LIVE REVIEW – Knocked Loose, Kublai Khan, Cruel Hand & Caged Existence @ O2 Islington Academy, London, 24/5/2019

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The term “stacked line-up” can be thrown around far too easily these days.

But when arguably one of the biggest bands in Hardcore right now bring a mouth watering four band bill across the pond with them it’s hard not to yell that phrase into the void.

Kick-off said stacked line-up was Metallic Hardcore outfit Caged Existence.

The band from Melbourne, Australia showcased some heavy riffs with vocalist Steffanie Adele unleashing a powerful growl to accompany the musicianship.

However, there was a lack of stage energy from the band, with Adele pacing back and forth as far as it went.

Despite this the London crowd responded to the bands music with mosh pits starting from the off.

If Caged Existence needed some pointers for stage presence all they had to do was look at Cruel Hand.

Cruel Hand

Vocalist Chris Linkovich did not stop from the moment he come out on stage, two-stepping, jumping around, he was full of energy in comparison to the young Australian’s.  

This show seemed like a return to form for Cruel Hand, who through no fault of their own, had slipped off a lot of people’s radars.

Playing a good mix of material from Preying Eyes and Lock & Key, it got a lot of the older heads in the audience excited.

By the time Texas Metalcore outfit Kublai Khan come out to the Islington venue, the crowd was nicely warmed up.

Kublai Khan

With their riffs sometimes leaning on the Djent side, Khan’s down tuned rhythm was right at home with this audience.

Again, it was the presence of a vocalist who dominated the stage. Matt Honeycutt’s sheer existence on the stage was intimidating and when he was roaring the lyrics to songs like ‘True Fear’ he gave off an aura of ‘do not mess’

Closing their set with ‘The Hammer’ got the whole room shouting along and even Honeycutt’s some what cheesey dog barks added to the Kublai Khan experience.

But it that wasn’t enough it was Oldham County’s very own Knocked Loose that were about to level the Islington Academy.

Knocked Loose

The bands stock has risen so much that the room was packed and when vocalist Bryan Garris said the words ‘Oblivion’s Peak’ the crowd erupted.

Knocked Loose had the London crowd in the palm of their hands, with ‘Dead Ringer’ sending them into overdrive and when guitarist Isaac Hale called from a circle put Garris’ response was ‘Isaac gets what Isaac wants’.

New song ‘Mistakes Like Fractures’ showcased that there is no cause for concern when the bands long awaited second album is finally released.

Closing out with ‘Billy No Mates’ into ‘Counting Worms’ was just the icing on the cake of what was a near perfect set for a band who are clearly on top of their game.