Death to all false metalcore they said. I’m not even fully sure what that means anymore, the lines are blurred and my level of givable fucks is at such a dangerous low that I may soon have to consider a transplant. Semantics aside, if you tell this little piggy that two of his utterly favourite live acts are going to be in a room together on the same night, you can bet your ass that the rage will be set to eleven. Such was the case this past Sunday, February 3rd whilst Unearth, and Darkest Hour took a stroll through Foufounes Electriques here in Montreal. Fun fact, I’m currently typing this review with one hand while the other attempts to repair my sorry excuse for genitals with a needle and thread.
Homegrown Post Punk/Hardcore quartet The History of Flying Objects took to the stage like a riff sammich fresh off the press. Tight, groovy, and unique is not just the hooker that I DIDN`T order last night, but very much the sound of a fresh act with a ton of potential in THOFO. Heavy yet ambient, this isn’t a sound that easily fits into a demographic but very easily ticks off the necessary boxes of the title known as “banger” with punchy compositions, gorgeous lead guitar overtones, and a strong sense of togetherness with one teeny tiny little exception. Where the music reigned supreme, the vocal section left a little to be desired in terms of execution and digestibility. Some flat notes here, some missed enunciation there, and a bit of harmony dissonance all over but these are all in all the telling’s of a fresh effort and more than worth the time following.
Keeping the ball rolling on the local theme, Confined to Oblivion brought their brand of more modern day “epic” metalcore to the table. Though said brand displays the heir of technicality and prowess, the execution on this particular evening fell short for a variety of reasons. Most predominant of said reasons was the utter and painful equipment failures. Incessant crackling and volume fluctuations plagued the entire set, and although this was not my first endeavour with these chaps, it was easily the most cringe-inducing. Equipment failures can happen to anybody at any time, the difference, in this case, was the sheer lack of reaction and remedy to said failures, which lead to far more annoyance as a crowd member than enjoyment that COULD have been. Bitching and whining aside, these dudes still deliver a relatively tight set but still need to pass the test of time and embrace a general level of maturity to their craft before they can grow out of the box of an opening act.
Washington, D.C might be the home of a great many evil things in this day and age, but nothing can quite touch the pure and untainted carnage that is Darkest Hour. There’s a truly unique kind of reaction this band tends to elicit, at least out of my grumpy ass, that is rarely matched, one screaming that they could do no wrong and despite the fact that every typically pristine sounding tune felt like it was tossed in a blender with a cask of indiscriminate booze, that same indomitable emotion occurred. One is compelled to break shit for Darkest Hour, and this isn’t even laying the requirement of a solidly selected setlist. Add the fact they played tunes like “Savor the Kill,” the mighty classic “Demon(S),” and even a fucking ball busting cover of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” by the Dead Kennedys. Sloppy or not this was a banger set and another to be added to the book of DON’T MISS FUCKING DARKEST HOUR SHOWS.
As is the case in Washington, Boston, MA is the home to a great many agita-FUCK YOU TOM BRADY GOD FUCKING DAMNIT. Sorry, we’re back. Unearth out of Boston, MA have been a fire starter for the metalcore genre since early new wave of American metal days. Some would say their recent releases are either too stagnant or too far off the beaten path, but one thing you couldn’t dream of saying is that somebody else busts a breakdown better. Yes, breakdowns, the bane of all things hardcore music, and yes, NOBODY DOES IT BETTER THAN UNEARTH. If you were in attendance and somehow left with your C3 intact, I either applaud your fortitude or shame your lack of enthusiasm. These cats sported their typically impeccable live side, and spectacular set choice with a little something for everybody including new rager “One With the Sun,” and classics like “Zombie Autopilot” and “This Lying World” (made famous for their use of the word breakdown to introduce a breakdown before the breakdown). Unearth are certifiably incapable of a bad performance, and from my unnatural amount of experience, this seems to be a superpower intent on keeping.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Mike Milito