Date: November 6th 2017
Venue: Club Academy, Manchester
Support: Polaris / Lorna Shore / Kublai Khan / Sworn In / Chelsea Grin / Deez Nuts
Doing their part as much as they can to promote and give back to the scene, and to be much more than just an international merchandise and clothing store, Impericon not only having their annual touring festival, but also their smaller tour run named the Never Say Die! Tour across Europe to end off their year. For the 2018 edition, New York breakdown devotees Emmure are enlisted for headline duties.
Sadly, due to public transport complications and delays, we don’t quite manage to catch Australian up-and-comers Polaris, and, though we manage to delve into the last two songs of Lorna Shore‘s set, we don’t see enough to really expand into a justified analysis.
Texans Kublai Khan  soon step up to show what they’re worth, and, it really doesn’t take very long at all before the hardcore dancers and crowd killers start filling the void in the middle of the floor with their limb flailing and fist throwing. There’s no doubt that cuts like ‘Ghost Pains’ and ‘The Guilty Dog’ are punishing, and the messages and meanings behind each song that are detailed prior by frontman Matt Honeycutt are certainly topics of importance, but it’s just all a bit too much about being brute and not much else.
With their latest record, ‘All Smiles’, Sworn In  have certainly dabbled a little more with melody than before whilst also touching on the aggression of their debut ‘The Death Card’ that drew in so much of their fanbase in the first place. It seems live that that’s their plan of attack too. Avoiding the more melody and clean singing focused cuts, the floor is awash with more crowd killing. One guy even gets twatted in the face, has his face busted and bleeding, and has to be carried out of the crowd mid-set, before the band end on a one-two of ‘Mindless’ and ‘Snake Eyes’.
Chelsea Grin  pick up the levels of heavy a few notches, moving from the areas of hardcore/metalcore of the evening’s predecessors and treading into deathcore. Frontman Alex Koehler hurls out screams and roars that certainly question if he’s somehow part demon, and songs like ‘Strung Out’, ‘Recreant’, and ‘Desolation Of Eden’ sees the band getting greeted by plenty of crowd surfers. ‘Clickbait’ remains a lyrically cringey number, not to mention on that just doesn’t have the gusto of so many of their other songs, but the set remains a certain uplift.
That is, at least, until Deez Nuts  come out. The room is a little more sparse than it has been all night when the Australian hardcore troupe first step out to give it a go. Though the room soon starts to fill out again, sadly excitement continues to remain void. Frontman JJ Peters paces across the stage, and, to his credit, he does work to get the crowd involved, and, for the most part, they oblige too. What leaves such vapidness and disappointment is any lack of grit, conviction, or delivery in the songs. The vocals are low in the mix, there’s an aura of finding the band hard to take seriously, and, bar a few brief moments, most notably in older track ‘Stay True’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a band far more in their infancy is actually on the stage.
For a band who’ve been through more than enough speed bumps across their career, though admittedly some of that is down to the controversy that has surrounded them, credit needs to be given to Emmure  frontman Frankie Palmeri for managing to pull a completely brand new band together after being ditched and abandoned by the entirety of its former line-up. With a new roster of members at the helm, and a fresh record in ‘Look At Yourself’, the New York deathcore collective seem more invigorated than they have in years.
The set is understandably composed mainly of new cuts; ‘Shinjuku Masterlord’, ‘Smokey’, and ‘Torch’ carry that familiar Emmure infrastructure whilst the more technical background and presence of its newly enlisted members instil some refreshment into what can admittedly become stagnant quick. However, the band don’t fear to step into almost their enter back-catalogue, pulling the likes of ‘Sunday Bacon’ and crowd favourite ‘Solar Flare Homicide’ out of the bag before drawing the curtains on ‘When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong’, during which Lorna Shore vocalist Tom Barber rears his head one last time, screaming the song’s final refrains of “Won’t you be my bride? Another day? Another day? Another day? Another day?”.
Another successful Impericon Never Say Die! Tour run is secure as Emmure bow out, without a doubt.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.