UNEARTH / DARKEST HOUR
MISERY SIGNALS, LEFT BEHIND
WORDS: SARAH SHODIPE | PHOTOS: MATT GABELL
In the heart of London’s city, off of the long-winding Euston Road, is a tight complex of London-based universities. With UCL, SOAS and the University of London based here, it’s home to some of the most prestigious and esteemed minds in the world. Maybe not everyone’s first though for a Heavycore gig.
The gig in question, which saw a double headliner from Unearth and Darkest Hour, saw night full of energetic acts and a crowd who were – for lack of a better term – proper up for it. Opening the night, Left Behind (6) did their best to take advantage of the vitality in the venue. Playing their own brand of emotionally brutal metalcore, the band use every inch of that stage to play with an intensity to match that of their 2017 album, Blessed by the Burn. If nothing else, Left Behind did their job of getting the crowd ready for the night.
It was the next act on the bill that kicked things up a notch. Misery Signals (7) draws a crowd of their own, which probably has something to do with the vocalist, Jesse Zaraska, returning after almost 14 years. It’s a brand of nostalgia everyone responded to. The set sways from moments of vigour to cool ambience as they play a breath of old and new songs. They leave the excitable audience with an extended closer before signing off and saying “Be good to each other” – a sentiment we all need right now. If you need further proof the set went down well, it’s here the crowd begin to chant “One more song!”
There’s even more a palpable excitement as the lights dims and then come up in a flurry of psychedelic LEDs for Unearth (8). No time is wasted as they open with the electrifying ‘Incinerate’. From the off, their awesome command of the crowd is evident, and is rewarded by that same crowd mirroring the band’s energy throughout the entire set. The hour long performance features front-to-back headbanging, epic breakdowns and extended solos.
Their momentum never wavers with elements of punk rock and even a hip hop show in the band’s performance. It’s not long before Unearth end the set with their final song, bringing in call-and-response and extending their sense of grandeur. The admiration from the crowd is evident as the band head off, having left everything on the stage.
Twenty minutes later, and the house lights down for the same slightly schizophrenic light show to cue the second headliner, Darkest Hour (7). All reason would dictate that the crowd should truly be exhausted by now. But if that is the case, you can’t tell from the unwavering spirit in the room. The band themselves give just as much, if not more, energy than all the other acts, as well as the volume to match. But more than that, the charisma and chemistry of the band is what makes their performance standout.
More than any other set that night, Darkest Hour had all breeds of fans leaving all hangups at the door to truly let loose. From the barrier warriors screaming along to every song, all the way to the old schoolers in the back, loving every minute as they give Darkest Hour themselves run for their money with their headbanging.
Even covering ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’ by Dead Kennedys to take things to another level, Darkest Hour end their set, leaving everyone in that room content and proving co-headline show can be pretty much equal.