Each year, popular clothing and merchandise distributor Impericon hosts two heavy music events that tour the UK and Europe. Earlier on this year, we caught their main event, Impericon Festival, with headliners THY ART IS MURDER. Their secondary event, the Never Say Die! Tour, is a smaller event, but no less heavy. The headlining slot was filled with deathcore legends EMMURE, and support was provided by DEEZ NUTS, CHELSEA GRIN, SWORN IN, KUBLAI KHAN, LORNA SHORE and POLARIS. We went to see the brutality unfold in Manchester.
First of the day on this year’s Impericon Never Say Die! Tour were Australian metalcore youngbloods POLARIS. Recently battering the way into the scene with their debut album The Mortal Coil to very positive reception, this tour was their first opportunity to test the waters of European and British audiences. Whilst the room was only just beginning to fill up, this did nothing to dampen the band’s spirits. Performing a mixture of songs from their album and their EP, both were well received. Both the guitar and bass tone were absolutely perfect, and Jamie Hails’ vocals were studio perfect. The Remedy, the lead single from their album, formed the highlight of the set.
LORNA SHORE were next up, their blackened deathcore a stark comparison to the upbeat metalcore of the openers. Having not really broken into the deathcore scene yet, they received a fairly stale response, with the occasional hardcore dancer spinning across the pit during their breakdowns. However, technically, the band were on fire. Lead guitarist Adam de Micco schooled the rest of the bands on the lineup with his fretwork, but clearly such a level of technicality went over the heads of the hardcore fans. A decent performance, but perhaps the wrong crowd.
The first hardcore band to take to the stage on this year’s Never Say Die! Tour were Texans KUBLAI KHAN. Their recent release Nomad brought them into the hardcore limelight, and this was their chance to prove to Manchester if their songs hit just as hard live. The short answer? They do, and then some. The room transformed from its previous slumber into a two stepping, hardcore dancing riot. The pure aggression of vocalist Matt Honeycutt channelled throughout the room, stepping up the atmosphere several notches from before. The Hammer, Antpile, and BC were the songs that went to show that their new material is more than enough to bring the band into the hardcore limelight in the coming months.
SWORN IN wasted no time in introducing themselves. Riding off the back of the wave of KUBLAI KHAN, the crowd erupted in response to the band’s abrasive and disgusting hardcore. Vocalist Tyler Dennen poured his passion out into the crowd, playing an almost convincing caricature on stage with which he manipulated the audience – ‘when this song drops, send someone to the fucking ER’. Whilst this cliché attitude may put off many, it cannot be denied that their music more than made up for it. The drumming of Chris George was both technical and raw, and both old songs such as their close Snake Eyes and newer songs like Make It Hurt received consistent hysteria from the front of the crowd.
As the night began to deepen, CHELSEA GRIN hit the stage, in another return to Manchester since the release of Self Inflicted. Whereas their headline show last year featured a lot of their beloved old material, this was quickly swept away at the beginning of the set. Their hit Recreant was the second song played, a change from it usually being the closing song. The rest of the set was made up of songs from Self Inflicted and Ashes to Ashes, which, while it may have disappointed many classic fans in the audience, pleased their more recent additions. Alex Koehler delivered his vocals with his usual nonchalance and ease, and the crowd dropped with every punishing breakdown. All in all, this was by no means a special CHELSEA GRIN set – only time will tell if the band are planning to raise the bar any time soon.
Main support for this year’s Never Say Die! Tour was in the form of often-snubbed Aussie hardcore posse DEEZ NUTS. Their last show in Manchester was in support of SUICIDE SILENCE, which goes to show that they’re not a band to shy away from a deathcore support slot. Being sandwiched in-between two deathcore bands evidently did not phase them, as they delivered a set with as much positivity, zeal and energy as had been seen on the stage so far. All band members practically pranced around the stage with the pure joy of getting the Manchester crowd bouncing along to their tongue-in-cheek lyrics and riffy hardcore. All their material, from the first album to latest release Binge and Purgatory received consistent appreciation from their fans in the audience, which was testament to the enthusiasm of their performance.
Without beating around the bush, EMMURE made mincemeat of their headline slot. 45 minutes passed by in an instant as they sonically pulverised every individual in the room. They ripped through a lot of material from new release Look At Yourself, with songs like Torch and Flag of the Beast bringing the crowd to hysteric levels. Since the addition of guitar maestro Josh Travis to the band, their instrumentality and visceral sound live has reached new levels. His screeching effects and violent 9-string breakdowns levelled the room in every song, leaving the crowd begging for more, but at the same time wishing for the end for fear of their sanity. There is no doubt that EMMURE are one of the heaviest live bands going around at the moment, and the opportunity for them to showcase this in front of a full Club Academy was truly something to witness. The only hiccoughs in the set were a smorgasbord of microphone problems during a couple of songs, which were taken on the cheek by vocalist Frankie Palmeri. Aside from the old material, the band’s classic I Thought You Met Telly and Turned Me Into Casper got an honourable airing, much to the delight of longtime fans. One thing was for sure – EMMURE have an appetite for destruction and they will do anything to satisfy that when they get instruments in their hands.