It was a sunny day in Camden, a complete contrast to the music that was about to be unleashed upon the Underworld later. But everyone was in good spirits, the beer was flowing and the Underworld had sold out. Roll on the opener.
Travelling all the way from France to play their first ever UK show, openers Barque were an excellent start to the day. Their screamo influenced hardcore was a real treat to hear; energetic, frantic and heavy. For such a young band they had mastered their stage presence, really likeable, humble and funny. This is a band to watch.
When Grave Lines supported Ufomammut, they were good but not great. Supporting Oathbreaker, they were more than great, riffs that were more of a menace than Dennis, gripping and often intimidating. Vocalist Jake Harding had the stage presence of an escaped maniac while spewing bile on stage, while the band played riffs heavier than the Titanic. Their music drifted between doom, sludge and post-metal, but it did not feel jumbled or conflicted, it slotted together like a jigsaw. Absolute black gold, catch them opening Desertfest on the Friday.
Svalbard are bona fide heroes, they create music that is inspiring, original and damn good. The Bristolian quartet were stunning as usual, the opening to ‘Perspective,’ had never sounded better, the material from One Day All This Will End had never sounded better and Serena and Liam’s vocal attack was as strong as the writing on Peep Show. This was my third time watching Svalbard live and they never get dull, it’s like watching old episodes of The Simpsons in a way, it’s always great but you know notice little new things along the way. This time I really came to appreciate Mark Lilley‘s drumming and how well in tandem he played with the rest of the band. Half an hour of bliss.
Oathbreaker were mesmerising, an absolute tour de force of post-metal influenced hardcore. One of the hottest properties in alternative music, Oathbreaker had to be seen to believed. Playing mainly from Rheia, an album that ended up in many end of year lists, they were an absolute whirlwind. The Underworld was packed, when the pit opened I found it hard to breath. Caro Tanghe‘s vocals were just as good as on record; electrifying, commanding and emotional. The pain being vocalised could be felt around the Underworld and it was clear many people were affected by the set. Oathbreaker are moving up in the world, expect a bigger venue the next time they play.