Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/4
Suicide SilencePrevious Next
support Thy Art Is Murder + Fit For An Autopsy + Black Tongue
author EL date 21/11/14 venue KOKO, London, UK
Deathcore heavyweights Suicide Silence ended the UK leg of their world tour at the KOKO club in Camden on Friday night in support of their recent album release, "You Can’t Stop Me". This had been the first studio album release since the tragically premature death of vocalist Mitch Lucker who passed away in November 2012 and their first UK tour since 2011. This meant that presenting new vocalist Eddie Hermida was an important transition for the band's ongoing success. With a queue doubling in length extremely quickly outside in the pouring rain, the doors opened at 6PM to the spectacular, architecturally stunning interior design of KOKO.
The crowd spent little time in rushing to the venue’s ground floor to get to the barriers in order to see the Hull City Hate Crew, Black Tongue, who joined Suicide Silence for the UK run of their tour. As the band squared up to the crowd waiting to begin I noticed that the vocalist, Alex, was completely barefoot and this made me instantly more intrigued by his presence on stage. Another interesting observation was bassist Lloyd’s 3 string bass, but then I guess when it comes to Black Tongue you really don’t need any highs so 3 strings will suffice.
It was obvious from the start that people were desperate to see Black Tongue so the starting crowd was surprisingly large for an introductory band. The set started with a Mordor-esque intro, which led straight into "Foreshadow/Waste". Upon the first breakdown of the song a large group of enthusiastic two steppers/throw downers had created a pit and threw all their energy to making the most of the breakdowns thrown at them.
Next up was their first ever-released track, "Fauxhammer", which was met with an almighty roar from the crowd. The highlight of that song for me was the most incredible “BLEURGH” I have ever witnessed during a set. It was so perfectly executed it sent shivers down my spine. What annoyed many people it would seem, was a photographer who positioned herself in the middle of the stage to get close up shots of the drummer Aaron. I completely get that if they had permission to then it is their right to do so, but it diminishes the effect and image the band is projecting during a song and it blemishes the magic a little bit. "Purgatory" followed with an awesome set up as both guitarists Eddie and James swung their heads in unison and bassist Lloyd bounced around like a kid on crack. Alex signed off the song standing with a crucified like stance and hit the last beat of the song by dropping his mic to the ground. "Eclipse" picked up the pace a little and the crowd continued to swell with exceedingly sweaty people throwing all their weight into their aggressive windmills.
With two songs left in the set it was time for Black Tongue to rev it up another gear with "H.C.H.C.". This song is so brain bustingly heavy it’s hard to keep your lungs intact. Alex jumps into the crowd who beg him for the mic, he obliges and several people scream the lyrics back at him. The set was ended with a blisteringly hot performance of their hit single "Coma". “Let’s have some fucking fun!” was the sermon given and I’m pretty sure ¾ of the crowd suddenly took it upon themselves to go ape shit thus resulting in a many a man and woman being knocked down in the process. In a nutshell Black Tongue did not disappoint in the slightest and by far exceeded my expectations. They cut a malicious shape into the crowd and left me wanting to see more. Their sound was tight and the energy bouncing on and off stage was overwhelming. If I had just walked into that gig not knowing who was headlining I would almost have assumed that it was Black Tongue because of how well they affected the audience and how unbelievably good their live set was.
Next up were New Jersey death metal band Fit For An Autopsy. Personally I would have been incredibly intimidated to follow such an explosive introduction and the mood in the room suddenly dropped. This may very well be down to the fact that FFAA have never played the UK before so they most likely would have had a harder job at winning a fresh crowd over. It was quite unbelievable witnessing the sudden lull that befell the crowd. Not one person was moving or nodding their head as the band started off their set by lifting a large screen up and revealing themselves to the crowd.
The first few songs struggled to grab my attention and vocalist Greg Wilburn’s vocals were completely muffled by the crashing sound of the drums and thus came up quite weak. With a few people bouncing around for the sake of it in a small circle pit, FFAA tried to lift the energy in the room and they managed to get more from the crowd after their third song "Tremors" came into play. Once the room started coming out of it’s post Black Tongue coma, things started moving a little bit better. "Dead In The Dirt" seemed to hit the right chord with a strong, hypnotic guitar solo. “So bury me in the back of the forest, and don’t ever come looking for me” was met with the crowd finally shouting back. They certainly took their time in welcoming the East Coasters to the stage with some sort of response. Upon the last song being played, Greg jumps onto the barriers and is met with hugs and cheers from the aforementioned dull crowd.
The rest of their set definitely improved over time but it was still hard to get into it, which for the band I’m sure was quite a shame. Having said that I can see why Suicide Silence have been keen to get this band overseas because with time and more tours I am sure their luck will change and so will the audience’s response to them. Unfortunately, for now anyway, their sound mixing was poor and regardless of their own personal enthusiasm and on stage energy, the crowd fell short of anything memorable.
Sydney giants, Thy Art Is Murder, stormed onto stage and managed to rip the unsuspecting, bored crowd back into the light. As the low hum of the set started, and the stage was drowned in blue light, the band slowly made their way onto the stage. Vocalist CJ McMahon positions himself centre stage and growls “what the fuck is up, London?!”. His hood shadows most of his face, and he holds his arms out, as if he were beckoning the crowd to push forward. The energy and excitement from the crowd is buzzing, the lights go down and BAM the band opens up with the gut punching low roar of "Defective Breed". CJ’s stage presence and crowd connection is astounding. Within seconds he connects with everyone and brings the room back into existence. The bounce in the lyrics “let them starve, the Vultures they circle” gives McMahon the perfect chance to move with the rhythm of the song and gets the room jumping. Following such an incredible intro CJ begins "Shadow Of Eternal Sun" by jumping and waving his arm up and down to signal the crowd in joining him as he jumps. The band moves together seamlessly but it’s all eyes on CJ for the majority of the set because he is incredibly striking figure on stage.
Next up is "The Purest Strain Of Hate", CJ’s hooded jacket comes off and he is fully revealed to the crowd as he begins the hugely popular track that sends the crowd into a wild ruckus. "Dead Sun" follows creating even more of a frenzy. "Doomed From Birth", the final track on their last album, begins with CJ throwing down his head on stage whipping his hair back and forth (I’m sorry I had to say it). Again his presence on stage is something quite incredible. The way he moves around is so carefree yet still exceptionally powerful and hypnotic and that in itself, is a massively rare thing for a vocalist to be able to do.
Closing their set with "Reign of Darkness" CJ gets straight into the crowd and is held up so he is standing straight up in the middle of them. As if pre-rehearsed with the crowd, upon bellowing the lyrics “The dark heart of the Earth”, CJ falls into the crowd and when he screams, “I AM HELL” he is lifted in perfect rhythm back onto the shoulders of the crowd. It’s the best thing I have seen all night.
Thrown back over the barriers he runs to the stage and jump-, roly poly’s back onto the stage just in time for the next line. This is what makes tonight’s performance probably stand out from the rest. “You will see the true face of panic” explodes from the crowd as if perfectly on queue and the sound rumbles through the venue. If anything this was the most talked about set of the evening if the overheard conversations and explosion of Facebook and Twitter is anything to go by, it was certainly the most memorable and the best executed.
Suicide Silence were without a doubt set up perfectly by Thy Art Is Murder. The people down below in the pit were practically bouncing off the walls and so Suicide Silence didn’t have to try hard to get the crowd going again. The lights go down and suddenly we are thrown into "Inherit The Crown" with Eddie’s almighty highs piercing many an eardrum. It’s almost unfeasible how someone can produce such a piercing sound. The connection between Eddie and the band is obvious and endearing to see. Some asshole decides to throw a beer at the stage, narrowly missing Eddie who continues un-fazed by it. Bassist and guitarists Dan Kenny, Chris Garza and Mark Heylum all throw their heads down for the breakdown as Eddie moves up and down the stage, covering all bases. Drummer Alex Lopez moves at a blurring speed never missing a mark. Next up, after a quick thank you to a stage-hand for cleaning up the beer puddle on the stage, is "Cease to Exist". At this point I really picked up on the echo coming from Eddie’s mic. Although it added to the volume and impact of the vocals I found it somewhat gimmicky.
"No Pity For A Coward" bounced in as the third track to the elated screams of the crowd. You could tell that the older Suicide Silence tracks were the ones that the crowd were the most receptive to. Whether this had something to do with them being the product of Suicide Silence’s late vocalist, Mitch Lucker, I’ll never know, but that is how I personally felt when watching the crowd and the set. "Wake Up" was next with Eddie giving a shout out to Black Tongue and thanking them for being a part of their UK tour before the recognisable intro to the track began. It was almost impossible to hear Eddie due to the crowd screaming it back at him so loudly. "Unanswered" blew up the room with its painfully fast tempo and Eddie’s impossibly high vocals soaring to the ceiling of the venue. "Where is your fucking God" billowed from the audience over and over again. After they finished the song Eddie went on to confess “I tore a hole in my sock, all the way through my shoe that’s how hard we are going right now”! "Fuck Everything" made it obvious that any misconceptions of Eddie’s arrival as the new vocalist to Suicide Silence were brushed aside once and for all. Hilariously the crowd were extremely eager to open up a wall of death but Eddie stopped them and said "I didn’t say you could open up a pit, so close that shit down instead I want you to shout back two words at me. Fuck Everything", and so they obeyed instantly rushing to close up the circle like naughty children.
Peter Griffin’s intro monologue “everything Tom Hanks says is a stitch” for "Bludgeoned to Death" starts off the crowd again with them shouting “SUICIDE” back at the band. When we get to the first ‘be’ of “Be, be nothing, be nothing without me” bassist Dan falls to the floor in response. Upon the second “Be nothing”, guitarist Mark Heylmun follows suit and on the bruta; “be nothing without me”, second guitarist Chris Garza does the same as Eddie crouches legs spread on his step. Now that is entertainment, folks. "Slaves to Substance" is another murderous performance with some fun salsa-like, hip wiggling moves from Eddie as he shows he doesn’t take himself too seriously which is enlightening and adds to his well-known on stage persona. Finally the crowd are allowed to have a wall of death as a dedication to Fit For An Autopsy because they have never been to the UK before and “need to be shown how it’s done”. Needless to say I’m fairly sure I saw several bodies go down in the crushing spectacle that ensued.
After "Disengage", came the haunting intro "Sacred Words" which had the crowd clapping immediately. As one of the more melodic Suicide Silence songs, "Sacred Words" brought a lot of depth to their set. “That’s right all the way to the top!” Eddie screams as the track comes to its almighty break in. With only two songs left to go, the crowd unbelievably kept their energy up, though looking a little bit more worse for wear and far sweatier than the beginning of the night. "You Can’t Stop Me" brought Eddie to his knees as he screamed the words into the ground. It was an incredibly powerful moment to watch as it appeared to bring a lot more passion and meaning to the song.
The final track of the night, "You Only Live Once", was introduced with Eddie shouting, “We give you everything we’ve got right here right now, because we make it fucking count! Do you hear me?! ……I WANT YOU TO SING IT LOUD, I WANT YOU TO SING IT PROUD”. At this point it almost wasn’t necessary to have Eddie there at all as the crowd did all the singing for him. The room erupted into one mass of jumping, screaming bodies. With an exceptional light display, a pumped up crowd and awesome band energy the night came to an unforgettable end.
For me personally, the night’s most standout band was Thy Art Is Murder though it was a microscopically close call. Suicide Silence proved yet again why they are heavyweights and peers of death metal. I have seen Suicide Silence a number of times and this was the first time I saw them with Eddie fronting the band and I can safely say that they couldn’t have found a more perfect vocalist to ‘inherit the crown’.