GIG REVIEW: Devil You Know, ONI, Wearing Scars & Brutai Live at Camden Underground, London
On the 22nd January 2017, metalheads descended to Camden’s Underworld, London to see headliner’s Devil You Know take over the town. With support from Brutai, Wearing Scars and ONI, this was one Sunday evening you had an excuse to go out.
London/Reading based prog-metallers Brutai were lucky enough to join the Third Time’s A Charm UK tour opening the show to a slowly filling venue. Catching just a few of their songs, singer Felix Lawrie’s aggressive vocal parts were not overdone in “Deep” and mixing his clean vocals in this changed things up which was interesting. However, the backing vocals seemed somewhat out of tune and mistakes on the guitar were apparent to any untrained ear.
The band concluded their set off with “Flood” where Henry Ryan provided some crazy riffing all backed up by drummer Mathieu Bauer who provided the backbone of the song. Lawrie’s screaming on this track still was not enough to achieve crowd interaction. More importantly because it seemed to take them time to get used to the stage.
Northampton based band Wearing Scars, a combination of members from Sacred Mother Tongue and Mutiny Within warmed up the crowd by smashing straight into their hard rock debut song “Become Numb.” Vocalist Chris Clancy belted through the song with his smooth yet powerful voice bringing on some cheering.
Adding to this band’s blending of talents was Andy James with his killer riffs and solo in “Stand Alone,” however what really struck me was Lee Newell’s ability to hit those drums rigorously sending a ripple effect through the Underworld. This was the song that had me weaving through the crowd to see who this drummer was.
Although the venue was almost full by the end of their set the crowd was motionless until “Waiting for the End” started and I finally saw some nodding. I was unaware of Wearing Scars until today. I was truly impressed by their musical talent and I felt their set came to a premature end with “Butterfly” when the crowd finally got into their style. Definitely a band you got to see live at some point in your gig career.
Progressive metal band ONI, straight out of Canada added an intriguing dynamic to the night with the use of the xylosynth by Johnny D something I witnessed for the very first time which was refreshing to see in a metal band. This band was full of high energy from start to finish with their performance. The stage was not big enough for these guys, they were there to really put a show you would not forget!
Singer Jake Oni showcased his versatile singing ability in the opener “Barn Burner” with the combination of growling and clean vocals, which was stunning to hear and so effortlessly combined. The band broke into “Eternal Recurrence” and the crowd went mental following Oni’s headbanging and finally woke up. However, it was the phenomenal 8-string guitar shredding by Brandon White that was fascinating to see at such speed and precision I have never seen anything like it! Additionally, playing their new single “The Only Cure” displaying beauty not brutality in the lyrics and then finishing their powerful set with the top hit “Coast to Coast.”
When I think of this band I also think of The Human Abstract as a comparison. Memorable and impactful was Johnny D’s mallet technique on that xylosynth that had the crowd screaming for him afterwards. If you did not catch these guys on tour be sure to listen to their album “Ironshore.”
The headliner that we all came to see was the award winning metalcore band Devil You Know all the way from Los Angeles. Making their individual entrances on to the stage, it was not until frontman Howard Jones appeared that the crowd went absolutely berserk. They hit the crowd with the smash “Consume the Damned.” Jones’ harsh vocals are different to the rest I’ve ever heard in the genre and Francesco Artusato annihilated his guitar with the aggressive approach especially during that flashy solo.
Crowd interaction was undeniable. You could barely hear Jones through the microphone between songs as fans chanted “Howard Jones!” At this point he did not even need a microphone as the crowd sang in unison to “Seven Years Alone.” Although crowd surfing is prohibited at the Underworld Jones’ was there to have an insane night by encouraging crowd surfing and invited fans on to the stage and took selfies with them. And that mosh pit? Well, that was brutal and not for the faint hearted. Those crowd members stood by the balcony.
These musicians demonstrating their talent in a super group is evident with Nick Augsto taking over on drums after the departure of John Sankey. He was brutal hitting those drums hard, but made it look effortless on the kit as heard in “Stay of Execution.” Also making an impression was bass player Ryan Wombacher with his thundering bass lines and surprisingly exceptional backing vocals ability on “The Way We Die.”
Dripping with sweat Jones spoke about his battle with depression and thanked the fans for “changing his life.” Further, claiming this London show to be his best in fifteen years using the hashtag #naileditbro! For fans awaiting a new album will be disappointed because due to a heavy touring schedule writing has been progressing slowly, but you will be excited to know that the sound will follow on from 2015’s “They Bleed Red.”
All these bands set the bar high providing a night of memorable metal, they did not fail to disappoint the London crowd. These bands are exceptional live creating a new dynamic to the metal genre. Miss it and you will regret it.