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LIVE REVIEW: Impericon Festival, Manchester

The touring of Impericon Festival saw massive success when it jumped from mainland Europe across to our glum shores. The one-day fiesta showcases the premier talent on the hardcore and metalcore circuits and today is absolutely no exception, with an absolutely stacked line up that sees HATEBREED topping the bill. Couple these excellently and devilishly heavy acts with a small and reasonably intimate venue and well, you’ve got a pretty volatile combination.

Hellions live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Hellions live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

HELLIONS start off the day to a crowd so measly it’s almost worth wondering if they should’ve waited a little longer. The band try to elicit some form of reaction from the crowd but are unsuccessful, as they blast through their short 20 minute set with confidence in abundance but a severe lack of anything memorable.

Rating: 6/10

Hundredth live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Hundredth live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

HUNDRETH arrive to immediately up the energy as they begin their high octane set to a noticeably more sizable crowd. The added numbers do wonders for the pacing of the set, as it begins and ends on the same level. Having two guitars and no bass adds a further element to the sound, as the crushing heaviness comes as quickly as it leaves, with no low end to sustain the assault.

Rating: 8/10

Eskimo Callboy live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Eskimo Callboy live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

Coming up next and representing the German people are ESKIMO CALLBOY and truth be told, it’s not great. Sure they’re heavy, but so is every other band on the bill. The light show was interesting, but other bands utilised the lights interestingly as well. When you come down to it, the sheer belligerent enjoyment that comes from ESKIMO CALLBOY is their breakdowns that come down like a tonne of badly sounding bricks right onto your head.

Rating: 4/10

Heart of a Coward live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Heart of a Coward live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

By the time HEART OF A COWARD arrive to well and truly bring the brutality it goes down a storm. The Milton Keynes lads are a renowned live act regardless but today simply adds another notch to their résumé. Now coming to the end of their touring cycle for the album Deliverance, their set could use the injection and reinvigoration of new material in order for it to really be taken a step up, but for now, HEART OF A COWARD are simply refining their already clear ability.

Rating: 8/10

Despised Icon live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Despised Icon live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

Being a band with as much influence on a genre that DESPISED ICON have, you’d expect them to at least get some butterflies before going back on another one of those reunion tours, but even if they did the Canadians didn’t elude to anything. Their crushing sound staying as filthy as ever, there appears to be a genuine new energy in the band now that the prospect of new material is looming for the band to insert into their already high-energy, high-chaos set.

Rating: 8/10

Chelsea Grin live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Chelsea Grin live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

Keeping on the theme of original deathcore bands, CHELSEA GRIN have always been a band to elicit some sort of reaction, whether it be adoration or absolute seething hatred. Today however sees the ‘core originals displaying their unrivalled anvil of a sound with purpose and conviction. The guitars sound thick and chunky, the bass is low enough to dislodge your teeth and the drums keep everything is a tightly knit package for maximum damage. The only thing keeping the band from really stealing the show would be the vocal mix, as the wretched screams and gutturals are lost in amongst the colossally packed mix.

Rating: 7/10

Blessthefall live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Blessthefall live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

Being another odd one out on paper was perhaps the best thing to happen to BLESSTHEFALL, as the predestined mind set that many people will undoubtedly have come in with can simply be shattered in many, many pieces. The metalcore quintet throws their punches hard and even keeps up with their far more intense peers. Alongside the necessary heaviness, the band also bring some big choruses into the mix, and when delivered well, elevate the performance past a mark most other bands wont even strive to hit.

Rating: 7/10

Emmure live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Emmure live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

EMMURE are perhaps even more divisive than their comrades in CHELSEA GRIN, but it’s a shame that their live show couldn’t make up for more shortcomings. The new band members sound tight but other than that add nothing new to the mix at all, instead leaving even more of the work for Frankie Palmeri to do, which he does to the best of his ability. They don’t sound nearly heavy enough, and when being a band known for reducing bones to dust with your bass drops, that’s perhaps a little disconcerting. The technical fault mid set certainly did not help the momentum either, but that’s something that unfortunately is part of playing live.

Rating: 6/10

Northlane live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Northlane live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

Picking up the role of main support are NORTHLANE and they’ve decided to do it whilst sporting some truly unimaginative and generally silly looking body paint. Looks aside, the band sound tight as always if a little flat. The songs don’t soar as well melodically as they should do, instead the heavier and more aggressive side of their sound being highlighted here. Marcus Bridge’s vocals are very hit and miss throughout the performance, mostly missing the mark on the massive choruses of older tracks. Despite this, the band looks confident and comfortable in the higher slots and certainly continued to show everyone why to believe the hype around them.

Rating: 7/10

Hatebreed live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan
Hatebreed live @ Impericon Festival, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan

By this point in time, even if you haven’t seen HATEBREED live before you should know what to expect. General dominance from one the alternative scenes most consistently brilliant and influential acts. Seriously though, there’s not a lot else to say about this show, other than it being HATEBREED doing what they do best, and with new songs thrown in for added measure and brutality, fitting perfectly amongst the old material, proving that after all this time, the vigour and vitalisation of the old-school moshers is still alive and kicking, and they will probably never let it die.

Rating: 8/10

Check out Distorted Sound’s exclusive and extensive photo gallery of Impericon Festival from photographer Christopher Ryan:

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