Well, here it is folks. The night of one of the best package tours I’ve seen in a very, very long time. Both hot off the heels of their latest albums, While She Sleeps and Cancer Bats hit the London Forum to showcase their trademark brands of anarchy on the last stop of their devastating European tour. Did the night live up to expectations? Who came out on top? I headed down to Kentish Town to find out.
Starting off the night were sludgy Belgian newcomers Oathbreaker. Turning heads throughout the venue, the set was captivating to say the least. A terrifying onslaught of frantic white noise, the band were a group of very few words. In fact, it’s hard to pin-point a moment each member of the band wasn’t hiding behind their (admittedly very impressive) hair. Special mention must be made to Oathbreaker‘s exquisitely impressive vocalist, Caro Tanghe, a female vocalist that could easily be placed alongside Gossow herself. Unfortunately, due to the band’s more frantic, chaotic sound, it was difficult to pick out particular details or even songs through the band’s barrage of noise. However, this is certainly not the band’s fault, and the fact they managed to impress as much as they did through the mixing issues just proves how strong an outfit these four are. Check them out, and see them live in a small venue. I sure will be as soon as I get the chance. 6.5/10
Up next, South Carolina’s own Hundredth were another band to suffer with severe issues due to sound. However, the boys managed to work through it a little better, proving an excellent warm up act for the performances to come. The band’s brutal aggression whipped up the crowd at a frighteningly quick pace, opening circle pits all over the venue. Crowd interaction was a constant throughout the set, and the band were as tight as either of the two headlining the night. Hundredth, while perhaps a little generic, put on a great show, and were the very definition of a good support act. 7/10
So, Cancer Bats. What can I say about these guys that you don’t already know? Quite simply one of the finest live bands on the planet, Cancer Bats turned the Forum into their own personal playground. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the crowd were here to see While She Sleeps tonight, judging by the almost suffocating amount of t shirts on display. However, the second Liam and his crew hit the stage, it was all about the Bats. Ripping through a large chunk of their latest album, Searching For Zero, the set was pure adrenaline from start to finish. There’s been a fair amount of uncertainty around the new release, but tonight it felt right at home, sitting alongside classics Hail Destroyer and Pneumonia Hawk. The band are one of the most humble group of guys on the planet, and watching them tear the venue apart is a treat to behold. The set came from a band who were clearly so happy to be there, giving it everything they have, which for Cancer Bats, means you’re in for an incredibly good time. A blinding rendition of Sabotage, the slow burning Beelzebub and some of the best crowd action this side of the world, Cancer Bats just proved why they deserve to be one of the biggest bands of all time. 8.7/10
How do you top one of the best bands on the planet putting on one of the shows of their career? Fire. Pyro, ladies and gentlemen. But alas, that’s not all While She Sleeps brought to the table tonight. This is the first time I’ve had to pleasure of seeing the band, and wow. Any band that can one up Cancer Bats is worth it’s weight in gold. Also opting to play a large amount of material from their new album, Brainwashed, While She Sleeps were truly stunning. The sound having fixed itself by this point, the band sounded incredible. Vocalist Loz’s screaming is some of the strongest I’ve ever seen, and by the time their intro tape had concluded, he had already grasped the audience in the palm of his hand, and orchestrated the crowd beautifully. A relatively short hour long set, there was no shortage of riffs on display here. From This Is The Six to Four Walls, the band packed more into sixty minutes than any other headlining band. With the strongest collection of sing along courses in their back pocket, the set was nothing less than awe inspiring. While She Sleeps continue to impress, and leave us wondering just what the future holds for Sheffield’s brightest stars. 9/10