LIVE REVIEW: Stick To Your Guns, LANDMVRKS, Scowl, Soul Blind, O2 Academy Islington, 09/11/2022
Back in the fieriest form of their lives, Californian hardcore favourites Stick To Your Guns proved they aren’t all bark and no bite with this year’s Spectre. An album that plateaus between attacking aggression one minute to husky heartfelt emotion the next, Stick To Your Guns’ Spectre is a blazing endeavour that makes the past five album-lacking years feel like it went by in the blink of an eye or a flash of lightning. In a live setting, the album and STYG’s remaining records translates and takes the intense battle cries of Weapon to the harsh pit stompers like This Is More for a riff ready, energy releasing show that doesn’t skimp on political punk views or heart pounding hardcore.
Before Stick To Your Guns stomp onto stage, Hudson Valley’s Soul Blind on the brink of releasing their debut album Feel It All Around two days later than their support tour slot and the band’s setlist suggested new album fever was hitting the Soul Blind camp massively. Seventh Hell, Tribe, Ain’t Hard To Tell, System (Failing) and Stuck In A Loop took over the total nine tracks the band got through that evening and Islington Academy warmed up to Soul Blind in perfect time. 8/10
Next up Santa Cruz’s Scowl have rapidly become one of hardcore punks fastest emerging success stories in recent times. With the release of their 2021 album How Flowers Grow, Scowl are game changers in the scene. Rather than dark and dingy aesthetics that screams of sadness and sorrow, Scowl lighten the mood with their brightly lit nature look, but beyond the innocent surface, this band means business. Fuck Around, Dead to Me and Bloodhound cause ten times more havoc live then their recorded counterpart. Firm UK favourites, with the band back this side of the pond for next year’s Outbreak Fest, Scowl took up home down in Islington and made themselves more than comfortable. 8.5/10
French metalcore has never been so strong. Think Resolve, Novelists and in tonight’s case LANDMVRKS, they are a small handful leading the charge for French metalcore at its finest. LANDMVRKS are a prime example, with crushing breakdowns but engulfed with some of the most memorable choruses and catchiest hooks you won’t get stuck out of your brain long after the five-piece leave you reeling with Self Made Black Hole. Merci Beaucoup LANDMVRKS. 9/10
Ready and raring to go, Stick To Your Guns despite a shortened down setlist due to guitarist Josh James having major surgery a mere weeks before the band stour kicked off, quite frankly the best excuse ever to tighten up the tracks that made the cut, Stick To Your Guns didn’t compromise on brining hard hitting hardcore to thirteen relentless tracks. From a setlist highlight Hush to the mass gang singalong of Open Up My Head, Stick To Your Guns rip roared through their headliner without batting so much as an eyelid.
Written By: Katie Conway-Flood