Live Review: Heart of a Coward (Live Steam)

Milton Keynes DJentlemen Heart of a Coward have been stalwarts of the UK Metal scene since 2009 and despite a trio of line up changes in that time, they’ve gone from strength to strength, proven statistically by the fact that “Hollow” from 2013’s “Deliverance” and “Collapse” from 2019’s “The Disconnect” top the bands individual streaming charts on Spotify. The last time we had the pleasure of their live show was at Tech-Fest in 2018 where former No Consequence vocalist Kaan Tasan proved he has what it takes to front the band and fill the void left by Jamie Graham who has since returned with Technical Death Metal project Viscera. That neatly brings us to how we first heard of Heart of a Coward; Metal Hammer Magazine did a run of full albums on the cover back in 2012 and “Hope and Hindrance“, their debut full length, was one that graced it, along with “The Age of Hell” by Chimaira. Back then guitarist Timfy James was in the band, he exited stage left and returned with Hacktivist; Now he has more projects on the go than we can shake a stick at.

Back to tonight and guitarist duo Carl Ayers and Steve Haycock are joined on stage by bassist Vishal “V” Khetia, drummer Chris “Noddy” Mansbridge and Tasan for a full headlining set. The quintet play in front of the kit which is raised up on stage blocks, the bands usual light show in full effect as they batter through the tracks, the breakdowns hitting hard and Haycock delivering some harsh backing vocals. All that is missing is the sound of the audience cheering and singing along and when “Collapse” hits three songs in, the mosh chat on the side of the screen goes wild. A single for nearly a year before the band were able to deliver album number four, even now it showcases the best of Tasan’s vocal range, while whipping up a DJent frenzy. To avoid silence between the songs there is an ambient sound and screen distortions like we’re watching a security camera, the sound quality during the songs is second to none and the visuals are top class with multiple cameras getting up close and personal during the performance, switching between the players with refreshing regularity – it’s not all about the frontman. “Wolves” and “Miscreation” back to back are heavy hitters from “Deliverance“, the later having a glorious tapping sequence from Ayers that is stunning but it’s the opening skull crushing of “Shade” that gets things the home circle pit going. It sounds immense with the bands current guitar tones as does “Nightmare“, which has that Meshuggah vibe down to perfection. Haycock delivers the leads on “Hollow” while screaming “BURN, BURN” during the chorus, the DJentlemen have the headbang in unison worked out as well as the no sleeve t-shirts (Metallica, Any Given Day) and tattoos that give them a uniform stage presence. The only odd thing is that they’re standing on a rug in front of the kit. “Dead Weight” is a banger and some fans had suggested that Tasan couldn’t do some of Graham’s growl depth because he left that to the audience during some live shows, turning them into sing-a-long moments. Well, the naysayers are proven wrong here. It’s a ripper of a final song and brings the house down [9/10]

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