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Cassyette @ Manchester Academy 2 review – The glorious galvanization of female nu-metal

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Featured image: Hamish Kay

This promises to be an audacious affair. From supporting the likes of My Chemical Romance, Bring Me the Horizon and Sum 41, to recently gracing the front cover of Kerrang, Essex-born Cassyette has been making her punchy presence known amongst the alternative crowd for a while now. 

Her debut album, This World Fucking Sucks, is slated for release soon and this eponymous tour is less calm before the storm, more crackling, anticipatory clouds of thunder rolling in. Filthy Pig provides an early doors DJ set donning a pink porcine mask, face obscured and limbs flailing to the debaucherous D&B coming from their decks. It’s a camp and frenzied sight to behold for those committed enough to arrive at doors open.

For hometown fans hoping to catch Witch Fever’s support set, an unfortunate bout of tonsilitis has rendered vocalist Amy Walpole temporarily out of action, though in this case one woman’s inflammation is another woman’s occasion to step up to the plate. Harpy is bumped up the bill to fill their boots, providing an opportunity to showcase her stuff for the proportion of attendees who rock up after Filthy Pig has wrapped up.

Self-professed ‘goth metal mommy’, Harpy strides on stage in full black attire, draped in a long trench coat like something straight out of The Matrix. From Matrix to dominatrix, she promptly throws off her coat to reveal an intricate corset, paired with fishnets and leather collars. As ‘Swallow’ fills the depth and breadth of Academy 2, it’s clear to see why Cassyette would want a presence like Harpy on tour. 

Her sound is spectacularly scuzzy and industrial, quite literally “swallow[ing] you whole” as the opening song’s lyrics suggest. It’s hardly a surprise when she name checks Wargasm’s Sam Matlock as a writing compatriot. Fresh from release, ‘Slaughterhouse’ provides an exciting glimpse into what we can expect from her going forwards. “You’re mine tonight, Manchester”, she proclaims. Much like Cassyette over the past few years, Harpy is undoubtedly preaching her cause to the as-yet unconverted, one set at a time. 

It’s not long before the lights dim once again and a call to arms is made to the ‘Degenerette Nation’ of Manchester. Cassyette emerges to a chorus of screams, admiring the “emo rainbow” splayed out across the room before launching into ‘Ipecac’. Released in January, this song marks the first new music from the singer in over a year and it’s clear that fans have already accepted this new era of Cassyette into their hearts from the bellows of “you make me sick, so sick, you’re the saccharine”.

There’s an infectious current that carries across the span of tightly packed bodies, who are sticky, sweaty and anything but static from the off. Plastic grenades of beer are launched across the room as Cassyette’s death-growls rumble through the sound system for ‘Die Hate Cry’. A wall of hugs is initiated at one point; like Moses parting the red sea, the singer conducts an opening through the mass’ meridian, before crashing it closed again in a wave of warmth. Cassyette is clearly having the time of her life.

The set is a combination of newer songs (‘Over It’, ‘Why Am I Like This’) alongside more well-established material, particularly 2022’s mixtape Sad Girl Summer. The mixtape’s influences range from the electronic throughline of ‘Picture Perfect’ unveiling an air of Jordan Fish in its blueprint, to the evocation of midwest emo guitars (à la Title Fight) in the sonic signature of ‘Dead Roses’. These isolated inspirations are never overpowering though, merely a nod in an otherwise head-banging cacophony that is uniquely ‘Cassyette’. 

The show’s tail-end is reserved for her popular slew of standalone singles, all released back in 2021. ‘Petrichor’, ‘Prison Purse’ and ‘Dear Goth’ act as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost in an unholy trinity of nu-metal glory, the fuel that first ignited the flames of Cassyette’s career. 

It’s this same fuel that amplifies the ear-splitting volume of crowd chorus (“I pray my soul to keep, dear goth please come for me”) and keeps the pits ignited until her final note. With Cassyette, Harpy and others occupying a genre otherwise reserved for men in its past, the prospective future of females in alternative music appears gloriously galvanized.

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Jennifer Grace

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