Review by Pete Finn for MPM
So, it’s less than 24 hours since MPM Tog Manny and I left the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham. After a cycle of getting home, kiss my wife, sleeping, working, kiss my wife and Manny picking me up, we arrive back at Nottingham.
The guy on the door is the same as last night, so waves us in with the minimum of fuss. We’re the first in, but soon after there’s a steady influx of people.
Tonight’s bill has two acts, Unto Others supported by Zetra, and I’m afraid to say that both are new to me, having neither seen nor heard either of the bands before. Not knowing what to expect, I look around to see what T-shirts are being worn by the assembling crowd, Paradise Lost, Ghost, The Misfits and The Ramones are all represented along with Unto Others. It’s looking interesting.
Opening tonight are Zetra, a “gothic heavy metal shoegaze” two-piece formed in London during 2018. I had to look up ‘shoegaze’, “Shoegaze is a subgenre of indie and alternative rock characterized by its ethereal mixture of obscured vocals, guitar distortion and effects, feedback, and overwhelming volume”. Out of respect for the bands wishes to “refer to us as a collective ‘Zetra’ both together and individually”, I’ll do my best to explain. Zetra consist of a vocalist/guitarist and a synthesizer player, they incorporate a drum machine and bass loops.
They decided to become Zetra after writing some bits of music that didn’t really fit in any projects they were working on, they had come from a heavier background, but enjoyed the synth/new wave style to that’s the path Zetra followed.
Bathed in red light, Zetra appear on stage complete with space style face paint. The mic stands have chains wrapped around them, there’s four tv/monitors in-between them showing pictures of a face. The opening track is ‘The Raven’s Game’ from their 2022 E.P.
From Without’, it’s dark and moody with a powerful beat, the vocal is even paced and subtle, the guitar has a dirty sound. The assembled crowd slowly start nodding along. The synth sounds are adding character and variety.
We move into the next track ‘Into My Flesh’ taken from the 2020 E.P. ‘With Your Demons Vol. 1’. A piano intro soon develops into a full melodic tune, with a steady beat, Zetra are swaying, this vocal is more pronounced, a lot of thought has gone into creating these sounds, they are very smooth.
‘Life Melts Away’ is a two-part track from the 2021 E.P. ‘From Within’, the opening part creates the image of a futuristic factory, with the steady beats and rhythms of machines. The vocal is narrated but fills the room. The drums are simple, the synth adds the complexities and depth.
The monitors are displaying revolving images, as the deep guitar sound echoes around the room. The distinctive keys cutting through it. ‘Care’ follows as it does on the E.P. lots of amp wash, it’s a moody but driving track, it reminded me a bit of early Mansun. The synth is far more prominent than the guitars until the very end, Zetra finish the track with just the guitar playing.
Up next is ‘Call of the Void’, from the most recent E.P. more up tempo with a clear beat. The guitar has a more jangly sound, and the vocal is more defined. The synth is supporting rather than leading the sound. The audience are swaying along.
The big ‘Rob Halford’ studded wristband is sparkling as the strings are caressed and teased. ‘Carving the Stone’ is the opening track from ‘With Your Demons Vol. 1’, more guitar based, with a big riff to start a heavier sound, almost Black Sabbath meets Gary Numan the vocal blends in nicely.
The final track from Zetra is ‘Satellite’ which is taken from their first Demo recorded in 2019, it has a big synth intro that leads into a big heavy riff laden track, there’s lots of tempo changes that pull you first one way then the other. We get a good demonstration of Zetra’s vocal range. The track concludes with a dirty stoner sound.
The set finishes, the crowd show their appreciation and Zetra walk off the stage. They didn’t speak or acknowledge the crowd once during their show, now I accept that they may not want to chat or interact whilst playing. But the least they could do is thank those who turned up early to see and support their show at the end. Still, I would like to thank Zetra for introducing me to ‘Shoegaze’, it’s another genre of music that I’ll be looking out for.
Setlist: The Raven’s Game; Into My Flesh; Life Melts Away; Care; Call of the Void; Carving the Stone; Satellite.
Headlining at The Rescue Rooms tonight are Unto Others. The group formed in 2017 in Portland, Oregon, out of the ashes of a traditional metal band Spellcaster. Originally called Idle Hands, who released their ‘Mana’ debut album in 2019.
But, had to change their name to Unto Others in September 2020 due to a trademark issue. They re-released their entire catalogue under the Unto Others name during 2021. Unto Others will reinvent the goth-metal sound with their new album, ‘Strength’ this was released in September 2021. Unto Others have Gabriel Franco (vocals/guitar), Sebastian Silva (guitar), Brandon Hill (bass) and Colin Vranizan (drums).
The house lights go down and Rush’s ‘Subdivisions’ is played through the P.A. The band are greeted with a good cheer as they walk out onto the stage, lead singer Gabriel Franco sporting a pair of Aviator sunglasses. ‘Heroin’ is first, it’s the opening track from the new album ‘Strength’. A huge feedback squeal, a crash of drums and cymbals start the show, Sebastian Silva is already twisting and turning his long locks trying to catch up, giving the impression of a tornado. It’s a fast drum tempo, creating a marching beat, Brandon Hill’s bass feels like someone in marching on your chest. The guitars line up on the monitors. Welcome to an Unto Others gig…
“Hi Ya Nottingham, we’re Unto Others from Portland”, Franco introduces the band. Judging by the cheers, I think everyone in here knew that already, they have a loyal following. ‘Give Me The Night’ taken from 2019’s ‘Mana’ is next, it starts with a big riff and frantic drum beat, more of a punk undertone.
The fists are pumping, Hill is headbanging away whilst Silva is scaring the speakers hanging above the stage with the head of his guitar. The two guitars either side of Franco are a blur of movement, Franco is calm and statuesque in between them. The track finishes to a great roar, The Rescue Rooms crowd are liking what they are hearing.
The next track starts, and it met with huge whistles, ‘No Children Laughing Now’ is a very popular choice, it’s from ‘Strength’, the fans are mouthing the words, impressive as the album is only a few months old. It reminds me of The Ramones, which is no bad thing.
There is a subtle ebb and flow to the tempo, Vranizan is double tapping his bass drum, you can feel the vibration through the floor. Franco is stood straddling the pit, the quick drums continue with a rapid salvo to finish. I enjoyed that one.
Can You Hear The Rain’ from the ‘Don’t Waste Your Time’ E.P. is next, it has an 80’s Rock style intro before developing into a sound more like Sisters Of Mercy, it’s darker, moody and brooding. Silva is tossing his hair as he leans into his solo. Again, most of the crowd are singing, there is another tingling lead break and a crash of drums as the track concludes.
“Good evening, Nottingham, this is our first time in your wonderful city.” A grinning Franco tells the crowd, as ‘Nightfall’ from ‘Mana’ begins. It has a more punk feel to it, a lot quicker vocal from Franco. Vranizan is double tapping the bass pedal, Hill is immersed in the sounds as he headbangs along to the beat, the strobe lights are working overtime.
The arms are raised again, the crowd are hypnotised. No stopping as ‘Downtown’ starts, again from the new record. A big bass and drum beat throughout, the riff reminded me of early Big Country, the crowd are bouncing and waving empty beer glasses above their heads. The track has a real party feel, I’m enjoying it. The finish is spot on in time. The locals enjoyed that one too.
Staying with ‘Strength’, it’s ‘Summer Lightning’ as it starts it’s driving tempo is reminiscent of the Steppenwolf classic ‘Born To Be Wild’, it’s roof down cruising music. There’s a group of girls on the crush barrier who haven’t stopped dancing.
Sebastian Silva is running from one side of the stage to the other, his curly mane struggling to keep up. This is high energy entertainment.
This anthem leads to air punches as Silva and Vranizan pound out notes. Franco addresses the crowd, “A big cheer for Zetra, and this next one takes us back to Mana”, it’s ‘Jackie’ a slightly slower track, you can sense the emotion in Franco’s lyrics. Hill’s bass steady and respectful to the song. Franco takes over the solo duties. This brings up a wave of horns. This is a very popular track.
The stage lights go out, the band leave the stage, there’s a backing tape playing, it’s gentle strumming with a quiet bass in the background. It’s only a minute or so, and the band return. The big riffs and hard beat announce the arrival of ‘When Will Gods Work Be Done’ from ‘Strength’, the vocal is short and direct, it’s an industrial metal sound, similar to Rammstein.
There’s a bass break from Hill, and a shattering solo from Silva, joined together by Vranizan double tapping the bass pedal. I’m totally drawn in, nearly forgetting to make notes. Brilliant. My track of the night, well worth the trip out.
A cover of The Misfits 1981 track ‘London Dungeon’ is next. A bit of trivia, it was written by Glenn Danzig whilst he was locked up in Brixton Prison for his involvement in a fight at The Rainbow Theatre. Franco’s vocal is calm, Silva is bouncing around the stage, whilst Hill leans back and pounds out the beat.
Back to their own material, for ‘It Doesn’t Really Matter’ from the ‘Don’t Waste Your Time II’ E.P. Vranizan’s cymbals and Hill’s bass start things moving, it’s quick, and gets quicker. The guitars are prominent and powerful. Silva is racing from one side of the stage and back, like a wrestler bounces between the ropes around the ring. Yet another popular track within The Rescue Rooms.
‘By Way Of Kingdom’, from the first ‘Don’t Waste Your Time’ E.P. has a galloping tempo, surrounded by charging riffs and crashing beats. Franco controls the pace as he changes from singing to narrating the lyrics.
The band arrive together at the final note with pin point timing. ‘A Single Solemn Rose’ from ‘Mana’ has a jangly guitar sound, measured lyrics, more melody, it’s soothing after the previous tracks, showing a good variety in their song writing abilities.
The bass driven, nearly funk intro starts ‘Dalmatian’, taken from the 2021 E.P. ‘I Believe In Halloween’ the drums are hard and the guitars edgy and dirty. Franco is narrating the lyrics again. The drums get heavier, harder and quicker as the track finishes. Franco thanks the crowd for coming to see them, it means a lot. ‘Instinct’ from ‘Strength’ starts with a rocket launch countdown, the lyrics are spoken, there’s a ‘Hey, Hey’ chant from the crowd, they punch the air in time. It’s a marching beat, there’s a fabulous drum roll to close. Franco salutes the crowd for their efforts and involvement.
With genuine feeling Franco thanks the Nottingham crowd, “Until next time”, the final track is from ‘Mana’ and ‘Dragon, Why Do You Cry?” it’s slow and moody, the verses are spoken whilst the chorus allows the band to let it rip, there’s clever tempo changes as the band blends perfectly. Franco introduces the band, then counts down to a crescendo finish. The band walk off the stage to huge applause and cheers. “More. More” is the cry.
The band return, this wasn’t planned and not on the setlist, a show of true mutual appreciation. The band start ‘Double Negative’ from ‘Mana’, a real trash metal intro, the crowd are headbanging and bouncing. The sound switches seamlessly between punk and metal, with some classic rock riffs thrown in, a fabulous cocktail of sound.
The band accept the well-earned praise, and leave the stage again, massive cheers and whistles. “One More. One More”, The Rescue Rooms chant. A few moments later and Unto Others are back on stage smiling and acknowledging the crowd. They’ve enjoyed the company of these fans, as have I. The final track is ‘Cosmic Overdrive’, a growling start and quick tempo, the crowd are clapping, Silva and Hill are charging around the stage, Vranizan is smashing the kit. High speed, high energy, Franco still calm and cool with the chaos going on around him, as the track finishes, the band line up and soak up the applause.
It’s been a great show. From not knowing what to expect, I’m walking away with a big grin on my face. I’ve had a great night courtesy of Unto Others, and their amazing fans. Thank you.
As I write the review of the nights events, I listen to the setlist again. Between me and you, I’ve just ordered and bought the Unto Others albums, I will certainly be looking for more dates.
Setlist: Heroin; Give Me To The Night; No Children Laughing Now; Can You Hear The Rain; Nightfall; Downtown; Summer Lightning; Jackie; When Will Gods Work Be Done; London Dungeon; It Doesn’t Really Matter; By Way Of Kingdom; A Single Solemn Rose; Dalmatian; Instinct; Dragon, Why Do You Cry?; Double Negative; Cosmic Overdrive
Photography by Manny Manson for MPM