MAKE THEM SUFFER have had a mixed reception on their latest release Worlds Apart. With the record, they departed from their old symphonic deathcore roots and embarked on a more conceptual, progressive metalcore path. In a recent interview with Distorted Sound, vocalist Sean Harmanis noted that “when you change things up stylistically, people are going to have different responses – not everyone is gonna love it.” However, it has gained them enough of a fanbase to embark on their first headlining UK tour, upon which we caught them on their Manchester stop at Rebellion.
The first support act for the tour were much-talked-about Aussie hardcore act CURSED EARTH. After their recent release of conceptual double-EP Cycles of Grief, they have blown up in the Australian scene especially – supporting bands such as KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. Female fronted, raw and brutal, they take the approach that other successful bands like CODE ORANGE and VENOM PRISON have refined in recent times. They wasted absolutely no time in diving into their set, playing old and new songs with technical precision and terrifying zeal. Frontwoman Jazmine Luders proved to be an intimidating and intense presence on stage, moving in time with the music and staring down the crowd with unsettling intent. Unfortunately, with it being a Tuesday night, the room was far from full at this point and the band perhaps did not get the amount of attention they entirely deserved. According to the band, ‘From violence comes more violence, from tragedy comes rage. Then, inevitably, the cycle continues.’ These themes were violently conveyed in their live performance, which, despite the small crowd, proved that the band would be gracing much larger stages in the years to come.
The second and final support act for the night were French tech-metallers NOVELISTS. By this point, the crowd had grown significantly, with the main room of Rebellion nearly at capacity. The room buzzed in anticipation of the band, who have nurtured a passionate following online in recent years. Their recent release Noir saw a much more melodic sound from the band compared to their successful first album Souvenirs. Despite this change in sound, there were evidently many fans in the room on the night. The set that followed had both highs and lows. Overall, the band delivered a polished performance that engaged their fans and the vocals were very professional – and in tune, unlike many in the genre. However, with the small stage and the small venue, it was all too obvious that the band was relying heavily on backing tracks for both the vocals and lead guitar. When following a band as raw and stripped back as CURSED EARTH, it was to mask this layer of their performance. It was also evident that their old material was much more positively received than the songs from Noir. This is not to say that the band didn’t put on a good show, however – all of the members exuded charisma on stage and their fans screamed along like their lives depended on it.
As it was their first headlining UK tour, MAKE THEM SUFFER did not set their sights high for the UK Worlds Apart tour. A quick chat in the beer garden with vocalist Sean Harmanis showed the band to be in high spirits, but with low expectations as it was a miserable Tuesday night in Manchester. However, the next hour went to proving them wrong – despite the small crowd, Manchester absolutely loved MAKE THEM SUFFER. They played a set ranging from old material from Neverbloom to the new Rise Records hits from Worlds Apart. Unfortunately, the room seemed slightly less full than it was for NOVELISTS, but the pit stayed open and active throughout the set. Highlights came from opener and MAKE THEM SUFFER staple Widower, their lead single from Old Souls, Let Me In, and their incredible closer Blood Moon. The songs from Worlds Apart were successful live, with many knowing the words, however the originality and groove of some of the songs from Old Souls meant that they stole the show. New female vocalist Booka Nile nailed her vocal parts, which was a step up from some of the female vocalists the band has toured with in the last couple of years since the departure of Louisa Burton. Technically, the band were on fire from start to finish. Every note was perfect, and their insanely catchy breakdowns and hooks were pulled off with effortless ease. Harmanis owned the stage, revelling in the attention from the first few rows of the crowd. This performance proved one thing – whilst MAKE THEM SUFFER may have a couple more years until they can fill a venue in the UK, their fanbase is growing, and if they keep doing what they’re doing with their current level of enthusiasm and skill, they’re on track to be the next big thing in their genre.