The turn out was moderate to say the least with at a push, just over a 100 or so thrash heads making the effort on a boring Monday night. Thankfully the show was very very far from boring indeed.
First up were Greeks Exarsis. These guys released a pretty cool album last year that showed a lot of promise for the future. The singer, on the night, was a bit of a stumbling block with his piercing screams but the band was cool as hell live. Super tight and fast with heavy backing vocals from the rest of the band. If the singer could tone down some of the yelping they'd be a hell of a band in the making. These guys got the pretty mental small pit going quickly after starting and despite only having 30 minutes to play they went down like the proverbial storm.
Next up were the very young looking teenage Finish thrash crew Lost Society. These guys look like a bunch of skinny runts barely out of thrash nappies but boy were they shit hot on the stage. They got a pretty huge reaction from the crowd and plenty of circle pitting and regular moshing from the nutters down the front. Their riffs are incessantly fast and gear changing from mid paced chunk to ultra mental warp speed slightly Anthraxy thrash groove. They even look like a very young Anthrax in many ways with their high top white sneakers. Brandead Metalhead is a stupidly fun fast as a bullet thrash anthem. Great performance by the youngsters and hopefully they will mature on the next album to something even more special.
Third up were the more refined LA thrash crew Fueled By Fire. These guys released a brilliant album of thrashing goodness last year called Trapped in Perdition. It was their finest album by far, showcasing a more technical and clean approach which manifested itself extremely well in the live setting. These guys were superb although they were perhaps the least energetic band of the night. The sound was crisp and crunchy for the LA boys all through their set and boy did they play tight. Their songs had so much class and relied much less on brute thrashing force than the other bands which made them stand out a little. A good thing indeed from the all out assaults of the previous two bands. A killer final warm up set before the Greek thrash machine took to the stage.
As the roadies readied the stage with two rather large prominent back drops of the new album artwork stages right and left, I grabbed a moments rest. It was rather odd to see those backdrops so prominently actually as it meant you could only see the drummer from directly in front of the stage which I had never seen in all my years watching bands at the Underworld. In fact I only saw the drummer right at the end of the gig which was rather odd indeed!
Anyway enough chit chat the SA boys came on and bang straight into new album opener Marching On Blood. The sound was crunchy and crystal clear and not so loud to allow listening with plugs. Always a plus point to an old git like me! As with the other bands the pit soon got itself worked up into a frenzy although it must be said I think the youngsters were a bit of a spent force by the time SA came on although as the song called for and when the main called they did work themselves up into fever pitch a few times. The set list was very good with all their amazing neck wrecking thrash work outs played to precise and brutal perfection. I must admit the new album has taken its time to work its magic on me, but the new songs sounded much better live. So much so that I have listened to the album again since and I enjoyed it even more thanks to the live performance.
The SA boys played about an hour ended the set finally with what I consider their Angel of Death ie their standout song, Apokathilosis. That song is just the best set of manic riffing ever from the band and is the perfect way to end a night of relentless thrash goodness. I'll be thrashing again in a couple of nights with the Northern Irish mentalists Gama Bomb. I better start playing their album again 'cause it was one of my faves from last year again. Thrash on!