LIVE: Loathe / Phoxjaw / God Complex @ Omeara, London

By Dave Stewart

If you were one of the lucky people that managed to snag a ticket to Loathe’s London demonstration, you’re already aware of just how lucky you were to witness what you witnessed. Highly tipped as being one of metalcores next big acts, the hype surrounding their live performances and their newest record ‘I Let It In And It Took Everything’ speaks for itself, with nothing but praise surrounding them. The gloomy cave-like surroundings of London’s Omeara serves as the perfect venue for the evening, playing host to what will prove to be a calamitous and conquering display.

First to hit the stage was Merseyside bruisers God Complex to unleash their brand of punishment on the early turnout. Impossibly loud and unbelievably heavy, they forced their blend of filthy tones and adrenaline-laced anger onto everyone in attendance and caused them to stare forward in disbelieving but appreciative awe. Their vibe suited the surroundings so well, adding an additional layer to their colossal sound. A solid opening set from a hard working rising band.

Next up is Bristol’s Phoxjaw who offer up something a little different. There are elements of heaviness in their sound, sure, but their delivery is a little more complex than that. They describe themselves as “noise makers and brain shakers”, and that fits them perfectly. At first the crowd seems unsure of what to make of what they’re hearing, but slowly the music starts to smash that barrier down and win them all over.

Their riffs are monolithic in places and tower over the crowd to entice them into action, sometimes stripping back and wooing them with hypnotic movements in others. The riff-haven of ‘Whale, Whale, Whale’ and chaotic set closer ‘Triceratops’ prove to be hits with the audience and collectively produce mass head banging and pits. Their set is an eclectic display of well orchestrated noise, weaving together expansive and sweeping melodies with generous layers of weighty prog and metallic might. A surprising and impacting change of pace before the main event.

Omeara doesn’t seem quiet for the opening bands by any means, but it suddenly seems to fill out of nowhere, the masses clambering for a space in the venue to witness the arrival of Loathe to the stage. Their cult following sold the place out, every single stomach grumbling with an intense hunger to feed on the delights that are inevitably in store. The lights dim, the speakers begin to grumble and they slowly emerge from the shadows, immediately launching into the relentless aural assault of ‘Red Room’ and following it with a cathartic performance of ‘Aggressive Evolution’ that turns the very front of the venue into a swirling pool of violence. Loathe have arrived, and they are just getting started.

The entire set is a celebration of sorts, not just showing off all the treats from the new record but also paying homage to some of the older cuts that helped provide them with the platform they currently stand on. The early inclusion of ‘Rest; In Violence’ from their debut EP ‘Prepare Consume Proceed’ is a welcome surprise, not letting the energy levels dim for a moment. ‘Dance On My Skin’ causes a seismic eruption of movement, as does the brain-melting riffs of ‘Servant And Master’ as they make every guitarist in the room consider giving up their instruments. There’s the moody doom-laced ’Stigmata’, the haunting groove-laden ‘Loathe’, the frantic powerhouse ‘Banshee’ – every single note tearing through the crowd with devastating precision. But the songs that stand out are all taken from the stunning new record.

The crushing rawness of ‘New Faces In The Dark’ connects with every jaw in the venue, the whole crowd open mouthed by the time it reaches the closing breakdown and willing them all into head bang synchronicity. ‘Broken Vision Rhythm’ provides a hefty dose of the same, with gigantic riffs pendulously swinging through the venue and snapping some necks in the process. The thunderously heavy ‘Gored’ feels even heavier in Omeara, rattling the ribcage of each and every attendee as the inconceivably low tones echo through the venue. There isn’t a single weak moment, but there are a few that stood out as clear highlights.

As soon as the opening notes of ‘Two Way Mirror’ play out, the crowd roars with approval. Every corner of the room has someone saying something along the lines of “this song is so Deftones, I love it”, with the rest of the crowd being in clear agreement. Having received the seal of approval from Deftones front man Chino Moreno himself, this song is arguably their biggest triumph to date and the way it sweeps through the crowd to create a mass singalong is a testament to the band’s ability to create monumental soaring anthems as well as sonically destructive sledgehammers.

The final song of the evening is special too, the band bringing proceedings to an end with a thunderous and moving performance of crowd favourite ‘It’s Yours’ that summons one last exertion of energy from the sweaty and awe-struck masses. The band leaves the stage visibly humbled and appreciative of what has just happened, having performed the penultimate night of their headlining album release tour that has seen them go from success to success. This isn’t just any show, and this isn’t just any band. This is the arrival of something special, and that something is Loathe.

This night undoubtedly belongs to them. The band are widely accepted as being the next big thing for metal in this country with seemingly endless support flowing in from all corners of industry. Fans of the genre agree, willingly allowing themselves to be swept up by the current and let it all in. The theatrical look of the venue makes the evening like a ceremony, everyone in attendance knows that they’ve witnessed something special. Dramatic, beautiful, powerful and crushingly heavy – there is no one else that does this quite like Loathe. A truly stunning display.