Apparently Aldershot is a glutton for punishment. Booking Johnny Truant to play anywhere means reinforcing the walls but when they've got this much fire in their bellies and a crushing new album to showcase it's like asking for a demolition order. And getting German hard(core)men Waterdown and Brighton new boys Architects to join them only increases the size of the wrecking ball.
High on talent but low on fashion, whole tours like this can end up playing to the proverbial one man and his dog but as the devastation begins the West End Centre is almost full. There's not much movement in the crowd though, maybe it's cold feet, maybe it's cold everything; it's bloody freezing outside, or maybe people are just stunned by the sheer ferocity on show. Architects, including a manic lead singer and guitarists who are apparently robots, flay the shit out of their songs, gleaming slabs of scything and technical metal. The technicalities don't distract from how much fun the boys are having or how heavy they play and on the basis of tonight's cuts their new 'Nightmares' album is going to be stunning.
Waterdown are having a blast too. Despite being roundly ignored in the UK, even in the face of three albums worth of fantastic riff-driven, choppy hardcore, tonight they bring the party. There are glitters and streamers and dance moves and singers getting in people's faces and even a Refused cover but still they find it hard to get the crowd going. They don't hold it against us though, unless somebody can translate German and find out what they really think.
What Johnny Truant think is that their rightful place is on the front cover of your new favourite magazine, that they should be touring with Metallica, that it's their time now, and if it hasn't quite happened just yet it's surely only a matter of time.
The new material is explosive, the crowd lap up the real metal behind Truant's grinding hardcore and the band are loving it too. Singer Olly collapses and tenses like he's got mains current for blood and his voice may be frightening but there are smiles all round.
'I Love You Even Though You're A Zombie Now' and 'The Bloodening' sound massive and through all the lyrics of drugs and sex and death the band laugh and joke and put on a real show. 'Realist Surrealist' and 'Throne Vertigo' are quick-fire mosh rockets spinning the crowd into a frenzy and an extra guitarist thickens up the abrasive sound until it rumbles like a bee behind your eyes and when the band click into a groove or ride a riff until it dies they look triumphant.
Tonight felt like metal shows used to, when it didn't matter how tight your jeans were and you didn't have to be po-faced to be heavy. Tonight was a lesson in how to make music that sounds like 1000 dying screams, fun.
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