Help­less/Harrowed UN­DER­WORLD, LON­DON

Metal Hammer (UK) - - REVIEWS - LUKE MOR­TON


YOU MIGHT HAVE no­ticed that more and more gig-go­ers are, quite sen­si­bly, wear­ing earplugs to de­lay the in­evitable trudge to deaf­dom, but lately it feels like metal bands have been crank­ing it up to 11 just for shits and gig­gles. Of course, metal should al­ways be played loud, and tonight’s head­lin­ers are bib­li­cally deaf­en­ing, like a six-pint belch from Beelze­bub him­self. Kick­ing off the night of rapid-fire riffs and hys­ter­i­cal howls are HARROWED [6]. They’re not as men­ac­ing as the name sug­gests but pack some se­ri­ous heat when it comes to head­bang­ing. Step­ping it up in the vi­o­lence stakes are grind­ing noise­bas­tards HELP­LESS [7], who rev the pit into a frenzy with their un­tamed fury, send­ing sweaty bod­ies fly­ing into the pho­tog­ra­phers down the front.

All of which is re­ally just a warm-up for what ev­ery­one here has waited a long time for. Hav­ing can­celled their pre­vi­ous UK tour last year then go­ing on a sud­den hia­tus, pow­ervi­o­lence supre­mos NAILS [9] have kept Lon­don hun­gry for far too long, and it just takes a split-sec­ond for the floor to erupt into a geyser of fists and spilled beer. The four men on­stage – who look like they would eat you alive – are strictly busi­ness tonight, bat­ter­ing the sold-out crowd into sub­mis­sion with sense-shat­ter­ing bru­tal­ity and vol­ume. Vo­cal­ist Todd Jones’s mic has been ramped up to 11, and he still in­sists on cup­ping the sides to get even louder. Firmly plant­ing the ti­tle track from last year’s in­cred­i­ble You Will Never Be One Of Us at the be­gin­ning of your set is a state­ment of in­tent, then back­ing it up with Life Is A Death Sen­tence and I Will Not Fol­low, it sends the ’pit­ters of North Lon­don into over­drive. It’s al­most odd to see smiles crack across the faces of the hench­men on­stage – and as bassist John Gianelli dances around with an empty beer crate on his head, a mo­men­tary lapse of hu­mour and se­cu­rity falls across the room. But in real­ity, no­body is safe. Stage­divers fly through the sweat-thick air, much to the amuse­ment of Todd, who is gen­uinely hum­bled by the re­cep­tion Nails have re­ceived tonight, and as the open­ing notes of an im­promptu en­core fire out, it’s like feed­ing time in a shark tank sound­tracked by nu­clear war. But would you ex­pect any­thing else?

Todd Jones: dou­ble-hard bastard Keep­ing it cosy down the front

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