Bleeding Through / Ithaca (Live Review – The Underworld, London, June 30 2019)
The night before this show, Phil Anselmo and the Illegals laid waste to the Underworld with a set primarily composed of Pantera covers. Their audience spent the entire night moshing like maniacs while singing along to some of the most legendary metal songs of all time. Bleeding Through (10/10), however, inspired even more insanity – on a Sunday night, no less.
Perhaps it was down to the fact that this was Bleeding Through’s only UK show this year. Maybe the assembled faithful were simply hell-bent on forgetting that Monday morning lay a handful of hours away. Bleeding Through’s determination to make the night an event to remember, the quality of the 16-song setlist, and the venue’s well-established reputation all certainly played a part as well.
This was the perfect storm, waves of sound and crowdsurfers pummelling the first several rows while barely a soul stayed still.
Ithaca (8/10) set the scene perfectly with a series of tangled mathcore songs delivered with total fearlessness. If you’re into hectic, mind-mangling, and brutally heavy music, Ithaca’s recently released record The Language of Injury will see you right – but really, you have to see these guys live in order to start figuring them out. Even on a small stage in such an intimate venue, Ithaca turned a standard-issue support slot into something special by seizing the opportunity to make a horde of new fans, and turning plenty of onlookers into instant converts.
Ithaca were still memorable by the end of the night – but Bleeding Through naturally came out on top for the reasons listed above. Bands capable of grabbing an audience by the guts and refusing to let go until they feel like it are extremely rare at any level of the music industry, and remaining capable of such intensity after 20 years is a genuine achievement. From vicious onslaughts like “Fade into the Ash”, “Love Lost in a Hail of Gunfire”, “Kill to Believe”, and penultimate song “Set Me Free” to emotional speeches and even a broken keyboard stand, Bleeding Through held nothing back and were immediately rewarded with rapturous applause by a mass of devotees whose loyalty could only have been strengthened by such immense efforts.
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