Who: Slabdragger, Gurt, Burden Of The Noose
Where: Our Black Heart, Camden, London
When: Friday 13th 2013
The UK sludge scene is buoyant, and this show at Camden’s Black Heart was evidence of why. London’s SLABDRAGGER, whose profile was raised last year when opening for the mighty Saint Vitus, were top of the bill here, headlining an exciting line-up of British talent.
First up were BURDEN OF THE NOOSE, who unleashed a fearsome, dual-vocal hurricane of metal. The Birmingham sextet’s music is like a genre-orgy, mixing heavy-riffing sludge with dirty grindcore and rabid black metal.
The two vocalists combine like an unstoppable hammer and knife attack, with Karl Lane’s growls pummelling the breath from your body, before the screaming Andy Barraclough slices chunks off. We’re not sure we believe in Chaos Theory, but, if it is true, God knows what kind of damage is being caused by the hellish racket emitted from Lane’s throat. Who knows, maybe his Camden roar set off a small earthquake in provincial China.
He began the show in amongst the audience, which got things off to a friendly start, and in fact both singers were extremely engaging and seemed to be enjoying themselves. BOTN put in a powerful, crowd-pleasing performance, with songs such as ‘Circle Of Shit’ showcasing their natural feel for cruel riffs that weaken your knees while the Maiden-esque crash endings revealed a sense of fun.
The pleasure continued with local lads GURT. Their visceral, thrashing sludge was very well-received by a packed Black Heart, with the massive ‘Sophisticate’ and thumping ‘You Ain’t From Around These Parts’ being particular highlights. Or should that be lowlights?
Frontman Gareth Kelly was a compelling presence, bouncing up and down centre-stage like a demon, his possessed voice soaring high then lurking low with impressive versatility. Congratulations also to Bill Jacobs of Diesel King, who was filling in on drums and got a well-earned round of applause for his flawless performance.
And then came ‘Little Donkey’. Yes, ‘Little Donkey’. This is GURT’s rather special Christmas song, available to buy here – http://whenplanetscollide.bandcamp.com/album/gurt-little-donkey
As possibly the least Christmassy song ever recorded (even in spite of some undeniably Christmassy lyrics going on there) we think that a serious effort should be made to ensure this the nation’s 2013 Christmas No.1. Failing that, you should definitely play it during your Christmas dinner – it’s guaranteed to raise some seasonal cheer!
SLABDRAGGER rounded things off, and it turned out to be the end of an era for the band, who announced that this would be the final time they’d play their older material. “It’s fucking embarrassing,” laughed co-singer Yusuf Tary. “We’ve been playing this stuff for five years!” (Man, how does he think Tony Iommi feels?)
If this is to be the last time we hear the old stuff, what a way to go out! SLABDRAGGER, with Sam Thredder sharing vocal duties with Tary, delivered an electric performance that had the venue’s foundations trembling and its floorboards bouncing… albeit pretty slowly. The band’s dense, Electric Wizard/Yob-style riffery and ferocious vocals thundered from the stage like a World War 2 howitzer.
These are exciting times for SLABDRAGGER and, having now shut the door on their older songs, it’ll be interesting to see how the new material in 2014 will further push the band’s creative abilities. For now, though, time to savour a massive night of sludge from three excellent British bands.
Read more about the UK doom scene in this great article: http://www.ninehertz.co.uk/viewitem/4313