Date: September 7th 2017
Venue: Satan’s Hollow, Manchester
Support: Storm Of Aura / Only The Righteous / Lotus Eater
Well, 2017 has been one hell of a year for Loathe. Just last year they signed with SharpTone Records, having only been a band for about a year at the time, and then this April dropped their debut album, ‘The Cold Sun’. With acclaim both inside and outside of the UK, they’ve been turning heads, and now, they’re beginning to portray their concepts and vision on their own tours, and tonight headlining Manchester for the second time.
Opening up for the evening are local boys, Storm Of Aura . Opting for your typical style of familiar heavy metal, the quintet by no means stray too far from the path from the multitude of other metal bands also starting out, and they certainly know how to work to the blueprint. What lets them down though is everything is predictable and anticipated, and, though frontman Vincent Ward‘s screams aren’t bad at all, though arguably bassist Stuart Carson is better, Ward just struggles to hit the right notes with his cleans, and that in turn is a struggle for us to bear.
Other locals Only The Righteous  opt towards a more post-hardcore style, sliding somewhere between early era Touché Amoré and super early era Every Time I Die in places. Rocking the pop-punk kid khaki shorts, James Barnes can seemingly wail and scream with ease, and is constantly right in the face of the crowd at the front of the stage. It’s a shame that the rest of the band seem almost completely uninterested in the music they’re playing. It’s post-hardcore, it’s energetic and vibrant – show it, guys!
Equipped with windbreakers, and for frontman Jamie McLees a cast of some kind on the wrist too, the night finally steps up a few gears come the arrival of Lotus Eater . Formed from several parts of the UK, the hard-hitting up-and-comers really do hit pretty hard, and songs like ‘Gloom’ definitely give us a peek at some true potential. Speaking of hitting hard, a member of the crowd hits the floor hard at one point mid-set and cuts his head up (don’t worry, he got bandaged up okay). Despite having only a handful of songs to play with, Lotus Eater are on the right path.
Despite still being newcomers to the game when you look at the grand scheme of things, Loathe  look to the big picture as much as they can with their resources, and their live performances even this early in their careers is no different. With a black backdrop covered in what looks like murky paint, and a TV screen on either side of the stage depicting black and white visuals to accompany each respective song of the set, for Loathe it’s about the visual experience as much as it is the aural.
From the moment the band kick into set opener ‘It’s Yours’, with drummer Sean Radcliffe leading the charge whilst the guitars buzz around him, the whole crowd steps forwards to almost hugging the stage as vocalist Kadeem France screams “Claim what’s yours” into their faces.
With only one album and one EP to work with it’s a short headlining affair, but it’s a tightly tuned one. ‘The Inevitable’ is feral filth, ‘Stigmata’ shines as a highlight with France and guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe going back and forth during its chorus, and ‘Babylon…’ is a grandiose climax until they return for an encore of ‘In Death’, and with that, Loathe leave maintaining their reputation as one of the more exciting fresh and heavy acts in the UK.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)