Live Music + Gig Reviews

Destruction Festival 2005 @ Underworld, London

22-23 July 2005

Now in its third year of residence at the Camden Underworld, the Destruction Festival continues to host some of the finest but unsung metal and hardcore acts from around the globe. Friday night’s festivities are given over exclusively to a host of hardcore talent. The pick of the bunch is the brutal, London-based Taking Names, with the only downside being that Saturday’s metal ‘all-dayer’ is thus set a high benchmark.

I arrive on the Saturday to hear the ridiculous thrashings of another set of Londoners, Beef Conspiracy, who have taken sick humour and mixed it with some Cradle Of Filth-fuelled madness. This results in them spewing forth songs about “decorating bedrooms with human entrails” and seems to amuse them more than most of those in attendance.

Thankfully, unlike Beef Conspiracy, Diamanthian have left the badly timed and poorly delivered jokes to the likes of Jasper Carrot. Instead they proceed to blast out a few fairly impressive thrash numbers backed by some solid percussion, although they are greeted by a somewhat underwhelming response from the crowd.

Horror movies, big hairy spiders and dark stormy nights might be enough to scare even the most hard headed of individuals, but if you really want a fright I suggest catching Holland’s Slechtvalk in action. The septet is a self-described “war metal” outfit and manifest as a group of extras from Lord Of The Rings (complete with battle paint and tunics), providing what should be the soundtrack to everything The Games Workshop has ever manufactured. If you’re a geek and you happen to love extreme metal, it simply will not get better than this, and judging by the ‘power metal’ poses from some of the audience, the geeks are well and truly in attendance for this evening’s proceedings!

Headliners Extol have come a long way over the past 11 years. Starting out as teenage music fans who sought to emulate their metal heroes such as Believer, thrash has most certainly been the order of the day for most of their material. With recent line-up changes, however, more diverse influences have begun to surface in their sound, with King’s X and Deftones both being namechecked in reviews of their latest effort work, The Blueprint Dives.

Tonight there is a split in the crowd’s appreciation of Extol’s set. There are plenty of newcomers in the crowd, who are only too happy to hear tracks such as Gloriana from the band’s latest release. However, dotted around the dimly lit venue are hoards of “old school” fans who are deeply sceptical of this singing lark that Peter Espevoll has decided is the way forward in the vocal department.

Thankfully he picks up on these screamed requests for material from Extol’s plentiful archive, and we are treated to some earlier moments from the Burial era, as well as one of the finest tracks on Undeceived: Ember. And, although the latter portion of Extol’s set is filled with much material from The Blueprint Dives, it is still received well to cap a triumphant evening’s work for the Norwegians.

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