WORDS: Perran Helyes
TERROR have been at the forefront of the hardcore for years now. With their old-school sound and relentless presence on stage, in a packed out room in Manchester’s Sound Control, this is surely the perfect gig for fans of hardcore.
TWITCHING TONGUES might fit snugly within the hardcore scene right down to their merch designs, but on a bill like this supporting the far more typical TERROR tonight they do stand out from a musical standpoint. They’re darker, more brooding and more crushing, simultaneously the heaviest band and the most emotive band on this lineup. Unfortunately perhaps for this reason of being so distinct from everyone else, those in attendance don’t seem to really get it. At a hardcore show you’d expect people at the very least to be near the front of the stage even if not yet throwing themselves around and causing chaos; TWITCHING TONGUES play to a gaping chasm at the front centre with just a smattering of people around the edge as if there’s an invisible pit occupying the space. It’s certainly not due to them simply being uninspiring though, as their goth and doom-tinged metallic hardcore is certainly very potent. Driven by the Young brothers with Colin up front and Taylor, also of NAILS, on guitar, their set has plenty of presence. The opening to the title track from last year’s Disharmony with Colin and Taylor roaring in tandem is enough to displace internal organs, and the stomping riff that follows is as killer as tonight gets. The more melodic vocal lines have plenty of dark character to them and even though some of Colin’s delivery is sacrificed to the sound system tonight, when they do ring through they are enveloping. Case in point is Preacher Man, which while unsurprisingly eliciting the least response from an uncaring audience is a cathartic and dynamic point of note. On the other end of the scale a closing World War V is violent enough to finally get things moving on the floor. Unfortunately just due to the nature of things their set is all too short and TWITCHING TONGUES leave with a lot more left to give.
Any remaining reluctance from the crowd has dissipated though by the time TERROR walk on stage. It’s their show after all, and the place goes nuts. TERROR might be the poster boys of stereotypical one trick pony hardcore (though guitarist Martin Stewart donning an INQUISITION shirt and sound-checking beforehand with riffs from GHOST’s Meliora shows they’re certainly not insular) but they perform their one trick with all the gusto of a hyperactive dog being thrown a toy. One with the Underdogs as an opener is blistering, throwing everything into it right from the get-go. They are exceptionally more engaging on stage than on record; not that the records are bad, but the passion and energy is far more palpable when they’re allowed to truly run riot with these songs. The microphone spends as much time in front of the mouths of crowd members as it does front-man Scott Vogel’s. The songs do over the course of the set gradually begin to blur into each other, all two minute long bursts of blunt impact, but a set time of an hour or so prevents things becoming too monotonous. Vogel introduces the somewhat more melodious You’re Caught (it’s not exactly KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES thankfully, but it’s not just pure bark either and it’s a memorable high point because of it) as his favorite TERROR song and dedicates it to everyone in the room, supporting hardcore and being part of what is to him an underground family. This kind of sentiment in many other settings would have potential to come across contrived but the genuine applause that greets it shows that the people here do genuinely feel and share this connection, and are all the more keen to launch themselves into a frothing surge of physical appreciation. TWITCHING TONGUES’ Taylor Young bursts onto the stage at one point and before you can even realise he’s there he’s growling and gurgling into the mic giving a far more deathly tone to TERROR’s usual attack, and by the time they close with Keepers of the Faith they’ve proven that their belief and enthusiasm for this music has no signs of waning. The people here live for it.