Napalm Death, Lock Up @ Patronaat, Haarlem, 30 April 2017

On the former queen’s day, the club Patronaat organised a festival called “Vorst in de Grond” which could mean Frost in the ground (but there weren’t any black metal bands to sing about frost and stuff) or “Monarch in the ground”. Anyway, it was centred around the Napalm Death tour, and the club added quite a number of bands to the bill. Most of these however were more in the direction of punk than metal, so I skipped most of them anyway.

I entered the venue 20 minutes or so before Lock Up started to play. They have a new album – Demonization – and new singer, since Tomba is unfortunately too busy with At The Gates, called Kevin Sharp, formerly of Brutal Truth. They never the less decided to start of with a few songs off the previous record. The singer sounds has a much deeper grunt than Tomba’s high-pitch shrieking, but much closer to Peter’s vocals on the debut. So that takes a bit of getting used to. Other than that it was fast, and quite tight, although guitarist Anton appeared a bit tired. The ended the 30 minute set with presumably their best song, After Life in Purgatory.

The cafe, where the second stage was located was actually very small and mostly packed, so I hardly went their. Hence I waited for the next band. The American’s in Power Trip. These guys play stripped down thrash metal with quite some hardcore influences. The drummer didn’t use a double bass, which is quite rare in extreme metal. It sounded okay but not really my thing. They ensured us that they didn’t vote for Trump despite being from Texas, and that they’d love to see him visit Dallas some time soon.

Most of Lock Up would reappear on stage now, yet with two different singers and their faces covered with handkerchiefs, for Brujeria was next. These Mexican drug lords, or at least that is what they try to make us belief. They sing in Spanish and most of the talking in between songs is also in Spanish. Musically, I thought they were quite mediocre, with some death metal and grind mixed into it. O well.

I left the hall early to be able to get into the cafe, to see Nuclear Devastation. A Dutch band I had never heard of, but the description sounded interesting. They play fast thrash metal, with some punk influences and a couple of slow, doomy section mixed in. It all sounded a bit chaotic, which I think is mostly lacking in the song writing department. The riffs aren’t too string and the changes between them are too abrupt. So I left early again to get a good place for the main act.

Shane Embury got on stage for a third time this evening. Now with his main act Napalm Death. After the intro from tape they started with the opening track of From Enslavement of Obliteration – Evolved As One. The title track also appeared further down the set. Mitch still has not returned, so the stand-in replacement John Cooke is handling all the guitar duties, which he did absolutely fine tho. Then right as Barney was introducing the band, some dickhead threw an empty beer glass into his face. Can’t imagine what he was thinking, really. Anyway after a bit of disturbance the band grinded on. And we got a great selection of their entire discography with the oldies like Scum, The Kill, Deceiver, You Suffer, Suffer the Children, I Abstain, Twist the Knife (Slowly), and the newer songs such as Smash a single Digit, Quarantined,
The Code Is Red… Long Live the Code. Near the end of the set no less than three short covers were played by The Offenders, Hirax and the perpetual Nazi Punks Fuck Off. And finally Persona Non Grata and Smear Campaign, which ended mostly with feedback and noise, much like Esoteric like to do. It’s fantastic that a band like this is going for more nearly 30 years still have the energy to play this fast, running around the stage like crazy. Only the bass drums seemed to have a bad day, as they were very sloppy on the double bass parts. Other than that a great gig.

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