Live Review: Death Remains & Black Coast at O2 Academy 2 Oxford 12/05/2018!

The O2 Academy Oxford has two shows on tonight. The main auditorium has South African hard rockers Seether playing a headlining show on their “Poison the Parish” tour while the Academy 2, the second stage, has Death Remains headlining a bill of 5 underground metal bands as they play 9 dates beside Stoke-on-Trent’s answer to Every Time I Die, Black Coast.

Aylesbury Metalcore quintet Bring The Onslaught [6/10] open tonight and play through their EPs “The Sacrifice” and new release “Heartless” pretty much in full. Sadly some of the issues that are apparent on the new EP are more obvious in the live arena. While debut “The Sacrifice” saw the band release a neat and tidy quartet of Metalcore songs that touch on Deathcore at times, the “Heartless” material slows down the pace to allow space for guitarist Ashley Savage’s clean (and occasionally not so clean) vocals to the detriment of the material. While Savage clearly has bounds of enthusiasm, energy and guitar talent, he tends to dominate the show and not give unclean vocalist Nick Wilshaw much space. That being said, drummer Ben Stacey is quite clearly an animal behind the kit and what the band belt out is still enjoyable.

Next up are Oxfords own Doomtrodon [6/10] who are promising a debut album this summer. Drummer Gavin Hobbs is a bundle of energy and the driving force behind the pace of the bands material. They’re an old school metal outfit and they deliver a decent variety in their set by utilizing frontman Matt Winchester’s range. The mid-set instrumental track is a nice touch, while Winchester dropping to his knees to allow Hobbs some of the limelight is the finest form of flattery.

Stepping out to the sound of air-raid sirens and a WWII radio ditty, Aylesbury Death Metallers Imminent Annihilation [7/10] are returning to Oxford for the first time in nearly 4 years. They smash through their set in style with the appropriately named “Pitchfork Abortion” giving them a return to their roots having recently recorded some more groove-oriented material. Seeing a headless bass onstage and played like a lead guitar at times adds to the bands show and the weight of quality material and deadpan humour between songs is impressive.

Stoke-on-Trent Melodic Hardcore band Black Coast [7/10] up the energy Everytime I Die style with a ferocious energy and punch after punch of prize fighter riffage. They drop the energy for a couple of meandering instrumental intros but that only serves as a break before they’re back at it again. Highlights like “Lawless” sound so much better in the live arena than on “Crows Of The North”, even if it’s a cracking title.

Headliners Death Remains [8/10] take the stage and blast through a set that is heavy in material from 2017’s “Destroy/”Hardships” with the odd thrownback to 2013’s “Stand Fight Believe”. Highlights include “Hardships” and “Carriers” with the range of their frontman, from pig squeals to big choruses, impressing greatly. If there is any justice they’ll pick up some support dates with a far bigger band an get the career push that the Londoners deserve.

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