The Devil Wears Prada
If there were one word in the dictionary to describe The Devil Wears Prada’s set over the weekend it would be heavy (yes, surprise surprise!) So much more than just any old metalcore band, the Ohio band took over a tent at Slam Dunk and absolutely wowed us with their ferocious performance. Their set was so fast paced and intense that at times we almost felt scared of the impending whiplash. The band didn’t take a single second to slow down, and they made damn sure that every corner of that tent was steaming with energy. It didn’t matter what song they were performing, each one was delivered with such fire that it is hard to pinpoint a moment where everyone wasn’t moshing or aggressively nodding along. There is no question about it – TDWP are even heavier live than they are on record, and we’re absolutely here for it.
Crown The Empire
Bouncing on to the stage with a charming level of confidence, Texan metalcore mob Crown The Empire certainly sound like the real deal in terms of scale; the drums of Brent Taddie reverberate through your core and the pace is injected immediately with the thumping ‘Zero’ charging out the blocks.
The departure of vocalist David Escamilla seems to be having some after-effects in a sense, the backing vocals of Hayden Tree and Brandon Hoover certainly don’t do anything to embarrass the outfit; but there is certainly a feeling that a vital component is missing here. Lead vocalist Andrew Valasquez still does a brazen job of controlling the tempo, and his clean, bellowing choruses hit with the perfect mix of melody with a scent of venom to make you take notice.
‘Zero’, ‘Hologram’ and ‘The Fallout’ are highlights to a particularly competent set – the crowd are certainly into it, and the band still have a sizeable enough following to justify at the very least two more albums. Where Crown The Empire go from here will be very interesting though, and you can’t help but feel like the next record could very much be stick or twist.
Aussie tech metalcore crew Northlane look to be in standard form as they sub-headline the Impericon Stage, and they’re a band that continue to make small but sure steps up the ladder of the metal sub-genre. There’s nothing overly flamboyant or extrovert here, and the feeling of care-free unity around the band is clear to see tonight.
Fans get sucked in to the tech lines smothered within the growls of vocalist Marcus Bridge; who in his four years in the band has come on leaps and bounds. ‘Quantum Flux’ and ‘Citizen’ are equally chaotic, and there’s a maturing level of control that sits around the quintet throughout the set.
Northlane do seem like a band however that are in desperate need of their album that signifies their coming of age though, and while a 40 minute set tonight is enough to keep their hooks into the punters (for the most part), you’d have to imagine the band would struggle to headline a Slam Dunk stage with their current back-catalogue. It’s a steady, accomplished performance tonight but sooner or later Northlane are going to need to deliver their coup de grace, or they may find themselves lost in the shuffle.
Every Time I Die
Closing the Impericon Stage were Buffalo, NY metalcore legends Every Time I Die. It seemed like the majority of people had opted to finish their evening watching one of the bigger acts like Good Charlotte or Jimmy Eat World, and unfortunately this meant that the turnout for ETID wasn’t as good as it could have been, with the standing area only about half full. With the more ‘casual’ attendees weeded out, however, this resulted in a small but extremely intense crowd of fans. For pretty much the entire duration of the set, this crowd consisted of one big mosh pit extending across the width of the floor. Vocalist Keith Buckley’s charismatic and energetic stage presence helped spur on the frenzied antics of the crowd, which also included more crowd surfers than we could count. For those who decided not to get involved in the chaos there was still plenty to enjoy, such as watching guitarist Jordan Buckley leaping around the stage like a madman while hammering out some of the most insane riffs we’ve ever heard.