LIVE: Impericon Festival @ Academy 2, Manchester (02/05/2016)

Date: May 2nd 2016
Venue: Academy 2, Manchester


It was only three years ago that Impericon Festival decided to extend its touring across Europe into the UK, making itself a cosy home in Manchester. Now, in 2016, it’s reached out for a second UK date in London too. Sadly, Manchester saw a downgrade of venue size from Academy to Academy 2, which holds less than half the capacity intended, but the ferocity and mosh madness remains absolutely untainted.

Sydney’s Hellions [7] come out giving a standard metalcore set to kick the night off. The band play tracks from across their two records (‘Indian Summers’ and ‘Die Young’), and they sound tight throughout. Despite the lack of fans for this fresh faced outfit bar a few die-hards in the front row, this is a group who should definitely have an eye kept on them. [BC]

They’ve been smashing out positive messages through positively pulverizing metalcore for what is fastly approaching the 10-year mark now, and though they deserverdly should sit much higher on the line-up, Hundredth [9] pull out a set that would make you think that they are. Things escalate quickly in the crowd, with most pits kicking up pretty quickly from opening track ‘Break Free’, but the temptation builds up too much for vocalist, Chadwick Johnson. He jumps into the middle of the crowd, for ‘Soul’, and a wall of death crashes into him from either side. Still standing and screaming as if nothing happened, he soon throws his microphone up high, and dangles from a rooftop support wire before they bid farewell. [ZR]

German sextet Eskimo Callboy [4] bring a brand of electronicore to the mostly Mancunian crowd that we’ve rarely seen since the ‘Someday Came Suddenly’-era of Attack Attack!. They’ve certainly got the extra gear with them to bulk their stage presence; smoke cannons are regularly bursting in front of the faces of co-vocalists Sebastian Biesler and Kevin Ratajczak. Yes, they’ve got the knack for getting the crowd involved with the likes of ‘Is Anyone Up?’, but with everything being so bland and overprocessed, there’s very little to enjoy here. [ZR]

Showing they’re the most technically proficient band on the bill, Heart Of A Coward [8] go out and play a set that most other bands wish they could perform. With tracks such as ‘Hollow’ and ‘Deadweight’ taking the crowd to the point of singing their hearts out together is simply marvelous. The rhythm section sounds huge, with drummer Noddy Mansbridge pummelling through the speakers aside Jamie Graham‘s powerfully strong voice, Heart Of A Coward are true victors today. [BC]

Given that Despised Icon [8] know what it’s like to perform in front of some pretty brutal crowds, they show that they can hang with the hardcore kids and win. The likes of ‘MVP’ through to ‘Day Of Mourning’, this is a band that can pull out the classics when it’s called for. With the dual technical ability from guitarists Eric Jarrin and Ben Landreville, there’s a lot to marvel at from this group. Despised Icon came, saw, and conquered. [BC]

All signs from camp Chelsea Grin [7] lately are pointing to them taking a U-turn to return to their more heavier material and style, and today’s set backs that claim up. Cuts from their 2010 debut LP ‘Desolation Of Eden’ dominates the set, and their freshest offering ‘Skin Deep’ could comfortably sit on that record too, all of which helps to set Chelsea Grin as one of the heavier bands on today’s bill. Frontman Alex Koehler bellows and stomps like a beast, and with expectations of a new album this summer, Chelsea Grin will be back to do this all over again sooner than you think. [ZR]

Initially a band that some saw as a joke inclusion on the line-up today, blessthefall [8] come along and blow everyone away. There’s a noticeably reduced crowd, but with stand out set moments with ‘Walk On Water’ and ‘Oathbreaker’, the Pheonix troupe prove many people wrong and play a completely solid set. The crowning moment (pun intended) comes from set closer ‘You Wear A Crown But You’re No King’, where singer Beau Bokan trusts a fan to lift him on their shoulder and carry him singing into the pit. A wonderful moment to say the least. [BC]

Love them or hate them, everyone remotely intersted in this music and this scene will know and have an opinion on Emmure [6], and frontman Frankie Palmeri especially. The band’s massive infrastructure shift towards the end of 2015, temporarily leaving Palmeri as the only member, is well-documented, and this is the first UK show of the new age of Emmure. ‘E’ and ‘N.I.A. (News In Arizona)’ get us all bouncing along to the chugfest they regularly bring, but the brief guitar outage during ‘Sunday Bacon’ brings things to a halt temporarily. After the short outage, the easy to digest deathcore continues. Things may be a bit slippy, but this is just Emmure getting back on their feet, and proving that they’re not out for the count yet. [ZR]

The second Australian band to hit the stage today are all dressed head to toe in black, and Northlane [8] prove just why they’re worth all the hype aside their peers. Vocalist Marcus Bridge is a firm addition to the group now, and pulls of soaring cleans and intimidating roars in such a quick interchange succession through ‘Quantum Flux’, ‘Hologram’, and set closer ‘Leech’ that really helps to establish Northlane as mainstays in the genre. Expect the eventual follow-up to last year’s ‘Node’ to catapult the band into a headline slot at festivals such as this. [ZR]

Tonight belongs to Hatebreed [9]. To make it plain and simple, they crush Impericon Festival into a pulp, and with an array of smashing cuts from across their career, including ‘Destroy Everything’, ‘Honour Never Dies’, ‘I Will Be Heard’, and ‘In Ashes They Shall Reap’, which more justify the band’s reknowned legacy as an unstoppable force. The fans are with Jamey Jasta on every song, singing and shouting along to each and every song of the set. Hatebreed never disappoint, and tonight keeps that record going, as well as showcases why and how they command a show, and how they’re one of the best bands in metal today. [BC]

Written by Bradley Cassidy (@bradcassidy170) and Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)