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Bury Tomorrow, live in London

Supports: Hands Like Houses, In Hearts Wake, Slaves (US)

On Friday, Britain's metalcore faves Bury Tomorrow rounded-off their Runes UK tour with a sold-out gig at London's Koko venue. With almost 1500 baying fans filing in at the VERY EARLY door-time of 6pm, anticipation was high for Bury Tomorrow's biggest headline show. And this is what we learned...

Johnny Craig’s comeback isn’t worth getting too excited about

Despite being in the opening band of tonight’s bill, Slaves frontman Johnny Craig is potentially the most recognisable, and certainly most notorious musician to grace the stage tonight. The frontman who has been in Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa and involved in a whole range of other projects, has a past full of gossip and scandal far too long to fit into this word count. His new project is very much his attempt at redemption, and while his vocals are incredible, making every song of regret believable, it’s the rest of the band that’s the problem. Static throughout except for a few clichéd stage moves, they play bland post-hardcore that aims to be emotive and accessible but fails to achieve either. This may not be the glorious second coming Johnny Craig wants it to be.

While not groundbreaking, In Hearts Wake’s presence proved very much necessary

Apart from being highly concerned about oil spills and deforestation, there isn’t too many original ideas from the Aussie, environmentalist metallers In Hearts Wake. As drummer Caleb Burton repeatedly gives his china cymbal a thrashing and the four other members pogo along in sync, it’s a familiar scene. Although there are glimmers of hope throughout that prove this band have real potential. The likes of Healer and Divine have enough crunch to give the crowd a much needed shot in their respective arms and get them bouncing along for the first time tonight.

Hands Like Houses prove that maybe nice guys should finish last

Although we’d traditionally associate metal with the blackest shades of black on the Dulux colour chart, Hands Like Houses are much more down the pastel end of the spectrum. It’s all a bit too fluffy and nice, and while everyone needs a break from Cattle Decapitation now and then and there’s certainly nothing wrong with having a pop sensibility, this band seemed to have neglected the importance of coupling that with writing big hooks to hold your attention. It’s beige, uninteresting and wetter than visiting Seaworld during a torrential rain storm. While it seems to last an age, their set passes by leaving little in your memory.

Bury Tomorrow have never sounded this good

Bury Tomorrow have long established themselves as a solid metalcore act, but tonight is very much a step up from the BT live experience of the past. As soon as the band come on stage and launch into Man On Fire, they sound, and look ferocious. Bigger, and far heavier than they sound on record – frontman Dani Winter-Bates in a particular is a whirlwind of energy and intensity, having taken real steps from being a dude shouting in a band to being a credible performer. The pace is unrelenting, and although there are a few breaks where Dani expresses gratitude towards the fans, on the whole this is an all-out onslaught. While this year’s Runes album was patchy at best, the likes of Watcher and Of Glory benefit massively from the band’s boisterous live delivery, and provide perfect accompaniment to old favourites such as An Honourable Reign and Knightlife.

This is the band’s entry point into the big leagues

London’s Koko is quickly becoming proving ground for young metal bands to show that they’re capable of using it as a launching pad for bigger and better things. Earlier this year Of Mice & Men headlined the venue before going onto headline a packed out Pit Stage tent at Reading and Leeds, as well as being main support on a Linkin Park arena tour. Also following a triumphant Architects show, they will be heading out on tour again next year playing far bigger venues. Going into this show there was serious doubt whether Bury Tomorrow could do the same. While they certainly have a committed fan base, they are still a fairly new act in the grand scheme of things, and their latest album split opinion. However given that the circle pits resemble a warzone and people upstairs are headbanging so hard the balcony seems to be shaking, it’s fair to say that while this is a nightmare for the venues health and safety staff, it’s very much a massive success for Bury Tomorrow.