To celebrate the fact that it’s been ten years since Basick Records first started pounding our ears with the best of underground artistic metalcore, the label took over Camden’s Barfly for a raucous birthday party. There was cake, fans and a handful of the best and brightest bands Basick has to offer.
First to the stage are instrumental three-piece Heights, who are positively ambient compared to some of the heavier stuff Basick is known for. Their melodic, sometimes proggy songs don’t do much to get the crowd moving, but they avoid making each song blend into the next by throwing in unexpected, soft mid-sections and tempo changes, all underpinned by Tesseract’s Jay Postones’ skilful syncopation on the drums. Technically, they’re impressive, but live, some of their nuances are lost in the fuzz of the Barfly’s sound.
Next up are No Consequence, who, with the obligatory modern metalcore accessories of undercuts and sweaters by an obscure streetwear label, are an entirely different kettle of fish. Unlike Heights, they have a full array of lighting effects, which immediately makes them a more entertaining spectacle – but you can’t help but feel that the former band was a bit short-changed. No Consequence rip through chugging, hardcore inspired tracks like Coerce:Conform and new song Citizen, which rides on an Incubus-esque guitar melody (and no, that isn’t a bad thing).
Upping the stakes even higher, though, is third act Alaya. Frontman Evan Dunn is a tiny, silken-haired powerhouse as he deftly riffs and sings at the same time. Their thrashy, technical but melodic sound survives the Barfly’s boxy acoustics to rip through tracks from their first and only album Thrones, and it’s high time these guys released a follow-up. Alaya almost manage to steal headliner Devil Sold His Soul’s thunder – but an epic, drawn-out synth intro ensures the main act makes an entrance.
They kick off their atmospheric set with newer tracks, starting with last year’s single Devastator before throwing in VIII and Crusader. Their mix of ambient synths, wistful, proggy melodies and retro thrash sections are a perfect embodiment of everything that makes Basick Records stand out; they’re not afraid to nerd out over long instrumental sections –– as they do on the bombastic set-closer Hope – and they relish bending and shaping musical trends, like the current metalcore boom, to suit their own sound.
Basick Records is the geeky kid in the corner who grows up to be a super-rich inventor with a hot wife, and proves he was the cool one all along. Here’s to the next ten years, lads!
All photos by Will Ireland.