Live Review & Photos: Cancer Bats, Brutality Will Prevail and Empress – Academy 3, Manchester – 13/02/2013

Punks, metalheads and hardcore kids, all of different generations congregate in single file outside the doors to a sold out show. The location is Academy 3, where things are about to get as wild and hectic as you can imagine…sort of. In agreement with the security codes, the owners have agreed to not have a barrier in front of the stage as long as stage dives do not occur. Regardless, this will not kill the energy that tonight’s show will give off.

The London prog rockers Empress contrast an epic soundscape of subtle strokes and soft vocals, which morph into heavy chugging riffs and raw throaty yells backed by pounding percussion. With a bit of patching up in some places, Empress could potentially hold bigger stages, but tonight they have definitely earned the applause from the crowd. (3.5/5)

Kicking the face of the crowd with the beastly mesmerising ‘Heavy Eyes’, Welsh hardcore quintet Brutality Will Prevail sweep all naysayers aside with a monstrous performance. The addition of new vocalist Louis Gauthier hasn’t taken away the band’s presence; it instead enhances it to terrific results. Room is made for the usual pit-going hooligans, who feed off of the band’s energy during the likes of ‘The Path’ and ‘Reprisal’. A cyclone bred circle pit during ‘Sins of Commitment’ is a fine example of what this band is capable of, regardless of the bullshit thrown at them. This reaches a final destination at fan favourite ‘Trapped Doors Moving Walls;‘ you can be rest assured that BWP are still a moving unit of ferocity. (4/5)

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View on Flickr. Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

The moment the lights go down and come back up, Canadian hardcore punks Cancer Bats get the whole room jumping to the bouncy mayhem of ‘Bricks & Mortar.’ After a hectic two punch follow up with ‘Trust No One’ and ‘Pneumonia Hawk, you feel rest assured that despite the prohibited stage dives, this performance makes tonight one to remember.

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View on Flickr. Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

The highlights that follow include mass shout alongs to ‘Lucifer’s Rocking Chair’ and ‘Road Sick’, the slow chugging of ‘Darkness Lives’ and ‘Sleep This Away’ causing rows of heads to move; and endless circle pits during the riffing wizardry in ‘Sorceress’. Such moments are pulled off brilliantly because as a band, Cancer Bats know how to work a crowd; whether it’s the charisma of frontman Liam Cormier or the dizzying skills of guitarist Scott Middleton, the band are the masters of their own craft.

As the night draws to a close, the Canadians launch a hopping bassline from their renowned cover of ‘Sabotage’ by the Beastie Boys which whips the whole room into a comfortable frenzy. ‘Hail Destroyer’’ takes the reigns of this frenzy and shakes it a little further right into a brick wall of chaos. The finale of this night comes in the form of ‘R.A.T.S.’ which signals a helter skelter of a performance has been accomplished and slain to the touch. (4/5)

4/5

Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan) Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett and taken at Sub89, Reading on 20th March 2013.

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