HANABIE. + Knife Bride at Underworld, Camden on 20th August 2023


With a sound so sharp it could cut your fingers; Knife Bride make their presence felt right from the get go. Peddling a nice line in alternative metal, this Brighton-based bunch operate with undisputed attitude, and a band who refuse to be ignored. Vocalist Mollie Buckley drips charisma and, attired in a white bed jacket, looks like an escapee from a psychiatric ward, and with drummer Sean Millsopp hitting the skins particularly hard they deliver an earthshaking sound. Yet, despite their sonic ferocity, they place a strong focus on melody and song structure, meaning that cuts such as the explosive ‘Grenade’ swing like a huge wrecking ball and are awarded instant earworm status. Final track ‘Permanent Smile’ (from new EP titled Don’t Dream Too Much, I believe) goes down very well, and ensures Knife Bride won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Tonight’s show sold out in double quick time, and with their new album Reborn Superstar! (reviewed here) creating waves, you get the feeling that Tokyo metallers HANABIE. are standing on the cusp of greatness and it is only a matter of time until they take their place amongst metal’s top tier. Until then, the 500 lucky souls packed inside the Underworld get a chance to catch the band up close and personal, and the excitement that electrifies the air as we await the band crackles tangibly. It seems that we are currently living in the golden age of female Japanese metal bands with LOVEBITES, BRIDEAR and Nemophila all beating a path to the Western consciousness, yet HANABIE. have a certain something that sets them apart from their peers. It’s partly their Harajuku-inspired dress sense, but it is primarily their blend of metalcore and J-pop, along with their unorthodox song structures which makes them so appealing. There’s also a life-affirming element to the band, and that becomes immediately apparent when the band appear and turn the venue into a sea of smiles, and the fact that singer Yukina arrives brandishing a large Union Flag only adheres them to the crowd even more.

Introductions aside, HANABIE. get straight down to business with opening shot ‘Choujigen Galaxy’, and it feels as if someone has lit a fuse because the whole venue bursts into life as fists pump the air and horns are held high. It feels as if a volcano has erupted, but instead of spewing hot lava, it is flowing pure effervescence as the band hit us with the perfect one-two punch that is ‘NEET GAME’ and ‘Warning!!’. New drummer Chika has slotted into the band just fine, and handles the hardcore and nu-metal beats with great aplomb and makes the perfect foil for Hettsu’s busy, but unobtrusive, bass style. Matsuri’s relentless riff attack makes for a punchy attack, and the three conspire to create a powerful sound. It is over this maelstrom that Yukina flits between clean and guttural vocals; singing angelically before unleashing some devilish growls. As the gig progresses, the crowd has become rowdier, with circle pits erupting, and even a wall of death before ‘Today’s Good Day & So Epic’ brings the set to a raucous conclusion.

The temperature inside the Underworld has risen to unbearable levels, with both band and crowd looking visibly exhausted, yet HANABIE. return for a well-deserved encore. ‘SUNRISE miso-SOUP’ is announced, but some technical issues mean it can’t be played, so the band hit us with ‘Osaki ni Shitsurei Shimasu’ again (it was played earlier in their set), it’s such a great song that it is no hardship, and it ensures that this gig will live on in the memory for a long time.

HANABIE. Set List:

  1. Choujigen Galaxy
  3. Warning!!
  4. Reiwa Matching-Sedai
  5. Ware Amatou
  6. Kotoshi so Gal~Shoka Ver.
  7. Tales Of Villain
  8. L.G.C.
  10. Osaki ni Shitsurei Shimasu
  11. Today’s A Good Day & So Epic


  1. Osaki ni Shitsurei Shimasu


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