Review by Paul Castles
A couple of weeks ago it was shoulder to shoulder at the Slade Rooms with the Black Country venue bursting at the seams to welcome Hatebreed.
I did not expect quite such a crowd for a Hostile-headed bill but was still taken aback to find so few faces at the Wolverhampton hotspot. This though in no way seemed to curb the enthusiasm of Under Blackened Skies. These Midland metal maniacs were clearly intent on having a good time even if there were only a sprinkling of fans to see them do it.
Time and again energetic frontman Manu demanded to ‘see those horns in the air’ even though he probably could have counted them all in five seconds. What a shame, because Under Blackened Skies are a proficient punchy bunch who play it fast but with no little technique and in Manu have a loveable rogue of a frontman who you could not help but warm to.
A mix of thrash and death metal, these Brummie barbarians never took their foot off the pedal, Manu even hopping over the barrier to engage with one fan on the final number. Under Blackened Skies’ next local show is at Scruffy Murphy’s in Birmingham on July 20 – if you’ve not seen them yet then here’s your chance!
While UBS could almost have hopped on a bus to the Slade Rooms, Moray Firth had journeyed by road from France to support Hostile. The night was billed as ‘The Future of Metal’ and was promoted by Judas Priest legend KK Downing. I’m not sure where Ken dug these Gallic tech metallers from but most of those at the Slade Rooms were glad he did.
Moray Firth’s frontman was sporting a t-shirt of his acclaimed countrymen Gojira, and while not yet punching at that level, Moray Firth showed sufficient enthusiasm and talent to suggest we’ve not heard the last of them. They played with plenty of discipline, delivering a tight furious sound but laden with heavy melodic riffs and boasting a fine singer in Greg.
KK Downing’s move away from performing with Priest to a new career in promotions began with this night at the Slade Rooms. KK has family connections to Hostile so they were a worthy choice to top his first bill. The name says it all with these young agitators and when the singer demanded the (by now) larger crowd to raise their middle finger and bellow ‘f**k you’, he got the desired response.
Hostile are brash, bold and full of venom and were back in the Midlands after a successful stint backing Lordi on their UK tour. Much of their set was from debut album ‘Eve of Destruction’, produced by KK, and it was no surprise to see them churn out an old Priest classic in ‘Breaking The Law’ for good measure.
Although Hostile’s set is largely a barrage of toxic noise they showed they’re no one-trick pony with ‘Addiction’ a much slower meatier number in which singer Jay gets the chance to sing instead of screech.
Apologies to openers Left Unscarred whose set I missed. The three bands I did see all served up something different but all were full of passion and purpose and it was just unfortunate there weren’t more present at Wolverhampton to enjoy it.