Live Review: Vales, Svalbard and Milk Teeth – The Old Blue Last, London – 22/06/2014

imageWaiting is a concept that we all have to endure, in various ways, places and times. This results in a consistent theme of anticipation. When coupled with patience, the results become completely worth it and paid for as the curtain of surprise drops. It has certainly been a very long time since Cornwall melodic hardcore band Vales have played home shores, almost two years in fact! By the end of this evening however, in this legendary London music venue, the phrase “worth it” rings true.

Beginning this free show are Bristol grungers Milk Teeth. This lot have been slowly but surely attracting ears to their filthily glorious 90s style sound. Tracks such as ‘Grease’ and ‘Forty Six’ prove this in a striking anthemic approach, pulling hooks from flesh and tearing them asunder. New single ‘Vitamins’ displays a perfect contrast of melodic pop and punk fuelled grit, a skill the band are bettering themselves at with every new release they churn out. The co-operation between the serene vocals of Becky Blomfield and the throated snarls by Josh Bannister lead this balance to great effect. If I’m not mistaken, I firmly believe that Milk Teeth, along with a handful of new British bands are doing the 90s style justice, more than their contemporaries in the U.S. are. Don’t believe me? Well, Bannister’s smashed up guitar seems to agree, in a metaphorical manner of speaking. (4/5)

After raving on about them for months, this was the first time I witnessed Bristol hardcore maestros Svalbard. Did they fulfil all of my expectations? Holy shit, yes they very well did. The band’s amalgamation of melodic hardcore, post rock and alt metal is a gargantuan sight to behold in the live setting. The level of musicianship reaches such heights, it’s impossible to describe the emotions they well up. Take ‘Flightless Birds’ for instance, the melodic ambiance soars, whilst the shrill yells and the heavy foundations hold them up in a stern vessel on the clouds. The sheer power of the band is so untamed that it leads to the drum’s snare being obliterated on the very first song! Glass is shattered, faces read catatonic expressions…alright I’m over exaggerating a little, but Svalbard knows how to deliver an unforgettable performance. ‘Ripped Apart’, from their upcoming collaborative split album with Pariso, drills this point into the marble hearts of giants. Trust me; they are worth giving a shit about! (4.5/5)

Finally, after the crowd has been warmed by two excellent supports, the ceremonious welcome for Vales can begin. And what a ceremony it is! Vocalist Chlo Edwards roars outwardly, pouring from the turmoil of the band’s lyrics, which depict an ever bleak and hopeful life we all must bear. The energy on stage is absorbed by the chaotic bunch at the front. They anguishly scream and battle it all out in earnest. The breath taking display of crashing drums, subtle bass and biting riffs leaves one jaw dropped and stunned. Songs from debut album ‘Wilt & Rise’ sound truly magnificent. The opening drum fill and melody on ‘Survival’ rolls a wrath that could rival nature itself, whilst ‘Scripted’ simply unites all those to the front, reviling at the cycle of life. Both songs provide only the slightest insight into this bold and fitting spectacle. Finally, the ground ruptures fully into fruition by closing song of the set and opener of EP ‘Clarity’, ‘Standing Alone (Isolation)’. Vales have outdone themselves with an incredible hair raising and blissful performance to boot. The beginnings of a grand plan? I think so guys, I think so. (4.5/5)

4.5/5

Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)

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