Date: May 8th 2018
Venue: The Underworld, London
Support: The Plot In You / Polaris / Alazka
The queue for Camden’s famous Underworld venue is snaking past the World’s End pub, down the side of the building, and almost round to the back doors, where an incredibly large tour bus is parked. The sold out show tonight consists of four of the world’s finest metalcore bands, headlined by We Came As Romans, and some fans have been queuing since this afternoon, eager to get a coveted space at the front of the stage.
The venue is already packed to the rafters by the time The Plot In You  come onstage, and they receive an enthusiastic welcome. Opener ‘Rigged’ from their latest album ‘Dispose’ starts off surprisingly mellow for this notoriously heavy band, but descends into blistering screams from vocalist Landon Tewers. Lead single ‘Feel Nothing’ has an absolutely killer riff from guitarist Josh Childress, older cut ‘My Old Ways’ is both cathartic and piercing, and a creepy recorded intro sets the tone for moody atmospheric closer, ‘Disposable Fix’. The material here is absolutely on point, but it has to be said that the band members themselves seem a little tired, like they’re just going through the motions. They’ve been on the road for over two months now though, so we’ll forgive them.
In contrast, no one looks happier to be on stage than Polaris , and there’s a manic look in frontman Jamie Hails‘ eyes that’s indicative of what’s to come. ‘Lucid’ and ‘Relapse’ soar through the venue like fireworks, with bassist Jake Steinhauser providing shimmering cleans alongside Hails‘ screams, whilst ‘Consume’ ignites an explosion of activity and the entire floor becomes a flurry of bobbing heads and flailing limbs as circle pits and walls of death erupt. It’s a set of absolute carnage, and the crowd emphatically demand an encore. Regretfully there isn’t time for one, but with performances this impressive, it surely won’t be long until Polaris are headlining this venue themselves.
Germany’s Alazka  have two vocalists who have to fight for space on Underworld’s tiny stage. Kassim Auale‘s R&B style croons contrast gorgeously with Tobi Rische‘s guttural roars. They clearly have plenty of fans in the audience, and Auale constantly invites them to crowd surf and stage dive – at one point, there’s more fans on stage than band members, much to the security’s annoyance – whilst Rische makes his way into the crowd, held up precariously by a swarm of fans. They power through a lengthy setlist, containing plenty of material from new album ‘Phoenix’ as well as older tracks from when the band were previously known as Burning Down Alaska. It’s a solid performance, with the spine tingling ‘Empty Throne’ and slow burner ‘Blossom’ sounding just as good as they do on record, but at 13 tracks, it feels like the set goes on just a little too long.
Headliners We Came As Romans  also have two vocalists, with Dave Stephens on unclean vocals and Kyle Pavone providing cleans as well as keys and synths. They launch into a full throttle setlist that contains a variety of material from the band’s fairly extensive back catalogue, but it has to be said that it’s the newer songs from latest effort, ‘Cold Like War’, that feel the biggest. ‘Vultures With Clipped Wings’ and the anthemic ‘Wasted Age’ sound awesome with the crowd bellowing back the hooks, and Stephens shows why he’s one of the strongest frontmen in metalcore right now.
Halfway through the set is a Skrillex style electronic breakdown, with Pavone leading the charge and a stellar performance from drummer David Puckett before launching into ‘Encoder’. “There’s so much energy in this room tonight,” grins Stephens, and he’s not wrong, as ‘Regenerate’ inspires an enormous circle pit around Underworld’s pillars. The riffs and rhythms come thick and fast and don’t let up, which is exactly what you want from a metalcore show, and tonight, We Came As Romans prove that they’re definitely worthy of headlining such a line-up.
Written by Lottie Cook (@pixelottie)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.