HMLTD - YES, Manchester

HMLTD have long roamed the underbelly of the alternative scene’s darker and more garish spaces. From their abrasive yet brilliantly unapologetic earlier singles, to their underwhelming EP Hate Music Last Time Delete, this London 5-piece certainly had critics gun’s loaded with the announcement of highly anticipated debut album West of Eden.

It appears HMLTD have spent the last few years working through tempestuous turns, difficult decisions and creative cuttings. All of which accumulated to what must be the pinnacle of their career thus far, their debut. With arguably a bit of a ‘make or break’ pressure fuelling their release campaign, HMLTD certainly aided their cause with the seminal NME interview on ‘How It All Went Wrong’.

With an array of insightful nuggets into the band’s struggles and glimmers of that original fervent flare, West of Eden perhaps presents long-standing HMLTD fans with a feeling of uncertainty. Where as more recent ally’s with intrigue as the band declare it a grower.

Despite the reception of the release of West of Eden, what fans of HMLTD can always expect is a live show that shocks, captivates and yearning for more.

Bursting to the brim with eager faces, Manchester’s hottest venue space, YES welcomed the outlandish quintet with outstretched arms as visions became focused onto the vibrant figures. Frontman Spychalski remains a breath of unwavering energy as he both commands and yields to the crowd with equal measure.

Striking strobes perfectly envelope the chaotic that ensues as the band open with Loaded which pays homage to HMLTD’s earliest material. Setting the tone for the remainder of the set, HMLTD trigger an unrelenting spirit in their audience. Beads of sweat trickle off foreheads and bottom lips are caught relaxed into ‘o’ shapes as fans catch themselves utterly enchanted by the show.

Performances of Mikey’s Song, Joanna, Death Drive and amusing anomaly Flex bespangled the setlist and as HMLTD’s time with YES reached its end, you could have easily wrapped your deafened ears around more western riffs and howling vocals.

Certainty can still be found in the raw showmanship, haunting honesty and defiant attitude of the controversial HMLTD.

Photography by Olivia White