Unto Others prove they're destined for the big leagues on their UK tour

Unto Others prove they're destined for the big leagues on their UK tour

- By Matt Rushton

Unto Others are the name on everyone's lips in the heavy scene at the moment and within four frenzied minutes of opener 'Heroin', it's abundantly clear why.

Over six months on from their sophomore full-length and major label debut Strength, the hype for Portland, Oregon's Unto Others is still very much alive.

Not many Stateside bands would embark on as many as 20 dates on their first ever full headline tour of the UK, but it's testament to the goth-cum-trad metallers ethic and belief in their own material that they'd want to share their catalogue with as many of their British fans as possible. Going into their final English date on the tour in Leeds, and third from last overall, Unto Others look as fired up as ever and it's 80 minutes that this audience won't forget in a long time.

First up though, openers Zetra - another addition to the excellent Church Road Records roster - set the mood for the evening with their own intriguing brand of industrial gothy post-punk, with an aesthetic leaning much more into black metal. The 30 minutes the two-piece are on stage is spent creating an air of mystery and hypnosis - swirling synths lines mixing with desolate riffs, a huge sub-bass and an ear-splitting drum machine captivating the audience to the fullest extent, only emphasised by the duo's knowing refusal to acknowledge that they're there. Everyone is left knowing to keep an eye on what Zetra do in the future, and that they have been the perfect apéritif to the main event.


Now the appetites have been well and truly whet, the excitement in the room is palpable, and when Unto Others walk on to the stage with their intimidating demeanour and frontman Gabriel Franco's trademark sunglasses, the room floods towards the barrier to get up close and personal with the foursome. The crowd is an interesting mix - people of all ages, genders and backgrounds fawning over a band like this is usually a sign of something special. There are goth kids finding a place to belong for the first time all the way through to folks who grew up on the post-punk and new wave of Bauhaus and Joy Division, and it's truly great to see.

For the first minute of "Heroin", the guitars aren't coming through. Unto Others don't care. Nor do the crowd. The pure joy at coming together to experience one of the best albums in our world of recent times is plenty enough, though when the sound is fixed just in time for the chorus the commotion is turned up another level. Next going into a run of five of their biggest songs would normally be the move of a foolish band; here, it's genius - the venue is now at peak furore, but everyone knows they're in for so much more. There's a selection of people at the front who have already lost all their shit by this point, but somehow manage to make it through. Proud.

What's really impressive here is how a band with only two albums and a couple EPs to their name can play 20 songs and not have a single lull. A fantastic mix of tracks from across their whole short career is on display here and most of the audience seem to know every word to all of them. There is also the addition of two classic covers in the shape of Ramones' 'Pet Semetary' and Thin Lizzy's 'Cold Sweat', so fitting for a band such as this and the latter of which sees frontman Franco lose his guitar for the first and only time all night, and prove that he doesn't need to hide behind an instrument - he knows how to have everyone eating out of the palm of one hand with just a mic in the other.

Talking of stars, though, it's not just Gabriel. Every member of the band shines, and in a just world, will be seen as idols of their craft by future generations. Guitarist Sebastian Silva might just love playing his instrument more than anyone else around at the moment, solos in 'Can You Hear the Rain' and the aforementioned 'Cold Sweat' a real highlight of just how much talent he has. Bassist Brandon Hill carrying songs such as 'When Will God's Work Be Done' and 'Summer Lightning' with utmost expertise is no mean feat, and if you thought drummer Colin Vranizan was impressive on record, live, he's a monster.

Finishing off their set with fan-favorite "Dragon, Why Do You Cry", Unto Others seem to have had as great a time as the audience, and everyone is looking exhausted from the best form of catharsis we know. But we're not done. Chants for "one more song" are answered with two more songs, and for the first time on the tour, a second encore is played as is the yearning of everyone here. We could watch them play all night, but they'd need some more songs first, as by this point they have played most of their catalogue and gone a full 20 minutes over their slated set time.

Whatever you do, do not sleep on Unto Others. If they play a show remotely near you, get tickets, because you won't have the chance to see them play such intimate venues for much longer. For Unto Others, only the very top will suffice. For it is their DESTINYYYYY (eagle noises ring out in the background...)

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