REVIEW: HEART OF A COWARD @ CLWB IFOR BACH, CARDIFF
With their latest album The Disconnect released earlier this year and new vocalist Kaan Tasan proving his worth both in the studio and live, the Milton Keynes-based metallers Heart Of A Coward are on a roll right now. When it was announced that their latest headline tour would be making a stop at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach, I knew that I had to get down there and finally get to see them perform a headline set with their new lineup.
First up were local boys Sentry. Eschewing multilayered backing tracks in favour of a three guitarist setup (they weren’t the only band of the night to have three guitar players either, as you’ll soon find out), they delivered a set of punishing, apocalyptic deathcore. The three guitarists and bassist tended to hang back somewhat on the stage, letting vocalist Danny Rees prowl around wireless mic in hand, demanding the audience’s attention.
That attention was something the audience gave back a lot more willingly than I was expecting from an opening band - some members of the audience were even willing to mosh a little bit! Whilst the majority of Sentry’s material focused on crushing heaviness and doomy ambience, there were a few splashes of melody provided by guitarist/clean vocalist Kieron Dix.
When it came to the end of it, the Welsh valleys natives performed astonishingly and, if things go well, they could be a serious force to be reckoned with in the UK deathcore scene.
ROCOKDILE RATING: 9/10
Touring support Unprocessed, another three guitarist act who hail from the state of Hessen in Germany, took to the stage next. Unprocessed are a band who have unfortunately had a lot of weird attention recently due to the ‘fake guitarists’ scandal - frontman Manuel Gardner Fernandes has been a victim of it. However, Unprocessed’s performance that night put paid to any rumours at all that he isn’t able to play his music.
Unprocessed flew through their set of ludicrously technical djenty progressive metal with ease, moving all around the stage and throwing shapes as if they were playing pop-punk or post-hardcore! Manuel was a surprisingly great vocalist as well as guitarist, managing to balance his dual role in the band with ease. He was also able to regularly interact with the crowd, getting them involved as much as possible and happily allowing a pit or two to break out.
Unprocessed managed to turn what could have been a dry, guitar clinic-style live show into something incredibly engaging and, considering how difficult their music is to play, it has to be fully commended. I'm definitely looking forward to getting another chance to see them perform live!
ROCKODILE RATING: 10/10
With an almost show-stealing performance from Unprocessed, you’d think that Heart Of A Coward might have a tough job following it. Heart Of A Coward are no slouches in a live environment, however. Taking to the small stage in Clwb Ifor Bach, they effortlessly launched into The Disconnect’s first two songs “Drown In Ruin” and “Ritual”, managing to whip the Cardiff crowd into a frenzy with their uncompromisingly brutal yet virulently catchy brand of metalcore.
The frenzy of the crowd was due in no small part to Kaan Tasan, who since his time with the tech metallers No Consequence has grown into an incredible frontman. He proved yet again why he is one of the best vocalists in the scene, switching from screams and yells to high shrieks, gritty melodic vocals and almost death metal styled vocals as if it was absolutely nothing at all. He also had the crowd in the palm of his hand, getting them to open up circle pits and walls of death with his infectious energy. Even the band’s sheer volume was intense - they seemed to be much louder than both the other bands on the bill and Vishal Khetia’s bass reached earth-shakingly low depths many times.
The band’s overall setlist was absolutely fantastic, delivering plenty of the best cuts from The Disconnect as well as old favourites like “Shade”, “Mouth Of Madness”, “Hollow” and “Deadweight”. The final of those old favourites was, in typical Heart Of A Coward fashion, the band’s closing song, where they broke down into the customary wall of death to send everyone home happy.
Needless to say, Heart Of A Coward have become even more of a well-oiled machine than they were before. I can’t think of many other bands in the UK, or maybe even the world, who are better in a small venue environment than Heart Of A Coward.
ROCKODILE RATING: 10/10
Words by Robert Percy
All photos by Bailey Kidd