The weekend may be ending but London is in for a day of death metal and grindcore in the alarmingly minute Electrowerkz. Fans of the extreme flood down to North London briskly to get their fix of audio pain.
Formed only last year, the hilariously named Clunge Plunger are on fairly early yet have successfully secured a solid turn out. And this is justified. What follows is half an hour of what the band dub grind 'n' roll, which is an accurate description of their brand of grindcore with sludge, crust and death metal sentiments plunged in. The sound is gritty but this works to the North Londoners' advantage. Frontman Hadley Sharp performs with a wild roar, coming off stage to mix and mosh with the punters. Tracks including 'Beanpunch' 'Edward Ciderhands' and 'The Party Illuminati'are nothing short of headbang-able and the audience reaction is fantastic for such a small band.
When the industrial intro tape for Exhumer plays, those casually checking the Italians' out are clearly unsure what to expect. However, soon the three piece burst on stage in a fluffy of brutal death metal. Most striking is the lack of a drummer in favour of a drum machine, mechanical and cold. The scratchy bass sound similar to Cryptopsy is a welcomed addition to the chaotic music, as are the slam death metal passages. Vocalist Joe Numisa presents himself as a likeable personality, even dedicating a song to pizza. Although the audience remain fairly reserved in their reactions, Exhumer are met with a hefty ovation when they do vacate the stage.
London underground grind faithful Oblivionized are always worth a watch. Constantly gigging at every opportunity, it is safe to say this trio have built up a respectable fanbase. With technical guitar wizardry from Sammy Urwin contributing significantly to the aural pandemonium and a thrashy yelp from vocalist Zac Broughton, it is unusual as to why Oblivionized remain unsigned. Similar to Clunge Plunger, Broughton takes the opportunity to get up close and personal to the beer-tinted attendees off stage, creating a more evocative performance. The lack of a bassist is consolidated with inhuman and brain-busting drumming that assault the ears in unison with guitars and growls. With another dynamic performance behind them, Oblivionized can rest assured they are sitting pretty in the UK underground extreme metal scene.
Despite being a UK based act, Extreme Noise Terror are not seen in this country as often as the demand suggests. With a grind-hungry crowd gathered to hear this classic act, the six-man strong line up take the stage, bursting with a raw energy that exemplifies grind perfectly. Punchy songs clocking in at no more than a couple of minutes with punk power and death metal's visceral blood propagate contagious energy that spills into the audience, with a mosh pit being the order of the day.
Unsurprisingly, the focus is largely felt on debut full-length 'Holocaust in Your Head', with angry selections including 'Bullshit Propaganda', 'Raping the Earth' and 'Deceived' alongside songs from elsewhere in their discography including 'Human Error', 'Lame Brain' and 'Fucked Up System'. Sole original member and vocalist Dean Jones, sporting green hair, swaggers around on stage non-stop. Co-vocalist John Loughlin of Raging Speedhorn fame arms the band with a two pronged vocal effort that adds to the viciousness of the performance. Lovers of the extreme in attendance cannot get enough of the abrasive band but alas, there is still more to come.
The bar of musical prowess rises significantly as Australia's Psycroptic grace the stage. Technical death metal is the order of the day and these Aussies are serving up plenty of it. Usual vocalist Jason Peppiatt is absent on this tour although his replacement is more than capable of filling his shoes and delivering an entertaining spectacle. The virtuoso styles of the Haley brothers drum and guitar work is nothing short of jaw dropping, carving a sound unique to Psycroptic – heavy and technical yet entwined with sci-fi style melodies.
The audience response is one of concentration, watching the band stretch their technical muscles. Any setlist would satisfy most of the punters given the skilled nature of the songs but the setlist is fairly typical, which is not a negative. Older numbers cook up a storm: 'The Colour of Sleep', 'Skin Coffin' and 'Lacertine Forest' illustrate why Psycroptic are at the forefront of modern technical death metal and newer track 'Carriers of the Plague' shows they are able to maintain this momentum. It is never a disappointment when these Tasmanian devils come over and tonight is no exception.
There is a little delay before Brutal Truth come on stage and the audience have been marinating in alcohol for a lengthy duration. When the New Yorkers do take the stage, the response is a particularly enthusiastic one for these worthy headliners. Having been away from London since 2008, there are many who are itching to see these grind legends live.
Welding the complex savagery of usual grindcore bands with death metal precision rather than the planned disorder that usually runs through grindcore's spirit, Brutal Truth demand headbanging, fist pounding and mosh pits in plentiful supply. Frontman Kevin Sharp may be barefoot and wearing a beat up cowboy hat but the music is rabid. Original Anthrax guitarist Dan Lilker (also from Nuclear Assault) has far more advanced guitar work than what is usually expected from grind with a variety of bone-crushing rhythms that work sublimely in the live environment. Drummer Richard Hoak is commendably tireless as he blasts his way through an hour of material, all while pulling bizarrely humorous faces.
The setlist of the gods of grind is a particularly varied one, with distinct concentration on debut 'Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses' and 2011's 'End Time'. 'Birth of Ignorance', 'Stench of Profit', 'Walking Corpse', 'Denial of Existence' and 'Ill-Neglect' are fired off into the audience like a bullet to the brain, thick with political commentary and frustration at the system. Time flies by and the gig concludes almost too soon. The audience has slimmed down slightly to catch those pesky last trains but those who remain are impressed with Brutal Truth's spirit and there is disappointment at the lack of an encore. Nonetheless, tonight's show is the jewel of the week and hopefully there will be more days of extremity like this in the capital in the future.