You know an underground movement is alive and kicking when a bunch of young bands want to tear a club down to the ground. And they came pretty close to doing that at Scream Lounge in Croydon in a metal melee headlined by the brilliant Brotherhood of the Lake.
First to take to the stage on Saturday were the newly-formed Bromley-based quintet Bears. Songs such as ‘Always around’ and ‘Silver Tongues’ sounded close to alternative metal with a catchy melodic streak, though the vocals seemed laboured and painful to listen to at times.
Black Shapes emerged as the most interesting of the lot – with Converge-inspired hardcore punk, they ripped open their set – quickly proving they were clearly meant to share the stage with headline act Brotherhood of the Lake. While they do not yet have any music uploaded to their website, you get the feeling you will be hearing a lot more from them.
Silhouette of a Ghost (SOAG) continued the damage, taking it a step further by opening the moshpit with songs such as ‘Take your Blinkers Off’ and ‘A Portrait of Other’. Besides monster breakdowns and intense stage energy, a mix of guttural vocals, frenzied riffing and destructive double bass drumming made it akin to well-known bands such as Glassjaw and Bury Your Dead. Before finishing they announced it was bassist Steve Todd’s last gig. “They’ll be shit without me,” he joked.
While Croydon boys Foundations saluted US metal heroes August Burns Red, at times they seemed inspired to the level of worship and fanboy-ism. If SOAG had borrowed August Burns Red’s hardcore output, Foundations took influence from the metalcore side – but despite this adulation at least they (and their fans) seemed to have enjoyed themselves.
Next on stage were a six string bassist and the fastest shredder in the room – part of Surrey-based Eyes of Munity – in a set that featured great solo lead guitar playing and unmatched bass grooves. Songs like ‘From Ashes’ and ‘The Follower’ seemed to say, “If it ain’t broke, break it down.” As great as it was for a round of melodic hardcore, it was a pity they played to the least number of people in the club. On the other hand, at least they knew when to stop – if they had played any longer, the verse-breakdown-verse structure would have become overdone.
Headline act Brotherhood of the Lake are quickly winning over critics in Britain’s underground metal scene. Full of heavy breakdowns and throat-damaging screams, themes of depression, society and religion are delivered with a yelling hardcore punk lyrical ethos.
Brotherhood of the Lake may consist of five members, but they seemed to fill half the club by jumping and stomping around all over the room. Ploughing through songs including ‘Every Nerve Ending, ‘The Desperation’ and ‘Ghosts’ with deafening accuracy, vocalist Rob seemed to have the combined guttural ability of all the previous singers on stage before him as the band ripped through a blistering set.
Walls of sound squealing out with distortion from the Plymouth-based band left ears ringing for a good hour later – always the sign of a true, straight up no-nonsense hardcore band climbing up the scene’s ladder.