with Toxic Holocaust
and supported by Mutant and Seregon
Carling Academy, Islington, London
6th February 2008
All live pics and review by HannTu
The thrash revival has been praised and criticised in equal parts from the metal mainstream, and the arguments usually run down the usual lines taken by metalheads. On the one hand, we’re getting the spirit of the early 80s back, with wild headbanging, insane partying, breakneck thrashing, brutal riffs, the lot. No one needs reminding of the Bay Area/California pioneers, but let’s not forget the crazy maniacs in Finland and the Kraut krazies in Germany as well. Naysayers claim it’s the trendy thing now to be into thrash; labels are seizing on to them, mags are hailing them as the second Metallica/Slayer/Testament/Exodus etc, and basically the scene’s expiry is long overdue.
Personally I’m happy for this so-called thrash revival. I didn’t grow up with the Bay Area scene, I’ve only listened to the bands ad hoc and retrospectively. From what I hear though, the spirit of the 80s is well alive. Sure, there isn’t the social commentary that Metallica, Sacred Reich or Megadeth brought to the table. But there are a lot of parallels with the wild, hedonistic, devil-may-care attitude of the bands of the 80s; paradoxically coupled with a heavy workaholic touring schedule and heavier partying regime. The music? Listen for yourself. Copycat? Slightly. Well, very heavily influenced, shall we say. It’s all there, the speed, filth, rawness and violence. Wednesday night at the Carling Academy Islington showcased two up-and-coming English thrash bands, together with Floridian band Toxic Holocaust, and the headliners Municipal Waste.
The youngsters from Bristol played a good warm-up set and that’s all you can ask at this stage in their careers. Their music is nothing you’ve never heard before, but what they do, they do well. The Max Cavalera/Sepultura similarities aren’t just confined to the shirt James the frontman was wearing. He is a pretty charismatic singer as well as being a thoroughly nice bloke (jumping into the crowd during the last song to join the mosh pit!) and the band sounded great as a unit. They played the songs from their KINGDOM OF THE BLIND E.P., as well as a tongue in cheek Tetris theme and a new song “Band of Brothers” due to be recorded this month. Check them out on their website.
Kingdom of the Blind
Band of Brothers
The local boys from West London, Mutant, played a kickass set that had equal amounts of good rocking fun and good riffs. Frontman/guitarist Atom Luchtenstein has some great facial expressions, inciting the “raging” crowd to “rage” and applauding them for being “ragers”. Yes there was an over-abundance of the use of the word “rage”. It’s all good though. They did really well, again check them out at their Myspace. They closed with their “rager” (sorry) “Psycho Surgery” which was also on Earache’s THRASHING LIKE A MANIAC compilation. Two more songs that I remember were “Laserdrome” and “Zombie Holocaust”.
My first impression of them was frontman Joel Grind’s hairdo. He looked like a glam band singer with the teased hair and flying V. However once the set kicked off, you sorta got the impression that this wasn’t really Motley Crue. Fast, furious and an ear for a good riff is the Toxic Holocaust way. Think of Venom crossed with a little bit of KILL ‘EM ALL and some punk-ish Discharge. Remarkably, Joel Grind is the only “proper” member, all the rest being guest touring musicians. Although the music was good, I rather lost interest halfway through. The songs sounded pretty alike, and there was nil chemistry between Joel and the crowd. The anti-Christian shtick got a bit much towards the end as well. Add to that the shit lighting and the buzzing in my left ear, and I don’t remember much about this set.
One of the many thrash bands Earache holds on its roster, Municipal Waste are all about good fun and loud music. Their 2007 album THE ART OF PARTYING kind of gives it away. The chants of “Municipal Waste is gonna FUCK YOU UP!” reverberated around the floor way before the first band took the stage, and just got louder and louder between intervals. After Toxic Holocaust, the floor was doing the call-and-answer, which sounds great!
I really like the no-bullshit attitude of the band, which I feel mirrors the 80s thrash in spirit at least. The single-minded drive towards this magical concept of “fun” is what makes the “retro thrash” of today so damn…fun! No pretentiousness, no aim to write a 15 minute epic or a thought-provoking indictment of society, and that’s fine. Some days you want to hear Fates Warning, Iron Maiden and Helloween, but other days you want a two and half minute neck-breaker. Then pause. Draw breath. Beer. Two and a half minute neck-breaker. Pause. Repeat process until unable to stand. Thrash has a great pedigree in this: Exodus, Slayer, Overkill, Destruction…
Unlike Toxic Holocaust before them, the interaction with the crowd was spot on. Frontman Tony Foresta sounds like he’s wasted half the time (he probably is) but there’s always place for humour at a Waste show. He harangued the sound man for leaving the house music on throughout the first song of their set. The crowd were taking the piss at every opportunity too. Shark costumes? You got it. No pink surfboards but we can’t have it all.
The Waste have got the art of unrestrained good fun down to the finest minutiae. Loud, brash, in-yer-face-whatcha-lookin’-at-buster. And why not. I ask you. Why not indeed.
More Municipal Waste
Thanks to Talita at Earache UK for the photo pass!!!
Toxic Holocaust: http://www.myspace.com/toxicholocaust
Municipal Waste: http://www.facethewaste.com/