LIVE REVIEW: Attila @ Academy 2, Manchester (20/11/2019)

Credit: Emma Stone

Date: November 20th, 2019
Venue: Academy 2, Manchester
Support: Sylar / Veil Of Maya


There are few bands out there today who divide opinions quite like Attila do. The metalcore party boys are a band that people love to hate, and not only do they not care, they play up to it too.

Their latest record, ‘Villain’, should tell you just how little they care about being branded as… well, the villains of today’s metalcore scene. They’re handling things on their own terms, going completely (well, almost) independent, and they’re back over in Manchester for their first UK outing as their own bosses.

New Yorkers Sylar [7] are first up, making this their first visit over to the UK in well over a year, and their blend of metalcore, nu-metal, and rap make them a perfect addition to this touring bill. The crowd are a little bit hesitant in the beginning, but frontman Jayden Panesso gradually coaxes them throughout their set to get involved.

Older numbers ‘Golden Retreat’ and ‘Prescription Medication’ incite the first mosh pits of the evening, ‘Assume’ and ‘Soul Addiction’ both absolutely slap, and honestly it’s hard to not bob your head and shimmy your hips side-to-side during ‘SHOOK!’. They’ve got almost everything they could need to soar even above this evening’s headliners, they just need that right push or breaking moment.

Veil Of Maya [6] are definitely the most technically proficient band here tonight. Mark Okubo delivers some crushing yet innovative riff work that could even stand toe-to-toe with giants like Meshuggah, the rhythm assault of bassist Danny Hauser and drummer Sam Applebaum is top notch, and Lukas Magyar has some versatile and impressive pipes.

Still, even with cuts like ‘Doublespeak’ and set closer ‘Mikasa’, there’s a sense that the quartet are going through the motions a little bit this evening. Maybe it’s the jet lag, or maybe it’s an off night, but the fact that the sound through the mixing desk keeps dipping in and out doesn’t help. Still, a special mention has to be made for Magyar‘s vocal chops during ‘Overthrow’, which approach almost exceptional territory.

Atlanta, Georgia quartet Attila [6], however, sound pretty massive. Right off the bat with opener ‘Proving Grounds’, Jayden Panesso (of Sylar) joins the band onstage to so some vocal trade-offs with frontman Fronz, and it doesn’t take much longer for the band to live up to their party hard reputation, cracking out and passing about a bottle of vodka in celebration of Fronz‘s 30th birthday today.

Even an avid hater of Attila can’t dispute how fun songs like ‘Moshpit’ and ‘Party With The Devil’ are, and newer cuts ‘Toxic’, ‘Subhuman’ and ‘Perdition’ are powerful additions to their setlist. Still, the bugbear that Attila carry with them, and have done for the majority of their career, is their persona and choice of ‘onstage banter’.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to provide a fun and party-fuelled show, but as we’re nearing 2020, it’s beyond dated and, if nothing else, a little cringy to be telling girls to “get their titties out”, to call almost everyone and everything “a bitch”, and to tell those who hate you to suck your fuck.

The thing is, Fronz is one of the best vocalists in modern metalcore, he’s smart and business savvy, and with their last few records they’ve put together some of their best work; the aforementioned ‘Subhuman’ and ‘Bad Habits’ being just a couple of them, and it’s no coincidence that their better songs tackle more serious discussion points than taking lots of shots or being “a bad motherfucker”.

Still, encore ‘Pizza’ brings one last slice of entertainment to the set, and as they play out the skit midway through the song, Fronz chucks an actual pizza into the crowd (RIP) whilst roaring about it having pineapple on it.

Look, Attila, you’ve got the talent, you’ve got the live show, you’re now largely DIY and in control, and you can definitely craft the right songs. Just, please, stop consistently trying to be edge lords. It’s time to be about a different life.

A full photo gallery from the event can be found here.

Photos by Emma Stone