Date: September 21st 2018
Venue: O2 Academy Islington, London
Support: Volumes / Coldrain
In the heart of trendy Islington, inside the imposing shopping centre, lies one of the smaller O2 Academy venues – its meagre 250 capacity dwarfed by the likes of Brixton and Shepherd’s Bush. It’s not to be sniffed at though, having hosted the likes of Dance Gavin Dance, 36 Crazyfists, and Jamie Lenman in the last year alone.
Tonight, it’s home to Crown The Empire, who just released their latest single less than 12 hours ago. Busy day then, guys?
Opening tonight are Coldrain , the latest metalcore sensation from Japan, and, judging by tonight’s crowd, they’re clearly getting a following over here. Combining classic metalcore crunch with throaty post-hardcore style vocals from frontman Masato, their sound is punchy as fuck and they warm the crowd up faster than an electric blanket that’s on fire.
‘Runaway’ has a synth laden, radio-friendly hook a la Bring Me The Horizon, that could snare them mainstream attention, whilst delicate spindly leads are the order of the day on ‘The War Is On’ before another juggernaut of a chorus. Riffs for days.
No band that comes out to the Jurassic Park theme can possibly be bad, and Volumes  are no exception. They have a dual vocalist set up, which can be tricky to pull off, but Gus Farias and Myke Terry seem to be managing just fine. ‘Feels Good’ is exactly as the title suggests; bouncy and euphoric, and oozing energy and atmosphere. “Where’s my fucking mosh pit, London?”, demands Farias, and it’s not long until he gets more than he bargained for as three separate pits erupt, and he jumps in to join one himself, all before ‘Livin On A Prayer’ blares through the speakers as the band leave the stage on a high.
Tonight belongs to Crown The Empire  though, who undoubtedly steal the show. Sounding just as tight live as they do on record, the setlist is a rollicking rollercoaster through the band’s back-catalogue, stopping at near enough every fan favourite along the way. ‘Zero’ is the first to really get the party going with its unstoppable hook, and ‘Memories Of A Broken Heart’ is as gritty as it is heartfelt.
Later in the set, new tracks ’20/20′ and the insanely infectious ‘What I Am’ taken from their upcoming fourth album stand out from the rest of the material in a way that highlights how this band have progressed and developed a sound that’s more their own. That said, one of the highlights of the show is easily the anthemic ‘Millennia’, taken from 2014’s ‘The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways’, where frontman Andy Leo‘s vocals shine over shimmering keys and a killer solo from Brandon Hoover.
Ending on a double whammy of the unforgivingly heavy ‘Initiation’ and the soaring, defiant ballad that is ‘Machines’, Crown The Empire finish a polished, dynamic, and at times highly emotive set.