Well produced, snare tight and bulging with belligerence and hate, Cataract are crunching and razor sharp metal through and through. Although lacking some of the raw energy and fresh ideas that the likes of All Shall Perish and The Acacia Strain have recently injected into a somewhat creatively starved scene, these guys stick to what they know best and pile riff onto mosh-worthy riff. It’s a devastatingly perfect background for vocalist Fedi to kick and scream, vent his spleen and indulge in a little fantasy-metal warrior stuff over the top.
Bar that extra twist that would make these guys serious contenders there’s pretty much everything you could want from a heavy ass record here.

DEFTONES. Electric Ballroom, London. 12.10.06

Ok so tonight didn’t start in the best of ways. While waiting to get into this very special ‘secret’ show at the Electric Ballroom, 600 Deftones fans were witness to the best of London’s nightlife. A fight between drunken thugs armed with combat knives and broken bottles spilled into the queue and minutes later a dog attack added to the fun. The atmosphere was… a little tense.

Inside the venue things are much better. There is no support act tonight so nothing to pass the time until Chino and Co. arrive except sweaty-browed trepidation and vein-filling excitement. If you’ve read any music magazine or website at all this year you’ll be familiar with the Deftones’ patchy live record. Sometimes they’re sloppy, looking stoned and bored they have a tendency to mull around with songs until they sound like awful impersonations of the band everyone knows they can be. But sometimes they’re glorious, carving their tunes out of rock and flaying through them like cannon fire. Tonight they lean towards the latter. Tonight, Deftones are flawless.

‘Knife Party’ is a horribly relevant opener but it sounds extraordinary. To see this band this close is marvellous but to hear the way they play is even better. Stef is attacking his guitar, Abe and Chi are rifling through the ‘Tones inventive rhythms and Chino is singing, like an angel, with proper words and everything. This, in industry terms, is known as playing an absolute blinder.

They play a rare ‘Boy’s Republic’, a version of ‘Around The Fur’ that puts goosebumps on goosebumps and, at what was rumoured to be a show booked to work out any kinks in the new material, they play only two newies. One in the rousing, raring shape of ‘Hole In The Earth’ and another with a magnetic run through ‘Beware’. They play ‘Elite’, ‘Lifter’ and then a stunning version of ‘Seven Words’ with the whole Ballroom singing along. And then you look at your watch and an hour has gone by but it only feels like fifteen minutes. And if a part of you isn’t moved by tonight’s titanic version of ‘Change’ then you’re dead inside. Yes even you shirtless macho boys in the pit.

The band finish with ‘RX Queen’, an oddly quiet choice for such an intense occasion but then it’s difficult to decide what they should have played. This group have got such a perfect back catalogue, now one album bigger, that they could have played three more sets and each would have been just as sweet as this one. Book your seats for next year's proper tour now.

The Deftones then, officially better than street crime, dog fights and nearly every other modern rock band on the face of the earth.



Les Georges Leningrad are Poney P, Mingo L’Indien and Bobo Boutin from Montreal. They all play synthesisers. But almost certainly not how you’re thinking they do. This is no all-night disco party. These guys (and one gal) tour with The Locust. This is what Hot Chip would sound like if they covered Slayer. This is a chaotic jumble called ‘petrochemical rock’

From tribal beats, monstrous chanting and alien whale noises to crashing computer sounds, wailing feedback and digital jigsawed beats, the Les Georges trio have been on a mission to mess with your ears for six years now. ‘Sangue Puro’ is their third album and it’ll take anyone who thinks they know about new-rave because they downloaded some Klaxons songs and turn them into a muddy puddle of piss and drool.

The slow-build darkness of the title track, the deformed accordion noise and potty-mouthed rap of ‘Sleek Answer’ and the stomping grind of ‘Lonely Lonely’ simultaneously excel as wild fun and wracked experiments in noise. Which is what makes it so disappointing when the trio stray anywhere close to normality. ‘Skulls In The Closet’ feigns accessibility before dissolving into distorted bass and wicked vocal yelps but ‘Mammal Beats’, even with its cacophony of lions, tigers and bears (oh my!), sounds positively Yeah Yeah Yeahs-ish.

Despite their newfound directness (don’t panic die-hards, it still sounds like a piano apocalypse) only the most warped minds and biggest masochists will get through ‘Sangue Puro’ in one sitting. But I bet it sounds like some sort of violent second coming when they repeat it live.

Also appear at New-Noise


POWERMAN 5000- Destroy What You Enjoy

There must be some credit given to Powerman 5000, if only for soldiering on. At the dreggy end of nu-metal the band’s action punk was a welcome energizer but time has moved on and even more virulent strains of rock have arrived. Instead of trying to play catch up, Powerman (now containing only two original…er, powermen) have resorted to going vintage. It’s not what the band are playing that’s the problem, Wolfmother and The Hives have proven that good ol’ rock’n’roll is still big business; it’s the way they play it. Songs like ‘Murder’ and the title track show promise but elsewhere proceedings are dry, dull and lifeless. With ‘Destroy What You Enjoy’, frontman Spider and co., move further away from the glam rock space-fever that made their name and ever closer to the front of the dole queue. Disappointing.

SHAI HULUD+ Parkway Drive+ Remembering Never. Underworld, London. 02.09.06

It's raining men. No, not like that. There's just a constant stream of bodies flying over the stage as Shai Hulud; hardcore vets returning after a lengthy absence, let rip with another twisted hate anthem. And it's fucking great to have them back doing what they do best.

Before the reformed greats shake off the rust though, another set of Floridians take the stage. Remembering Never have been around a while themselves but this is their first time to the UK and, with a set that relies heavily on new material, they were probably expecting the worst. Any doubts are immediately crushed. The band combine punk, hardcore and social commentary into a boiling mixture that spits out balls of rage like 'For Love Of Fiction' and 'Selma'. Inventive breakdowns and flashes of melody emerge from their wall-of-noise attack and the crowd respond to every note. They are the next heavy band you must hear.

Parkway Drive know a thing or two about heavy themselves. This is the Australians' third visit to the UK in a year and their solid metalcore has never been less than thrilling. So it's a surprise to hear the band misfire tonight. It might be down to a gruelling tour schedule, it might be the quality they're sandwiched between but from a breathless Winston McCall, huffing and puffing where his growl usually dominates, to an underwhelming finish, Parkway get a decent pit going but just aren't at top gear.

Shai Hulud know only one gear. And it's a fast one. While this constant velocity might be the reason the band has never captured a truly sizeable audience, they have clearly been missed. This sold out show, the last in a string of sold out British shows, is testament to their enduring importance. A crowd reaction that embarrasses that of most other hardcore gigs is testament to their unlimited kinetic energy and the electric heat coming off an opening run through 'A Profound Hatred Of Man' testament to the fact that this band can still slice a knife through the cool factor and deliver the goods.

Unlike Parkway Drive's insistent battering or Remembering Never's vitriolic punk, Shai Hulud's razor sharp time changes don't make for great mosh material. Where the headliners truly succeed isn't in providing music to fight to but endless fire, ire and passion. Something the people crowd-surfing and singing themselves hoarse in every corner of the venue knew all along. The shape of hardcore past, present and thankfully now, the future.

Also appears at RockMidgets.