The rise of Electric Callboy in the post-pandemic world is equally a surprise yet unexpected. The German outfit was considerably peripheral players in the European metalcore scene. However, after fully embracing their neon-heavy niche, they’ve become an unstoppable live force. Tonight sees them close out a sold-out UK tour in Birmingham.
However, before this packed-out crowd can get “hypa hypa”, there’s a double dose of underground British metal. First up is Monuments. Despite a handful of line-up changes over the years, the prog metal outfit continues to soldier on. Tonight they bring a technical prowess that others on the bill aren’t on par with. Chunky guitars, groove-laden bass lines, and Andy Cizek’s soaring vocals are Monuments’ stand-out traits. A trio of tracks from the latest album, ‘In Stasis’, allows them to showcase their best abilities. ‘Cardinal Red’ is dominated by Mike Malyan’s gigantic drum work and ferocious riffs. Whereas ‘Leviathan’ and ‘False Providence’ give Cizek the opportunity to demonstrate his range with a mix of clean, screaming and growling vocals. By the time they close out with ‘Degenerate’, a juggernaut of a track, they just do enough to keep this crowd engaged, being a fitting opener. (3/5)
As Everything Unfold
Buckinghamshire quintet As Everything Unfolds has very much been touted as “ones to watch” in many circles since their 2021 debut full-length, ‘Within Each Lies The Other‘. While this year’s follow-up, ‘Ultraviolet’, went from strength to strength, embracing a bolder sound. Tonight they put a good account of themselves, showcasing an energetic set of equally dense and melodic post-hardcore and metalcore. Early on, ‘Ultraviolet’s title track and ‘Slow Down‘ highlight their anthemic qualities.
Although they lack stage presence, As Everything Unfold makes up for it with towering numbers like ‘Flipside’ and ‘Felt Like Home’. Vocalist Charlie Rolfe’s delivery is confident, venturing into screaming on ‘Hiding From Myself”. While her bandmates are able to maintain the energy, blending chunky riffs, bold drums and Jon Cassidy’s synth keys in the process. There’s definitely something special about As Everything Unfolds. They’re clearly a dynamic group yet on tonight’s evidence I feel they’re missing that extra ingredient to take them to the next level. Perhaps their upcoming headline run could be the start of that. (2.5/5)
After an interval that consisted of the masses singing along to Queen and Bon Jovi (unfortunately), it’s time for Electric Callboy. Throughout the venue, fans have dressed up for the occasion wearing neon shell suits, headbands, and mullet wigs. On a side note, the band are missing out on some revenue here by not having these available at the merch stand. Anyway, the German electro-metalcore mob’s 18-song set comes and goes in a flash, yet it’s unabashedly fun from start to finish.
As confetti cannons explode with opener ‘Tekkno Train‘, it’s clear Electric Callboy are here to bring the party, and that’s exactly what they do. Led by vocalists Kevin Ratajczak and Nico Sallach, the sextet delivers a blistering mix of thumping EDM with a hefty load of metalcore breakdowns. As Birmingham’s O2 Academy turns into a sweatbox, which unfortunately causes a fan to receive medical attention, there is a relentlessly good vibe.
‘Tekkno’ highlight ‘Spaceman’ receives the first of many massive reactions. Likewise, their cover of Cascada’s ‘Everytime We Touch’ is ridiculously absurd and fun in equal measure. Electric Callboy are clear entertainers, not afraid to stick their collective tongues firmly in their cheeks. For example, a penis-shaped piano is wheeled out for a stripped-down cover pairing of Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ and the Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’, because why not, right?
For all their horseplay, Electric Callboy are still able to show they’re a capable metalcore band, as demonstrated with older cut, ‘The Scene‘, the chaotic ‘Parasite’ and of course, the demonic breakdown on the Europop-meets-black metal favourite, ‘Hurrikan’. Alongside the breakdowns, they’ve got big, infectious hooks in abundance. This is amplified during the encore.
After the first of two outfit changes, they return in neon fitness wear and wigs to deliver the hyperactive ‘Pump It’. As its thrashing guitars and pulsating beats blast out across the sweaty, packed-out crowd, Electric Callboy epitomises how ridiculous metal can be. Furthermore, ‘We Got The Moves’ closes the night in the ideal way. Dressed in a uniform that includes bowl-cut wigs and rectangle glasses, its head-bopping synth erupts with euphoria into its utterly addictive chorus. While its mid-part chant of “Döp-dödödö-döp” wouldn’t sound out of place at a football stadium.
Whether you think Electric Callboy are a novelty, flash-in-the-pan, or simply a fan of theirs, you can’t doubt their ability to deliver a memorable show. They’ve tapped into a place where few of their contemporaries are willing to go, and they’re thriving off it. Yes, on paper the idea of Euro-trance mixed with metalcore might give you the ick, yet Electric Callboy pull it off so well. Their brand of party-metal is here to stay, and if they keep on this trajectory, they’ll be bringing their mainland Europe arena shows to these shores in no time. (4.5/5)