Live Review: Stray From The Path w/Loathe, Gideon & The Devil Wears Prada @ O2 Academy Islington

A sold out show at the O2 Academy Islington is our destination tonight for what promises to be the hottest ticket in town. A huge line up with four bands who have been delivering the goods of late with top drawer high grade albums appearing left right and centre. Indeed only Loathe haven’t pushed the full length album envelope in 2019 but a trio of new singles appearing and an album available for pre-order for February should mean new songs in all four bands sets tonight.

The first surprise of the night is that Alabama Hardcore quartet Gideon [8/10] open the show to a filling auditorium. Initially the crowd don’t seem to take to them but by the end of the set, everyone has been won over. Set highlights include “Cursed” which sees Loathe guitarist Eric Bickerstaffe joining for a guest vocal appearance filling the shoes of Knocked Loose frontman Bryan Garris from the album, the brilliant “No Love” and of course “Champions”. Yes, they do make use of a backing track for vinyl scratches and some lead guitar parts but it doesn’t take away from the blunt force trauma of their hard hitting set.

Second to the stage are Loathe [9/10] who despite some technical issues in the sound check are fired up tonight. The set is nothing short of brutal with all three new singles “New Faces In The Dark”, “Gored” and “Aggresive Evolution” all given an airing. The pit goes wild and if these new songs are anything to go by, the album “I Let It In And It Took Everything” is going to remain heavy and steer away from the direction of the more melodic “White Hot”. Live Loathe are an intense, dark beast. They may have appeared tired when we saw them Upsurge Festival but tonight they’re on fire and bring their “A” game.

After releasing “The Act” Dayton Ohio Metalcore mainstays The Devil Wears Prada [7/10] have been on the road but only playing a trio of new songs in the set with “Switchblade”, “Chemical” and “Lines Of Your Hands” each getting time instead preferring a career spanning set. The band have been together since 2005 primarily as a Metalcore act, though set opener “Switchblade” embraces an industrial vibe. There seems to be a team ethic with each member wearing odd attire that makes them look like the Brady bunch but fortunately they still hammer hard with some impressive breakdowns.

In “Subliminal Criminals“, “Only Death Is Real” and now “Internal Atomics“, guitarist Thomas Williams, bassist Anthony “Dragon Neck” Altamura, drummer Craig Reynolds and vocalist Andrew “Drew York” Dijorio have unleashed a holy trinity of albums since 2015 which have taken them to much bigger stages across the globe. Every song from the New York Hardcore act is a sing-a-long of anthemic quality and Stray From The Path [10/10] are at their furious finest tonight. York delivers an anti racism speech before “Goodnight Alt-Right”, Loathe frontman Kadeem France takes Counterparts Brendan Murphy’s place for a vicious rendition of “Kickback” and the Deftones inspired “Beneath The Surface” is absolute class. The set includes both parts of “Badge & A Bullet”, the original song getting a chorus and final verse of “Killing In The Name” from Rage Against The Machine before “First World Problem Child” brings the house down. What price an RATM covers album from Stray in the future?

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