LIVE REVIEW: Loathe @ Omeara, London (15/02/2020)

Credit: Tom Brooker

Date: February 15th 2020
Venue: Omeara, London
Support: Phoxjaw / God Complex


It’s been quite a whirlwind for Liverpool’s Loathe recently. Their second full-length, ‘I Let It In And It Took Everything’, only dropped eight days ago, but even before its release, anyone invested felt like there was something special about to happen.

Whilst riding a wave of critical acclaim, what better time is their to unleash their new arsenal of material? One of the newer venues to appear in London, Omeara, has a dark, cavernous interior, which feels like a perfect setting for Loathe‘s futuristic and chaotic maelstrom.

They’re not intent on easing their fans in comfortably either. Fellow scousers God Complex [7] are disgustingly heavy, and in what will continue later, the luminous lighting display combined with the rest of the venue being more-or-less in total darkness adds as a brilliant touch.

These days you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to bands that specialise in jarring, pummelling metallic hardcore, but God Complex‘s fierce grip of discordance and breakdowns alike shows that they’re more than worth keeping your eye on. The likes of Vein could have some strong competition this side of the pond if they keep up the momentum.

Next up are Bristol’s Phoxjaw [7], who also waste no time. Their sound certainly goes to more than one territory, but given the bands that they’re sandwiched between, it feels like they’ve upped the ante that bit more to deliver perhaps one of the most intense sets to their name. ‘Whale, Whale, Whale’ sounds ferocious, and bassist/vocalist Daniel Garland‘s vocal performance is powerful enough, with his screams cutting through strongly.

Guitarist Josh Gallop‘s frenzied presence on the stage-right brings in a strong theatrical element, in some part thanks to his operatic backing vocals for ‘Melt, You’re A Face Of Wax’. Keeping it short and sweet, they close with ‘Triceratops’, with half of the band venturing into the crowd for the final riff for a nice slice of antagonism. Their promise and potential only seems to grow with time.

But now, it’s time to Loathe [8] as one. The band open with ‘Red Room’, which is short, furious, and filled with low-end for sure, but as we know from the album, that’s only a fraction of what will come later. ‘Aggressive Evolution’ kicks things off for real, with the song’s distinctive opening riff sending everyone into a frenzy. The entire front of the venue feels like a mosh pit, and many hands are aloft singing along – you feel like this song will stay in the band’s setlist for many years to come, and ‘New Faces In The Dark’ also feels momentous.

Yet, as many people know, they’ve got more than enough older material to work with. ‘Dance On My Skin’ continues to whip up this excitable crowd to say the least, with frontman Kadeem France‘s stage presence as strong as ever, covering all areas of the stage with a natural energy, basking in the crowd’s devotion. With so much going on around you, you’ve barely got any time to think. The levels of intensity in the room are as such that you may have to fend off some moshers if you’re down the front, and when you do get a fleeting moment to compose yourself, you realise that it probably won’t be much longer that they’re headlining venues larger than this one.

With ‘Two-Way Mirror’, it’s clear that everyone has taken to this song strongly, among many others, and it’s also clear that Loathe can command a room with everyone retreating from moshing (for now). ‘Gored’ and ‘Broken Vision Rhythm’ continue to offer bounce and chaos in equal measure.

‘I Let It In And It Took Everything’‘s heavier sections also offer some aggro, but the lighter sections offer both plenty of atmosphere and leave you wanting to sway along to its subtle-but-effective groove.

Tonight’s set flies by, and we’re nearly at the end when the incendiary ‘White Hot’ gets an airing. Released in between their two studio albums, this springboard for their current sound gets one of the most rapturous responses of the evening, and everyone belts out Erik Bickerstaffe‘s powerful chorus right back to the band, all before ‘It’s Yours’ arrives, which is when the energy in the room reaches its peak.

A mass stage invasion, coupled with some mic grabbing, finishes things off to completely drive home what feels like a just reward for one of the most innovative bands around at the moment. It’s certainly ours alright. Based on tonight’s showing, it already feels like Loathe could ascend into arenas and go toe-to-toe with the greats in a matter of a few short years.