Hell On Earth Tour 2014; Unearth / Shadows Fall / The Acacia Strain / War Of Ages / Pay No Respect / Skies In Motion - Derby, Hairy Dog - 3rd September 2014 Print E-mail
Written by Nick Russell   
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 03:20

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The Hairy Dog in Derby is a new venue to me; in fact I’ve never seen any bands in Derby before. Tonight the upstairs venue is offering us 6 bands presenting their metalcore wares. Whilst there’s a good crowd in, it’s far from a sell out, which I’m surprised at with this possibly being Shadows Fall’s last tour (ever/for a while).


I’ll be totally honest; I never actually watched any of the first 3 bands on tonight. But if what I heard was anything to go by, I don’t think I missed a great deal. Openers Skies In Motion sounded like a typical modern metalcore band, all shouty verses followed by more melodic choruses with the usual breakdowns, everything being in place and sounding like you expect, not for me.


Pay No Respect sounded like a more brutal version of the opening band, the vocals being a bit more vicious but it’s still pretty much metalcore by numbers. War Of Ages style meanwhile was very much traditional metalcore, very similar to Skies In Motion, noisy noisy, then melodic, to the point of downright commercialism. Herein though lies the problem with a lot of the metalcore bands out there, you could set you’re watch to them, you know how the riffs are going to sound, when the chorus is coming in, breakdowns etc, it’s all too familiar. It’s just not my cup of tea.


I was interested to see The Acacia Strain though as by all accounts the feeling was they should be headliners, there being quite a few of their t-shirts amongst the mostly bearded, youngish throng. First song in, yes it’s some more of your metal-y-core delivered with an almost maniacal menace. The next song kicks in and they start to lose me. The reason being, the down tuned djent guitar riff, which as soon as I hear it, it reminds me of the originators of that style, the one and only Meshuggah. They started it all, they perfected it, and anyone else who tries to play in that manner is just ripping them off! The singer’s melancholic disconsolate between song banter starts to wear a bit thin too, so it’s back downstairs to the bar before they finish.


Shadows Fall


If I remember rightly, Shadows Fall used to be classed as a metalcore band when they first came out but compared with what’s gone on before tonight, it’s like night and day. Yes, there are some of those elements in their sound but they’re just a great metal band with some cool thrash bits, and a band that are far too underrated. This was the main reason I was here and I wasn’t disappointed.


Playing a good mix of songs from across their 7 album back catalogue, they’re in great form, sounding tight and heavy. Tracks such as ‘Destroyer Of Senses’, ‘The Power Of I and I’ and ‘Eternity Is Within’ fair crackle with intensity. The band are a tight unit, drummer Jason Bittner is demon behind the kit, the twin guitars shred but it’s the man with the greatest dreadlocks in music that’s the focal point. Stand too close to the front and Brain Fair will have your eye out!. They close with the storming cover of Bob Marley’s ‘War’, a great song given a right kick up the arse that thrashes like mad, a great way to end, just a shame they weren’t headliners


Hopefully this is just “see you later”, if not, it’s a great way to say goodbye.


Unfortunately I couldn't stay for Unearth, a bit of a shame as there's a couple of their albums I like, but due to travel arrangements and being on a school night I had to head home. I may have persisted but by then I'd had more than my fair share of metalcore. Shadows Fall were great, the rest of the bands left me a bit cold.