UNHOLY GRAVE
TOTAL FUCKIN' DESTRUCTION
NARCOSIS
THE DEVILS
Brudenel Social Club, Leeds 25.09.03

(reviewed by MWJ) 

My quest to convert you all to obscure insane noise leads me over the Pennines to a date on the Grind Over The UK III tour. Being a proper social club the beer is priced at a massive £2.02 for a pint of Guinness, things are off to a good start. I should have checked the fact that itís a 40 minute walk across the city from where I was staying (us country folk, eh?) so the drink is purely medicinal for my aching feet. This club you could imagine hosting the likes of Bernard Manning, with its mirrored columns, and a strange brick structure incorporated into the back of the stage. Looks like some factory chimney with a doorway, presumably for crap comedians to hide within when abuse and glasses are being hurled at them. The violence is going to be coming in the other direction tonight, but I still think it would have been amusing to have set up the drums inside it. Instead the bands have abandoned the stage altogether and set up on the floor in front, going for the cozy feel.

Two skinheads in dodgy suits could pass for comedy entertainment for the evening but turn out to be the 2 vocal attack of The Devils. Starts straight forward enough with stabbing riffs, not over complicated but striking all the same. Bit of a "crust" feel to the music, like Doom or someone like that but the vocalists are quality. Not going for hi-lo contrast, instead two-tones of fearsome growl, and menacing the crowd, getting into their face, totally committed and carried away with the performance.

Narcosis, described on the flyer as "dickhead fast", do what they say on the tin. Finger flying riffs, a mayhemic blur, and all members gurning away in twisted enjoyment. The bass is swinging round so much Iím surprised no eyes are outed, itís a fine balance between the technical control needed to produce the music and the chaos it inspires. The drummer is also riding a fine line between genius and insanity. A pretty limited kit in terms in of pieces, but he launches battering assaults on various combinations of it in incredibly rapid and precise succession, glowering fiercely at it as if determined to make sure it knows whoís boss. One cymbal tries to make an escape from the punishment but itís quickly returned to its fate. Itís the drums that really seem to define the song structures, as itís all underpinning furious riffs until weíre granted a respite of a few doomy chords at the end

Total Fuckin' Destruction feature Rich Hoak, who drummed for Brutal Truth. They virtually set the standard for the genre with their "Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Solutions" album but that was over a decade ago. This is now a sort of hobby band for the man to keep his hand in and us happy. Gone is his massive rack drum kit, itís now a stripped down "jazz" set-up. Yet he still produces the same hyperfast onslaught, apparently effortlessly, demonstrating his skill in getting so much beat variety for this simple set up. And screams vocals as well. The guitar and bass are a bit rougher and simpler than the old days but still add up to an impressive show. Especially as the finger pluckiní bass player is keeping up with the mental bpm. The songs are full of (semi) tounge in cheek nihilism and hatred ("Bio-Satanic Terrorist", "Madeline Albrightís Sexy" etc.) which brings a lot of smiles from the gathered, and plenty of appreciation for the adrenaline fuelling madness.

Finally, Unholy Grave from Japan. Maybe a notch lees on the speed but itís still blast beats a-go-go. More metally punk riffing reminded of old Extreme Noise Terror, the vocals are scream, growl and grunt. Theyíre cheered back for an encore and itís only now at the very end that thereís mosh movement in front and amongst them. Maybe it had taken that long for everyone to get over the gobsmacking performances from the bands. Fantastic entertainment. Pain from feet mysteriously transferred to head next morning. More beer needed.

make mine a pils
Aaargh

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