Archive for the ‘Djent’ Category

I went to go see Tesseract tonight (Friday 5th February, 2016) at Manchester Academy 2, with Nordic Giants and The Contortionist as support. This was the fourth time I’ve seen Tesseract (I’ve previously with Karnivool, Protest The Hero and Animals As Leaders, twice at this same venue and once at Sound Control – another venue also in Manchester) and the second time I’ve seen The Contortionist (seen ‘em with Riverside in Club Academy).

I got there a little late, but that meant the merch table was clear and saved me time after the gig, so it actually worked out alright, I got there as Nordic Giants had just finished their first song. I’ve never seen or heard of them before, so was surrised to see two multi-instrumentalists separated by not one but two projector screens centre stage, dressed up as Eskimos or Native Americans or, presumably, Nordic Giants. They moved rhythmically in time with the music and did big Tommy Lee drum gestures, and had violin bows to use on guitars, and played weird arty movies, with things like Game Of Thrones one minute, then parasites evolving the next, then people’s faces melting into sand and then an animated movie with lots of Pink Floyd and Sonic/Mario videogame references. Pretty interesting. The music was, I don’t know, some kind of Post-Rock, Explosions In The Sky meets Sixty Five Days Of Static type stuff (I’m not well informed on this sort of music… I know some music more than others. I could tell you if they sounded like Tygers Of Pan Tang though… they don’t.)
It was very intriguing and I’d happily see them again, or use their music to score an emotional scene in a sports movie if I ended up in the unlikely position to do so.

Next up comes The Contortionist. Their first song was a badass, Rishloo-esque beautiful prog sparkler. The majority of their set was Djent on the very mathy side, very complex and a bit hard to follow, with some really aggressive parts, but mostly quite beautiful. Their singer is still really cool and their main guitarist still looks about 13 years old, but is like a junior Robert Fripp in talent.

It was a good gig, and saw a very quite violent pit from some very odd, angry looking apes who seemed to think they were at a Throwdown or Hatebreed gig, but whatever. I don’t really love their songs because the math thing is a little too far… and the heavy thing is a bit too abrasive, but I’d happily see them again supporting someone else.

Then came Tesseract. It was the first time I’ve seen them since the new album came out. I’ve said it before, but Altered State, their sophomore, was a true stone cold masterpiece, and arguably the milestone against all other new music will henceforth be judged for me. When Ashe O Harra left I was worried and even though Dan is great I’d rather he stay in Skyharbour and I have the best of both worlds. All other times I saw the band, they were touring Altered State effectively, but this time they had Polaris songs to fit into the set.

Fit ‘em they did. In fact, not only did they fit ‘em, but they were the highlight of the night. “Hexes,” “Survival” and “Dystopia” were three of the best performances I’ve seen out of a band in years. The crowd went flippin wild for “Survival” too, which I didn’t realize was such a big deal because I’m semi out of the loop with other music fans at the minute.
They did play the first four songs off of Altered State too, so I’m damn happy, and this time none crowd surfed over my head during “Resist.”
The sound was very clear, the setlist was nice and balanced from all three albums, the light show was more advanced with colorful lazers and the audience didn’t get up in my business. A very good night for this fan. I didn’t even get into my usual ‘beer, littering, photos and crowdsurfing should be banned’ mood because their weren’t any Slayer fans spoiling for a fight or shirtless English versions of Frat Boys in an out of place party mood. Good stuff.

Oddly; when the band left the stage, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from the Titanic movie played and most of the audience stayed and sang all the words for good minute or two before admitting defeat at the lack on formal encore. An unusual end to a gig, and surprising how many people knew all the lyrics, but whatever… I’m not the music police. I like music my favourite critics and “opinion-makers” think is awful all the time.
Did I mention the new material was good? Its really good. It worked really well live. I’m very excited to see the band again, when they start dropping even more new stuff into the set, Here’S hoping for ‘Seven Names.’

I went to go see fantastic Canadain Prog/Punk/Metal/Whatever band Protest The Hero last night in Manchester Academy. My ticket said Academy 2, but the bouncers herded us into the basement for the Club Academy.

I was a bit skeptical that maybe they’d mistakenly sent me to the wrong gig, and asked some guy in a Protest The Hero shirt if he though he was in the right place, which he did… I asked that two seconds before noticing the rather large Protest The Hero backdrop (with the same image as the t-shirt I was wearing on it).

The support band seemed to be a local band of Manchester students, but in fact turned out to be Palm Reader – who you might’ve heard mentioned dozens of times on the Metal Hammer Podcast. They were good.. a very pissed off mixture of Parkway Drive and Gallows. Definitely more in the British Hardcore mode than Metalcore in the Shadows Fall sense. Interesting. I wasn’t bowled over but I could respect it.

Then came The Contortionist who played Djent, so I should’ve liked them, but they just lacked a special something. Maybe they were deflated that the gig had been downsized? I don’t know. The singer was super, super calm, almost like he was in a coffee shop. Didn’t really create an atmosphere. Also, it didn’t help that their guitarist had such a young face that it reminded me of the gigs I’d played as a teenager when no-one showed up. The whole thing could only be described as ‘drab’ which I’m aware is unfair and makes me sound judgemental, but its honestly how I felt. Clapping out of politeness but not in any way shape or form “blown away.”

The Safety Fire followed that. I’m not being rude but it wasn’t very good. Technical problems, missed notes, lack of energy until the famous songs. They’re a good band, I’ve seen them before and they were really storming, I think this was just an off-night. Don’t let me put you off them, but just being honest, 26/11/2014 wasn’t a good gig of theirs, for me.

Then came the band I’ve been banging on about for the last two years. The band I paid to see. The band who’ve fastest shot up my scroble-count of anyone ever with the same amount of material (in English that means I’ve listened to them proportionately higher than anyone else recently). The band who I saw in February who played one of the hands down best and most fun gigs I’ve ever seen, ever.

It was good. I had earplugs in the rest of the night due to the really bad ear injury I got on Monday at Mastodon, but I took the plug out’ve the non-injured ear for PTH. They were fantastic. Roddy’s humorous banter didn’t fall flat. New bassist was great. New(ish) drummer still completely awesome. Core band absolutely flawless.

The setlist was a good too – bit different from last time I saw them… no ‘Mist’ but there was ‘Termites.’ No ‘The Dissentience,’ ‘Bury The Hatchet’ or ‘Tilting Against Windmills’ but there was ‘Drumhead Trial’ and ‘ Bone Marrow’ and ‘Plato’s Tripartite.’ Still a good balance of all four albums, still hits, still surprises. Good job.

I really enjoyed the band. I wasn’t in the best spot for “getting into it” and jumping up and down and the earplug thing made me self-conscious of my voice and so singing along wasn’t as energetic as it was last time, and I can’t honestly claim a “best gig ever” thing about this one the way I could last time I saw them (it was amazing!), but I’m still glad to have went. And I was in the best spot for seeing music without yobs impinging upon my person or ear canals. So… I’d chalk that one up to a win, given a) my personality anyway and b) the circumstances.

Anyway; Man, I’m buzzed. Speed walking home to avoid muggers has really woken me up.
Good thing I don’t have to get up at 5am this morning. Oh wait…