Friday, 20 March 2015

Hirax - Live at Our Black Heart

Hirax are one of those old timer thrash bands I've never really been able to get into. They always seemed so average in both musical ability and the acquired taste vocals of front man Katon. The guy is definitely a huge character though so I've always sort of admired him for being a veteran of the thrash scene. I didn't actually know the guitarist and bassist are brothers so you learn something new all the time. Their previous albums always left me cold but it all changed pretty much with the release of Immortal Legacy last year. Whilst not an amazing thrash record it more than held it's own with my thrash listening habits. When I saw that they were playing here in London, I thought that would be cool though I was slightly taken aback by the tiny venue they were listed to play but anyway it didn't stop me nabbing a ticket.

The venue Our Black Heart is a room above a pub basically and fits 150 before it's packed. The stage is literally 3 or 4 sq metres. It is the tiniest stage in all of London no doubt. I didn't actually know who the support bands were for this gig until I arrived at the pub and saw the advertised set times for each band on the door. First up were Bristolian death metallers Seprevation, then thrashers Virus and then Necroriser followed by an hour long set from Hirax.

Seprevation were up first and I must admit I was happy to see them as I'm a big fan of their album from last year. These young guys didn't disappoint live at all. Their riffs are semi technical and special mention must be made of bass player/vocalist who had amazing bass chops. He played awesome tech bass which is very audible in the crisp sound mix. Their songs sounded catchy and tight. Excellent start to the night by these youngsters.

Next up were Virus a band who I've heard but never really got into. However I must admit that they were very impressive indeed. The front man is a crazy looking dude with a massive beard stuck on the end of his chin whilst churning out huge riffs and ripping lead work as well. Pretty damn cool set by these guys. Two really cool bands so far.

Main support to Hirax were Necroriser whom I've actually never heard of. They played a mix of thrash and death metal with nice breakdown riffs and growly vocals. Not bad at all but not something that exciting for my tastes. It was good to hear their short sharp and savage songs though and I will check them out further in youtube.

Finally at 10pm or so with the venue pretty full the Hirax took their positions and started the instrumental 100,000 strong before bursting into the mental opening riff of Hellion Rising and Katon burst on to that tiny stage and started going nuts as this the first few rows. This venue is so intimate that when the band stands on the monitors they are basically in your face playing and singing relentless thrash metal just the way the rabid fans like it! Katon is an amazingly invigorated dude the way he gets into the music and soon the sweat starts dripping from all and sundry. This is the way thrash was meant to be played, fast aggressive and mental. Played by a bunch of crazy lunatics and loved by a bunch of crazy lunatics.

The band was relentless and even the older shorter songs sounded much better than I ever remembered them from the past. The hour was over in a flash as Katon announced the last song and it was a last chance for the diehards to bang like there's no tomorrow. If you want an energetic show performed by stalwarts of the scene and a mental dude who pulls more faces than the winner in a face pulling contest then do yourself a favour and go and see Hirax. It's fun as hell!

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