I went to Birmingham to catch the powerful Australian lineup of Void Of Vision, Polaris and Northlane play a sold out show. Originally, there were four bands scheduled for the night, however, due to unfortunate circumstances, Silent Planet had to withdraw from the tour. Although a little disappointed by this, on a personal level, the remaining lineup was very exciting to me as they are all bands that I have been a fan of for a while now. I was also very excited to be able to get my own shots of Polaris, too, having already been a spectator for them twice this year, at Wembley Arena supporting Architects, and on the first day of Tech Fest.
First up were Void Of Vision whom I was seeing for the first time. On the back of their latest release, Hyperdaze, they really bring it. Techy guitar hooks and huge bass drops really get the crowd going, with that in Grey Area receiving a resounding cheer and ‘ooohs’ from around the room. They may not be one of most well-known bands to arrive on our shores, but they left their mark for sure.
Void Of Vision
Next to take the stage were the penultimate act, Polaris who are really finding their feet over in the UK growing a substantial fan base. They are back over here for the third time this year, after the two occasions aforementioned and have just this week announced that they will be coming back to headline the UK (including this very room) in May 2020. Frontman Jamie Hails has it all going on, calling for circle pits and a wall of death, which the crowd respond to with aplomb.
They play a selection from their last two releases, The Guilt And The Grief and The Mortal Coil, as well as new material from their upcoming album, The Death Of Me, including a currently unreleased song Hypermania, which Jamie introduces as being a song he knows the crowd won’t know yet but wants them to move regardless. It is easy to see the popularity of the band as they are greeted by loud cheers and crowdsurfers, while a large portion of the crowd are loudly singing back their lyrics showing that they are easily capable of headlining rooms here, despite being so far from home.
Coming from the metalcore/hardcore hotbed that is Australia, Polaris really are a gem that has been uncovered. They are certainly a band that are continuing to grab attention wherever they go, and a band that will only continue to progress and grow as time goes on.
A solid set overall, as we now come to expect from Polaris, had set the stage perfectly for the main act of the evening…
Over the years, Northlane have certainly cemented themselves as one of the heavyweights of metalcore despite changes to their sound in recent times, since the appointment of Marcus Bridge as frontman following the departure of Adrian Fitipaldes in 2014. In this time, there has been non-stop progression in their sound. This year, with Alien, Northlane took a bold leap regarding their style, incorporating catchy techno elements to their music, accompanying the intricate, melodic riffs that have become a staple of the band.
The set consists entirely of songs produced since the change of voice with the exception of classic fan favourite Quantum Flux. With this being a show on the Alien World Tour, it is no surprise to see the setlist dominated by tracks from their latest release. From the rasping Talking Heads first debuted in the UK on the Impericon Never Say Die! Tour towards the end of last year to the much calmer Sleepless, all aspects of the new album are covered here, showcasing the full vocal talent of Marcus. The inclusion of Jinn provides a sparkling example of that techno element, with booming electro bass accompanied by strobe lights of all colours, which could make the room mistaken for a nightclub… but, it works fantastically well.
Hits from other Northlane records, such as Intuition and Citizen from 2017’s Mesmer, Rot and Obelisk from 2015’s Node as well as the ever-present Quantum Flux from 2013 instalment, Singularity are included, giving the audience a real spectrum of the works of Northlane.
Words and photography by Kaine Crilley