What do get when you mix four Belgians, Milton Keynes tech metallers, some Welwyn Garden City hardcore kids and Devil Sold His Soul? The Metal Hammer 2012 Razor Tour, of course. And while it’s one of the less obvious four-band touring bills around, Tom Dare thought it looked like a good one, so we sent him off to Camden to review it. From which he came back half-blind.
Six things we learned when The Metal Hammer Razor Tour came to London:
1) Steak Number Eight are properly, bowel-voiding heavy. The recorded stuff is dirty and rumbling and sludgy and crushing and all those good things, but live it’s the kind of low-end rumble that you can feel in your gut and knees. These chaps from Belgium might have some of the most juvenile lyrics in metal (which, given most black and death metal, is saying a lot) but their music shouts beards, whiskey and imminent arthritis.
Watch the video to ‘Dickhead’ by Steak Number Eight:
2) This isn’t SN8’s crowd. They work seriously fucking hard to get a reaction, shouting encouragement and throwing themselves around energetically, but there aren’t enough Melvins fans in the audience to really get what’s going on. There’s a lot of blank faces, and while the receptions perfectly polite, it’s obvious they’re largely on a hiding to nothing.
3) Heart Of A Coward, on the other hand, are clearly right at home. The techy riffs – groove and thud that, while impressive, are easy to bang your head to – get people moving, and Jamie Graham’s predictably commanding stagecraft shows the value of the genuine frontman. You can’t whip up a pit around the Underworld’s pillars while holding a guitar.
4) Heights at their best are fucking fantastic, but it turns out they can have their off-nights. They’re still earnest, abrasive and imploring, but there’s a slight spark missing. When they supported Biohazard here in February, they were thrilling, but you don’t quite get the sense that they are doing this because they simply have to. The hardcore fury of the songs still slays – we merely know this band are capable of even better.
Watch the video to ‘A New Legacy’ by Devil Sold His Soul:
5) Devil Sold His Soul might not have quite kicked off as much as we think they deserve (why is this band still in venues this small?) but they’re still a killer outfit, and they’ve very clearly got a fan base that truly adores them. As evidence, note the young lady down the front who can barely stop crying with joy throughout the whole set, and the mass ranks of devotees at the front singing all the melodic bits back with gusto. It’s great to see too that the people at the back who appear to have been here for other bands don’t fuck off, but stick around to see DSHS show their atmospheric music with real skill.
6) DSHS appear to have splashed out on some fancy lights that swivel and change colour, backlighting them in purples, blues and reds. Unfortunately, whoever programmed them may have made the band look really cool, but by pointing the lights (which are powerful enough to give you sunburn at 40 paces) directly into the faces of the crowd, you can’t actually tell. All you can see are white spots where the glaring beams have imprinted on your retina. It might seem a minor point, but if you can’t actually see the band you’ve come to watch, it is a bit hard to enjoy them.