Review + Photography by Neale Hayes

August Burns Red (16)

Wasting no time, Betraying the Martyrs swiftly took to the stage and lead singer Aaron Matts addressed the audience early with some sinister smiles and beckoning them to start some circle pits. ‘Lost for Words’ (2017) really captured the strict attention from the crowd who were up for a mental one, the brutal deep screams from Matts combined with the symphonic keyboard work and vocals from Victor Guillet, perfection. The band tinkered with their older material, ‘Liberate Me Ex Inferis’ (2011), deathcore esque chugs with remix qualities, leading into, ‘Life is Precious’ (2011).

Betraying the Martyrs (2)

Betraying the Martyrs (3)

The older music is less melodic but still contains the slower refrains with the keyboard but is more so an exercise in breakdown capability, the crowd loved it. The skill cannot be denied, all members kill it onstage and it reminds me of old Oceans Ate Alaska material; technical metalcore with hints of a it’s more sinister brother, death metal. More than just a warm up act, the further their set went on the more intense they became.

Betraying the Martyrs (21)

Betraying the Martyrs (17)

Wage War took to the stage with mass applauds from the largely millennial crowd. ‘The River’ (2015) kicked things off in true metalcore fashion, Britton Bond unleashing his powerful range on the crowd from the get go. His swift changes between guttural screams and high pitched shrieking is impressive, even in a live setting. They evidently made an impact on the UK audiences as many people sang along with them. ‘Deadweight’ (2017) is a perfect live song, almost teasing the audience to go crazy at the beginning, ‘Get up! Get up!’.

Wage War (19)

Wage War (26)

‘Alive’ (2015), my favourite song by the band and it went down a treat; everyone in the room seemed to gravitate towards the pit for this song. Lyrically the band focuses commonly on relationship issues such as ‘Stitch’ (2017), ‘The River’ (2015) but usually have a positive message to oppose the pain they describe in such songs, ‘I’d rather spend my life believing there’s hope, than be obsessed with, how to tie the end of my rope’ (Alive, 2015). Big praise goes to Cody Quistad for being able to produce the melodic cleans perfectly live too.

Wage War (21)

Wage War (23)

‘Don’t Let Me Fade Away’ (2017), it’s a riff fest and Wage War are headlining. Comparisons can be made with Parkway Drive and Bury Tomorrow, a perfect mix of harsh, angry vocals by Britton and catchy hooks from Cody. Seth Blake keeps the riffs on tap with Chris Gaylord bridging his riffs in perfectly with the consistent drummer Stephen. ‘Johnny Cash’ (2017) a change of tempo, which mixed their set up and showed their versatility. Relationships are again the theme, the crowd dig it and sing back with all their might. Great singalong tune.

They end with ‘Stitch’ (2017) which reminds me of the very similar metalcore band Beartooth. As the song goes on, it gets increasingly heavier and the emotion is captivating. Perfect set, they will do very well in the UK.

Wage War (32)

Wage War (14)

August Burns Red took to the stage with massive cheers from their loyal UK fanbase who turned out.

Diving straight into the latest material, ‘King of Sorrow’ (2017) featured visceral guitar riffs and powerful vocals from Jake Luhrs. JB Brubaker deserves notable credit for his intricate guitar work on this song which carries it’s ‘epic’ larger than life feel throughout. Comparisons can be made with Architects and their use of backing tracks for an ethereal hint.

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August Burns Red (26)

‘Composure’ (2007), reminded me of Bullet for My Valentine, fast single note guitar work and heavy, in your face vocals from Jake. ‘It’s pulling you under, it’s gripping around you’re throat’, vocally they can be compared to Parkway with their use of dark metaphors. Jake evidently loves being on stage and showed off a few of his eccentric dance moves in sync with the guitar notes while swinging the mic around.

The band is mostly sticking to newer tracks with older ones thrown in-between ‘Fault Line’ (2013), with earlier material feeling a little less melodic than newer stuff, this song falls in perfectly with a good mix. Clean vocals aren’t used per se, it’s more of a punk style shout rather than singing but it works well. ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Martyrs’ (2015), follow suit with a style that only changes very minimally though out their discography. The powerful and captivating metalcore we all know and love. The slower start of ‘Ghosts’ provided a little respite for the energetic fans.

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August Burns Red (9)

‘Empire’ (2011), very impressive drumming from Matt Grenier on this one; he keeps the testosterone fuelled heavy metal rampage pushing on at full force. Circle pits. That is all.

Such a great night of heavy metal. The entire room will be going home with smiles on their faces, drenched in sweat.

See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.
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August Burns Red (38)

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