I've heard the saying "Take the risk, reap the reward" used one or two times before but I've never really known who the quote is acknowledged to. Either way, I got a little taste of the quote for myself last night. See, you'd think that when you have long day at university in Aberdeen starting with a lecture at 9am, the last thing you'd want to do on the night before is get a train to Glasgow and go and see one an evening of some devastatingly loud groups including two of Britain's finest current metal bands with a friend you hadn't seen in ages. Yet, when my friend Mark who still has to endure several months at the High School of Dundee asked me if I was interested in getting tickets to see Architects, I knew I was there.
I've installed some trust in the Glasgow Garage as a good place for a live show ever since seeing While She Sleeps live, a show that still stands out as one of my finest gigging experiences and tonight certainly doesn't fail to disappoint. Walking towards the venue, we pass the Glasgow O2 ABC, where the Rock Sound Riot Tour 2012, headlined by the similarly brilliant Billy Talent is taking place, but at The Garage, we have louder, meatier, more brutal and far more intense proceedings ahead of us.
Walking up the stairs to the main stage, we can already feel our bodies shaking from the immense growling of the bass that comes from opening act The Acacia Strain, undoubtedly the bleakest names in the world of deathcore, who allow their selection of breakdowns to be slowly churned out one after the other with enough of a doom plated atmosphere for frontman Vincent Bennett to yell out lines from Black Sabbath songs and tell the crowd not to fear death. It's some onstage banter. As solid an effort as they put in the only real crowd reaction they receive is from the... (groans)... hardcore dancers. I have no idea where this trend came from but they were all over the place distorting their bodies all over the room looking like rejects from 28 Days Later, yet the overtly bleak deathcore of The Acacia Strain somehow soundtracked the tomfoolery perfectly. But if that band did anything they served as an instant reminder of just how loud the music is at gigs and some bands and their fans still strongly believe in using only brutality to communicate art.
What we need then is a band that can harness that same kind of immense brutality and heaviness that The Acacia Strain possesses and use it in the process of writing genuine songs. Thankfully, the stunning Bury Tomorrow knows just what they're doing there. As we approach the front of the stage, the band emerge with a heroes welcome and triumphantly open to everyone's sheer delight with Lionheart, a song that truly boasts out the fresh direction that metalcore is travelling in to make it's triumphant return to the spotlight of all things respectable. It also means the entire crowd is leaping with delirium within seconds displaying nothing but ultimate love and admiration for this band. And as they play a short but memorable comprising largely of songs from this year's spectacular The Union of Crowns, the crowd fall head over heals for the dominating stage presence of Daniel Winter-Bates and soaring melodies of guitarist Jason Cameron sounding as awe-inspiring live as it does on record. Winter-Bates' most commanding moment comes out near the end of the band's set when the audience is commanded in a Slipknot-Spit it Out live-show way to get down on the ground and only leap up upon his command. I'm sure at one point, I jokingly shouted out "Not until I say 'Get the fuck up!'" and gaining lots of love from everyone. And it's done with absolute perfection, proving the beginnings of a life in bury Tomorrow that could take them towards the main stage of several festivals. And as they leave with a bigger reaction than The Acacia Strain and the act that follows, my faith in metal is restored.
I left for the gig with the knowledge from a previous attender of a gig in which they performed that Deez Nuts are terrible live, but it was my turn to make my opinion on what the Brisbane rapcore crew are made of. At at first case it seemed like most people in the crowd were told that the band were terrible live and don't want to show any affection. And sure enough as they first appear on stage, the audience keep their feet firmly rooted to the ground with the occasional head bobbing a bit. The entire band are on monstrous form with the riffs and basslines from Matt Rogers and Jon Green sounding truly gnarly and one of the loudest features of the evening, but when you're in a group billed as a rap-influenced hardcore band, everyone wants to hear frontman JJ Peters doing some rapping and hear what kind of verses he can bust out, but it's often impossible to hear him over the rest of the band. It's a slow start, however, once the band see that they've gained enough of a crowd to satisfy their assaults they become more comfortable and gain a much larger reaction from the crowd. And as that happens, JJ becomes a far more engaging and welcomed frontman, gaining crowd affection as he recites lyrics to Tupac's Hail Mary to a riff-laden backdrop and dedicating new song Popular Demand to the late great Mitch Lucker. And so, they leave the stage with the admiration of the hardcore kids in baseball caps and gaining some love from the more sophisticated audience members.
But the affection gained by all these bands tonight cannot even begin to compare to the cheering that soundtracks the jubilant welcome onstage to tonight's headliners. It's hard to believe that a band that formed in 2004 could already do something that could be considered a "greatest hits" set but Architects have delivered such a high quality with all their work that so many of their songs dominated by technical mastery and simultaneously catchy melodies have the sound of what you could consider a greatest hit. Opening with the monolithic and dramatic Alpha Omega from their highly acclaimed Daybreaker shows a lot of pride and rightful belief that they hold in their latest work. As they go on, they prove that in spite of their efforts to make a heavier album to put people's minds off of it, they still hold a lot of pride in last year's The Here and Now dropping Day in Day Out and Learn to Live early on in the set. And it's followed up with a large output of material from Daybreaker and 2009's legendary Hollow Crown meaning the grooves laid down by Tom Searle and touring guitarists Josh Middleton (There is still nowhere online to listen to Sylosis' Monolith online) and Adam Christianson gain such an immense reaction that the ground is practically left shaking from the massive jumping laid down to Dethroned, Follow the Water and the incredible Early Grave. I certainly haven't ever jumped so high in my life but the commanding presence of Sam Carter demands for a crowd to be on their feet at a constant rate. No excuses for anyone to not be feeling energized. And with the end of a show, a refreshed crowd have effortlessly screamed their lungs out to a greatest hits set of spectacularly written metalcore songs. We are watching a constantly underrated band that always had an ability to become leading forces in metal today take on another step in their continually growing plight to becoming the commanding forces they've long deserved to be. And what a beautiful sight it is.
It was undoubtedly a spectacular gig back at The Garage with four amazingly heavy bands giving us a bangover of stony proportions. From the sludgy deathcore of The Acacia Strain to set everyone up for immense loudness to the hard-partying rap rock of Deez Nuts to the true evidence of a new generation in British metal letting out two of their finest voices in the form of Bury Tomorrow and Architects. Even if our leave is a little early, it is a wholly satisfactory one and we leave with smiles on our faces and it definitely feels like I've been rewarded for taking a massive risk to watch some metal. Of course their is the follow up to the gig today, which involves missing trains to Aberdeen, most of my day at University and also involving walking through Aberdeen at -1° C wearing only the beer-drenched T-shirt I wore at the gig on my upper half, but that's another story that shouldn't be delved into because I like to try and make myself look reasonably intelligent on this blog.