Unearth & Shadows Fall – Hell On Earth Tour 2014 Live at The Underworld

Brian Fair and Matt Bachand of Shadows Fall performing at London's The Underworld, September 2014

Making it’s way through Europe, the Hell On Earth Tour made a short three date run through the UK. Despite being headlined by Unearth the bigger story of this tour was that it could be the last time we ever see Shadows Fall in the UK. Rocksins went along to the Underworld for a night of classic metalcore.

Openers Pay No Respect (7.5) wasted no time tonight opening the pit up almost immediately. They might not reinvent the wheel but their hardcore ticks all the right boxes. The band have a small but dedicated group of fans in attendance who never stop throwing down, two stepping and singing along. With the pit getting more violent after every breakdown it’s not surprising most people watching choose to steer well clear of it but overall this was an impressive display from Pay No Respect.

The same cannot be said for War Of Ages (4) who seem to do nothing but play cheap imitations of Killswitch Engage songs. Combine this with some terrible stage banter, dedicating a song to all the “warriors” in the room being a particular low point and an audience who don’t seem to care much and it’s clear that War Of Ages aren’t going to gain many new fans on this side of the Atlantic anytime soon.

The Acacia Strain (8.5) are angry and miserable people who want to make us angry and miserable, they certainly succeeded at that tonight as fans seemed to make it their aim to knock someone out. Musically The Acacia Strain are as dark and angry as deathcore gets, brutal is definitely an overused term when describing deathcore but The Acacia Strain really do deliver a brutal set with Vincent Bennett screams every word like he genuinely hates everything. It’s not all doom and gloom with Vincent finding some time to have a laugh between songs before he making everyone angry again.

Shadows Fall (8.5) are much more light-hearted, despite this possibly being their final UK show the band are in good spirits and want to end things on a high note. Filling their set with fan favourites such as The Power Of I & I, The Idiot Box and The Light That Blinds, there isn’t a single song that gets a poor reception. Every word of every song is sung back to the band and the majority of fans down the front start to act like they are teenagers again, moshing their hearts out and waving their devil horns in the air. Closing with “Crushing Belial” ends the set with a bang and leaves everyone wanting more. Despite never quite getting the recognition they deserved Shadows Fall seemed more than happy to end their time in the UK playing to a few hundred fans in London. They do reassure fans they may come back but until then it is very clear they are going to be missed.

Shadows Fall singer Brian Fair performing at London's The Underworld Venue, September 2014
Brian Fair: The dreds and the voice both still as good as ever

Unearth (7.5) never quite manage to match Shadows Fall but still wrap up the evening in convincing fashion. Focusing their set on their breakthrough album The Oncoming Storm was a great touch as the band are currently celebrating 10 years since it’s release but their set isn’t just about nostalgia as they squeeze in a song from their upcoming album. While this does get a good reaction it’s clear most people want to hear the older songs. Zombie Autopilot see’s a swarm of crowd-surfers ending the set in chaotic fashion.

Like Shadows Fall, Unearth never quite received the attention they deserved and with the way metalcore has gone they it seems like they probably never will. But tonight proves they can still deliver crowd pleasing sets and are still happy to play to crowds of any size.

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