Devil You Know + Oni + Wearing Scars + Brutai

The Waterfront Studio, Norwich. 11th January 2017.

A night chock full of metal, growls and melodic howls, tonight felt a very special night, because one person was on everyone’s minds…Howard Jones. Hojo, along with his comrades in DEVIL YOU KNOW are currently on their first UK tour together (finally) and tonight they had rolled into Norwich to grace the city with their brutal tunes.

Kicking off the night were London metallers BRUTAI. Opening with Of Ashes, the band gave it their all from the off, slowly warming up the revellers coming in from the cold. When the main riff of Relapse resonated round the venue, it became clear just how well the band could execute their material from their debut album Born live. Frontman Felix Lawrie and keyboardist Alex Lorimer seriously impressed with their ability to harmonise vocals in a live setting and when the keys kicked in at the start of Lucidity, there were a lot of heads nodding along in appreciation. Singles Deep and Never Change also went down well with the crowd, their catchy brand of modern metal catching the attention of room. The chemistry between band members and their stage presence made a solid set from this promising group. They might have had the smallest crowd of the evening, but they put on a show like they were much higher up the bill. Their passion and showmanship didn’t go unnoticed by the Norwich crowd and it’s safe to say BRUTAI won over new fans tonight.

Next up were WEARING SCARS. Hailing from Northampton, this band featuring members of MUTINY WITHIN and SACRED MOTHER TONGUE brought the groove with plenty of heart. Frontman Chris Clancy sounded impeccable and along with his bandmates provided Norwich with material with a modern nu metal vibe. Having a PAPA ROACH air about them but none of the ego or bullshit surrounding it, WEARING SCARS were nothing but professional and it was clear they were happy to be here. Playing songs from their debut album A Thousand Words, the band played a solid set and sounded tight. By the end, the people of Norwich had been warmed up nicely.

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No one was expecting what was to be witnessed next. “What’s that??” people were asking about the mystery instrument on stage for ONI’s set. Turns out it was only a badass xylo-synth! Soon the band stormed onto the stage in a flail of hair and limbs and the xylo-synth player John DeAngelis’ pink balls flying about on his synth sticks. This is not a gimmick however, this is progressive metal and ONI delivered an absolutely spellbinding set. A truly captivating band, it’s almost impossible to tear your eyes away from them, especially frontman Jake Oni who can only be described as sassy. His ability to switch between brutal vocals and smooth clean singing is something to be admired and he nails it flawlessly while he commands the audience’s attention. The rest of the band also launch a visual and aural assault with their energetic stage presence and their technical playing. Unleashing songs from their debut album Ironshore, the promising Canadian band leave Norwich a little bewildered but utterly on their side.

By now there was a real buzz in the air as the time had finally come to welcome DEVIL YOU KNOW to the stage. Bassist Ryan Wombacher (ex-BLEEDING THROUGH) and guitarist Francesco Artusato (ex-ALL SHALL PERISH) stepped onto the stage, then Howard Jones jumped on stage just as the band kicked off with opener Consume the Damned. To say the band were greatly received is a gross understatement as the crowd lapped it all up and went wild. Some more so than others, judging by the fights breaking out in the pit, but all headlocks aside, every one was having a jolly old time. “I’ve missed youuuu” Jones told the crowd before launching into the ferocious Embracing the Torture. As the entire room sang along to 7 Years Alone, Jones looked chuffed to bits and couldn’t hide his joy and appreciation to the fans for their support in between songs. The humble frontman reminded fans just what a force of metal he still is by owning the stage, with his screams and cleans resonating around the venue. He certainly hasn’t lost it. The chemistry between the band was tight yet relaxed, with banter aplenty it was a fun time for all. “This one is for the ladies!” Jones announced before he crooned along to Crawl From The Dark, but it was Way We Die which really got the crowd going. Finale, Shut It Down made sure everyone in chilly Norwich left hot and sweaty. Tonight had been well worth the wait and seeing a band with such collective talent in an intimate venue, was something special indeed.

Weekly Roundup #2

Some bands to warm your cockles in this autumnal week…

Band to watch: BRUTAI. Last week this promising metal band from London announced they had signed to Transcend records which was the cherry on top of a successful Summer. Over the past few months they have shared stages with the likes of TEXTURES and SOILWORK and played a storming set at Bloodstock Festival much to rave reviews. Their debut album Born will be released (or should that be ‘will be born’?) on 25th November 2016 through their new label and if it’s anything like their last single Deep then we are all in for a treat! Mixing melodic melodies and screams with metallic riffs and a touch of keyboard sprinkled over the top, results in a solid sound from the young band feeling more confident with their sound. There is certainly a British feel with elements of SIKTH and even INME seeping through into the song writing but BRUTAI manage to use their influences to their advantage to create music which will appeal to fans across both the rock and metal spectrum alike. This is surely the beginning of great things and with a tour due in January supporting metal greats DEVIL YOU KNOW and WESTFIELD MASSACRE, we can expect to see more of these London lads!

https://www.facebook.com/brutai/?fref=ts

Video to watch: GHOST. You either love them or hate them, but you cannot escape this ghoulish rock band’s catchiness. The video to their new single Square Hammer from their EP Popestar is a fiendish delight. Their cinematic influences are on full display here as aesthetically, the video looks like it could have stepped straight out of the 1920’s era horror cinema. Fans will appreciate nods to cult classics Metropolis and Nosferatu in the video and GHOST along with director Zev Deans recreate this style to make their own grainy, spooky visual treat. The unnatural colours and fuzzy outlines add to the vintage style which compliments the song perfectly as Square Hammer is retro in feel and tone. If you adore them or despise them, there’s no doubt they are here to stay.

 

Most anticipated release: TRAP THEM. This Friday TRAP THEM will be releasing their fifth album Crown Feral through Prosthetic Records and it’s bound to be a raw, dark beast. This underground band from Boston and Seattle is hard to pigeonhole, and that’s a good thing! Taking hardcore, metal, punk, black metal, and even sludge, TRAP THEM mixes them up and fires out pure rage and aggression to create their own bleak, sonic soundscape. This band hint this album will include riffs inspired from their love of horror soundtracks, so expect a new type of unsettling darkness from this truly underrated band.

Still in the Stereo: LACUNA COIL. When eighth album Delirium dropped back in May, fans were greeted with a darker and heavier LACUNA COIL. Based around an abandoned asylum near to where the band live in Italy, the album is full of tales of illness, betrayal, death and the darker side of the human mind. The subject matter helps to shape the band’s most intense album to date with opener House of Shame bursting in kicking and screaming with the heaviest riff and vocals we’ve heard from LACUNA COIL in a long, long time. But Christina Scabbia’s faultless voice provides a beacon of hope for all the darkness and woe. Video for single Delirium was released earlier this month and it reminded fans just what good form the band are in. The solid and polished production are what keeps pulling us back to the album and Scabbia’s soaring vocals still stun. Catch the band on tour in the UK this November.

https://www.facebook.com/lacunacoil/?fref=ts

Band to rediscover: OPEN HAND. It was announced last month that new material will be released soon, so this would be a good opportunity to remind the world just how good this band is. OPEN HAND are ridiculously talented songwriters and musicians with their crowning glory being the album You and Me released in 2005 on Trustkill Records. How this album wasn’t huge, I do not know. Its complex instrumental layers topped with gloriously slick and sweet melodies and catchy vocals is a bliss rock treat for any music lover. A couple of songs were graced with delicious male/female vocals which shaped such an irresistible boy vs girl sound (refer to songs Tough Girl and Tough Guy) that personally, no other male/female vocal has topped since. Go on, treat yourself and indulge in a bit of OPEN HAND.

https://www.facebook.com/OpenHandRocks/?fref=ts

Band yet to listen to: KROH. This doom band from Birmingham have been slowly working their way into the underground community’s conscience and have recently been added to the Damnation festival bill. Expect to hear more about these guys and gal soon.

https://www.facebook.com/XKrohX/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf&qsefr=1

Listened to anything good lately? Comment or email Metalmance!