Live Music + Gig Reviews

Hatebreed + Crowbar + Caliban @ Mean Fiddler, London

13 March 2005



Despite Caliban screaming and thrashing their little hearts out across the stage, beyond the ever-enthusiastic front six rows there dwells a distinctly unimpressed atmosphere in the swarming bowels of the Mean Fiddler.

Despite the uphill struggle, the youngGermans are gaining with every UK show, and after support slots with Machine Head and In Flames, the hard work is beginning to pay off as Closer proves – even managing to separate most of the crowd for a full-on wall mosh.

There follows a rousing welcome for the doom-metal legends Crowbar, with Kirk Windstein proving the pack of angry wolves that dwell in his larynx have been roused once more. He seems most pleased to be back in Britain and in his merriment proceeds to execute a therapeutic, speaker-destroying set. This band didn’t earn their “None F**king Heavier” moniker without some justification, however, as the rattling floorboards and my subsequent throbbing head pay tribute to.

From the moment headliners Hatebreed take to the stage, the entire venue is entranced. Jamey Jasta takes his place as commander of a room full of committed troops, barking out his orders for crowd participation, which are followed to the letter. They might not all be flailing around like possessed Olympic gymnasts in one of the many war zone pits that erupt like landmines across the floor, but every punter in the house screams along in unison as Doomsayer sends many an overambitious emo fan scuttling for the stairs. And all this as the testosterone-fuelled, fist-swinging mayhem is only just beginning.

Three early hits, including the brutal Under The Knife, follow in quick succession – the old school fans are most defiantly in their element. Newer fans aren’t left in the cold for long though as Straight To Your Face gives ample opportunity for continued bedlam to ensue. Live For This comes over not only as a killer tune but also as a personal mantra for the godfather of the current hardcore scene. “Every drop of blood, every bitter tear, every bead of sweat, I LIVE FOR THIS!” is shouted by all as they let all in the Astoria Theatre above know who’s having the better time!

The songs might not be technically awe-inspiring, but what strikes – with the velocity of a Tyson uppercut – is their ability to sound so, so viciously heavy, with only three musicians onstage. Sean Martin drops into Hatebreed’s only cover for the evening in the form of a one-minute Reign InBlood tribute, and a rapturous crowd gets even louder as Perseverance makes a welcome follow-up.

This Is Now proves as manic as the fan-filled video, while the final number for the evening is the highly anticipated I Will Be Heard which causes those few with vocal chords still intact to force out every last breath’s worth of participation before collapsing homewards, having just witnessed 2005’s best show yet.

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More on Hatebreed
Hatebreed @ Astoria, London
Hatebreed – Supremacy
Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta: “We use all the hate inside to breed positive conclusions and solutions to the problems in life” – Interview
Hatebreed + Crowbar + Caliban @ Mean Fiddler, London
Hatebreed – The Rise Of Brutality