Live Review: Oceans Ate Alaska - Boston Music Room, London 21/06/2018
Oceans Ate Alaska started their UK headline run with a bang as they treated London to a night of mind-blowing instrumental virtuosity. Promoting their newest album ‘Hikari’, the sold out Boston Music Room brimmed with a barely constrained energy as all the bands tore up the venue.
Thursday night was a dream come true for metal lovers, as a line-up of Forecast, Shields, Kingdom of Giants and Oceans Ate Alaska promised a night of adrenaline fuelled chaos at the intimate Boston Music Rooms, a cozy venue with a notable lack of barriers, allowing bands and fans to share in intimate moments. And the bands certainly did not disappoint; first up was Forecast, a London based melodic hardcore quintet. Conquering the stage with an unapologetic confidence, the crowd was in for an energetic opening set. The passion could be seen and felt, in all of their songs. Vocalists Giammarco Fiore and Romeo Ciarla teamed up to deliver an intense performance during ‘Good Times Until They Become Good Memories’, a hard-hitting song with its honest lyricism and introspective guitar lines. The set ended with both vocalists on the floor, as they poured all of their energy and passion into their emotionally purging songs.
The emotions were running high as Shields took to the stage - with this being their last London show, many dedicated fans were there to ensure that this would be a night to remember. As the lights came on for the band, the cheers from the crowd were almost deafening, indicative of the anticipation that had been building since 4pm as the first fans started queuing. The energy during the whole set was on another level, and it drew out the first pits of the night with many to follow. Breakdowns during ‘Black Dog’ were mind-numbingly heavy, as low-tuned guitars and a growling bass combined with crashing cymbals to create a menacing tone. Poignant ‘It’s Killing Me’ drew a host of singing and screaming from the crowd, and arms and hair was flying everywhere, no least from Joe Edwards, whose fantastic mane was certainly a spectacle to behold as he headbanged with fervour. At multiple points in the set, Joe handed the microphone to fans in the crowd, who would continue without missing a beat, screaming back with equal earnestness. Both bands and fans gave their all to make this a memorable last show, and we are sure that the memory of the set will linger in many minds for a long time.
At this point, the venue was packed and was positively thrumming with energy, and as Kingdom of Giants stepped up to make their mark on the night, an enthusiastic crowd welcomed them with hollering and cheering. Hailing from America, it was clear that there were many fans there who had been waiting for this moment for a long time. Bodies were flying and crashing as Dana Willax’s brutal high screams ripped through the speakers and sent the room into a frenzy of mosh pits. As the drum beats hammered through you, the crowd was almost synchronised in its headbanging, sharing a common appreciation for the music. There was almost a power struggle in who could scream louder between the crowd and the band, especially during songs such as ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘Tunnel Vision’. The interplay between the clean vocals and screams were particularly impressive, perfectly complementing the furious riffing from the guitars and pummelling drums to create a crushing texture that could almost be felt. With this set, Kingdom of Giants prove that they sound as good live as they do on record, if not better, and they are not one to be missed.
With the room completely packed, Oceans Ate Alaska opened with ‘Benzaiten’. As the atmospheric opening of Japanese instrumentals floated through the speakers, a cymbal crash gives ways to an avalanche of drum beats which marks the start of a flurry of blast beats, metric modulation and annihilating vocals that will dominate the next 45 minutes. The progressive metalcore band prove their prowess with astonishing instrumental technicality, never missing a note whilst making it look like a breeze. Stage divers are a constant, especially during their older tracks such as ‘Blood Brother’ and ‘High Horse’. Jake Noakes’ vocals were impeccable, from every growl to the high vocals in the choruses. Chris Turner’s lightning-speed double pedalling was particularly impressive, especially with the ease with which he appeared to be drumming. The whole band looked completely at home on stage as the crowd furiously matched their moshing and stagediving to the intensity of the set. As the last notes of ‘Escapist’ faded out, a thunderous roar was given out from the crowd, who were clearly appreciative of the band, and slowly a chant for another song was built up. Giving in to the demands of the crowd, Jake yelled out “This is for the OG fans” before they plunged into ‘Clocks’, and the crowd moshed, headbanged and stagedived like there was no tomorrow. There is no doubt that this has been an incredibly special evening, and I left the gig with a bittersweet feeling, knowing that I will never experience another gig like this but thankful that I was able to witness the carnage that night.
Words and Photography by Athena Kam