EMP Persistence Tour 2018 Review

The EMP Persistence Tour has truly cemented itself as an annual event that helps boot gig goers thoroughly in to the new year - rumbling across Europe before reaching it's crescendo in London. The tour's home for the past few years has been The Forum in Kentish Town and 2018 was no different as Hatebreed and co. did their very best to level NW5. This has always been a venue which can prove brutal sound-wise for some bands on the bill, but props where they're due tonight - the sound was exceptional from start to finish.

As we entered the venue, the first band we caught actually ended up being the band of the night. The unbelievable levels of ferocity Power Trip (11/13) are able to generate live justifiably left a fair few punters watching open mouthed as they tore through a set filled mainly with tracks from their latest record Nightmare Logic. The album itself is impressive enough but these tracks truly grow to become a completely different animal live as the band relentlessly pack punch after punch after punch - it is absolutely not overstating things by saying that their Thrash fuelled frenetic manner directly echoes what some of the Thrash giants were delivering in the late 1980s. The absolute highlight of the set came with Executioner's Tax (Swing of The Axe) which triggered complete bedlam across the main floor. Never mind warming up the crowd, the band's who followed this had a serious task on their hands.

Kicking off a trio of Hardcore legends to close out the tour, Terror (9/13) looked like they actually felt uncomfortable that there was a barrier and row of security between them and the crowd but it didn't stop Scott Vogel from enthusiastically whipping the crowd in to a flurry of madness to the best of his ability. As the set went on they struggled to maintain these levels of fervour until the closing duo of Spit My Rage and Always The Hard Way ramped everything back up again. Their main issue stemmed from being the band tasked with directly following Power Trip because no matter how hard they went it just didn't hit those levels.

Turning it up a notch or two ever so slightly were one of the absolute legends of the New York Hardcore scene. Madball (9/13) rolled back the years with a set pulling tracks from across their back catalogue. Their influence in Hardcore is clear for all to see and importantly fans of all ages across the venue greeted them with similar levels of excitement. This is a band who still very much have something to bring to the party and as a live unit they bring absolutely everything you expect and want to see from a New York Hardcore band.

On then to the headliners and the almighty Hatebreed (10/13). The last time they were in London they nearly caused The Underworld to cave in on itself so expectations for this show were understandably very high. Oddly enough, considering their popularity, it was noticeably less busy than for Suicidal Tendencies last year but that in no way proved detrimental to the overall atmosphere and vibe that was bouncing off the walls throughout the performance. Jamey Jasta in particular was on absolutely blinding form, imperiously pounding back and forth across the stage using his puppet strings to help encourage the crowd in to all manner of madness below him. The newer tracks garnered a strong response but Hatebreed are currently in a celebratory mood with the 20th anniversary of their debut record Satisfaction Is The Death of Desire and the 15th anniversary of Perseverance there were all manner of old tracks dusted off and brought back in to the game. A lot of people may criticise anniversary tours, etc. but there are also occasions whereby it fires up the band to reignite a strong new run of form - definitely the case here.