Live Review: Converge, Touché Amoré, A Storm of Light and The Secret – Academy 2, Manchester – 29/11/2012

The biting cold has descended quite suddenly on this seemingly dark foreboding evening where the most sinister of things like to dwell, what better band to signify the arrival of such bitter temperament than one of the most unhinged bands of the last 20 years who bring with them an ensemble of great support acts and a fury and tension that’ll help to thaw the incoming frost.

The bludgeoning noise of Italian metallic hardcore machine The Secret is the perfect remedy to tenderise the ear drums of the crowd before them for the night ahead. Whilst on one hand they are a fierce arsenal to be reckoned with, on the other they are plagued with an unbalanced sound mix; combining this with a lack of engagement with the faces before them only lessens their impact and through a shroud of fog it feels as though their presence was nothing more than a hallucination. (3/5)

The hairs that would stand on end from the potentially tense apocalyptic formula from post/doom metallers A Storm of Light falls disappointingly flat from the ever continuing plague of a sound mix that lacks a cohesive balance between vocals, bass, and percussion. A Storm of Light sure are loud and have the odd spine tingling moment but  lack the chilling nature that is needed to inject a fear induced toxin into the centre of the human body, mind, and soul. Even the use of looping images themed with disaster, famine and death just cause one to zone into their own dream state. (2.5/5)

Whilst they suffer from the same unbalanced sound mix as the previous bands, Touché Amoré has better luck and skills at overcoming such a hindrance with help from their small dedicated followers who scream ecstatically at their presence. Front man Jeremy Bolm is both pedantic and magnificent in his mannerisms as his words are reflected from the crowd back to the stage during the likes of ‘Tilde’, ‘And Now It’s Happening in Mine’ and ‘Home Away from Here’. Newer songs ‘Whale Belly’, from the band’s split with The Casket Lottery, and ‘Gravity Metaphorically’ from the band’s upcoming split with Pianos Become the Teeth, have a grandiose quality to them which never fail to reach the fiery rays of the sun. Ending with fan favourite ‘Honest Sleep’, the echoing words “I’m losing sleep, I’m losing friends” pierce beautifully into the minds of the familiar and the unfamiliar. (3.5/5)

Opening with the pure overwrought classic ‘Concubine’, Converge signal their presence with a slick urgency that sends an adrenaline fuelled rush into the central nervous system of their audience. As an outfit, Converge display nothing but technical proficiency in the tools they utilise to convey the various emotions which precipitate from their output. From the circle pit inducing moments of ‘Axe to Fall’ and ‘Cutter’ to the more sombre drudge filled tensions conveyed during ‘Worms Will Feed/Rats Will Feats’ and ‘Glacial Pace’, the band are the pinnacle of a wintery force that traps you on solid ice which could break at any moment before submerging every air sac in your lungs with water that feeds off of one’s fears and desperations. Jacob Bannon is at the top of his game as he orchestrates emotions of melodic despair during ‘Aimless Arrow’ and ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ one moment, and a vile gargantuan spite of rage the next on the ear deafening tones of ‘On My Shield’ and ‘Eagles Become Vultures’.

Seconds have barely passed once the band return from the briefest of intervals to be greeted by their eternally grateful fans who become slaves to the bullet filled fury of ‘No Light Escapes’ and the wonderfully hair standing riff of ‘Hellbound’. The magma is sealed on the peak of the room with the positive life gripping words found on fan favourite ‘Last Light’ with all those present rushing towards the gaping jaws that entice you to come in. After all has passed, you once again realise that Converge are the god like pinnacle of all things that are branded as punk, metal, and hardcore. (4/5)


Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)

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