Review and photos by Russ Tierney
A cold wet winter Novembers night and I’m searching my ipod for suitable journey music to tonight’s gig. I finally settle on local heroes from the early naughties ‘Apartment 26’. If you’re not familiar, they featured Geezer Butler’s son and were guitar based but with drum and bass beats, which I figured is suitable prep for what I’m about to witness. Getting plenty bang for your buck tonight (£11 in advance!), I’m caught off guard by the early doors and unfortunately only manage to catch Cytota wrapping up the warm up proceedings on this four band bill.
We don’t have to wait long before Japan’s Coldrain take to the stage mind, and someone must have told these guys they were playing down the road at the NIA as they’ve brought enough lights for such an occasion. Blinded by a wall of light in the photo pit, you can feel the heat kicking out as the guys try to set the stage alight. Coldrain have plenty of double kick heavy grooves, more than enough to fill said stadium, and their post hardcore sound typically mixes brutal screams which make way for driving English melodies where their (half American) frontman Masato who may well be Japanese by name, speaks/sings with a thick American accent. The guys continue to work hard not diverting too much from the formula that makes them a perfect fit for Crossfaith, and the only real let offs come from electronic breaks.
Up next Coventry’s Silent Screams don’t so much set off to set the stage alight as tear it apart. Upping the brutal stakes by about 200% they’re probably a touch too heavy for tonight’s line up with their bloodcurdling growls. You have to smile when frontman Joel states that ‘this next track is a heavy one’, but there’s a small portion of the crowd who don’t seem to mind and are here for these guys tonight. They’re shortly rewarded when Joel takes to the barrier, climbs in to the crowd and crowd surfs back to the stage, which rather notably is the only surfing action so far tonight. Anyway, much like Coldrain we have a few melodies breaking up the onslaught of noise but it’s suitably underwhelming given it’s departure from the nights genre expectations, as maybe displayed in the faces by a few propping up the crowd barrier.
Now I’m a You Tube fan of Crossfaith; a neutral, excited to see as everything I’ve seen makes me think they’re gonna put on a show.. which of course is normally a set up for disappointment. Well they manage to get the party started long before they even hit the stage. Their intro ‘tape’ kicks in about 20mins before stage time as crew members do a complete stage turnaround with amps flanking each side of the stage facing in while the backline consists of a visually impressive drum set and more lights. “15 minutes to show time” a mixed in theatre sounding automated voice announces shortly before another stating something along the lines of you best be fucking ready. The anticipation is building, the crowd are buzzing and to add to it, screams ring out as Crossfaith members take to the stage to fiddle with the samples over the intro while drummer Amano Tatsuya sound checks his own kit with a mini drum solo. The guys then leave the stage for a couple of minutes as tension builds and the automated voice returns “It’s time to wake the fuck up, 2 minutes to stage time…”
There’s no doubt who the crowd en masse are here to see tonight; even those who remained subdued earlier erupt as the guys crash in to ‘We Are The Future’. We get our first wave of crowd surfers, and the circle pits of earlier are greatly intensified and are now taking up a large portion of the floor space. I’ve said it before and will say it again, there’s something about gigs in the Library that just create an atmosphere when pushed to capacity, and Crossfaith are still wanting more. The energy boost of the aptly titled ‘Jagerbomb’ (or ‘fucking Jagerbomb’ tonight), is a highlight as programmer and second vocalist Tamano Terufumi gets some crowd surfing action too, shortly before front man Koie Kenta introduces new track ‘Motherfucking Madness’, or merely ‘Madness’ to you and I, well you. They wrap up their set with ‘Eclipse’ before the inevitable encore. Making the audience sweat it out again however, we have a round of “Crossfaith” chants before a playful ‘boo’ as audience members get the feeling they may not actually return, until another chant of “one more song” coaxes the guys from back stage minus the string section (guitars).
Front man Kenta walks out with a menacing gaze instructing the crowd to bounce, and the Library is briefly for one song transformed into the best dubstep club around with live drums before the guitarists return in on the action. They finish up with ‘Monolith’, ‘Omen’ and ‘Leviathan’, which of course in one wouldn’t be complete without the crowd all sitting down before being instructed to jump up on a 3 count and then a wall of death in another.
Some bands you go and see, but the best you go to experience… Crossfaith you definitely go to experience.