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.

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