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Wage WarGloria Theater, Cologne, Germany
23rd January 2020
Wage War & Special guests: DED, Thornhill

The Metalcore quintet WAGE WAR has already been able to impress concertgoers several times as a support act in Europe. Among others during the last European tours of AUGUST BURNS RED and MOTIONLESS IN WHITE. Now for the second time within less than one year, the band comes to Europe on a headlining tour with four stops in Germany.


Thornhill

The five-piece THORNHILL from Melbourne prove once again that Australia does not only feature incredibly hot summers but also incredibly heavy music. While broadly fitting the definition of Metalcore, THORNHILL really represent a colourful, refreshing and ultimately breakout heavy style. So far they have an EP in 2018 called ‘Butterfly’ and their debut album ‘The Dark Pool’ in 2019. https://www.facebook.com/thornhillmelb

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Music & Performance
At 8pm sharp THORNHILL went on stage, and kicked off their set with ‘View from The Sun’ from their debut album. Singer Jacob Carlton in his white blouson, black turtle neck sweater with a gold chain around his neck looked like he wanted to join an 80ies revival party, making his appearance really as “unmetal” as possible. But those were just the looks. Musicwise, THORNHILL went full throttle and packed all the good stuff fans like about metalcore, the piercing guitars, the mighty breakdowns, Jacob’s screaming and growling, with alternating melodic parts. What really stood out in THORNHILL’s music was the mighty and crushing base guitar played by Nick Sjogren, which at times dominated the songs and smashed away everything else with brutal precision.

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This became especially audible during the song ‘Coven’, during which the front part of a visibly interested audience began to develop the first mosh pits. After 30 minutes THORNHILL finished their set and left the stage to the validating applause of a full venue.

Setlist
01. Views From The Sun
02. Nurture
03. The Haze
04. Reptile
05. Lily & The Moon
06. Coven
07. Where We Go When We Die

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10

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DED

The quartet from Tempe, Arizona came into existence in 2016 and one year later the band released their debut ‘Mis-An-Trope’, and since then they have enjoyed considerable airplay in the American heavy scene. https://www.facebook.com/dedofficial / https://www.dedband.com

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Music & Performance
After a surprisingly quick stage break, the four members of DED stormed the stage. Their attire with dusted and ripped outfits and painted faces, paired with brutal guitars and screaming vocals immediately set the crowd into motion. Although lead singer Joe Cotela apologized the he might not scream as intense as he caught a cold, the band exuded sheer rawness and delivered their set in a remarkable manner. Whereas THORNHILL used the scalpel, DED swung the axe. And with every minute of their 30-minute set, they raised the temperature inside the room and demonstrated why they have earned such a legendary status in the US. Definitely an act you will hear from in the future.

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Setlist
01. FMFY
02. Hate Me
03. Disassociate
04. Eyes Sewn Shut
05. Dead to Me
06. Architect
07. Sex Sells
08. Anti-Everything

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8 / 10

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Wage War

Headliners WAGE WAR were up next. The Metalcore formation originally started under the name EMPIRES in Ocala, Florida, in 2010. Anyone who has been to this inland area section of Florida knows that there is not a lot to do, which in turn provides a fertile breeding ground for awesome musicians and insanely aggressive music (similar to Iowa, I suppose). With the current single ‘Low’ the band gives us a taste of just released third album ‘Pressure’, which has been released end of August 2019. Their last album ‘Deadweight’ made it to number 2 in the US Hard Rock charts and number 8 in the US Rock charts in 2017. With WAGE WAR, pain, anger, aggressiveness and beauty unite in a preciously intense way. Thus, a lot of curious fans queued for the entrance to the Gloria Theater in Cologne, to witness the live versions of the songs on the new record. https://www.facebook.com/wagewar / www.wagewarband.com.

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Music & Performance
After the obligatory stage break, it was time for WAGE WAR. Shortly before 9:30pm, the speakers began blaring a gloomy intro, and the lights went low. Then, the first notes of the opener ‘Who I Am’ from the band’s third album ‘Pressure’ resounded, while the band entered the stage, and when they kicked off the song together, the already warmed-up pit was sent into frenzy. WAGE WAR provided their winning formula for an encapsulating performance: an immensely intense version of Screamo-oriented Metalcore, twinned with excellent technical abilities and carefully augmented electronic effects. With their recent album, critics have written them off saying they added too much pop into their music.

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But the audience celebrated the performance with circle pits and the occasional wall of death (yep, that’s also possible inside the Gloria). Also, stagedivers were clawing their way on top of the crowd’s hands towards the stage, following singer Briton Bond’s commands to ‘keep ‘em bodies coming’. Unlike during their last show in Cologne less than 9 months ago, WAGE WAR played for a good hour before closing off their set with a two song encore, finishing off their set with ‘Stitch’ from their second album: a song monster that exudes the raw brutality of the early MACHINE HEAD records, and which left the audience heavily out of breath, sweaty, and happy.

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Setlist
01. Who I Am
02. Prison
03. Don’t Let Me Fade Away
04. Hollow
05. Twenty One
06. Alive
07. Witness
08. Grave
09. The River
10. Gravity
11. Ghost
12. Me Against Myself
13. Johnny Cash
14. Low
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15. Hurt
16. Stitch

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.5 / 10

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All pictures by Andreas Klüppelberg
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