The last time that The Number 12 Looks Like You were performing on UK shores was back in 2009, whilst supporting Misery Signals. Unquestionably things behind-the-scenes were a little rocky for the avant-garde metal unit back then; co-vocalist Justin Pendrick stepped down, and eventually the band called it a day after one last farewell show in their hometown of New Jersey a few weeks into 2010.
Yet, here we are – it’s seven years later, and not only have the band been back at the game with a fresh sense of life as a quartet (formerly being a sextet for most of their career) for over a year now, but they’re back on UK soil after wrapping up a support slot for The Dillinger Escape Plan in Europe, doing a few of their own shows whilst over here as a part of the ArcTanGent Festival bill.
At the Birmingham date of the run, which moved from The Sunflower Lounge over to The Flapper upon the city’s canal, local angry quintet Dead Hands  set things off to an admittedly small crowd to begin with. Regardless, their sound of ‘Bretton’ era Lower Than Atlantis meets Frank Carter era Gallows with an injection of Code Orange hits hard. Vocalist Richard Phillips and bassist Dan Mogg spend most of their time thrashing in front of the stage, yet Ryan Cornall‘s animalistic drum work and Debbie Gough‘s riff powers steal the limelight of the set.
Things move from feral and savage to eerily unsettling thanks to the Danes that are Hexis , who come forth with no stage lighting and complete darkness in The Flapper basement, save for some strobe lighting set-up at the back of the stage from the band. Frontman Filip Andersen paces around the floor in front of the stage, getting uncomfortably close with some members of the crowd before them as he screams, thrashes, and almost patrols around the small space of the room; baring some striking resemblance to the tortured and racked soul and creature of Tristana from the Spanish horror films, REC.
Taking to the stage just a few short moments later, it’s been a long wait since we’ve been able to feed our ears and feast our eyes on another The Number 12 Looks Like You  show, and they certainly deliver, bursting right through the gates with the concentrated and callous impact of ‘I’ll Make My Own Hours’. From here on out, their ability to blur and bleed genres comes to the forefront in spades, all the while frontman Jesse Korman seems to have a keen interest in messing about with the stage lights.
Indeed, throughout the band’s near hour long set the band flirt between cuts across their discography, from the jazz spliced ‘The Garden’s All Nighters’ and the tragic tale that encompasses ‘Jay Walking Backwards’, right back to the barbarous and merciless ‘Don’t Get Blood On My Prada Shoes’ cut from their debut album.
It’s not all about song after song, though. Korman takes a seat to speak with the crowd briefly before going into ‘Catagory’, asking “Do you know we’re working on a new album? Do you know you’re my friends?”. He also brings a crate with him in front of the stage to take a quick pew whilst singing along to ‘Grandfather’, but, this aside, he and his bandmates deliver inhuman and beautiful qualities in equal measure with technical precision, and, come curtain closer ‘The Proud Parent’s Convention Held In The ER’, we’re just itching to know when they’ll be coming back.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)