Never Say Die Tour – Marble Factory Bristol, 9/11/16

The darkening sky had already settled over Bristol at six in the afternoon and those passing by the old skate park (redeveloped into The Marble Factory), could easily mistake the sounds emanating from its main hall to be a form of extreme satanic rituals. Those who had procured a ticket to said ceremony would know that these assumptions are not that far a field.

The congested traffic while crossing the Severn bridge had denied me the pleasures of Polar’s fantastic hardcore. Luckily arriving just in time to see Make Them Suffer however, they prepared their equipment and fiddled with soundboards before opening on “Widower”. Gothic lyrics smashed together with repetitive chugging are usually nothing that different or exciting in their selected genre, but in terms of live comparison, the Perth sextet brought big beats and a heart racing onslaught of metal songs.

The main focus of California-based Fallujiah, was the sheer power of their long-time drummer Andrew Baird. Working overtime on his double pedals with lovely ride cymbal/tom alterations, the precision of his fill and foot work was undeniable. In between big roars, frontman Alex Hofmann would shout out “take your dicks out and give me another circle pit”, to which the crowd obeyed the latter of his command and kept a firm circle formation until the big hitters set reached its conclusion.

A second was taken for Jonny Boucher (founder of ‘Hope for the Day’ organisation) to step out and let the community know that those in pain do not deserve ignorant abuse or any feeling of emotional abandonment, but a reassuring few words or a helping hand to help suicide prevention in any way possible. The moving few words were taken in as Obey The Brave took a step out, ready to provide the hammer to that poignant nail.

“Get Real” and “Live and Learn” envisioned more of an oversized cartoon mallet than a hammer however, with their signature sound of furious hardcore beating the floorboards with what must have been small trampolines built into their shoes, restlessly prolonging the quintet’s bounce. The Canadians embrace of blunt chugs and a balls out beat down on guitar and drums was exactly what was needed to subtly switch the situation up before hells gates were firmly torn asunder.

Behind these gates is largely prophesised to be a realm of eternal pain and suffering, but who better to depict said distress than fallen angels Carnifex. Hailing from California, this entourage of death metal enthusiasts have trifled in a sound openly describable as the mouth of evil, bringing fiery riffs that dissolve the iron of lost love.

Behind this malevolence lay the jaws of Scott Lewis, honing a filthy growl that incited testicle dropping breakdowns alongside the agonising double bass of Shawn Cameron and unrelenting wrist action of guitarist Cory Arford. “Lie To My Face” and “Hell Chose Me” ruthlessly ripped through the occupants ear drums and produced a plethora of satanic contemplation.

Thy Art Is Murder’s “Holy War” bellowed out with its anti-religious cry and appealed to the better nature of the public to realise what the message and cause of most conflicts was. Nine huge tracks were ravenous in their hunger for carnage to reach every corner of the venue as Nick Arthur of Molotov Solution continued to front the metal maniacs, persisting in their search for a permanent replacement after head honcho CJ left back in late 2015. Unfortunately nine may have been a track too many, leaving the closing few numbers rather repetitive but reminding how immensely strong the set had began.

The audience were notably fatigued and some physically exhausted from their endless commitments to the pits and hair swinging antics but this evening of sub-genre praise had not reached its end just yet. A headliner is defined by a number of tickboxes including how their very presence on a platform can muster a surge of remaining energy from their fans. Deathcore monoliths Whitechapel knew exactly how to do just that by dropping demonic death notes with strobe lighting forcing eyes to close and readjust, this was a band that held nothing back and certainly took no prisoners. Partly defining a culture of music that forged deathly fire into the hearts of metal men and women.

Straight out of the holy scripture and the sinister entities to be mindful of, Phil Bozeman’s gurgling snarl certainly rose from the depths of his razor sharp steel-cased lungs and packed their usual blade-taped punch into “Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation” and “Possession”. It takes a certain set of musicians to not only formulate a lasting atmosphere in their recorded catalogue, but to then magnify that tone exponentially and drown their fan base in powerful lyrics and a proficient wave of searing rhythms and marrow mashing melodies, ending on their 2008 berserker “This Is Exile”. The ten year old sextet remain a major force to be reckoned with and will seemingly continue to do so for however long they intend to keep killing it.

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