Live Review: Upsurge Festival Day #2!

After last nights Sheer Terror warm-up show, Sunday the first full day of Upsurge Festival.

Complete with a 5 string bass and snoodes, Kent Metallic Hardcore band MTXS [9/10], blow away any cobwebs from last night. Airing a new song which they are recording tomorrow and classics like “Suffer”, surely they should be higher up the bill?! Harbinger frontman Tom Gardner is seen enjoying the set, so they could be the secret act? We chat with him between bands and sadly they’re not. He’s just out for a laugh and to see Lotus Eater. Starve To Survive [8/10] are a previous Black Map entry from Newcastle and throw in some classic Deathcore elements into their essentially Metallic Hardcore sound. Including a pair of new songs (one of which is called “Twitch”) they crush it. Birmingham’s Dead Hands [8/10] have a phenomenal guitarist in Debbie Gough and it’s a case of who can play faster without making an arse of themselves as they take the roof off with their Mathcore meets grindcore set. Frontman Richard Phillips looks like he’s just got out of Miami Rehab and his vocal range is sublime. Group of Man [6/10] look nervous and it transpires that they are a guitarist light for their noisecore set. In the absence of any leads, they sound like a heavier version of Quicksand fronted by Grady Avenell from Sacramento California’s Will Haven. Death Remains [8/10] bring back the Metalcore grooves and also air a new song. The set gets off to a flier before being hampered by broken strings. They also know how to party and are pretty hammered by the time we meet them at the bar later on! Grove Street Families [9/10] know how to play a show. Their songs are urgent and aggressive while also being insanely fun. About to go on tour with Puppy, they are on point and with cuts like “The Right To Remain Violent” they have the material. We get talking to Ash Emery from I, The Mapmaker about the HMA’s and then Svalbard [7/10] take the stage. They bring a Code Orange vibe with them and their softly spoken vocalist bites hard with broken glass vocals during the songs. One of which is about buying animals from shelters. The Argent Dawn [8.5/10] return to London after something like 11 years with a new guitarist  havin been on a lengthy hiatus. They bludgeon us to death with a barrage of breakdowns and grooves in full on Deathcore style and “Fire In The Hole” is a fine example. Denzel Himself [4/10] takes the stage to one third of the audience The Argent Dawn commanded and delivers a schizophrenic grime set accompanied by his DJ. So out of place it’s like snow in August or a stripper who farted. This Is Colour [8/10] are simply amazing. Bringing some impressive almost jazzy lead work and parts to their otherwise Melodic Power Groove Hardcore, it’s their second show in 7 years and could well be their last. Whether it’s a the truth or just black humour, will remain to be seen. Broken Teeth don’t make the show thanks to a broken van so Californian hardcore veterans Take Offense [8/10] are up next. The floor is filled with two-steppers and spin kickers and it all goes off. New material from “Tensions on High” goes down a storm and for a band that spent 16 hours in a van to get to London from Germany and are playing in Antwerp Belgium tomorrow they show no signs of fatigue! Counterparts [10/10] bring the house down. Brendan Murphy can’t complete a song for the mic being snatched from his grasp by a string of fans and when Reclaimer frontman Harrison Cooke joins the fun on “Choke”, it’s a special moment. Everyone at the New Cross Inn knows every word of every song and the whole venue is bouncing and screaming by the end when the stage is flooded by fans and MXTS to scream the final chorus. Phenomenal.

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