Campaign for Musical Destruction – Napalm Death, Brujeria, Power Trip & Lock Up
Electric Ballroom, LONDON
12th May, 2017
Review & Photography by Graham Hilling
I arrive at the Electric Ballroom in good time to join the already large queue down the road in Camden. This gig has been sold out for quite some time now, no mean feat considering that the Electric Ballroom is a sizable venue and there is a buzz among the punters in the queue that this could be a special night…..
First up is Lock Up, a supergroup composed of various members of other notable bands, currently including Shane Embury, Nicholas Barker (ex-Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir), Anton Reisenegger (Pentagram) and Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth).
They also have had a list of notables from previous lineups. Live appearances are fairly sparse, because of the other commitments they all have, so it is a great opportunity to catch them tonight and no doubt some of the draw to sell the venue out so emphatically.
They are fast, uncompromising and noisy! In fact, not just fast but blisteringly fast. Barker plays the drums like a machine with blast beat after blast beat shaking the venue right down.
There is the odd breakdown which breaks up the fast songs but these are few and far between and the short 30 minute set is definitely long enough for my ears! “After Life in Purgatory” closes the set and they leave the stage as quickly as they came on. The audience has been brutalized and so early in the evening!
Power Trip are up next. Perhaps the odd band out on the bill tonight, they play very much more striaght forward metal. But what a revelation, this quintet from Dallas really do kick ass!
With awesomely catchy riffs and a slowing in pace to something approaching “normal” they’re chugging thrash crossover sound really cuts through nicely.
Helped by a pretty decent sound too, they rocket through a short set. Singer Riley Gale spends a fair amount of time at the barrier engaging with the crowd and bassist Chris Whetzel looks demented and ecstatic in equal measure.
There are solos and lots of screaming and diving guitars and some of the riffs have Slayer-esque overtones. This all adds up to something pretty awesome actually and makes a nice juxtaposition to the bludgeoning we’ve just had from Lock Up.
I’ll definitely be up for catching them live again when they next visit the UK – while the recorded material is pretty good, they were killer live!
Next up is Brujeria, another interesting band with Embury, once again, on stage playing bass. Brujeria cook up a real party atmosphere, combining this with a serious grindcore sound and some grooves too is a pretty impressive feat!
The sound is definitely muddier than that of Power Trip but this doesn’t stop the guys putting in an solid performance with the dual vocal attack working particularly well.
They all have their trademark bandannas to cover their faces, “we have a new president…..” one of the vocalists announces and then leads a chant of Fuck Donald Trump.
It’s all good stuff and the crowd laps it up, with massive circle pits accompanying the music. “Marcha De Odio” slows things down then we have a couple of people on the stage with a large sign reading Si on one side and No on the other – this is the prompt for “Consejos Narcos” and much audience participation!
Despite all of the lyrics being sung in in Spanish and 90% of the inter song banter too, there is clearly a great connection still going on here!
Then the audience is handed foam machetes and the guys on the stage have the real thing and before we know it the set is concluded with “Marijuana” which helps to hammer home the party spirit that they’ve managed to cultivate throughout the set. Very entertaining.
2. Colas de rata
3. La migra (Cruza la frontera II)
4. Hechando chingazos
5. ¡Viva Presidente Trump!
6. Seis seis seis
7. Ángel de la frontera
10. Marcha de odio
12. Consejos narcos
13. El desmadre
14. Matando güeros
And of course, the climax of the evening is Napalm Death. Unrecognizable from the band I used to see at the Mermaid in Birmingham (home to many a great gig btw) so many years ago, Napalm Death are now almost an institution and have almost trademarked the grindcore sound they do so well.
This is Emburys 3rd set of the evening and you have to admire the stamina of the man, doing this one night might be OK but every night on a tour takes proper commitment – much respect!
Barney dances around the stage erratically, like a mannequin that has been wired up to the mains, never standing still and the whole band sound like they are on top form and squeaky tight.
Following the ultra short “You Suffer” Barney quips “…you need to concentrate otherwise you miss the subtleties and finer points!”.
The setlist is actually very varied covering some really old material, crowd pleasers like “Scum” and “Suffer the Children” right up to the latest release, Apex Predator and the self titled track, “Stubborn Stains” (which Barney introduces with a few words about the slave labour trade) and “Dear Slum Landlord”.
Throughout, there are massive pits and at one point it almost looks like the whole of the Electric Ballroom is moshing! The surfers are also putting in a strong showing with a steady stream of people coming over the top and keeping the security guys busy behind the barrier!
Good to see the inclusion of “Nazi Punks Fuck off” and the warm reception it receives and after a little over 60 minutes of full on Napalm they leave the stage.
No bullshit encore, that’s not what this band is about. I leave the venue with some of the inter song banter from Greenway bouncing around my head…”look after yourself and look after each other”. Not bad advice in these troubled times!
01. Evolved as One
2. It’s a M.A.N.S. World!
3. The Wolf I Feed
4. Smash a Single Digit
5. Stunt Your Growth
6. On the Brink of Extinction
7. Stubborn Stains
9. The Kill
11. You Suffer
12. From Enslavement to Obliteration
13. The Code Is Red… Long Live the Code
14. Twist the Knife (Slowly)
15. Dear Slum Landlord…
16. I Abstain
17. How the Years Condemn
18. Suffer the Children
19. If the Truth Be Known
20. Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys cover)
21. Persona Non Grata
22. Smear Campaign