The EMP Persistence Tour has once again laid waste to Europe in the last couple of weeks, delivering a smash-mouth line up of US Hardcore bands who garner some of the most dedicated support you'll ever see in heavy music. Chatting to a fan outside the venue this was going to be the 26th time he'd see Suicidal Tendencies live, an astonishing feat to say the least. That being said, the crowd wasn't inundated with the old timer crowd - it was actually very encouraging to see how mixed the age demographic was across the venue, especially considering that this year's tour didn't exactly pull together any of the younger bands in the scene at the moment.

We got down to the venue early, and after chatting to the odd punter here and there took up position to check out the opening band Mizery (6/13) who could perhaps be considered the babies of the group. The band announced that this was their first ever show on UK soil and they did well to encourage repeat listens after the event finished. The crowds were obviously still filtering in at this point, especially with them coming on at about 5pm, but the band did very well to capture everyone's attention at least. Their Hardcore sound is fused with some real groove moments but they did quickly get swallowed up by the notoriously poor sound at The Forum. Throw this lot on in a few more support slots with bands over here and they'll definitely build a bit of a following.

Following on from Mizery were a band who could easily be considered as one of the key components for US Hardcore in the early days. However if you thought the opening band were swallowed whole by the horrid sound at The Forum then it got even worse for Burn (5/13) who honestly ended up sounding a drummer and vocalist duo for the most part - this is a Hardcore band, not some art-rock shite. Thankfully Chaka Malik (who is probably remembered more for his work with Orange 9mm) is hugely entertaining to watch which was helpful considering the fact that he was the only thing you could hear for the most part.

Moving thick and fast through the line up, the next band stepping up in to the cage fight with the sound at The Forum were the very popular Down To Nothing (7/13). Luckily for them someone remembered to plug in something in the back because as soon as they hit the stage the overall sound and subsequent energy from the crowd greatly improved. The opening couple of bands had been relatively sluggish so it was a relief to see a bit more energy and enthusiasm from the group as a whole. This is a band who haven't released any new music for a fair bit of time now so it was impressive to see the size of the crowd they were able to pull. Whilst of course their Hardcore sound pretty much fell in line with what you would expect, they added a fun element which helped get the crowd sufficiently pumped up for some of the bigger hitters later in the evening.

Whilst it may seem harsh to say, the opening three bands on this bill did end up being warm-up fodder for the heavy hitters later on in the evening. The first of these were Walls Of Jericho (11/13) who not only woke up any of those already flagging a bit, nearly tore apart the place before anyone else even had the chance to play a note. Following on from the excellent No One Can Save You From Yourself released last year, the band have been on a seriously renewed surge of momentum in recent months. We're saying it right now, Candace Kucsulian put in the absolute star performance of the evening, bounding around the stage like an absolute lunatic and riling the crowd in to a level of chaos it had only slightly threatened to burst in to beforehand. This fervent level of venom is exactly what younger Hardcore bands should be looking up to to achieve. Considering the madness going on over in The States, The American Dream garnered a particularly strong reaction from both band and crowd alike. When you've got a bill as stacked as this and bands are having to fly through their sets, it felt like a genuine shame when Walls Of Jericho had to depart.

Following on from this came another dose of absolute bedlam. As soon as Walls Of Jericho exited the stage and the banner for Municipal Waste (10/13) went up the place immediately threw themselves in to a massive "Municipal Waste Is Gonna Fuck You Up!" chant. Easily one of the most anticipated bands on the bill judging by the amount of MW t-shirts there were dotted around the arena, the place absolutely kicked off as soon as the first note was struck. Their frenetic thrash style did end up getting strangled by bad sound at times and Tony Foresta did seem to be struggling quite a bit (later revealed this was due to illness) but it didn't stop them launching themselves in to a barrage of tracks with the goal of playing as many as possible in their time slot - frankly putting tonight's headliners to shame... but more on that later. With the fact that is has been a while since the band have released anything new, it was a bit of a shame not to hear anything fresh but with tunes like The Art Of Partying, Sadistic Magician and Born To Party this wasn't exactly something rifling through your head during the set. Enjoyable set overall.

Following on from Municipal Waste were the first of two 'co-headliners' on this tour in Agnostic Front (9/13). The place did seem to get a hell of a lot more crowded prior to them coming on seeming to suggest that a fair few punters had decided on just checking out them and Suicidal Tendencies. The New York Hardcore legends were justifiably greeted with a hero's welcome considering the level of impact they've had on Hardcore music, but in the aftermath of the excitement generated by Walls Of Jericho and Municipal Waste before them it did fall a little flat. Sure there were a lot of people in there having a great time, but it just felt like it dragged a lot on the most part. Highlights in the set included My Life My Way and Gotta Go later in the set bringing Chaka Malik back on stage to help on vocals. The final track had the band playing through a rousing and fun rendition of Ramones classic Blitzkrieg Bop but we'll be happy if we never have to hear that cover again...

On then to the final band on the bill and the legendary Suicidal Tendencies (9/13). From the off we're going in on a justified as well as frustrating criticism of this performance and that is the fact that in a set close to sixty minutes long the band have the back catalogue strong enough to get through FAR more tracks than they actually did. We're sure you're going to have a look at the set-list now and berate us for being unfair to say that, but with the amount of overly long pauses between tracks filled with Mike Muir speeches as well as some unneeded little jams at the conclusion of some tracks the whole set just had this stop-start-stop feel to it which was largely off-putting. We were frustrated but that is only because when they did play CHRIST did they sound good. Early on in the set they launched themselves in to a double header of War Inside My Head and Institutionalized which nearly levelled the place. Dave Lombardo picking up duties on the drums has added a level of aggression and bite to some of these tracks live that ST haven't had for a long time. His dominant presence and overall influence as a drummer made the band sound tighter and more powerful as a result. The fact that at the snap of their fingers they could deliver this kind of energy and drive made it all the more frustrating during the pauses.

On the whole then, this was yet another successful instalment of EMP's Persistence Tour. Considering this was a show on a Sunday with 4pm doors it was truly awesome to see a level of enthusiasm on the most part maintained throughout the evening. In future we'd love to see younger bands filling up this line-up alongside the more legendary acts. The scope is certainly there and we're sure that with a fan-base as dedicated as those within Hardcore are, the people would continue to flock down for sure.