Tramshed, Cardiff, Wed 19 Feb
Having already had Storm Dennis rip through south Wales in the past few days, there’s the threat of another one doing equal amounts of damage in the shape of the Campaign For Musical Destruction tour. One of the heaviest package tours to hit these parts in the last few years, the talents of Napalm Death [above], Eyehategod [below] and Misery Index as well as Rotten Sound and Bat ensures a packed lower level of the Tramshed this evening, which kicks off early with all this brutality to get through.
The hordes haven’t quite made it through the door yet as Bat take to the stage, but they soon pull the punters in with their 1986-styled thrash metal assault. Featuring members of D.R.I. and Municipal Waste, I expected nothing less. Up next are Finland’s Rotten Sound, whose mix of Entombed-style groove mixed with blistering grindcore prove to be the perfect appetiser for Misery Index. By now we have a full hall and the pit is in full swing.
Setting off at blistering pace, Baltimore’s Misery Index have been carrying the flag for death metal since the early 00s, and on tonight’s evidence will continue to do so for a long time. With a setlist largely culled from last year’s Rituals Of Power album, they leave the stage having slightly raised the bar and giving Eyehategod the unenviable task of following them. But the NOLA four piece are more than up to the task… usually.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but having seen EHG numerous times over the years, I felt like there was something missing from their set this time around, and it wasn’t just guitarist Jimmy Bower’s famous long mane. The classics were all there: Dixie Whiskey, Sister Fucker and Blank, a song with a riff that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. There just wasn’t a lot of energy from the band and the performance was very lacklustre as a result.
No such problems for Napalm Death, though. How could there be with Barney Greenway at the helm? A man who does not stop moving the entire set, whether he’s jogging on the spot or contorting himself around the stage, the guy is fantastic entertainment in his own right. The Birmingham grind legends batter their way through a career spanning set and are almost apologetic when introducing new song Logic Ravaged By Brute Force. They need not worry though; the new stuff is received just as well as the likes of Scum, Suffer The Children and the best two seconds you’ll ever hear in You Suffer.
By the time their famous cover of Dead Kennedys’ classic Nazi Punks Fuck Off is rolled out, the crowd are in a frenzy – but in typical Napalm Death style, they throw a curveball to finish with in the form of Sonic Youth’s White Cross and while the ever approachable Mr Greenway shakes the hand of as many people as possible, the crowd filter out into the streets of Grangetown having witnessed one of Britain’s greatest musical institutions.
words CHRIS ANDREWS photos TIM ALBAN