Eight years into its existence the Never Say Die Tour shows no signs of fatigue. POLAR  kick off with a short but highly energetic set of modern hardcore, but MAKE THEM SUFFER  stop the momentum dead in its tracks and their tech-death with unwanted piano tinkling is super-sloppy.
On record, and on their day, FALLUJAH  can be a great band, but tonight the soundman robs their technical attack of any punch – a real shame. It’s obvious that the simpler the music the more potent it sounds tonight, and OBEY THE BRAVE  succeed through giving the crowd a set of no-nonsense, meat’n’ potatoes hardcore. It’s far simpler than any of the early acts, but way more satisfying.
It takes CARNIFEX  to really light the touchpaper for the evening, though. Their latest album, Slow Death, is one of their best and they’re on furiously brutal form tonight. With a shorter set than they’re used to and the bit between their teeth there’s barely a second’s pause between songs. Scott Lewis has grown into an iconic figure within this scene, dominating the stage as he comes across much more like a deathcore Dani Filth than yet another Mitch Lucker clone. With a closing one-two punch of Lie To My Face and Hell Chose Me, Carnifex cement their status as the band to beat this evening. THY ART IS MURDER  come damn close to doing just that. The last time they were in the UK current vocalist Nick Arthur seemed like a rabbit caught in the headlights, but tonight he’s far more at home. Even though his onstage patter is as generic as it comes, he gives TAIM a new visual focus that’s an essential counterpart to music as crushing as Holy War and The Purest Strain Of Hate.
Headliners WHITECHAPEL  have diversified their sound recently. Opener Mark Of The Blade has much more of a groove than their earlier material, but when vocalist Phil Bozeman asks who wants to hear some “old-school shit” it’s clear just where the preference of this sold out crowd lie. To be fair to the band they manage to meld both the old and the new with devastating effect, and are worthy headliners to a night of excellent extremity.