kiNg 810 COURTESANS/DEATH BLOOMS
Flint’s nihilistic metallers reveal the trauma behind the terror
only other time King 810 toured the UK, they performed behind police tape, accompanied by masked ‘henchmen’ wielding baseball bats and replica guns. As such, anticipation for what lies in store hangs over a sold-out Underworld. Up first and playing to an already busy room, DEATH BLOOMS’  punk and hardcore-infused metalcore throttle gets bodies moving. Next, London-based doom-poppers COURTESANS  are a gritty proposition, melding hip hop beats, dark melodies and 90s-inspired alt rock, though sonically, they’re a tad out of place.
So far, KING 810  have undertaken this tour without guitarist Andrew Beale and again, tonight the band are performing as a three-piece with a backing track. It’s pretty disappointing – no metaller comes to a live show to hear pre-recorded guitar parts and
King 810 wouldn’t have got away with it in a bigger venue. But in the confines of The Underworld, with Eugene Gill’s bass jacked up to monstrous levels and as frontman David Gunn hits the stage with the impact of a 10-ton truck, the sheer heaviness of opener Heavy Lies The Crown eradicates any sense that something’s missing. There are no threatening props this time, save for a shadowy figure in the back corner wielding a laptop. Instead, the band let their colossal sonic onslaught do the talking and Alpha & Omega and
War Outside explode with the rabid intensity of two grizzly bears slogging it out to the death. However, this is more than a one-dimensional show of force. A sample-heavy rendition of Tied To The Whipping Post is played without vocals, bringing together King’s myriad metal and hip hop influences. And while some have dismissed the band as wannabe hard men, talking the big talk through flagrantly aggressive lyrics, there’s real emotional and physiological trauma behind
David’s words. The horror and despair in the lyrics to Vendettas and Write About Us can only come from someone who has genuinely stared death, criminal violence and social deprivation in the face. Even on pit-batterers Killem All and Fat Around The Heart, his vitriol speaks for the unempowered, laying bare the brutal reality of life in a place like the hometown of Flint, Michigan.
Yet it’s clear in the moments when the band pull back to let David’s pained, whispered poetry fill the room, his deep voice heavy with the weight of the things he’s seen, that there’s so much more to King 810 than meets the eye.
A fan feels the full force of a point-blank Gunn