Billed as doors at 6PM our party arrived in good time only for the doors not be open until 6.30 so doing a 180 and heading straight for the boozer seemed the best course of action before returning only to find the doors were still not open at 6.45. Once inside the venue formerly known as Moholive has had a total revamp and name change since my last visit seeing Primordial earlier this year. Now known as NQ (Northern Quarter) Live, I’m still going to call it Moho’s though, the swish surroundings look rather plush for holding rabid metal nights, with pristine furnishings looking rather out of place to me, but damn comfortable to sit on however.

RSJ came on stage to a relatively small crowd but were received well and were a far more polished outfit compared to my previous incursions with this modern metal band that boosted their tunes with hardcore swagger. I wasn’t too familiar with their songs so I leaned back and got pummelled by the formidable venue P.A. which remains intact and created that reverberation within you that makes you bloody itch. The sound suffered a little, being a little messy initially before clearing up after a couple of songs. There was post hardcore groove about their playing and balanced by vitriolic hardcore outbursts that reminded me of Stampin’ Ground from years ago. The clean vocal sections were succinctly placed and never overstayed their welcome and all in all RSJ produced some polished savagery to get this bill underway.

I was very impressed with Earthtone9 when I saw them at the Damnation Festival 2010. Their modernistic groove metal was in stark contrast to the racket of RSJ, though Earthtone9 did inject some hardcore mutterings into their tunes which began with “Off Kilter” and immediately apparent was schizoid fury that was present in the songs. I detected a hefty Southern metal vibe going through “Star Damage” which possessed a dual vocal style with harsh barks alternating with a clean style I did feel was a little strained. Some heavy metal like banter ensued with the vocalist giving an impromptu line to Led Zep’s “Immigrant Song” before going into “Ghosts” from the last EP. Surprisingly the band played “Wolverine Blues” (Entombed), something I didn’t expect and given the Earthtone9 treatment it came across exceptionally well after rocketing through a handful of groove infested rockers such as “Tide Of Ambition” and “Evil Crawling Eye”. On stage Earthtone9 display consummate professionalism at all levels with the guys bounding about the small stage like energetic teenagers for the most part and giving the similar energetic throng plenty of warm up exercises for Vision Of Disorder.

Some 15 years since the last show I saw VOD play supporting Sick Of It All at the legendary Bradford Rios I was particularly stoked to see the band again, especially with them releasing their latest album “The Cursed Remain Cursed” recently. The new opus is viciously addictive but they launched their set with “Element” from the self titled debut. An immediate catalyst for the pit it erupted with no warning, though the human shield I had around me was gratefully appreciated, as I was scribbling my notes trying to avoid spilling my beer; no mean feat I can assure you. Into “Imprint”, another old tune from the 90s and Tim’s vocals demonstrated that old hardcore ferocity but blended with his unique clean approach that wavered not throughout the whole set, despite the guy hanging over the crowd bellowing his heart out at the frenzied throng.

First new tune was “Loveless” and this really gave the vocals a chance to shine, the music was harmony and amalgamated into blistering outbursts of violence. “What You Are” and “Adelaide” quickly followed and it was very apparent that many were only familiar with the older stuff, not surprising though with the new one only just being out and of course people will be saving up hard earned cash instead of downloading won’t they, though one punter held his copy up high when Tim asked if anyone had it yet and that it was due to be released in a few days. Everyone lied and said they had of course as the band went into “Set To Fail” a favourite of mine from the new album, the hardcore gang chant chorus was perfect for everyone to get involved. Lessons from yesteryear have been learnt it appears as VOD stuck to the tried and tested metallic hardcore songs from the 90s rather than the poorly received “From Bliss To Devastation”.

“Viola” was aired as another newie “Hard Times” followed and again fitted so well with the old stuff that if you didn’t know it you would think it was an older tune. Alternating between a couple of new ones and old ones “Gloom” was unleashed then “Be Up On It” and back to “Jada Bloom” from the excellent “Imprint” album. The bands set flew by and before you knew it the last two songs were up starting with “D.T.O” and finalised by “Choke” from the “For The Bleeders” album. Vision Of Disorder are back big style with a new album that will kick the shit out of you and with live assaults not for the faint hearted.

Review Martin Harris & Photos Adrian Wheeler