6th March 2013
Bands Line Up: Job for a Cowboy, Beneath The Massacre, War from a Harlot’s Mouth, Gorod, As They Burn, Make Them Suffer
Review by Soozi Q
Bonecrusher Fest is back! This years’ line-up features some of the finest metalcore and extreme metal bands out there at the moment, including headliners Job for a Cowboy.
The 6- band- collective is covering 15 countries throughout March and is gracing the UK shores for four dates (Nottingham, Glasgow, Leeds and London).
This time round, the London show is held at Camden Town’s Underworld.
What with it being a midweek gig with an earlier curfew, as well as having 6 bands to get through, opening act Make Them Suffer bowl into the stage at 5:30pm, to be welcomed by a venue barely 30% full!
This Australian outfit has been knocking about since 2007 and were recently signed by Roadrunner Records, marking a significant milestone in their success.
Touring Europe for the first time, Make Them Suffer look set to only continue getting bigger as they will no doubt pick up more fans on this tour.
Now, I don’t know whether this is because I am what you may consider to be a fussy metaller (generally speaking, for a band to impress me they have to be experimental, unique, masters of their instruments and heavy as fuck) but I am not exactly blown away by MTS.
Vocalist Sean has a fantastically varied and powerful voice, Tim on drums entertains me with his adventurous style but guitarists Craig and Nick play it safe with straightforward riffs (except for on ‘Lord of Woe’, on which their death metal technical skills can be heard) and there isn’t a great deal of variation from one track to the next.
By the third I find myself being able to predict when a beatdown will kick off, and this is no good; I want a band to keep me on my toes, to take their music down unexpected paths!
These days, the competition is fierce- there is a ridiculous amount of bands that you can chuck in the same genre box as MTS, and unfortunately, based on what I’ve seen here tonight, this Aussie outfit just aren’t yet doing enough to make them stand out.
Up next is Parisian deathcore collective, As They Burn.
These guys have also been at it since 2007 and have an EP and a couple of full length albums under their belt, their latest being ‘Will, Love, Life’ through their new label Victory Records. Instantly I am captivated by vocalist Kevin; his stage presence undeniably draws you in and his interactions with the (now slightly larger) crowd are well received.
The whole band is full of infectious energy and their exuberantly groovy sound soon gets the audience feeling energetic too. Hints of old school thrash metal can be heard at times too but where drummer Milton adopts modern and intricate style, the band sound fresh and up-to-date.
However, I noticed one or two occasions of sloppiness from Milton, but hey, there’s no such thing as perfection. Now, this could just be where the sound engineer failed to do his job properly but the sound of the keys and synthesised sounds became completely lost amongst the rest of the band.
Another issue I have with the keys is, between two songs towards the end of the set, an incredibly irritating noise is produced- I hope this wasn’t intentional because in my opinion it sounded dreadful! Moaning aside, I did enjoy these guys but yet again, when it comes to their overall sound they lack a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ (sorry I had to); the underlying quality to make them outshine the abundance of other bands just like them out there.
Supreme tech death metal quintet Gorod is up next and they do not fail to impress.
Starting off back in 1997 as ‘Gorgasm’, the band changed their name to Gorod following the release of their first full length album, ‘Neurotripsticks’ in 2005 to save being confused with the death metal act from Chicago of the same name.
Eight years later and they have released a further three full length albums and an EP, with ‘A Perfect Absolution’ being their most recent offering , released through Listenable Records back in March 2012.
Throughout their career they have received an extremely positive reception, and tonight I can understand why. Vocalist Julien appears slightly unbalanced, occasionally hitting his own head and generally having what appear to be fits- I later learn his nickname is ‘Nutz’, and I totally understand why- but this just adds to their appeal.
I love an entertaining frontman. He is continuously interacting with the crowd and it’s clear to see he loves being up on that stage. I cannot fault Mathieu and Nicolas on guitars; stunning arpeggios, seamless harmonising, mind-blowing and creative solos…
THIS is the sort of band that ticks all my boxes! Bassist Ben oozes with funk and his enthusiasm is infectious; he is a brilliant performer and a pure joy to watch. Samuel on drums is a relentlessly fast and well accomplished player; unusual time signatures and jazzy off beat rhythms, this man appears to have been playing since birth!
The sound of Gorod is not confined to any one branch of metal.
They embrace metal as a whole and add their own progressive twist. I absolutely adore this band!
German metalcore ensemble War from a Harlot’s Mouth take to the stage next, and they have a hard act to follow in my opinion! Since forming in 2005, WFAHM have proved themselves to be a hardworking band, having released four studio albums to date, the latest being ‘Voyeur’ at the end of 2012.
It is clear from the start that these guys do not restrict themselves to the one genre either, infusing the intricacies of math metal with the sporadic elements of jazz.
Vocalist Nico masters a multitude of styles but there are times when he is drowned out by the overpowering heaviness of the guitarists Simon and Daniel. Speaking of these guys, they handle the most complex and colourful of riffs with absolute ease.
With their music chopping and changing from demonic and sludgy to punked- out, face-melting speed, WFAHM prove they are not adverse to a challenge, pushing themselves to create the most complex of rhythms.
When you least expect it, out comes a soft jazz interlude; I wasn’t sure on how well this worked as it felt a little too disjointed, but the way these guys manage to play at full speed one minute then, as the drop of a hat can completely ease off the next, is certainly impressive.
As a group, they lacked stage presence and were not the most visually entertaining band of the night, but in order to play music as intricate as theirs, I guess a high level of concentration is needed! They didn’t quite manage to impress me as much as Gorod, but they were very close.
Canadian technical death metal four-piece Beneath the Massacre started off back in 2005 and have since released two EPs and three full length albums. 2012’s release ‘Incongruous’ received between average to just above average reviews, and their career so far has been littered with ups and downs. Anyway, onto their performance!
On record, BTM’s complex and ferociously heavy techniques can be heard in all its glory, but when performing live they end up sounding like a jumbled up mess of noise, lacking clarity and favouring to sound as extreme as possible.
At one point, guitarist Chris seemed out of time with drummer Patrice, and there were other moments of sloppiness. However, his intricate and technically interesting riffs and solos grab my interest and save this band from completely devoid of any definition.
Vocalist Elliot demonstrates huge amounts of strength in his abilities to project, but his gutsy, bellowing growls become a bit tiresome after a while; a little variation in his style wouldn’t go amiss. I must give him credit for his headbanging skills though- he throws his head back and forth with such an incredible amount of force and ferocity!
Headbanging king George ‘Corspegrinder’ Fisher of Cannibal Corpse would be proud. This is one band I prefer to listen to on record over seeing them live, and I very rarely say this about a band.
It’s finally time for Headliners Job for a Cowboy; a 5- strong death metal ensemble who have been rapidly gaining credibility since starting out in 2003.
Starting out sounding more metalcore and gradually evolving into the style they embrace today, JFAC on record have never sounded so good.
Their flavour of death metal has this crowd flailing and chucking themselves around in a crazed frenzy! If I remember rightly (I was admittedly a little on the intoxicated side by this point) I joined in with the flailing for a song or two….
These guys are purely electrifying to witness, their enthusiastic energy being undeniably evident. The searing vocals from Jonny teamed with the sinister solos that wail out from Tony’s guitar create a beautifully epic melody, whilst Jon’s intricate time signatures and playful drum fills along with Nick’s dark and groovy bassline act as a perfect backdrop.
It is a relationship consisting of dark and light; sharp and sultry rhythms versus flamboyant, exciting melodies. Aside from being a phenomenal vocalist, his interactions with the crowd tell me that Jonny is full of charisma and charm.
JFAC were an absolute delight to witness!