BURY YOUR DEAD. Islington Academy, London. 17.12.08

Bury Your Dead are in a weird place right now. And that doesn’t just mean the Islington Academy- the venue inside a shopping centre- that they’re playing tonight. No, tonight marks the Massachusetts outfit’s first UK outing since their transition from hardcore heroes to heavy metal band really picked up steam.

That all started with the release of their self-titled album in March of course but tonight, with the band slowing songs down to add even more groove than usual, guitarist Slim throwing rock star moves, and frontman Myke Terry’s contant demands for people to put their hands in the air, jump up and down, and bang their heads (not at the same time, mind), it’s arrived live and in the flesh. As much as they throw their all behind it though, if the, ahem, limited attendance and odd atmosphere tonight are anything to go by then the changeover is not going entirely smoothly.

Ok sure, the songs, both old and new, are great- ‘Magnolia’ is still a brilliantly violent burst of noise, ‘House Of Straw’ is a moshable monster, and newie ‘Fever Dream’ might be the best thing BYD have ever written- but they don’t all sit well together. And occasionally, like when the wicked shimmy of ‘Top Gun’ tramples all over the smoother finish of ‘Hands To Hide The Shame’, or when Terry struggles to switch between low growls and clean singing quick enough, they downright sound like the work of different bands. And with the crowd unsure whether to throw down or headbang, windmill or play air guitar, the whole night ends up feeling a little… awkward.

Bury Your Dead are still in the middle of an evolution then, that much is clear, and while it does feel like they’ve got a decent shot at making it stick, tonight illustrates it clearly isn’t finished. Time, and whether another tour gets booked soon, will tell here.

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