Despite the early venue opening at 5pm, that hasn’t deterred fans from ascending Nottingham’s Rock City for an impressive four-band bill. Aussie outfit The Amity Affliction‘s brand of doom-soaked metalcore continues to win over the masses, and as they return for their second UK tour this year, they’ve pulled off a noteworthy line-up consisting of Canadian hardcore punks Comeback Kid, fellow Australians Alpha Wolf, and up-and-coming hardcore mob Mugshot.
It’s the Californian group that kicks off the night. With a hefty load of chugging guitars, Mugshot set the tone for the evening with a sound that leans on old-school hardcore while frontman Ringo Waterman’s roars through with his guttural screams. Guitarist Michael Demko backs him up with the occasional scream and an array of twisting riffs. Their youthful energy is relentless, and their 20-minute set is just enough time before the chugging outstays its welcome. (2.5/5)
The other emerging band on the bill, Alpha Wolf overcame some early technical teething issues to provide an impressionable outing. The Melbourne-based outfit showcased a blend of sonic metalcore with flashes of nu-metal. The growing Rock City crowd thrive off the feelgood energy the quintet offers, with a sea of crowd-surfers responding to vocalist Lochie Keogh’s request. Throughout, Keogh and company bounce off each other, delivering a blistering set of breakdowns, and towering hooks (courtesy of bassist John Arnold). Having visited these shores already this year, and with a Download Festival slot pencilled in, I expect to hear plenty more of Alpha Wolf in 2024. (3.5/5)
Having formed over 20 years, you can probably call Comeback Kid veterans now. Despite being the main support, they treat tonight as if it’s their own show. With a career-spanning set, the Canucks burst with 2022’s ‘Heavy Steps’ title track, setting their template of metallic hardcore punk for the next 40 or so minutes. Frontman Andrew Neufeld dominates the stage, backed by guitarist Jeremy Hiebert explosive riffs. As cuts such as ‘Do Yourself a Favor’ and ‘Crossed’ rip through, it’s clear Comeback Kid‘s arsenal is versatile. ‘Talk Is Cheap’ is a pounding assault, thanks to Loren Legare’s drums. While ‘G.M. Vincent And I’ and closing number ‘Wake The Dead’ leaned more into hardcore punk, whipping the dedicated fans into a frenzy. (3/5)
The Amity Affliction
If you were to delve into the Already Heard archives, you’d see our former writers haven’t been too favourable of The Amity Affliction. But in the intervening years, I’ve become a casual fan of the Aussie metalcore band. I’ll admit, on record I find Ahren Stringer’s vocals occasionally a bit too clean, leaning into genre tropes. Nevertheless, it is evident Stringer, along with lead vocalist Joel Birch, guitarist Dan Brown, and drummer Joe Longobardi, continue to win over doubters in a live setting.
Having crafted an atmospheric and heavy sound, tonight’s set ebbs and flows with angsty bursts (from Birch) and soaring singalongs (from Stringer). From the dense thrashing of ‘All My Friends Are Dead,’ ‘Show Me Your God,’ and ‘I See Dead People’ to ‘Drag the Lake’ and ‘Don’t Lean On Me’s infectious choruses, TAA quickly delivers fan favourites.
Through their personal and dark lyrics, it’s clear The Amity Affliction have a fanbase that connects with their tales of loss, and mental health struggles. The title track from this year’s ‘Not Without My Ghosts’ emphasises this, proving to be a compelling moment in a packed set.
Backed by fitting production, The Amity Affliction show they are more than worthy of headlining a legendary venue like Rock City. They have a vast array of songs that connect with a dedicated following, proving to be emotionally impactful. Through The Amity Affliction‘s dark moments, their music is the light at the end of the tunnel. (4/5)