Mosh! February 2012
Promoter: Mosh! Winchester
Date: Saturday 18th February 2012
Venue: The Railway, Winchester
Bands: EnTro-P, Bloodworks, Biolith, Desolator
Welcome back for Mosh! at The Railway. January was worryingly missing this little gem of a metal night in Winchester and, although I did make it to a few gigs, it was never quite the same. The bands were great, the atmosphere was awesome but there was a lack of a certain continuity to the evenings. The regulars weren’t there, the bands were a little more mainstream (mostly) and if you don’t get to rock out ot metal DJs till 1am then what’s the fucking point sometimes? This is probably going to be a pretty damn short review as I think I have even less criticism than usual to throw out there. If you want a very brief overview of Mosh! this month just take this – It was the best one yet.
I only just made it through the doors in time to see the first band start up. A fiery and ballbreaking salute to the old school thrash metal of yester-year - Desolator took to the stage almost before I’d even finished my first gulp. A lot of bands nowadays, particularly those in the public eye, surround themselves with such a pervasive aura of show and bullshit (looking at you Black Veil Brides) that it’s really hard to take them seriously so Desolator, firing off from the flip side of the coin, were a welcome change. Tight jeans, denim jackets, massive and unkempt hair; there was not one ounce of bullshit surrounding these guys. Two of their songs were even about beer…just…beer. I don’t care who you are, that’s fucking metal. Sound wise Desolator harkened back to memories of some kind of twisted Metalli-Slayer hybrid with a massive smattering of Spinal Tap thrown in (memories Nick? Shut up shoulder devil!). With fingers flying and darting across the fretboard at breakneck speeds during solos by guitar/volcaist Jamie and a crushingly ferocious bassline supplied underneath by bassist Felix the band proved they had the talent to back up the look. It’s not often you get such a sound from a three piece but the abscence of a rhythm guitarist really worked for these guys, the sound was simple, stripped down. Just one guitar, one bass and a thundering drum assault by stickmaster Sam was all these guys needed.
That said, after a couple of songs their set did end up feeling a little flat, without a noticeable degree of variety from song to song. They were good, but each as good as the last and with very little to tell between one and the other. This sort of approach can work live as the band themself were so fucking likable but I get the impression that I’d give their album one listen then resign it to the bowels of my iPod, heard once or twice ever again. At the end of it all I didn’t care too much. As an opener Desolator rocked fucking hard and kept everybody smiling with their no nonsense approach to fun in the face of metal. Whatever I thought of their music, I couldn’t help but like these guys.
From the beer soaked house of fun we were soon wrenched out by our ribcages as the Gothenberg inspired ‘five-piece’ Biolith marched gloriously to the stage. Now the more astute of you may have noticed that ‘five-piece’ was written in quotation marks there and be wondering how many of them there are. Well first off Biolith were without their own bassist so instead borrowed one from another local band to fill out the set. Secondly, because apparantly Biolith pulled out some of Winchester’s best nutters of the night including a drunken metalhead named Joe who found himself in a bed of guitar cases, Newcastle Brown Ale in each hand, before being escorted out by security, and an old man who enjoyed his pint sitting onstage, looking ofr his elusive CD case (a personal highlight being when he found it).
So that out of the way, let’s get on with the review. Melodic Death Metal is a tricky genre to pull off because so many things have to come together and be right or it just ends out sounding like a mess. Biolith are in no fucking danger of that. Even with a temporary bassist new to the band’s material (they deliberatly closed the set with a track he didn’t know) these guys were fucking tight. Every scream, chord, beat, blast, and note fell together in perfect precision as the band unleashed their own brand of carnage like an out of control train straight to hell. I moshed my fucking head off listening to these guys. There was an adrenaline fuelled raw power behind every single song that washed over the crowd like the waters of Styx themselves. Couldn’t possibly pick out one highlight although I think great credit has to go to vocalist Luke for being a consumate frontman who drew the crowd into the band’s twisted world so well that the headbanging almost stopped being a conscious action. Great from start to finish…especially the old guy, he was a fucking legend.
Sigh…Bloodworks…fucking Bloodworks. Third review. Third time watching Bloodworks onstage. I’m running out of things to say. I fucking hate these guys, they’re too damn young. If they were women I’m pretty sure finding them hot would put me on some kind of register. For fuck’s sake, how do you get that talented at such a young age? ‘Dead and Buried’? Such an epic tune, the staple of the show and one which I think I’ve now seen enough times to sing along to. Me and everybody around me moshed for the whole fucking set. I’m sick of beating around the bush reviewing a band as undoubtedly incredbile as Bloodworks. GO AND FUCKING SEE THEM. From what I’ve seen they are the shining hope of the South Central Metal circuit at the moment. The next Rise to Remain? Fuck that. The next Trivium? Piss off. The next Metallica? Maybe. Fact of the matter is there are so few contemporaries to compare Bloodworks to that saying ‘the next…’ is totally redundant. They rock. Fuck, do I feel old now.
Okay, tongue in cheek moment of bitterness out the way, time for the headliners. EnTro-P. As great as Mosh is, you do sometimes find a lot of bands these days can come off a tad formulaic but EnTro-P is a band which shatters that maxim and then turns round to run over its carcass again just to make sure the damn thing’s dead. Like funnelling Tool through a chainsaw, EnTro-P fired forth a cascading litany of cerebral metal which was both symphonic and crushing at the same time. Orchestrating this bizarre mix of genres, vocalist/bassist Jake Archer combined brutal harsh vocals alongside softer and more considered clean ones, accompanied by guitarist Alex Sampson, whilst his fingers went wild on the angelically gorgeous five string bass in his hands, even busting out some slap bass – this dude fucking rocks. Despite his prolific talent as both a vocalist and bassist Archer didn’t do much in the role of frontman and instead he and his bandmates allowed the music to do its work. Guitarists Sampson and Curt Platt were furious in the aggressive verses and intricately magnificent in the slower musical breaks whilst drummer Sean Mamo busted out some freakishly impressive work on the kit, juggling several different tempo shifts throughout just one song, let alone the whole fucking set.
All in all EnTro-P juggled several dangerously complicated elements in each of their songs, from the double vocalists and the slap bass to the tempo changes and the vocal shifts, which lesser bands would have struggled with. Rest assured, EnTro-P are not a lesser band and delivered what they set out to with each and every song, line, chord and note. Truly a spectacle to behold.
Maybe not as short as I initially promised but, oh well, sometimes reviewing I just get a little carried away with myself. Month after month I can see Mosh! growing in attendance, atmopshere and talent on show and tonight was the best damn one yet. With all I’ve said about the bands on display there’s one thought which is holding onto me in my mind. That burning faith flaming higher and higher like the mighty Phoenix. I can’t wait until I’m back at this laptop, maybe next month, maybe a bit more down the line, maybe even a year from now, telling everybody how the Mosh I’ve just attended was even better than that one way back in February 2012.
I know I won’t be let down.
Bloodworks: 10/10 (Fuck it, I’m sick of holding back)