Make Them Suffer at Rebellion Rock Bar, Manchester

Support: Novelists| Cursed Earth
October 24, 2017 at Rebellion Rock Bar, Manchester
Promoter: CMH Live

Aussie metalcore mob Make Them Suffer have finally done a headline tour in Europe, five years after the release of their stunning debut Neverbloom, and are bringing along French tech-metallers Novelists, and their fellow Perthians, Cursed Earth.

Cursed Earth are a somewhat odd choice to open the evening, being a power-violence act on a metalcore tour, but put on a good show; vocalist Jazmine Luders somehow taking up half the stage with her movement despite her diminutive frame. They’ve got all the right ingredients – rapid-fire riffing, savage snarls – it just all seems lost on the early arrivals, who remain very much stationary throughout the performance.

Novelists are one of the most hotly tipped bands in the tech scene at the moment, and based on this performance, you can see why. From the first note, they’re showing off a good level of solid, tech-influenced metalcore, and by the time they’re closing with ‘Gravity’, they’re reaching melodic spacey heights that The Contortionist would be proud of. ‘Voyager’ has a wrecking-ball of a breakdown that opens the pit up, and vocalist Matt Gelsomino has the audience under his spell, and jumping, very quickly. A thoroughly enjoyable performance from a band that deserve all the plaudits they’re currently getting.

Make Them Suffer kick off their set in style with the instantly recognisable piano of ‘Widower’, the opening line of which prompts the biggest scream-along of the night. It’s a shame that the piano tends to get lost behind the chug somewhat. ‘Uncharted’ shows a better balance between the two, with keyboardist Booka Nile’s solo section proving a moving experience. ‘Weeping Wastelands’ is a blackened masterpiece that demonstrates the sheer ferocity of Sean Harmanis’ vocals. The likes of ‘Fake’ and ‘Vortex’ (amusingly, the file name for the backing track to this is called Naughty Vorti) keep the pit moving, but it’s the older material at the end that brings the biggest response – the emotional catharsis of ‘Let Me In’, and the final hurrah of ‘Blood Moon’.

It’s an unfortunate quirk of Make Them Suffer that their older, much more compositionally complex material is both the general favourite (at least in Manchester) but also the most difficult to perform to the maximum (Harmanis doesn’t quite seem to reach the sheer emotional depths in tracks like ‘Elegies’ and ‘Let Me In’ as on the albums), whereas the newer material, while nearly note-perfect in performance, has yet to fully embed itself in the consciousness of their fan base. Nevertheless, this is a stunning band, very much in top form, although I wish they’d played more than the 50 minutes they got.

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