Emerging metal juggernaut Cove signed off their UK tour with a bang as three exciting new British bands put on a great show of rock meets full-on brutal metal at Thousand Island, in Islington, London, last night.
This was my first visit to the venue since it rebranded from being simply ‘upstairs at The Garage’ and its distinctly spaceship feeling new decor offered an interesting disco-ball, kitchen foil, red light themed backdrop to the evening.
The evening opened up with London rockers Greyhaven, who kicked off with a big smash of guitar riffs in the intro to Truth, the opening track from their latest EP Breathe. That dropped into a laid-back opening verse that graudally built up into the line “We can do anything, anything” and brought in a big singalong chorus with high-pitched guitars floating over the top.
It was an impressive introduction that got even better with When We Divide, the second track from the same EP. Frontman Sam Paterson was hitting some impressive high vocals, then it dropped down into a low building section of whispered vocals supported by cool high-pitched guitars before blasting into a final chorus.
The next track saw things get heavier, opening up with an intro that got Sam jumping into the crowd, his baseball hat falling to the floor in the process, then bassist Jack Hudson joining in with screamed backing vocals. A particular highlight was a huge breakdown of big crashing cymbals under high-pitched guitars from Alex Hills.
Next was Brother, which Sam told us is all about chasing your dreams, that had a bit more of a punky feeling to it, with heavy palm-muted guitars through a shouty verse then ended with both Sam, Jack and Alex singing.
They opened up the next track with Sam saying “This song is for anyone has something to hate or shout about” and telling the crowd to, on the count of three, put their middle fingers in the air and shout “Fuck you.”
They closed their set with latest single Breathe, the final track from their latest EP, which was a little mellow but went out in style with more big high-pitched guitars from Alex. It was an excellent opening set that showed off the versatility of this fun new band.
They were followed on stage by Manchester’s Parting Gift, whose lead singer Zac Vernon may lack the wild, jumping energy of Greyhaven’s Sam but more than makes up for it with the curiosity of his brooding, hair covering his face on-stage presence (see below left).
He began by telling everyone to move as close as possible, then big high notes kicked in as they opened up with Vein, which was led by Zac’s awesome vocals, then ended with weird, echoey, smokey eerieness.
They immediately followed it up with the track’s accompanying single Rensing, which was absolutely huge. Zac’s vocals hung over big guitars, with one guitarist doing repeated tap solos then a huge guitar backdrop kicked in over driving drums. A big wall of guitars continued under hanging echoey vocals, then high-pitched guitars kicked in under big screamed vocals. The sound was massive, and my ears are genuinely still ringing from it (note to self: buy ear plugs).
A very atmospheric song followed that, then flowed into the awesome In Mind. It opened up with a huge guitar intro then a powerful chorus with the repeated vocals “Forever in your mind, Forever in mind” followed by a big blast of guitars.
That was followed by the equally impressive Asleep, which again opened up with a big blast of guitars , and closed with Zac simply walking off stage, which told the audience they were done. It was an amazing set that really showed how far this band have come in the last few months.
Not to be outdone, Kent quintet Cove appeared to the sound of atmospheric noise then proceeded to rip the place apart with a stunning performance. The intro noise cut out, replaced by the eerie intro drum sound to latest EP A Conscious Motion‘s opener Coincide:Collide, which proceeded to be absolutely massive and got the crowd going in a big moshpit.
That was followed by the brilliant Buried, with its amazingly good riff that is technically impossible not to rock out to and kept the pace and intensity at maximum level. And that continued with All I Believe, with a big guitar intro dropping into the chilled out opening verse then the lyrics “He’s the father and the son” ushering in the big guitar noise and wild vocals from frontman Ben Shorten – from whom you don’t expect the brutal screams to emanate.
That was followed by a big shouty intro to what I think was No Place, which got the circle bits going and was, for want of better words, crazy heavy with its brutal vocal delivery and funky harmonic guitar bursts in amongst driving riffs.
The end of that song dropped into a light guitar loop, which eventually led into Solis, the lead single from A Conscious Motion, which kicked off with the romping screamed vocals “This is the beginning of the story” and awesome, jumpy guitar riffs. Ben’s vocals were particularly ridiculously good on this track, ending on a huge scream, and his facial expressions alone are worth seeing Cove for – it shows just how much he’s loving it! (see below left)
Cove signed out with Reflect:Resolve, the final track from their latest EP, which began with a big guitar into, then massive screamed vocals got the crowd moving. That dropped into a chilled out section which gradually built up into big atmospheric high-pitched guitars. Suddenly it all dropped out bar drums and a big fat bassline, which brought an intense set to an end.
The sheer intensity of Cove’s show is something you have to experience. The mosh pit was a bit nuts at times – particularly two blokes who need to learn to control their gangly arms – but the massive sound that you can’t really imagine coming out of Ben and their huge guitar riffs are worth any entry fee.
Cove are absolutely the number one emerging metal band in the UK. Not only is their music huge, as portrayed by their awesome latest EP that we reviewed in March, but they replicate that sound in their wild live show. So whenever they’re back out on tour again, make it your mission to go and see them.
You can follow Cove on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify. You can follow Parting Gift on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify. And you can follow Greyhaven on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify.