a chain reaction of movement with ‘Outbreak’, Stray From The Path are a whirlwind of righteous chaos.

 

Battering the South West with a double tap of barraging riffs and venomous lyrical onslaughts, the band are untameable and inconsolable. It’s simply impossible not to be infected by the group’s constant voltaic energy and motion, with the facist slaying breakdowns of ‘Good Night Alt-Right’ and “A Badge & A Bullet II’ almost buckling the foundations of the SWX from the sheer pressure. With the threat of fascism and vile far-right extremity being ever culturally poignant, Stray From The Path are a rallying point that enables the masses to fight back via the means of uncompromising hardcore energy, something that's highlighted by an archaic melody of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name Of.’

 

There’s certainly a slight contrast between them and their co-headlining counterparts this evening, but it’s simply impossible to find someone not sporting a grin during Stay From The Path’s criminally short set. An all annihilating performance of inclusivity that’s devoted to the energy of their craft and to rallying against the xenophobes that plague our society, Stray From The Path have longed paid their dues and have blossomed into something truly extraordinary indeed. A Rage Against The Machine for modern times and the modern age? It’s a lofty claim and a statement that seems obscene to utter, but truly, Stray From The Path may truly well be.

 

Photo: Theodore Swaddling 

 

After approximately five hours of nonstop motion, aggression and jubilant violence, the Bristolian population would be forgiven for running out of energy at this point. However, the packed out SWX just radiates intensity prior to Knocked Loose (9), energy that explodes in a high calibre fashion with the predatory beatdown of ‘Trapped In The Grasp Of A Memory’. As anticipated, this is a set of formidable aggression, with the Oldham bruisers fully embodying their imposing reputation with palpable malice.

 

Tearing through the majority of A Different Shade Of Blue with foaming but composed rage, it’s easy to see how Knocked Loose have managed to distance themselves from their genre contemporaries and climb the rungs of the ladder so swiftly. The band are absolute masters of musical aggression, with this uncompromising set being a masterclass on how to truly create a live experience that’s wondrously brutal to the point of being harrowing.

 

Even with Knocked Loose being the physical and musical manifestation of fury and rage, the group take the time to ensure that this environment is open to all and one that promotes inclusivity and individuality. Dedicating Laugh Track’s ‘Oblivions Peak’ to the LGBT+ community, a group often underrepresented within the hardcore beatdown scene, Knocked Loose welcome all to their masterclass of musical violence. Closing with the infamous ‘Counting Worms', a breakdown that threatens to reduce the SWX to rubble and rebar, Knocked Loose are rare breed indeed. With the floor of this venue being coated in a stew of alcohol, sweat and blood, this is an evening that will undoubtedly be cemented in local scene history forever.

 

Photo: Theodore Swaddling 

 

 

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