Protest The Hero came steamrolling into the grand settings of London Koko off the back of an incredible 18 months. This band have also thought outside the box, when it’s come to their sound, live show and collective ethos. After self-releasing Volition, with the help of a Kick-Starter Campaign and the lovely chaps at Spinefarm records, the album they put so much work and effort into saw the light of day. This album has just seen the love for this band grow, with the UK always showing just how dedicated they are to this band and tonight is just a small remainder that this band are destined for greater things.
Before that though, the highly anticipated UK debut of The Contortionist sends the London crowd into a trance with their mind-blowing tech metal. A strong following has turned out early to catch these guys, whose stage presence is mystifying in the most purest sense. Lead man Mike Lessard almost floats around the stage with his captivating movements, as his vocal capabilities do nothing but impress. Backed by a band of musical wizards, the bar has been raised high tonight. Demoing tracks from their brand new album Language, the crowd is left questioning their existence as The Contortionist bend your mind in the best possible way.
With everyone left in a state of tranquillity it was time for The Safety Fire to bring a set that is normally fuelled with heart stomping alternative metal, but tonight it feels a little stale. Drafted in last minute to fill in for The Faceless, the four piece didn’t seem like their usual ferocious selves. Sound issues were rife as their backing track made their sound meander and lose itself in the large aesthetics of the Koko. You can tell the mood just shifted during their set, but the crowd sticks by them and know this is just a small dip in form.
Protest The Hero have matured into a band with that extra added star quality – a trait we all saw many years ago when they first burst onto the scene. With a few members coming in and out and changing their live show to purely focus on delivering the music to a 5 star standard – tonight sees Protest carry on a devastating form they have been producing for the last 18 months. The opening sequence of Seqouina Throne and Underbite was volcanic, as they opened the night in a raucous fashion. It was met by wild eyed fans whose undying love for this band shows – with everyone immediately losing their shit, phones and probably wallets.
The musicianship on show is truly mezmerising, the way guitarist Luke Hoskins and Tim Milar duel with each other feels like a guitar battle to the death, but they remain so in-sync with each other that they sound tighter than a bankers purse strings. Tonight sees them close their Volition tour-cycle, an album that has produced gargantuan and inexplicably massive bangers – with the likes of Clarity becoming a progressive metal masterpiece which, in turn, sound mega in the aesthetics of the Koko. Rody Walker’s onstage antics are still hilarious as ever, his sarcastic tongue n cheek interaction with the crowd provides plenty of chuckles and a nice little break up to the proceedings. He has become a well-rounded frontman.
Drumhead Trial and Sex Tapes follow in quick procession as Protest The Hero batter our ear drums in the best possible way. As we wipe the sweat from our brows, we are left wanting one more song from this band and they deliver that in a devastating fashion, as they close with the almighty mathy Bloodmeat. Koko instantly goes off like Dante’s Peak, as PTH leave the crowd gasping for one last breath. The next step for this band is to come back with an even bigger album and when they do expect a storm, there are bigger things brewing here.