Live Review: You Win Again Gravity w/Fraktions and Keepsake at Suburbia in Southampton!
Last time we were at Suburbia in Southampton it was for a night of pure Deathcore brutality headlined by the monsterous Monasteries but tonight is a whole different World with a trio of bands playing an eclectic mix of styles that would suit the day time at Tech-Fest perfectly. While not officially listed as such, this trip of shows that covers London, Southampton and Brighton is effectively a co-headlining weekender for You Win Again Gravity and Fraktions with a different opening band each night…
…and tonight the stars revolt with Keepsake [8/10] given that privilege. A Progressive Metalcore quartet who show their love for Palm Reader, they’re are armed for the apocalypse with a five string bass as their frontman stalks the area in front of the stage like an Apex Predator. There are a one or two strained vocal moments in the clean sections but those are made up for by the powerful uncleans, perhaps a sign of trying a little too hard to impress. It is little fault however as they leave a lasting impression none the less with 2020 EP “Memoir” given a full run out. Using a backing track to give them a little breathing space between songs is clever, adding atmospherics to their meloncholically tinged offerings, the quality of which shines through the dark surroundings. Their dedication to their craft is evidenced by the fact that they have only released a quartet of cuts since forming in 2019, each one emphasizing quality over quantity in the fact that each and every one is nothing short of highly polished. A new cut is a nice touch and bodes well for the future with melodic leads during the verses and punchy DJent fuelled riffs during the chorus, a clever opposite to most bands norm. On tonight’s evidence alone they could well be Tech-Fest bound this summer.
A lot has changed for Fraktions [9/10] since we first saw them at Tech-Fest in 2017. Back then they were a five piece playing a debut EP titled “Anguish” fuelled by heavy guitars and an even heavier lyrical narrative with psychological connotations. For those that don’t know the history, both guitarists departed and the band reinvented themselves as Piano driven Progressive Instrumental trio for sophomore EP “Kalos” in 2021. Tonight they are a free flowing in rich melodies, vibrant and dark in swirling moods and utterly triumphant. Melodic Progressive Metal with a little bit of Jazz and Funk thrown in for good measure, they are inventive with moments of genuine genius. A mesmerising display it’s like watching a film score for your favourite movie being played live, only lacking some art projected behind the band to make it the complete package. Each song gets treated with warm applause from a crowd who know they’re witnessing Fantasia like magic. We get treated to a couple of new songs that sound like a murder ballads, a shade darker than their current EP, one of which is titled “Forest Goblin Squad“.
One of the highlights of last summers incarnation of Radar Festival, You Win Again Gravity [9/10] are a guitarist light due to that all to a familiar plague that has hounded us for the past few years but haven’t let it spoil their plans. Instead they make it work with a combination of backing track and additional guitars from their frontman and manage to carry it off in style. Their huge hooks and mercurial song writing with a flair for the unpredictable means they are so much more than the Post-Hardcore band they claim to be. One moment they are dreamy, the next forlorn and then they are caught in the turbulence of heavier movements fuelled by darker moods. They’re nothing short of majestic in the process with little nuances in the music and observations in the lyrics that make for a gift that simply keeps giving. As with Fraktions they to have new material to showcase with a new album set for release later this year. So we are treated to a couple of new songs in the set and they sound nothing short of immense. It will be interesting to see if singles “Recursive” and “Lights to Leave Behind” find their way onto the physical editions when it does finally appear but one thing is for certain. They’re going to struggle to pick a set list and be forced to put on a longer show.