LIVE REVIEW – Deafheaven, Touche Amore & Portrayal of Guily @ SWX, Bristol, 29/9/2019

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When walking into the SWX in Bristol, you are greeted with a grand space which doesn’t really seem fitting for the brutal onslaught which is about to unfold.

The former night club was about to witness two of heavy music’s finest at their best.

But before Touché Amore and Deafheaven had their moment in the spotlight it was newcomers Portrayal of Guilt who opened proceedings.

Portrayal of Guilt

For many in the audience, the trio from Texas were probably relative unknowns, but that did not stop their crushing sound filling the vast room.

A mixture of harsh noise and 90s screamo, Portrayal of Guilty really muster up one hell of a sinister noise.

The big stage of SWX may not be where the three-piece are most at home, however, they didn’t look out of place with as vocalist / guitarist Matt King displayed his vocal range from screeching highs to guttural lows.

On a night which was about the co-headliners, Portrayal of Guilt certainly made some new fans this evening.

There was an air of anticipation as Touché Amore stepped out on to the stage, with the lights down, a simple clamp from vocalist Jeremy Bolm indicated the start of 20 minutes of chaos and euphoria as the band launched into playing …To the Beat of a Dead Horse in its entirety.

Touche Amore

Celebrating a decade since its release, the songs still carried the same meaning and passion as they did 10 years ago, with the Bristol crowd screaming every word back.

With a album smashed through in a blink of an eye, Bolm – clearly feeling the emotion of the songs – declares through a hoarse voice they will now play newer tracks skipping straight into ‘Flowers and You’.

The relentless pace of the band never slows down, it is only when the band plays ‘Skyscraper’ that there is a bit of rest bite for band and audience alike.

Ahead of this tour with Deafheaven TA announced a new song in the form of ‘Defelctor’ and with Bristol being the first date of the UK leg of their tour it was given the privilege of being the first place in the UK to hear the song live to a great response.

Once the audience had just got over the emotional journey that was TA, Deafheaven explode on to the stage in a heavy hitting way, proving critics who had said their new material was “not heavy enough” that they still have what it takes to absolute crush ones skull.  


The premier blackgaze band present a rather imposing presence on stage, and vocalist George Clarke commands the stage in such a dominate way, but with very minimal movements – except for when he is wind milling his hair.

Delving in every corner of their repertoire, it is actually new songs ‘Honeycomb’ and ‘Canary Yellow’ where the band are really able to stretch themselves and display their musicianship and how well crafted all their songs are.

Closing out with ‘Dream House’ all eyes were fix on Clarke as his snarling screeches rung out throughout the venue leaving looks of awe fixed across the audiences faces.

On paper a co-headline show of Touché Amore and Deafheaven may seem like a mixed bag, in reality it was something that offered up emotion, Catharism and brutality but in its most beautiful form.