Friday 16th November, 2002

The Old Angel, Nottingham, ENGLAND.

Having attended quite a number of gigs at the Old Angel over the years, it never ceases to amaze me just at the lack of any organisation at this venue. For the bands, trying to find someone that could help with almost any technical\sound problem encountered during the performances tonight was thankless and for the punters, even getting a drink seemed a major problem! Anyway, that’s the unnecessary annoyances out of the way, let’s get on with the music…

The first band to play tonight was ‘The Murder of…’ who has to be described as disturbing. They’re a group of 16 year olds and they didn’t even change out of their school clothes before coming out to play. They indulged in a short set of short noise tracks that didn’t seem to have any structure or tune. During this melee on the dance floor, various members of the band (or they could have been the crowd) leapt about like mad deranged dervishes, writhing about on the floor, shaking themselves violently or just bashing into dumbfounded people in the audience (it looked hilarious). It was total chaos, with neither the audience nor the band seeming to have a clue what was going on. The whole episode came across as a bit of a piss-take, which was dissappointing as they had been tipped as worth looking out for. Their EP has been reviewed by Downtuned and promised much more than this.

The West Midlands band Godsize were next up and the four-piece really give out a solid punch. With the bass player wearing a Charger and the guitarist wearing an Iron Monkey tee-shirt, it gave a suggestion as to what they were going to sound like, and you got exactly what was on the shirts. The set included a song dedicated to Sabbath and to be honest it could have been a cover of a Sabbath song. The heavy sludge style riffs with the occasional faster sections that switch between that and the monotony of crawling chords, doesn’t always hold your interest and the pace changes definitely caught the band out a few times as well. They were entertaining but musically just too predictable.

It was a big jump up in standard as the next band got into their stride. 3 Stages of Pain came across as more professional and with far more character and confidence. They gave a good performance of menacing heavy metal, which at times was abrasively grinding and always screamingly savage. The vocals were handle by the charismatic ‘Shelf’ who reminded me so much of Brian Johnson from AC/DC in both his live vocal style as well as visually, even down to the wearing of a cap. In fact, it was the vocals that just let things down a little, as compared to their recently released and most excellent album ‘With Chaos In Her Wake’ they did come across as being just a bit one dimensional. Having said that when they play cracking songs like ‘Death Rides The Highway’ - songs that are just so heavy that they blow you away - it’s easy to forgive that small quibble. This is a band well worth catching live, especially if you get to see them at a place as small as this and on a tiny stage, it’s very amusing as it almost became a mosh pit up there!

Then, the band we came to see - Johnny Truant. This is a band that is currently carving a name for themselves on the UK scene and their album hasn’t been released yet! And there is good reason, for they are simply something very special and tonight they didn’t let us down. It was an excellent set and as ever they put everything into the performance. You could see the enthusiasm in Olly (vocals), screaming like a banshee and violently convulsing to the demonic noisecore being produced around him by James (guitar), Stuart (bass) and Paul (drums). As a bonus a new song was performed called ‘I The Exploder’ which sees a slightly more relaxed emphasis to their song writing and includes some vocals by James. Having said that, it was still awesomely heavy and fitted in perfectly with the existing material. So, apart from a few technical problems with the bass, which really upset Stuart as they set themselves such high standards to perform to (and actually resulted in his bass being thrown down at the end of the set), this was another fine gig from those playing Truant. Watch out for their album ‘The Repercussions Of A Badly Planned Suicide’ to be released on Undergroove on the 2nd December, or get it now at one of their gigs! They’re playing some of the best music to be found anywhere at the moment, so don’t miss out on this experience as it will all be at your loss.


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