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Persistence Tour at Forum, London - live review

Hatebreed, Madball and Power Trip rule a riotous hardcore roost

With a super-early stage time INSANITY ALERT [7] have to do something to grab attention, and seed their hi-speed thrash with party poppers, wacky signs and a mosh-friendly take on Run To The Hills called Run To The Pit. BROKEN TEETH [7] are just as exciting, but a far more serious affair, and their neck-snapping hardcore keeps improving on each viewing. BORN FROM PAIN [5] represent the old school, and, although they are stalwarts of the scene, the pace lags massively after such an intense beginning to the night. Clearly, that’s not a fate that’s ever likely to befall POWER TRIP [9]. The Texans rightly took their place at the business end of any end-of-year list worth caring about after Nightmare Logic tore everyone’s faces off. But live it’s another level of intensity; it’s the first time tonight that we see the entire floor circlepit, while the sound of songs like The Executioners Tax and Firing Squad are twice as fast and twice as nasty. Make sure you see this band on the Hammer tour in April.

TERROR [7] have almost the entire tour watching them from the side of the stage. They also get one of the best responses of the night. Their unshakable belief in hardcore can’t be questioned, but for all their fiery qualities they sound slightly one-dimensional in the wake of Power Trip. The classic hardcore vibe continues with MADBALL [8]. After years of playing tiny club shows in London, they’ve now played Wembley Arena and the Forum in the space of just over a year. It’s great to see that this band, and this music, translate so well to a larger crowd. Freddy Cricien defies his age, charging around the stage, drenched in sweat and barking in the faces of everyone in attendance, and their resolutely traditional, beatdown-heavy music still sounds as fresh today as it did back in the early 90s, culminating in a blinding closing Pride (Times Are Changing).

In terms of suitability for a headliner on this tour, HATEBREED [8] are pretty much the gold standard, sounding, as they do, like the world’s most stacked hardcore jukebox. Tonight, their set leans heavily on debut album Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire and its legendary follow-up, Perseverance, meaning we get deep cuts like Smash Your Enemies. Jamey Jasta is still the scene’s most positive Duracell bunny, pumping his fist and urging everyone on ’til the bitter end of what has been yet another excellent Persistence Tour.