Napalm Death + Raging Speedhorn + Cage Fight + Casket Feeder @ The Craufurd Arms, Wolverton on 26th March 2022


In what promises to be a brutally heavy night the old school meets new at The Craufurd Arms and in the new corner are local lads Casket Feeder. Formed in 2016 and hailing from the badlands of Milton Keynes this quintet take inspiration from the first wave of Swedish death metal and marry it to the aggression of UK hardcore and the result is pretty explosive. With a riff heavy, twin guitar attack that largely eschews solos their sound is not for the faint hearted and tracks such as the bowel-loosening ‘Mask Of The Martyr’ go straight for the throat. Vocalist Matt Downes veers between clean singing and guttural growls and floats over a rock-solid rhythm section. Shiny new single ‘Vulture Culture’ bodes well for new album Servants Of Violence (due on 20th May) and segues nicely into brutal set closer ‘Wormwood’.

Like many magical moments in music Cage Fight began life as a happy accident. Formed as a side project between TesseracT guitarist James Monteith and bassist John Reid the bands crossover fusion certainly packs a punch. In fact, it seems that Cage Fight is the perfect name for this London mob who sound like a pair of heavyweight boxers slugging it out. After the briefest of intros ‘Shine Don’t Fade’ bursts from the PA and throws a succession of deft punches. Heavy as hell yet fleet of foot the band mix up tempos with reckless abandon as drummer Nick Plews dictates a crazy pace, almost daring the band to keep up. James Monteith is like a thrasher sent forth from 1986 to liven up the present with chunky riffs and his unique style is complimented by Rachel Aspe who unleashes some unearthly vocals. It’d be nice to see Rachel engage more with the crowd between songs but I’m sure that’ll come with time. However, with tracks such as ‘Hope Castrated’ they really can’t go wrong and are sure to set Bloodstock alight this summer.

Another band with an apt moniker is Raging Speedhorn. Allegedly taking their name from an amphetamine induced erection (!) these guys are a blur of energy and almost 25 years of metal mayhem hasn’t blunted their aggression. Like some crazy Clockwork Orange gang there’s something of Suicidal Tendencies about these guys (only they hail from Corby) but with two hyperactive singer’s things are sent into overdrive and they proceed to whip the crowd into a frenzy. If there was a law against inciting mosh pits, then these guys would be serving some serious time. From the opening riff of ‘Motörhead’ to the pounding outro of ‘Knives And Faces’ Raging Speedhorn deliver a masterclass in stagecraft. Like a street fight its ruthless and barbarous and while it’s not always pretty it’s hard to avert your gaze. Tonight’s set takes in all points of their career, although the track selection is weighed towards 2020’s Hard To Kill, and they’ve set the bar extremely high for tonight’s headliners.

Having terrorised listeners for over four decades Birmingham’s noise pioneers Napalm Death are showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, they’ve picked up momentum and have bookended the global pandemic with two key releases (2020’s Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism and 2022’s Resentment Is Always Seismic). Napalm Death arrive with little warning which makes the sonic blast of fury that is ‘Unchallenged Hate’ all the more powerful. With barely a pause for breath the frenetic ‘Fuck The Factoid’ follows and the band, a whirl of aperiodic energy, are equally frenzied. Off stage vocalist Barney cuts an affable persona who radiates calmness but once he grabs a microphone a strange transmogrification occurs. Singing like a Dalek on the point of implosion he moves with rapid spasmodic movements and with finger constantly held aloft as if in oratory rage.

The last few times I’ve seen Napalm Death they’ve been rocking the larger stages (Bloodstock, Uprising) so it’s nice to see them back in the clubs. In truth a smaller venue is probably the best way to experience Napalm Death; just like their confrontational sound they get up close and personal and there’s plenty of crowd participation as waves of surfers and divers leap from the stage. Just like their beloved Swans and Killing Joke, Napalm Death are a band in constant evolution but despite the years and stylistic shifts that separate ‘The Kill’ and ‘Narcissus’ they make for easy bedfellows. The short, sharp shocks keep coming until we arrive at the penultimate ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’. Originally recorded by the Dead Kennedys it’s a song that Napalm Death have made their own and it’s inconceivable that they’d never play it live. There are no encores or other such rock star bullshit and ‘Unfit Earth’, like running into a brick wall, brings the set to an abrupt but thoughtful conclusion.

Raging Speedhorn Set List:

  1. Motörhead
  2. Redweed
  3. Scrapin’ The Resin
  4. Hand Of God
  5. Fuck The Voodoo Man
  6. Spitfire
  7. Hard To Kill
  8. Doom Machine
  9. Superscud
  10. Brutality
  11. Hate Song
  12. Knives And Faces


Napalm Death Set List:

  1. Unchallenged Hate
  2. Fuck The Factoid
  3. Backlash Just Because
  4. Hung
  5. Contagion
  6. Lucid Fairytale
  7. Everyday Pox
  8. Invigorating Clutch
  9. Cesspits
  10. Scum
  11. Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism
  12. Continuing War On Stupidity
  13. The Kill
  14. Narcissus
  15. Suffer The Children
  16. On The Brink Of Extinction
  17. Don’t Need It (Bad Brains cover)
  18. Breed To Breathe
  19. You Suffer
  20. Smash A Single Digit
  21. Deceiver
  22. Dead
  23. Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys cover)
  24. Unfit Earth