Live Review: Loathe & Harbinger @ Sanctuary, Basingstoke 03/09/2017

Sanctuary in Basingstoke is the venue for the show, on a rainy Sunday evening. We arrive to Midlands Metalcore band Revealer‘s low key sound check, the band blast through the opening verse and chorus of a new song to check their levels. It’s been just over a year since their debut EP “Losing Sight” arrived and it’s good to see them debuting two new songs to close out their set tonight, including new single “Nothing; No-One”. Unfortunately, they suffer from Alex Griffiths vocals being too low in the mix and some of the lesser tones are drowned out by brutal bass tones. Despite this, their musicianship is tight and “Overcome” is a highlight. [3/5]

Next up are Hampshire based Diabolus, playing a hybrid brand of blackened deathcore and tech-metal. Vocalist Luke talks to the audience with real charisma, introducing each song and asking the fans to check out the videos online after the show. The band blast through songs from their EP “Feast” with clinical efficiency, passion and skill with highlights including “Cannibal of Siberia” and “The Bay Harbour Butcher”. A classy band with a bright future [4/5]

Fresh from gracing UK Tech-Fest’s main stage and playing a set as Pantera tribute act Slamtera at an aftershow party, Harbinger are here to bring riffs and spliffs. The band even sell rolling paper with their logo at their merchandise stand. The London Slam/Thrash crew smash through cuts from their recent EP “Human Dust” combining ferocious rhythm and technicality. “The End Of Time” and “Subsidised Slaughter” are very impressive. The opening bars of “Cowboys From Hell” are heard during the sound check but sadly no Pantera cover is in the set tonight. [5/5]

Liverpool’s Loathe are the main event. Their debut EP “Prepare. Consume. Proceed” is a powerful statement of intent but their debut album “The Cold Sun” takes everything up a notch. The merchandise table has the album on cassette tape. It’s no surprise they are SharpTone Records, the label home of Attila and Emmure to name but two.  As the band sound check, two TVs appear either side of the drum kit displaying eerie static images, during the set they show the band in black and white screaming along while bit part lyrics appear in Loathe’s trademark red. Trying to label Loathe’s style is next to impossible, eerie 2001 Space Odyssey atmospheres build in layers with industrial drum work and powerful Tech-Metal guitars. There is a play between the atmospheres and the music in the same way that KoRn’s debut plays on the silent moments in the songs. “East Of Eden” and “Dancing On My Skin” are sing along moments and the dual vocals from Kadeem France and guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe are spot on. France has real stage presence and encourages the crowd into clapping and head banging while dancing and headbanging himself. Loathe have a real passion for their unique blend of music and it really shows live. [5/5]

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