LIVE: Twitching Tongues / Disgrace / Revulsion / No Rest @ The Boston Arms, Tufnell Park

By Glen Bushell

Whether people want to admit it or not, hardcore can be a very insular place at times. There is very much a “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality among certain corners of the scene, and when bands think outside the box, they are met with either critical acclaim or a sea of upturned noses. One band who has managed to drastically polarise opinion within hardcore is LA’s Twitching Tongues, but their trajectory hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in the past few years no matter what people think of them, and the truth is, they probably don’t care whether people are behind them or not. Some might say they are too metal to be a hardcore band, others may say they are too hardcore to be a metal band, and heaven forbid should a band with hardcore lineage actually sing and have a penchant for melody. Regardless of all of that, Twitching Tongues are one of the most inventive bands in hardcore right now, and having just signed to Metal Blade Records, they have brought their “End of Love” tour to the nation’s capital and put any doubts about their place in aggressive music to rest.

Perhaps it’s due to tonight being a midweek show, or that annoyingly the Tufnell Park tube station is closed this evening, but the crowd is somewhat sparse considering the line-up, but that doesn’t stop London hardcore band No Rest from pummelling those in attendance early enough. They do borrow heavily from the Shattered Realm School of heavy hardcore, almost a little too much at times, to the point where this reviewer thought he heard the opening riff of ‘All Will Suffer’ more than once. That’s only a small criticism, as they are meticulously tight, and do what they do very well. The same can be said for Revulsion, who have more of a metallic attack than their predecessors. Their bottom-riffs underneath visceral vocals attracts the attention of most of the room, which is often a hard thing to do when you are an unknown quantity on a show like tonight.

Of course both opening bands were heavy in their own right, and deserved their place on this bill, but when Disgrace take to the stage, they are a ferocious, untamed beast. Comprised of 4 out of 5 members of Twitching Tongues, with Taylor Young taking up vocal duties, they play a set heavy on their new album ‘True Enemy’, with Young’s harsh, low end vocal seeming effortless as he prowls the stage. Their sound calls to mind a young Obituary if they had been raised on hardcore, with ‘Slave To The Lead God’ being suitably ignorant, and ‘Uncreation’ absolutely unrelenting. Given this is their first time on our shores, they certainly have their fair share of admirers, and undoubtedly gained even more by the end of their set.

Although still not as full as it should be, The Boston Arms has filled up by the time Twitching Tongues emerge, and within seconds of them launching into ‘Eyes Adjust’, the dancefloor is turned into a warzone. Naturally it doesn’t stop there, as they follow it up with the gargantuan ‘World War V’, and it’s near impossible to dodge flailing limbs wherever you are. This is more than just about how hard the breakdowns are though, as Twitching Tongues are spine-chilling to watch. Vocalist Colin Young is a commanding frontman, with a superb vocal range that remains note perfect between larynx-shredding screams and a melodic higher register. He really gets to flex his vocal chords when they air brand new song ‘Disharmony’, from their forthcoming album of the same name, which while still reliant on thick guitar riffs, gives Young’s vocal a chance to soar through the chorus.

Clearly feeding off the energy that the crowd are giving back to them, they tearing through the metallic crunch of ‘Loveless Nightmare’, and the doom inspired ‘Deliver Us To Evil’ before playing a medley of earlier material ‘I Fell From Grace Feet First’ and ‘Insane and Inhumane’. Before we know it though, their set comes to a close as the haunting guitar lines of ‘Preacher Man’ start to spill from the stage, and Young barely needs to sing as the entire room is at his beckoning call, almost drowning out the frontmans powerful vocal as they scream the words back at him in unison.

Tonight was certainly a performance to remember from Twitching Tongues, as a whole new world awaits them once this tour wraps up. After seeing their progression from a fresh-faced band in a half empty Kentish Town Bull & Gate 3 years earlier, to the semi-veterans of metallic hardcore that they are now, the future is in the palm of Twitching Tongues hands, and if what we heard of ‘Disharmony’ tonight is anything to go by, bigger venues and more even more adoring followers await.