3 Inches Of Blood
Ft: Goatwhore, Angelus Apatrida, Havok
@ The Underworld, Camden
Sat 13th May 2012
Review by Paul James
Photography by Andre Purvis
It’s a warm Sunday evening as a horde of metal heads descend upon the underworld for what looks like one of the thrashiest line-ups the venue has seen for a while, within minutes of opening the merchandise tables are mobbed and it certainly bodes well for a heavy evening of metal filled goodness.
Kicking things off with a bang are Denver based thrash metallers Havok and within seconds you’re aware of just why they are on this tour – a circle pit opens immediately for the break neck riffs of “No Amnesty” and continues for the rest of the set!
Thrash gems such as the excellent “D.O.A” from the brilliant second album “Time Is Up” secure their bid to be the next band to claim Slayer’s throne, with its screams a pure homage to the early days of Tom Araya.
Taking a brief moment to thank everyone for coming down to see them and promising to come back for more soon (their previous tour of the UK was cancelled several months ago unfortunately) they launch into the catchy riffs of last song “Burn” Which again ignites the pit much to the delight of David Sanchez! It’s a set that ends far too soon, I would love to see what they can do with a full headline appearance – I’m sure that day will come with more performances like this!
After a quick drink break at the bar it’s back into the room to see Spanish thrashers Angelus Apatrida.
I have to admit I’m not particularly familiar with the band (a quick chat with a fellow concert goer beside me tells me they’ve played here before) but as they jump into opening track “You Are Next” from new album “The Call” you get a quick starter course in what they’re all about!
It’s very clear from the get go that the band are very polished and certainly love what they do – drummer Victor is constantly beaming smiles from the back of the room as he lays down some quick fire beats whilst vocalist/guitarist Guillermo head bangs his way through some complex riffs. Even with a microphone knocked down by some frankly hilarious stage diving, the band soldiers on regardless through to the end of “Blood on the Snow” to cheers from the audience.
However, within a few songs I find myself starting to lose interest – at times some of the riffage whilst technically very impressive (from a guitarist’s perspective) tends to blend into a mass of generally average material, a few exceptions being “Blast Off & Legally Brainwashed” from 2010’s “Clockwork” the latter which closes out the set to a round of applause from an appreciative crowd.
In time I think they could have something really special – the elements are certainly there, perhaps they just need some fine tuning.
At The Gates Of Hell
Blood On The Snow
So after two solid “thrash” acts, it’s time for something a little bit different!
You can’t help but smile when the words “We want it real heavy and loud, like a Motorhead show” can be heard over the P.A during the bands set up.
Opening with “Collapse in Eternal Worth” from new album “Blood for the Master” Goatwhore are taking no prisoners from the get go, as vocalist Ben prowls the stage amongst the blasting riffs and let’s loose some fearsome growls.
The pit opens immediately and stage divers continue their earlier antics.
(Much to everyone’s amusement)
Compared to the previous two bands it’s refreshing to see a bit of rock and roll/punk spirit about Goatwhore – it’s less focused on nailing that perfect solo, more towards blasting out as much filthy noise as possible and what with the riffs morphing from anything like thrash to blackened death or classic metal riffs – there’s plenty for any metal fan to enjoy.
A Definite highlight was new track “In Deathless Tradition” with its mid paced groove and more classic metal influence shining through, breaks up the constant speed the majority of this gig has been flying by at! However, it’s not long before they bring out the black metal vibes of “Carving out the Eyes of God” quickly followed by fan favourite “Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult”, dedicated to local band Dripback who were in the audience.
Barely pausing for breath before plunging into new track “When Steel and Bone Meet” there’s a definite sense of Motorhead in the air as the band thunders through its catchy chorus.
For a band that definitely started with their roots firmly in black/death metal, they certainly know how to write a catchy song that is just inherently “Metal” in all respects. You could probably play this on rock radio at a push! (I dare you to!)
Quickly revisiting first release “The Eclipse Of Ages Into Black” for the track “Invert The Virgin” followed by more material from “Blood For The Master”, the band close out the set with the “single Apocalyptic Havoc” (if that’s the appropriate word for it) from “Carving Out The Eyes Of God” and certainly end their set on a massive high.
Collapse In Eternal Worth
Provoking The Ritual Of Death
The Black Art Of Deception
In Deathless Tradition
Carving Out The Eyes Of God
Alchemy Of The Black Sun Cult
When Steel And Bone Meet
Invert The Virgin
Judgement Of The Bleeding Crown
And End To Nothing
Well after a set like that from Goatwhore, it’s going to take a lot to top it.
Good for the fans then that 3 Inches of Blood are here to play as well then!
Opening with “Metal Woman” from new album “long Live Heavy Metal” the band starts out strong and Cam Pipes is sounding better than ever! It’s quickly followed surprisingly by fan favourite tune “Deadly Sinners” in a quick one-two punch of quality tracks.
However it does seem strangely quiet considering the volume of Goatwhore previously!
Moving on to the painkiller esque vibes of “Leather Lord” and it’s plentiful dual guitar work, it’s great to see the band paying their respects to a sound which has so clearly helped define the band’s career thus far. Shane Clark’s rhythm guitar in particular sounds fantastic tonight – barely missing a note all evening. Returning to 2004’s “Advance and Vanquish” with “Revenge is a Vulture” the band continue to storm through a wide cross section of material at break neck pace, with the excellent “Black Spire” making a rare appearance.
However even after returning to the new album for “4000 Torches” & “Die for Gold” once again showcasing the vocal talents of Cam Pipes, something doesn’t quite seem right – although the band are on form and there’s no doubting the strength of the new material, the audience as a whole doesn’t seem as energetic as before, perhaps it’s a full day of thrash that has tired them out – or maybe that the audience has thinned slightly due to it being quite late on a Sunday evening and depressingly we’ve all got work tomorrow!
A rousing performance of “Battles and Brotherhood” is enough to bring back some of the spirit at least.
I also find myself wondering about what the band would be like if Jamie Hooper was still performing vocals alongside Cam, as his presence usually helped inspire a lot more crowd movement, personally I found Justin’s vocals to be lacking – sometimes interfering with his guitar playing as well. To his credit, there is a lot of difficult riffage going on! New bassist Byron Stroud seemed a little lifeless at times too, odd really being as he’s usually pretty energetic!
Due to the lateness of the gig at this point I’m forced to leave halfway through closing number “The Goatriders Horde” to catch a train home, but mainly I’m left feeling slightly disappointed by the whole performance. Perhaps next time the band will get the sing along crowd they deserve?
Revenge Is A Vulture
God Of The Great White Silence
Trial Of Champions
Die For Gold
Battles And Brotherhood
The Goatrider’s Horde
Overall a fun day of good music, I think Havok stole the show though!