A 4 band bill of aggressive extreme metal on a Friday night in good old Camden Town. And let me tell you the Electric Ballroon is rammed tonight with more than a 1000 punters. the place is literally heaving from my vantage point on the balcony. When I initially bought my ticket this was a 3 band bill with initial support being Iron Reagan a crossover band. They couldn't make it and were replaced by another crossover type band in power Trip and as it turns out Lock Up were also added to the bill meaning that Napalm bassist would be doing triple duty. Has a band member ever played for three different bands in one night? That must be nearly a first.
First up were super fast grind merchants Lock Up and they play like men possessed. They manage to make Napalm look positively sedate at times! Skinsman Barker's hands are like a blur of motion. Feet the same though we obviously can't see but you can nut imagine. Shane's bass rumbles like a mountain. Right hand of both guitarist and bassist is moving like RSI is guaranteed in future life! Songs are mostly indistinguishable from one another almost. Still this does not matter a jot. They rule and crush and devastate the early birds and that's nearly most of the crowd anyway as the floor is already pretty full. A few nice groovy parts but subtlety is for when you play the album. The live setting is just about pure and absolute rage for 30 minutes!
Power Trip stood out a bit from the other 3 bands on the bill being more or less a straight up thrash band with a touch of crossover. I actually dismissed their album earlier this year but it looks like I have to give it another shot at glory. They had a great sound, some great head banging grooves allowing the music to breath a little more. Let's call them the "monsters of chug" for they were in love with pulling those kind of breakdowns mid song with synchronised head banging from all band members. They still had the hell for leather sections but the lead work was totally average and from the Slayer school. I enjoyed their set and so did the floor with lots of circle pits and mass neck wrecking for the chug sections. Good change of support for the colossal grind of Lock Up before and the insanity to follow.
Brujeria - well that was a mad fucking set! I have always more or less ignored this mysterious side project since their inception way back in the early 90s. Fuck knows who's in the band apart from Shane from Napalm of course. I've always seen them as a cult band of Mexican bandit crustcore of little musical value. Not that the massed floor gave a fuck. They still lapped it up. The band's music is made up of incoherent riffs, rumbling bass grooves and drum battery topped off with dual Spanish barks and yells probably telling me "Eh Amigo! Give me back my marijuana or I slice your throat eh hombre!" Their barks and yells are rhythmic and monotonous as fuck but somehow get everyone pumped up. I don't really see the appeal to be honest but people love it. First and last time I'll probably see these unless they support someone I like again. Crazy band overall, no musical value for me apart from the odd catchy vocal rap or riffy groove but I guess they make for a good time for some with their notorious bandit metal.
Finally at just gone 9pm the old warriors of "Napalm Death from Birmingham" as Barney always says, strode on and prepared to do what Napalm does best. In other words annihilate the massively packed Friday night Ballroom crowd. And I'm not saying packed lightly. The Ballroom is rammed with and the stage front was a heaving mass of bodies. It seems ND are at their biggest ever level of fandom and they're treated like long returning sons every time they play here.
The Napalm set list is mainly based around old school grind classics and newer incendiary cuts. The mid period which I favour so much is completely ignored more or less. Most songs sound the same when played at this colossal volume. Barney is always an interesting chap to look at whilst singing. He sounds and looks like one of those ADHD suffering kids in youtube who get their xbox taken away from them. Completely mental in other words! Flailing limbs, nodding head, inadvertent leg movements like someone is using a voodoo doll on him. Complete nutter! His growls are completely indecipherable live but with the massive riff and bass rumble it all fits like a glove. I've lost count of how many times I've seen ND now but the urge to see this juggernaut live never diminishes. What I get out of it musically is debatable but the spectacle is something else. The floor is a jam packed sea of limbs and hair while all the old cunts nod and fist pump at the back like loons. Napalm fucking Death - still grinding our bones into dust after all these years!
Apex Predator – Easy Meat
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The Wolf I Feed
Smash a Single Digit
Stunt Your Growth
On the Brink of Extinction
From Enslavement to Obliteration
The Code Is Red... Long Live the Code
Twist the Knife (Slowly)
Dear Slum Landlord...
How the Years Condemn
Suffer the Children
If the Truth Be Known
Nazi Punks Fuck Off
(Dead Kennedys cover)
Persona Non Grata