Well that was just a good gig I'm afraid and not a great one. I was expecting better things and the sound was pretty bad all night which didn't help matters one bit. First up was a band not listed on the ticket, namely Ancient Ascendant who played a kind of slowish death metal in the vein of Morbid Angel's slower songs. Surprisingly the sound for them was one of the best of the night. These guys were not bad although their songs were fairly meandering and a little bit boring, they weren't actually too bad at all.
Next came The Rotted with their grindcore/death metal mix. I quite like their last album and I far prefer the band to Gorerotted their previous incarnation. The sound was so so for them and went from being quite clear to a little muddy depending on how fast they were playing. They were ok but no great shakes in the end but got a good reaction from the crowd more or less.
Next up were Rotting Christ whom I've never been really able to get a handle on. They are obviously a very professional band and have been at this game a long time. They were actually better than I thought they were going to be especially when they slow down and play more melodic riffs which gets heads banging. The sound was again mixed depending on where you stood and I moved around a fair bit to try and find a good spot with varying degrees of aural success. Any how RC did what they did and got a good reception from a packed ULU.
Next up were Brummie stalwarts Benediction who I last saw supporting Death at the old LA2 almost 15 years ago now and my god how it's flown. Oddly enough their new singer said from the stage that he also was at that legendary gig and he can't believe that he's actually singing for Benediction now. These guys had big technical problems with one guitarist losing sound completely and the band having to play most of the gig with 1 guitar only. Not that it made a huge difference to proceedings as Benediction have a very one dimensional approach to death metal. No technical fretboard wizardry for these guys and very little in the way of melody. The 'heads down and bang away' approach was the order of the day. The frontman whipped up a good old storm and the pit action was pretty intense with a couple of fights breaking out and untold stage divers. The sound for Benediction was again not good and I barely recognised some tracks that were played although recalling Benediction tracks is never the easiest thing anyway! Nightfear was great from Transcend The Rubicon, although I missed Grind Bastard the title track from said album.
Benediction went down well but still everyone was just waiting for the mighty Bolties to take to the stage and finally at around 9.40 or so they sauntered to a packed and hectic crowd. Once again I must say I was very disappointed in the sound as from where I was the guitars were very low and I could mostly hear bass drums and vocals. During the set the sound fluctuated to acceptable standards but most remained fairly dull. I can't say that about Bolt Thrower though as the band seemed in fine form. Karl has the crowd eating out of his hand and the band are highly seasoned professionals although they don't have massive crowd interaction so to speak - they just allow the music to the talking. The set list was mixed between older and classic numbers and hearing tunes like the almighty Cenotaph never gets old as well as songs from my fave BT album, For Victory. The only song that I did miss out on was Where Next To Conquer which was sadly omitted but hey there's only so much time. The stage diving and pit was non stop mental with one guy fucking up his leg badly and limping out looking like he'll need an ambulance. One guy even stage dived with a brolly opened up, a somewhat funny site and reflective of the monsoon outside. Soon enough it was all over and I hurried out to be met by fierce driving cold rain. Great!!! Still it was worth to see the Bolties for the second time although I think it was more fun at the Underworld the first time as I recall.
Next gig is on election night when I will be "heeding the call" Hammerfall and Dream Evil as support. I vote for METAL!!!