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Tuesday 18th September 2012
The Cockpit in Leeds, UK
Reviews & Photography by Nicholas Dishington
If you’ve ever been to The Cockpit in Leeds you’ll know how underwhelming a band’s entrance can be. If you haven’t been to this wonderful, almost quaint venue, let me explain. The stage for the room we’re in tonight doesn’t have a backstage, at least not to the back of the stage. This means that the lights will dim (as they are), the backing track will play (as it is) and the band will awkwardly make their way through the crowd and up to the steps at the side of the room… (this is also happening as Buried In Verona take to the stage). Keeping the awkwardness to a minimum the Sydney-based sextet don’t waste any time before breaking this evening’s ice with ‘Maybe Next Time’, the opening track to their recently released album 'Notorious'. It doesn’t even take this entire song before the first of many moshpits breaks out to the sound of vocalist Brett Anderson barking “If I found your burning body, I wouldn’t stop to piss on you.” Lovely. Only three songs (and probably as many stage-dives later) and drummer Shane O'Brien’s kick pedal is already broken, along with a good deal of the momentum. Anderson does his duty in trying to fill time for a while but as O’Brien’s acquiring and fitting the new pedal takes some time the vocalist eventually takes a breather. This break in intensity only serves to build the suspense - once the technical malfunction was over, it truly was over. It was the equivalent of having a delicious starter, you just can’t wait for the main. If you were to describe BIV as the warm up act, instead of being gently risen to the optimum temperature the second half of their set feels more like being thrown into a searing wildfire... in a good way. They blaze through songs such as ‘Perceptions’ and the charmingly named ‘Couldn’t Give 34 Fucks’ like I’ve never seen an opening band do before. There’s no timidity here. The end to the mayhem comes in the form of the souring choruses of ‘Four Years’, a strong finale to a set that feels a little too short once it actually got going.
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The last time I’d seen With One Last Breath was opening for My Passion well over a year ago in this very same venue and remember being impressed by their rock ‘n’ roll attitude then so I’m eager to see what had happened to them. Admittedly they have got me thinking before they even step on stage. They’re now main support, above Buried in Verona who have a full three albums and a number of years under their belt in comparison to With One Last Breath’s solitary EP and a handful of singles. The second they take to the stage you can see exactly why they’re here – it’s the swagger. They were confident before but this time the spunk is really there. It surprises me that so many of the crowd seem to know the songs but only two tracks in during ‘Down The Darkest Road’ tonight’s serial moshers spread the crowd out to create a circular void, limbering up to prepare themselves during the build-up and prepare for, well, nothing. The track comes to its end, leaving a bunch of pumped-up teens without a reason to knock seven bells of crap out of each other. A laugh is shared but it doesn’t take long before vocalist Spencer Costello commands a wall of death and the frustrated crowd go for it as if that little interlude had never happened. In preparation for tonight I’d listened to the band's aforementioned EP and while it was strong I was a little underwhelmed by the vocal recording. There’s nothing wrong with the delivery of the singing but the recording sounds like it was done in an echo-y church, leaving it feeling as separate from the end product as Bane’s voice does in the latest Batman film. This, however, is not only rectified but improved upon as Costello’s vocals are not just clearer but gravelly and a little scratchy; he makes more of a scene than a whine even in spite of a brief microphone problem during ‘Wake The Dead’. Last time I likened these boys to Bullet For My Valentine and while they’re still in that sort of territory this half an hour has been a grittier sounding experience overall. I look forward to potentially seeing how these guys have progressed at a future show.
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Motionless In White at The Cockpit in Leeds, UK, 18th September 2012
Photograph copyright © 2012 Nicholas Dishington - www.metal-discovery.com
You would think a little mystique would be lost between bands as Angelo Parente, Motionless in White's drummer takes to the stage prematurely to set up his equipment himself. Personally I find it a little odd but it serves only to whet the appetite of the eager fans who have secured their place at the front of the pit. Shortly after his departure the oddly chosen (Britney and Katy Perry) music disappears, along with all light and conversation. The introduction backing track is more than reminiscent of a 'Mechanical Animals' era Marilyn Manson song, the band clearly wearing their influences on their sleeves here. Having made their way to the front the Pennsylvanian gothic quintet burst into opening track 'Abigail' - it's intense from the outset. The ferocity of the delivery from all members is instantly overwhelming, so much so that the 250 capacity room feels claustrophobic in comparison to the atmosphere. This swelling energy is interrupted by vocalist Chris Motionless so many times between songs for a chat that things struggle to really build before being brought down again. Songs like 'London In Terror' and 'Creatures' pass with such pauses but as isolated pieces rather than a whole. That said, the aggression this band whip up from such a standing start every time is huge. Interactions with the fans are aplenty and it feels like they are genuinely enjoying themselves, especially Chris who is clearly lapping up the scene of teenagers throwing themselves into each other and reaching out to just touch him. The aforementioned banter takes an odd route about halfway through the set as the plucky frontman introduces a new song from their upcoming album 'Infamous'. He explains that this track 'If It's Dead We'll Kill It' focuses on celebrity culture and the standards by which beauty are measured. It's a bit corny and been said many times before but I'd still rather hear about how emotionally warped and "ugly" Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are than endure another one of Dave Mustaine's distasteful paranoid rants. This banter is the warmest received all night for what it's worth, I wouldn't say it was particularly erudite but it had people get involved.

The new track features a pleasing display of keyboards which is a welcome addition in spite of the fact tonight's sound has been noticeably more guitar fronted than I'd hoped for. The keyboards shine through only occasionally throughout the set but when they do, as is the case with tonight's stand out track 'Puppets (The First Snow)', it feels like a breath of fresh, but ominous-sounding, air. ‘Cobwebs’ is announced as the last song of the evening, an odd choice and personally the weakest track on their first full-length CD but nonetheless it goes down a storm. Throughout the set there has been more than a handful of moshpits and plenty of stage diving from fans, the latter entertainingly even between songs. I’ll admit, this has been confusing at times as many of these fans have adopted similar extreme monochromatic make-up to the band themselves, so when someone dives at you looking like a badger you look up and have no idea who it is. Once the band vacate, and return to the stage for the evening-ending ‘Immaculate Misconception’ just having the time to look up to try and decipher which person is about to land on your face is a luxury. It's a barrage of bodies. At one point during the song, within the space of a minute, four people hurl themselves into my general direction. This song is an obvious fan favourite clearly goes down a storm. It’s loud, it’s bold and a completely over the top. This evening, the last of the tour, has been exhausting in the way a Metal gig should be.
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