Live Review: Impericon Never Say Die Tour

Impericon Never Say Die Tour: After The Burial + Suicide Silence + Currents + Invent Animate + Spite + CABAL + Boundaries

The Mill, Birmingham. 9/11/2022

Those groovy guys and gals at Impericon have assembled a seven-band bill which finds the old school crashing with the new, and in cataclysmic fashion. Leaving a scorched trail across Europe, the tour stops by at Birmingham’s Mill venue and gets off to a rowdy start with Boundaries. I’m picking up a definite Knocked Loose influence in their modus operandi; it’s a perfect fusion of metal and hardcore, and it packs a serious punch. Those who arrived early have experienced a real treat in an energetic young band who’ve raised the bar for the rest of the evening.

As with their name, Denmark’s CABAL deliver a sound in caps rage and it’s a fist-flying, earth-shaking, eardrum-popping extravaganza. From start to finish they’re a hyperactive blur, a musical tornado that sweeps the stage, and with the volume amped to the max it makes for an arresting experience. However, for all the sonic fury the band don’t take themselves too seriously, and with a vocalist who could win any gurning championship there’s a sense of fun emanating from the stage which juxtaposes their heavy sound nicely. Now signed to Nuclear Blast, it seems the world is CABAL’s oyster.

Every so often there comes a band who reinvent the wheel (think Burn or Glassjaw) and Invent Animate are one such combo. What makes this evening so great is that each band brings something new to the stage, and this Texan crew arrive with a technical bent that reminds me of Atheist (only updated for the new millennium). With a versatile vocalist hitting all the right notes and prowling the stage like a caged animal, thing get pretty hectic, pretty quick and the band rarely look back over a half hour set which twists and turns and ties the audience up in a kind of musical twine.

Thanks partly to their latest album, Dedication To Flesh there’s been a buzz surrounding California’s Spite, and a tangible air of expectation crackles the air as we await their arrival. From the same fertile soil which birthed Exodus and Possessed, Spite’s ferocious brand of deathcore is in perfect sync with the current zeitgeist, and on an evening that’s been characterised by aggressive music, Spite take things to a whole new level (and that’s certainly saying something). Offstage vocalist Darius is the most affable person, but after picking up a microphone a strange transmogrification occurs and he adopts a wild-eyed stare and spits his words with unbridled rage. But the whole band are on fire, and tracks such as ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ and ‘Crumble’ ensure they leave an indelible mark on all those present.

Any band following the tsunami that was Spite was facing an uphill struggle, but Connecticut’s Currents do a grand job. They’re a band who make good use of musical dynamics and ensure that when they heavy sections hit, they hit hard. To paraphrase George Orwell: “Imagine a boot stamping on a human face for perpetuity”, well the same can apply to Currents, and their crushing set could easily be the soundtrack to some discombobulated, dystopian future. The band initiate some crazy action in the pit, it’s that type of music, it’s very heavy…but very nice!

Using Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ as an introduction tape may sound like a strange idea for a brutally heavy deathcore band such as Suicide Silence, but it works surprisingly well and has much of the crowd singing along in anticipation. When they finally appear they’re welcomed with a massive cheer, and opening salvo ‘Unanswered’ threatens to shake the venue to its very core. Now celebrating their 20th anniversary, it’s easy to see why the band are so revered and respected, and they work the stage perfectly with a set that delivers a succession of hefty punches. Vocalist Hernan “Eddie” Hermida cuts an impressive figure and delivers some unearthly guttural growls over a rhythm section that locks in with mechanical precision. When you add gnarly guitars into the mix then you have a potent brew, and it certainly fires up the assembled throng as a steady stream of crowd surfers crash over the barrier. My only real complaint with their set is that it’s too darn short but the excellently-titled closer ‘No Pity For A Coward’ sugars the pill somewhat.

I’m starting to wonder if tonight’s headliners, After The Burial, have been cursed by a demonic entity. Some high jinx just before the tour started left vocalist Anthony Notarmaso with a broken big toe, and now his right foot is trussed a surgical boot, then some technical issues force the band to abort opening track ‘In Flux’ not once, but twice. It’s to the band’s credit that they handle these gremlins like true professionals and while waiting for the issues to be remedied, they remain on stage and regale the crowd with a few of rock n’ rolls best tour stories. With fingers crossed, it’s third time lucky and ‘In Flux’ proves well worth the wait and it detonates like a primed bomb finally exploding and sends shards of sonics in every direction. The band deliver a masterclass in metalcore, and unleash a crowd-pleasing, career-spanning set that presents fan favourites such as ‘Exit, Exist’ alongside deep cuts like ‘Lost In The Static’. As the band disappear in a swirl of glorious feedback and march off to terrorise another town, a suitably heavy rendition of ‘A Wolf Amongst The Ravens’ makes the perfect closer to an evening of full-throttle metal and ensures that no one leaves disappointed.

Review and photos by Peter Dennis