Bury Tomorrow, Employed To Serve & Blood Youth @ Portsmouth Pyramid Centre, December 13th 2019

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Bury Tomorrow - 2020 Promo Photo

As 2019 draws to a close and the decade of the 2010’s starts drawing its final breath, we can end it knowing that the state of British Metal is in very safe hands. Bills like this don’t come along very often which makes tonight’s show and on a larger scale this tour all the more special. Not only are headliners Bury Tomorrow playing their brilliant Black Flame album in full, but they have Employed To Serve and Blood Youth in tow who have released two of the years finest metal records in their own right, meaning this should be nothing short of spectacular.

Tonight’s proceedings are opened by rising stars Blood Youth (8), who dropped one of 2019’s best metal albums in the darkly menacing Starve. A nightmarish album full of anxiety and raw emotion, it is the kind of album that really seeps into your soul and takes a firm grip. Honestly the live experience isn’t any more comfortable, channelling bands like Korn and Slipknot at their most caustic. Blood Youth are an explosive prospect that manage to win over the audience in front of them with sheer force of will. Tracks like Spineless, Starve and Hate reverberate around the Pyramids with such vitriol and anguish there seems to a collective catharsis that washes over everyone. As they leave the stage the gathered mass takes a moment to compose themselves. It was short, to the point and exactly the right thing to kick off a show like this. Make no mistake about it, Blood Youth are only just getting started and the best is yet to come from them. Do not sleep on this band.

Up next are Employed to Serve (9) who themselves dropped another of 2019’s peerless albums in Eternal Forward Motion, which showcased a marked improvement over their previous album The Warmth of a Dying Sun. Employed to Serve are a band that absolutely works for me on record, being able to live with their music and really get into the bones of it does wonders for them, but Employed to Serve are 100% a band that benefit from the live experience. They are such an ungodly live band that they were able to go to toe to toe with Code Orange at their own show and upstage them, such is the power of their live performance. Tonight is no exception and I think it is say to safe that they provide a rude awakening for some of tonight’s audience. As they rip through songs from their aforementioned new album, with tracks like Force Fed, Harsh Truth and the title track cutting through the crowd like a hot knife through butter, there are more than a few confused and in some cases concerned faces. Visceral, Abrasive and downright teeth rattlingly heavy this is brutality in it’s purest form. Employed to Serve came, they saw and they put an entire scene on notice.

After two stellar performances on the undercard, you would think the pressure would be on tonight for Bury Tomorrow (9) but apparently that word isn’t in their vocabulary. Tonight will be the fourth time I have seen them on the touring cycle for their current album Black Flame, and this will be first time I will get to hear the whole thing live. I’m usually pretty hit and miss with the idea of bands playing an entire album live, but Black Flame is an album of such consistency I was actually looking forward to hearing some of the lesser known tracks live. Bury Tomorrow are a band that seems to keep upping their game and they get better every time I see them. Tonight they play the show of their lives, it’s urgent, vital and played with the energy of thousand Energizer Bunnies running a marathon. There is a reason they have been one of the bands to watch for the better part of a decade now. As they throw out songs like No Less Violent, Black Flame, Knife of Gold, The Age and supposed “lesser” cuts like More Than Mortal and the stunning Peacekeeper, even newer tracks like Glasswalk and The Grey, every single one of them is treated like a classic, and its met with feverish adoration from tonight’s audience. Metalcore has been long considered a dead or at the very least a dying scene, but with bands like Bury Tomorrow delivering albums of this quality and playing shows like this, putting them head and shoulders above everyone else. On this evidence, I think it would be wise to suggest that the rumours of metalcore’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

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