It’s not often that a bill is as enticing as Monday’s proceedings reels you in but with Australian Thrasher’s Harlott opening, followed by the Hydrogrind hilarity of Cephalic Carnage before a touch of Gothenburg with Darkest Hour rounded off with the radioactive Havok, well it would be rude not to!
Relative newbies in the Thrash world, Australia’s Harlott are hungry to get fans to move tonight as they open their set. Classically tongue in cheek, the Aussies keep up appearances delivering fantastic banter between songs. Working fantastically as a unit the band is rhythmically tight and sees fans definitely engage with the group however the songs themselves are slightly less memorable and do at times blur into one. Nevertheless, creator given where credit is due the band put on a fantastic show well and truly warming us up for the rest night.
It may well be almost ten years since their Misled By Certainty but Cephalic Carnage’s pin point accuracy hasn’t diminished one iota. Packing out the relatively small Underworld stage the band deliver their Hydrogrind in style. From the likes of “P.G.A.D” s thirty second grinds to the riff madness that is “Hybrid” the band have everyone waiting on baited breath. Though what inevitably would win a crowd of Thrash fans over, aside from seeing Nick Schendzielos shred Grind is Cephalic Carnage’s sense of humour as they perform what they deem to be “Snack Metal“. It’s a hilarious and absolutely air tight set that simply begs the question, when are we going to hear some new material!
Following on from our hilarity things get rather more serious. Particularly a big moment for myself, having been a fan of Darkest Hour and missing out on their previous headline performance last year in this very venue. The second that “Knife In The Safe Room“s riff impacts I came out of mosh retirement. Aside from elbows and legs on my head, the frenetic nature of “Doomsayer” now ten years on is just as relentless as ever. With frontman John Henry positively bellowing out lyrics from all over the bands catalogue it’s a sight to behold just how much this band bring to the table. Technically perfect, guitarist Mike Schliebaum nails every note lined up by bassist Aaron Deal before the smack down of Travis Orbin on drums.
Throwing in a surprise cover of Dead Kennedy’s classic “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” followed by the Undoing Ruin classic “With A Thousand Words To Say But One” and rounded off with “The Sadist Nation” its a wonder that Darkest Hour aren’t one of the biggest bands in Metal, anyone thinking otherwise simply needs to witness the band’s unrelenting power live and you’ll be convinced.
Graciously handing the stage over to our headliners, Colorado’s Havok, live very much up to their name. Following the release of their Prog- Thrash output that was last year’s Conformicide, the band have seen a meteoric rise in the Thrash Metal scene and despite having headlined this very venue a year previous, the band are back at it once again and deliver a set that matches the ferocity experienced last year but merely with an even bigger crowd. Doing the double duty tonight, Schendzielos leads the charge with his clanking bass grooves in “Hang ‘Em High” as the band turn the velocity up conjuring the first Thrash Metal maelstrom of the night. Comprising primarily of material from Time Is Up and the aforementioned Conformicide, Havok don’t miss a beat here tonight. Frontman David Sanchez reaching Chuck Schuldiner “Painkiller” levels of high range on the final sections of “Masterplan” but what sets Havok apart from the standard Thrash crowd is the previously mentioned Prog stand point.
Easily a highlight of the evening stems from the lengthy “Ingsoc“, proof that the band have the potential write technically demanding material yet retain their corrosive Thrash Metal edge. Though the speed of Time Is Up classic “Covering Fire” is greeted with open arms when the band deliver the goods. Seeing The Underworld’s very foundations shaking here tonight and bringing an even bigger crowd, proves that Havok are well and truly onto something very special. Combining the spit in the face attitude of Municipal Waste, the technical proficiency of Megadeth and the groove of Anthrax, Havok are well and truly reaching the top of the Thrash Metal heap and tonight they prove themselves once again to be the best in Modern Thrash Metal.