Having played the Barfly several times before this is far from a new environment for Heart Of A Coward. However as if tonight being their first headline show here wasn’t special enough, the show was also completely sold out meaning expectations were.
Despite tonights show being sold out, the Barfly is only half full when openers Death Remains (6.5) start playing. Luckily the Londoners have a group of dedicated fans turn up to watch them. Whilst their metal tunes aren’t particularly memorable they still manage to get plenty of heads banging.
Following this Malevolence (8.5) seem colossal, the Sheffield mob sound like a cross between Hatebreed and Pantera with every song packed full of huge grooves and crushing riffs. Having just released their debut album there is a real buzz surrounding Malevolence and based on this show it’s clear why, they are absolutely ferocious live. There’s plenty of action in the pit too with arms and legs flying around in a particularly brutal manner. If Malevolence keep playing shows like this then expect big things from them in the future.
The Charm, The Fury (6.5) feel incredibly tame in comparison, there’s nothing particularly bad about their melodic metalcore songs but they just lack the ferocity and excitement of Malevolence. Caroline Westendorp delivers an impressive vocal performance but there is very little else to keep their set from feeling a bit boring. This is even more noticeable as the energy from the crowd died down during their set. Things picked up towards the end with the bands final few songs sounding far more impressive and showing their true potential.
Finally Heart Of A Coward (9) take to the stage with the Barfly now packed out. Opening with new song Monstro the entire room immediately erupts with a pit opening straight away and the fans screaming the words right back at the band. Older song Shade kicks things up to another level with even more aggression being displayed in the pit and fans at the front almost fighting to get the mic from Jamie Graham. Despite Jamie telling everyone he’s feeling ill tonight you wouldn’t have been able to tell based on his performance, with his vocals still sounding completely on form. Balancing their set with older songs and songs from their new album Severance, there isn’t a single moment where the crowd aren’t moshing, jumping around or singing. Heart Of A Coward are also a band who like to have a fun time at shows, whether it’s getting everyone to put their arms around the person next to them and headbang in unison or even pose to show off their muscles, it’s good to see heavier bands have a laugh on stage. After plenty of monstrous riffs performed with mechanical precision Heart Of A Coward wrap things up with Around A Girl (In 80 Days) which gets such a good reaction that they decide to come back on and play an unplanned encore which perfectly sums up how special tonight’s show was for them.