Live Review: SikTh, Loathe & MSRY @ The Bullingdon in Oxford!

The final date of highly influential Tech-Metallers SikTh‘s 8 date UK run with Loathe sees them joined by Hardcore Punk trio MSRY at The Bullingdon in Oxford. Having re-united 4 years ago and dropped an EP and Album while touring the globe since, it’s a smaller venue show on a tour which sees the band playing places they haven’t played in a while or haven’t played at all.

Oxford Hardcore Punk trio MSRY [7/10] get tonight started off right with a solid set of songs and less noticeable back tracking than previous shows we’ve seen them at. The strobe lighting effect makes the band appear to move in slow motion as they bounce around the stage, flexing every muscle in delivery of their set. During second song “Broken Teeth” frontman Kial Churcher leaps off the stage, over the barrier and into the crowd for a verse and repeats that feat during closing song “Death of the Party” bringing with him a cymbal and drumstick from the kit for members of the crowd to play along while he bellows his vocals manically. There are a few technical issues with the microphone cutting out on the odd occasion but the newer material stands out strongly against the old. Shame there is no cover of “Hail Destroyer” by Cancer Bats in tonight’s set, but you can’t have everything.

Loathe [9/10] also endure some technical issues with a guitar string snapping on Erik Bickerstaffe during the simply amazing “White Hot” but don’t pause for breath during their set until the very end when Kadeem France is held aloft by the crowd as he thanks them for their participation. It’s a very humbling sight for a band that will be playing much larger stages than this in the not too distant future. Having met none other than Harbinger frontman Tom Gardner before the set (and for a pint afterwards) he joins the band on stage for a cameo. Loathe are an unstoppable force and a formidable live act, more than capable of going toe to toe with the finest in any live arena. Set highlights include “East of Eden” and “Dancing on My Skin” with the atmospherics shine through with the dark and dense slabs of guitar work. A new album in 2019 has been rumoured with the band talking about reclusing somewhere to focus solemnly on making music and we can’t wait.

SikTh [9/10] are off to South Africa after this tour and are very much more relaxed than we’ve seen them at previous shows. They seem to thrive on the smaller shows where they can see the whites of the eyes of the audience and tonight, guitarist Dan Ford is playing the set in his socks. He might do that every time, but we’ve never noticed it before. “Cracks of Light” is fantastic as their vocal duo xx and xx leap around the stage while Ford delivers Tech-Metal riffs that will surely see him  get a Metal Hammer Golden God award at some point. Older songs like “Pussyfoot” and “Hold My Finger” sound as fresh today as they did when they were released and the band play them with not only energy, verve and bounce but also a sense of pride in what they have accomplished as genre pioneers. Loathe frontman Kadeeam France joins SikTh on stage for the final chorus and all the musicians take the stage for an audience picture at the end of the night. It doesn’t get much better than this.

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