O2 Academy 2 Birmingham | November 26th 2011

19th March 2012 by admin

Idiom + Six Day Sober + Enemo + The Death of Johnny Alpha

Stratford Upon Avon’s The Death of Johnny Alpha kick off proceedings clad in white blood-stained shirts and fake bulletholes in the foreheads. The five-piece describe themselves as rock, metal, hardcore, even “zombie rock” and perhaps jokingly (?) “norwegian ska disco”, although musically they sound more like an almaganation of their favourite bands, among these being Cancer Bats, Rage Against the Machine and Queens of the Stone Age.

You can hear riffs that you swear you’ve heard in a RATM song before and grooves that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Cancer Bats CD – in fact you might even wonder if they’re playing their own material or simply covers (they aren’t). As a result TDoJA’s songs don’t really stand out but there’s still enough bite and groove to satisfy for half an hour.

Frontman Andi James Chamberlain could benefit from learning some proper breathing techniques as he pants between songs, and ocassionally has some trouble maintaining his screaming. Despite these shortcomings TDoJA are decent entertainment and definitely have potential to be something worth your time.

Following are Enemo J from Burton-on-Trent, a sextet who sound a little like a nu-metal-influenced 36 Crazyfists. They have two frontmen – one suppling harsh screams and growls, while the other offers clean singing and ocassionally harsh vocals of his own, not too unlike Sonic Syndicate or maybe even Mushroomhead.

You could be forgiven for wondering whether this concept is really necessary in such a heavy band. The results appear to be mixed. At first the two appear to play off each other fairly well and offer a pleasant (but not quite refreshing) change of pace, although as the set progresses it starts to wear off a little thin and you might think it’d just be better if they had one vocalist handling both duties like their more successful peers, namely Killswitch Engage and All That Remains.

As for the band themselves, they begin their set in a much more punchier and immediate fashion but it’s best handled in short doses – any more of their half hour set tonight would have gotten a tad boring, but for the most part their melodic metalcore offers crushing breakdowns and decent melodies, although the transition between these could do with some work as it sounds awkward and forced. Of all the bands tonight Enemo J seem to have the most fans in attendance, although their requests for circle pits are unsuccessful.
Next up are Six Day Sober who are a much more melodic affair, and more in the “rock” spectrum of things as opposed to their predecessors tonight. It’s apparently singer Stuart Hammond’s last ever show with the band, and it’s a shame they don’t have many fans here to celebrate. That said there isn’t much here you haven’t heard before. There are some catchy riffs, some nice melodies and the odd noddable rhythm, but it’s a bit of a push to really get much out of this West Midlands five-piece. People looking for more melodic rock could perhaps get a small taste of enjoyment but would remain ultimately unsatisfied and yearning for more, and better.
Headliners Idiom definitely get the night back on track and are much more energetic, bouncier, groovier and funkier than the rest of the bands here. From a musical perspective it’s clear that Idiom love Rage Against the Machine – their songs have a similar kind of bounce combined with a metalcore groove that makes for a formula that somehow works, even if it sounds bad on paper.

The unfortunate part about this though, is that some songs feature an abundance of slow, melodic, clean sections that bring down the mood and sometimes even make whole songs suffer. Without an over-reliance on these melodic parts Idiom could really be onto something special. When they get back to groovy, heavy riffs that sound like a cross between Pantera and Skindred, Idiom really shine and they’re at their best when they’re able to jump around, bang heads and swirl hair (and there is a LOT of hair swirling going on), instead of standing around trying to be emotional and ‘melodic’.

Despite these shortcomings Idiom offer a taste of a band who have the potential to be truly great.

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