The Heavy Metal Muppets is a place for all things Metal with a particular emphasis on the London Underground Metal scene. We are a bunch of friends who have been into Metal since the late 80's and want to share our enthusiasm with anyone else who's prepared to listen. The format varies and we hope keeps it interesting for everyone, so keep your eyes peeled for reviews, interviews, memoirs and live videos amongst other things \m/
Considering Corrosion of Conformity have been one of my all time favourite bands since "Blind" came out in 1991 and seeing them live for the first time in 1992 supporting Soungarden at The Forum, or Town & Country Club as it was known then, to say I was excited was a massive understatement. I think I must have worn out my COC CD's at least three times over the years. I mean, who of our metal generation doesn't absolutely worship "Deliverence" and "Wiseblood"? I know it was a tour for the old stuff but that shit kicks some serious ass too. I also realised that Pepper wasn't playing but that certainly didn't dampen my spirits. So when the tour was announced in January I made the necessary phone calls to those that I knew would be as psyched as I was to see COC again and in such a small venue (The Underworld). Five of us were expected to go but at the last minute I was disappointed to find that everyone in my group had to bail. As it turned out my trusty friend Steve (the bloomin' nutter) was up for it even though he hadn't had much exposure to COC. So we met at the Worlds End (again) and had a couple of pints (we have to stop going here because it's massively over priced and frankly, not that great) until one of Steve's friends was joining us. To my surprise Steve's mate turned out to be Donny from Nebukadnezza (check them out they're brilliant) who I'd met last year at The Unicorn when Damnas were supporting Gama Bomb.
We wandered down to catch the last half of the final song that Diesel King were playing, which was a shame because they sounded like they were a better than average band. Check them out on facebook, decent doomy stuff.
Second band on stage was Ghost'n Goblins. These guys are seriously fun. Fun is most definitely the best way to describe them. Their singer, Tony, is a rock star, no doubt about it. He has the air and presence of a young Dave Grohl about him. They are a very tight unit and exceptionally calm and confident on stage. In fact they look like they are enjoying what they do so much you could almost imagine that this is the first time they'd ever played, and that certainly rubs off on the audience. An extremely solid performance by an energetic, happy and boisterous band. I would definitely recomend them.
Corrosion of Conformity
The moment I'd been waiting for all year was finally here (check out this great youtube channel - xholixima - for some excellent video of the gig). I was excited for Steve to see what I'd been blabbering on about all night. Fuck me it was even better than I could possibly have expected. The pit was absolutely insane. It was awe-inspiring to see Woody, Reed and Mike up so close. This is the smallest venue I'd ever seen them in and it just made it even cooler. We went bonkers in the pit and dived our nuts off. The vibe in the place was so genial it's hard to explain. Even though the pit was as brutal as it was I can't remember such a friendly bunch of people to get into this sort of situation with. Thankfully the set was extended, I think almost two hours of incredible COC magic. I could have stayed there all night. Afterwards Steve had to agree that this was one of the best gigs ever. We made some new friends (I think it would have been impossible not to - a big hello to the crazy nutjobs from Finland) and a great new memory. Thanks to Donny and Steve for joining me last night, you guys made the night even more formidable than it already was, so props to you both. Tuesday nights simply don't get better than that. And for the record, COC can do just fine without Pepper.
Trunks and I have been looking forward to seeing Grave Maker and The Ghost Inside for ages, particularly because we missed The Ghost Inside when they toured the UK last year. The whole vibe of the day was good. The sun was shining, we managed to get out of work on time, and to boot, fit in a couple of cheeky beers before the show started. Like I've said before it's always nice to have a change of scenery from time to time and ULU is normally a pretty agreeable venue. The sound is fine, the space is ample and it's generally a chilled place.
So we bumble in to the venue where the doorman promptly takes the piss out of the work clothes I have concealed in my bag. Fortunately I'm too old to care about any kind of reputation I may or may not have had when I was younger. The first thing I always do is dump my stuff off in the cloakroom, but to our dismay there are no cloakroom facilities at this show, so everyone is lumbered with bags strewn all over the place as if we were in a sodding airport. The mind boggles. It's not as if it's a small venue, they could have made a tidy profit if they had pulled their finger out. Perhaps they could have had one of the three ex private schoolgirls manning the "box office" to do it. Fat chance. Not cool ULU, we expected better of you.
First band we saw was Grave Maker. They did not disappoint. They ripped through their songs with precision. This band is a well oiled machine and I for one thoroughly enjoyed it. You had to feel sorry for Jon the vocalist though, he was looking for a place to crash because he'd lost his passport and needed to be at the Canadian Embassy at some stupid time the next morning. The only gripe I had with this set and the night in general was the hardcore, twirly armed, kick bullshit, twat dancing. I know this is no fault of the bands. People who fucking dance like that need their arms and legs removed. They may think they're cool but all they're doing is ruining it for everyone else. I'm not saying that everyone should stand serenly watching the bands clapping politely between songs. The bellends that do this are by far the minority and need to understand how antisocial they are being. For any of you that read this blog frequently will know that I love getting in the pit for a big old moshing session, but that is different. At least that is more controlled and people aren't blatantly going to be hurt by a flying punch or a kick in the bollocks. Fuck you stupid new hardcore numptys and try to give a shit about others around you.
Next up was Kvelertak. I hadn't seen them before but do like their music. It's off the wall stuff. They're a bit of an odd choice to add to this bill but who cares because it worked. They probably gave the most energetic performance of the evening. The atmosphere changed slightly during their set and it felt like a more old school metal environment. I certainly appreciated that. These guys commanded the hall remarkably well. I take my hat off to them for a fine performance and look forward to catching them next time.
Oooh The Ghost Inside... Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. My favourite band of the evening for sure. The crowd went wild, hell, we went wild! Such a tight group. We sang along to all the songs and moshed away to our hearts content. I'm so glad we have finally managed to see them. It's funny because you would never expect that guys that look the way they do can make such brutal stuff. Nice work.
Finally, Comeback Kid. They were much better than I expected to be honest. Out of all the bands of the evening, strangely enough Comeback Kid were the band I wanted to see the least. As often you find a live perfomance can really change the way you feel about a band and that's exactly what happened for me here. A satisfyingly solid show was produced by this more than competent band. A fine way to round off an excellent evening of hardcore and metal. Cheers.
Toes and I jumped on the tube, this time accompanied by the youngest in the Boojay clan - Jamie. We all headed to Camden to meet up with Sam and his lady Eliska to see the untouchable Malevolent Creation at The Underworld. I had been particularly looking forward to this gig because I have loved Malevolent Creation since the '80s but never had the good fortune to see them live. All that was about to change. We all met for some early beers at The Earl of Camden pub. The place has potential but the music was blaring (not a bad thing) stuff like AHA (bad thing) and didn't make it a very welcoming environment to those of a more metal persuasion. Whatever, it was a means to an end and it served its purpose adequately.
We made it just in time to see the last half of Neuroma's set. They seem like a pretty solid band. Their live show was gratifying, unfortunately, and it has always been the curse of the first band on stage, that the audience was sparse and motionless which must make it difficult to perform in front of. Not bad.
Second band to grace the boards was Polish band Diachronia. At first glance they kind of resemble Seed of Detest but then the lights get a bit brighter and they start playing and you know it isn't. Seed of Detest are way cooler. Not to say Diachronia were bad, on the contrary, they were acceptable. I'm not sure how far they'll go considering some of the amazing death metal coming out at the moment, again case at hand - Seed of Detest. I took some video so you can see for yourselves below.
Third up, Basement Torture Killings. Holy shitballs!! At first I didn't know what to make of them, they freaked the hell out of me. They look like the scariest bunch of serial killer nutters you have ever seen. Closest to me was a Doctor Crippen lookalike, known affectionately as Professor Kennith (bass) adorned in nerdy attire and a fetching red bow tie. However, the shaved head, round glasses and blank stare sent a chill down my spine. Standing next to him was the rather charming Bertrand (guitars, vocals) sporting a nifty and altogether appropriate Hannibal Lecter mask. Lastly Tarquin (guitar), I think he was the most terrifying. He played the entire set with a stocking over his head. To be honest I thought the whole thing was genius. Between each song there were sinister samples of sounds you would absolutely expect to hear ricocheting around a serial killer's basement. Regardless of the theatre that is this band, the music is crushing and brutal. I fucking loved it. Basement Torture Killings are massively on my radar and I can't wait to see them again. Not to mention the fact that "in real life" they are the complete opposite of their stage personas, or at least Bertrand is, who I met after the show... Although isn't that what they said about Jeffrey Dahmer?..
Gio Geraca (Malevolent Creation)
Finally, Malevolent Creation. I have waited so long to see these guys (over 20 years). To say they did not disappoint me is an understatement. They burst onstage like a Tsunami, destroying everything in its path. They played an ample amount from their new album "Invidious Dominion" which, in my opinion, is one of their finest albums to date, but still bombarded and delighted us with older classics. Overall an extremely exhilarating and accomplished set. It was my little brother's first death metal gig, and what a way to begin! You couldn't keep him off the stage, so the Boojay's were well represented that night. I don't know how but I managed to totally tear my jeans early on in the mosh or flying off the stage but that didn't stop me losing my mind to this band. Fucking ferocious. Fucking stunning.
Mosh ripped jeans
The crowd was an incredibly amiable bunch and added to a very special night. At most metal gigs you make a friend or two, but this night it felt as though everyone had been mates for years. So there's another fantastic gig to add to a damn good run so far this year.
So, I finished work and raced up to Camden to meet Ty "The American" and spend a pleasurable evening sampling the delights of Steve Loftin's toils at Thrash Thursday. Wow, that doesn't sound dodgy at all... Anyway, we get to The Unicorn in good time to get a couple of beers in before the show starts. I love The Unicorn, it's always free and has a great space for bands out the back (it has a Tardis-like deception). Also, it's pub prices all the way. Basically, a quality venue. Just to top it all off the sun was shining before the show and everyone seemed to be in a good mood, sitting outside and totally up for it.
The show kicked off at around 8pm with XXXX. Like I said before, XXXX are excellent! The did a cracking job again and were thoroughly entertaining. Props to Steve for organising the whole thing, hopefully this will be the start of many to come. I took some video so you can check them out below for yourselves.
Boojay & Razz (Citizen Death)
Between XXXX and Citizen Death I noticed John Blunt from Abadden loitering around so felt obligated to say "hi" considering that I believe Abadden to be one of the best new thrash bands to come out of the UK at the moment. Little did I know that this is a very dangerous person to go drinking with, particularly if you have work the next day... Enough of that and on to Citizen Death. These guys had travelled all the way from Scotland to play this gig. What a commitment! I have to applaud them, their show was ace and they seem like genuinely nice guys. They're definitely worth checking out if you happen to see them playing near you.
Finally, Shrapnel. These guys are serious pros. Their set was tight, and their performance energetic. The crowd, which was a good size considering the new night and venue, seemed really up for it. There was enough argy bargy to make it a really fun set to be a part of.
Boojay & John Blunt (Abadden)
The night didn't end there though. Somehow (and again, I blame John Blunt for this) we all ended up at the Hobgoblin. Fuck knows how I got home, although I do remember waking up on a night bus going in the wrong direction at first... As previously stated, however, the night overall made the mission home worth it. So, big up Steve for a stompin' great night!
I thought I should write a few quick words about a gig I have seen recently. It was round 10 of the "Metal To The Masses" Competition for The Road to Bloodstock. Read more about that competition here. The main reason I was here was because my friend Steve's band was playing, XXXX. So I recruited my oldest friend Sam and his girlfriend to join me and of course my trusty girlfriend, Toes. The gig was being held at Nambucca on the Holloway Road in London. I have never been to this venue before and was suitably impressed with it for a small place. We arrived a little early, lined up a few pints and wished Steve and the boys good luck with their set.
I can't remember the name of the first band, unfortunately. However, it was a strange sort metal band, that looked a bit wrong for some reason, I think it was the singer, he didn't look metal at all. At the end of their set they asked if they could play a cover and apparently the rules stated that they couldn't, so they proceeded to play "Killing in the Name of" by Rage Against the Machine. Muppets.
The second band was a metalcore band called Hopeless Hero. They were OK. I'm not hugely into metalcore/screamo but they seemed alright. They were in the same ilk as Heart of a Coward but definitely not as good.
Want For Destruction
Next up were Want For Destruction. What a great band!! They're metal, hardcore bikers really. Really aggressive stuff and instantly likeable. They had come from Norfolk and obviously brought a few of their local fans in the van with them. I also think one or two bottles of Jager had joined them on the journey. There were three guys totally mashed, falling all over the place in the audience during their set. Normally this would go against a band for me but they were so good that I couldn't care less about the lads dribbling and stumbling around at the front, it turned out to be quality entertainment. Worth checking out for sure.
Fourth on stage were XXXX. I am obviously going to biased with my review but whatever... First off I'd like to say that the name of this band is brilliant. It completely sums up these guys. They are old school thrash with a not too serious attitude. They look the part and definitely sound the part. They kicked off fast and hard and didn't stop throughout the set. An interesting addition to the performance was the introduction of Moshbot. This is probably their most insane fan dressed in a Blue Peter style robot costume who was unleashed from back stage half way through the set and went completely mad. It was awesome! I asked Steve later how hammered the Moshbot had to have been and to my astonishment found that he hadn't touched a drop!! I had not seen the band before and I was pleasantly surprised, and I'm not just saying that.
Seed of Detest
Finally, Seed of Detest. Fucking hell these guys are good. If you like Death Metal then definitely, definitely check these guys out. They are one of the tightest unsigned bands I have ever seen. I actually had a chat with their singer Itami after the show and discovered, again to my amazement, that they'd only been together for six months! Unbelievable! (Thanks for the CD by the way) I can't stress enough how much this band need to be listened to, so check their facebook page. They won hands down and go through to the next round. A well deserved win in my opinion (sorry Steve!). I really look forward to seeing them again.
Overall an excellent night, one worth missing the last tube home for...