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8 out of 10
Kvelertak - unfortunately wasn't there in time to catch more than the end of one song so can't comment.
Gaza - like the bastard offspring of Will Haven and Knut, Salt Lake City's Gaza absolutely pummeled with heavy doomy passages and guitar harmonics while singer Jon Parkin screamed his way through the songs - and what a scream he has! The sound wasn't always the best for them, with the drums being a little quiet which didn't help them with the numerous tempo changes but this is Incredibly heavy, hate filled music playing incredibly well and I'm hoping they're back over again soon!
Kylesa - concentrating mainly on songs from last album To Walk A Middle Course, Savannah's Kylesa play rock with a heavy sludge influence and shouted vocals. I've got to say, I prefer them on record as whenever I've seen them their music never works great in a live environment, I find my attention wanders. They also miss a trick in that despite having two drummers the drum patterns just aren't very inventive and the only time is got interesting was when they had a short drum solo. Co - vocalist Laura Pleasants screams also grate a little because they sound so forced. On the whole, a little disappointing.
Converge - opening with Dark Horse from latest album Axe To Fall, Converge rip into their set and don't let up for the next hour. They seem to like their album openers because we're also treated to Concubine (as if they could leave that out!) and Heartache. Brum's own Shane Embury is in attendance and Jacob dedicates Locust Reign to him. A particular highlight is an absolutely crushing version of Hanging Moon from what's considered by some a lesser album, You Fail Me. I nearly banged my head off to it! Despite music and lyrical content, these guys are no hardcore miserys, and I was surprised at what a positive vibe there was, Jacob Bannon encouraging crowd participation regularly and getting a circle pit going. The music is chaotic, but it's a controlled chaos - this is tightly played music, each member playing their part perfectly from Kurt Ballou's frenetic riffing to Ben Koller and Nate Newton's punky rhythm section, and Kurt's roared vocals. The band achieve the feat of creating a hot sweaty basement gig feel in the corporate environment of the Academy 2 and show why Converge are held in such high regard. A strong contender for band performance of the year.