Live Review: Wage War w/Thornhill & DED @ O2 Academy Islington

The O2 Academy Islington London is our destination tonight for the penultimate show of the UK leg of the “Pressure” tour and there are two immediate no-no moments as we enter the venue that have facepalm written all over them. The first is that “Stitch” by Wage War is playing over the PA as the fans are standing at the merch tables. The second is that the merch is serious over priced and isn’t even getting a look in at this point. That being said, Wage War have a Deathcore logo design tee…

…but we ain’t here for the merch. We’re here for the show. Describing Thornhill [9/10] as an Australian Progressive Metalcore act is like describing a fire as “warm”. There’s so much more too them than that. Every song has tapping sections from both guitarists and their bass player while the DJent grooves are in a more melodic tone so Tech-Metal is the order of the day. Songs like “Nurture” and “Reptile” are ridiculously good and if it wasn’t for a couple of pitching issues with vocalist Jacob Charlton trying to reach a couple of highs outside of his range then this would be a 10/10 review. That’s how good they were. The sound quality and performance level is staggering and every nuance of the records is here in full, no tricks, they’re playing it. Their future is so bright, it will burn your retinas.

As you might expect, there are a lot or Architects, Polaris and Street Soldier (?) Tees in the crowd but that doesn’t put Nu-Metal revivalists DEd [8/10] off their game. They smash out of the park a 45 minute set with minimal breaks with bounce heavy riffs and venomous rap screams and while there maybe a tinge of nostalgia about their overall sound, they know how to put on a show. By the time “Anti Everything” hits, they even get a mini wall of death. Or should that be wall of DEd?! The kit sounds phenomenal and and the slabs of riffs are a good time while the vocals are catchy and infectious. There is nothing not to like and DEd look to be following the path that Cane Hill laid before them.

Stepping out on stage to the chimes of David Bowie and Queen‘s “Under Pressure” might be a bit of a fun that’s lost on some of the younger members of the audience but it’s not lost on Wage War [9/10] who could have been overshadowed by their chosen support acts tonight. The competition has however brought out the best in the quintet and they pull out all of the stops in one huge adrenaline rush of Mosh worthy anthems. The songs that didn’t work for us on the bands third studio album are incomparable live because they are faster, punchier and have parts in them that simply weren’t heard on the record. Whether that’s down to the mixing or mastering of the album or the band changing things up live, hats off to them. Clean vocals have unclean backing, extra guitar nuances are added and the tone is heavier. The result is that there are circle pits, crowd surfing and sing-a-longs from the very start as “Who I Am” and “Prison” back to back open the set. Going back to 2015 and their debut album “Blueprints” for a trio of cuts including “Alive” is a wonderful touch before “Gravity” gets its turn. It’s been touched up so Wage War give us a slowed down sing-a-long chorus before the song even starts. It’s a master stroke and has everyone singing along. New song “Ghost” has been changed the most from the album and touches Deathcore in places as a crushingly heavy anthem before the encore sees the night finish as it started, with “Stitch“.

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