After being tipped by a friend I travelled to a small venue in Arnhem called Willemeen (maximum capacity some 250 people) to get myself submerged in a night of various forms of core performed by a quartet of bands from various countries. Right from the first tone the sound is remarkably good, save a few small hiccups, and the atmosphere growing from so-so to great. The only real point of criticism is the time table. Starting at 6 pm and ending at 10 pm, that is far from ideal. Anyway, on the actual performances.
On Dutch metalcore band The Evolutionist falls the tough task of opening the evening by starting their set at the impossible time of 6 pm on a Sunday night, which is the main reason there’s only some twenty people around, a lot of which are (band-)members of the other bands. Sad really, because The Evolutionist showed potential tonight. Their 30-minute show is filled with solid, energetic, melodic metalcore, backed by interspersing grunts and clean vocals. The set mainly originated from their debut release Locked in Time with a new song, Perceptions, as a nice bonus. The guys clearly enjoy the stage and do not let the saddening low attendance during their show or a miscommunication resulting in a false start spoil the fun. The band has been around for three years already, and that is audible. They act as a team, and they all know how to get their musical weapons to fire as they should. Well worth checking out, they deserved a bigger audience.
Next up is German post-metalcore band Traveller. This four-piece machine plays considerably heavier music, with inherently less melodic pieces, although there are more than enough melodic parts present to make this a very tasty version of post-metalcore. Adrenalin-pumped singer Jens Böthin’s grunts are fierce, nicely fitting the tidal wave of sound that storms through the venue. The by now doubled audience reacts to this with a bit of movement, something that is of course encouraged by the guys from Traveller. Despite a short sound malfunction they make great use of the 30 minutes they are awarded, by playing an strongly executed, powerful set ending in full force. Traveller has some great musicians that are definitely at home on the stage. So far this has been an evening full of pleasant surprises for me, because, just like The Evolutionist, Traveller also made it to my to-keep-an-eye-out-for list.
Having heard the two previous bands certainly raised my expectations for the Belgian experimental hardcore band Access Unlocked who recently released a new EP called Cosmos. Having been around since 2012 this five-man outfit should have had plenty of practice experience to tap from to give a great performance. And they did not disappoint. Right from the first note they go full-throttle, in a serious attempt to blast the ever-growing audience off their feet. Lead by an energetic, active singer and backed by a great musical quartet, of which the drummer was the most striking tonight, the guys managed to rub some of the energy that splashed off their show on the audience and sure enough within minutes the first mosh pit appears, be it a bit weary still. That however changed as time progressed and the atmosphere grew with every new spectator that entered the venue. By the end of Access Unlocked’s show there were about 60 people thoroughly enjoying themselves. Still a very low number I have to say, these guys also have the potential, the skills and the music to serve a much bigger audience. Too bad the second vocals were not audible, that might have added more depth to the already well-composed songs. Again a new addition to my list.
Being fired up by the Belgians the crowd eagerly anticipated tonight’s main act, Scottish quintet Bleed From Within. It was obvious the majority of the audience was there for them, the number had grown to about 100 people. Frontman Scott Kennedy used his sound check to fool around with the audience, something that was happily greeted by all. It immediately set the tone and the atmosphere, making this show an instant success before it even started. And what a show it was! The moment the guys entered the stage the energy in the room clearly changed, something the band added to by opening furiously. Before long the room exploded as a substantial part of the audience burst into the first of many serious mosh pits, followed by a circle pit and, per request, a wall of death. The set list was excellent, there was no weakness to be found. In it of course work from their latest release called Era, by all means a release well worth checking out. The same can be said from the execution. Guitars, bass, drums, all were absolutely in sync, but still there was this great ‘live’ vibe. The vocals were harsh, probably due to Scott’s sore throat, but in my opinion that was a bonus. This was one of the better shows I have seen in quite some time, and I’m sure the rest of the audience agreed. I can only advice you to not pass on the opportunity and see those guys whenever they play somewhere in your neighborhood, you’ll have a blast. These guys can play!