Some of us here at Thrash Hits are card-carrying members of the #NoFunClub. Thankfully, Tom ‘You Are Not Better Than Pop Music‘ Doyle isn’t one of them. That’s why we sent him to watch Emmure, Chelsea Grin and Atilla when The Mosh Lives tour came to London last week.
Six Things we learned when we saw The Mosh Lives tour in London:
1) Global warming might mean that the weather outside remains inclement for April but The Mosh Lives tour’s crowd still seem to love wearing vests. Every third human male in this room has “the guns” out, but here’s a top tip – if you are a noodle-armed child then maybe wear something more befitting your body shape (that said there are plenty of dudes here who look like they would list their hobbies as: protein, bench-pressing, flexing and protein).
2) Atlanta’s Atilla bring their self styled “partycore” to the table with mixed results. A vocal style that trades between guttural lows and skittish, screeching highs is at times pretty indistinguishable but they bring a sense of fun-poking humour to tonight’s proceedings which would otherwise be somewhat lacking.
Watch the video to ‘Rage’ by Atilla:
3) They are followed by Chelsea Grin, whose previous outing to the UK with Asking Alexandria early last year has certainly gained them a foothold with young British fans which they make tell tonight. They are met with a strong (if not rapturous) reception but don’t offer the dynamic range that their recorded output indicates that they could. The odd high-up-the-fretboard guitar flourish aside it all feels pretty midpaced and one dimensional, but you sense there is more to come from them.
4) There is something endearing about Emmure’s Frankie Palermi. That is perhaps an odd statement given his penchant for putting on t-shirts things that probably shouldn’t be put on t-shirts, but as he ambles on stage in a windbreaker, shorts and bright white Adidas shelltops he exudes their air of a man who a) does not give a solitary fuck what you think, and b) is at least honest about that fact.
Watch the video to ‘Drug Dealer Friend’ by Emmure:
5) Palermi and his band crack into a near hour long set which, if you like Emmure on record, is everything you could have hoped for. They are neck snappingly powerful instrumentally and the vocalist prowls the stage with a sinister and genuine aggression which plenty would struggle to match. Guitarist Jesse Ketive even wears a back turned red cap as if we needed any more clues about the musical lineage of the Queens quintet, the relentless bounce and churning mosh owing more than its fair share to nu-metal’s pantheon.
6) All this being said, Emmure’s big problem is that the grinding breakdown of what they do can feel so repetitive that at it’s worst it is actually quite energy sapping. Even on stage there are lulls of relative lethargy and for a band who have courted so much controversy even the between song chit-chat is fairly middle of the road. Of course, pretty much everything about Emmure is base and primal and knuckle dragging but to complain that they are not cerebral is like listening to Yngwie Malmsteen and then whining that it’s “a bit heavy on the guitar solos” i.e. fucking pointless. When they deliver their brutal brew to the peak of their abilities, as they do tonight on ‘Drug Dealer Friend’ and ‘Solar Flare Homicide’, they are exemplary within their field – you just feel that to hold the interest for a headline set of this length, they need to mix up the formula a little bit.