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Napalm Death - Stylus, Leeds 22.02.2020

On the 22nd of February, the ‘Campaign For Musical Destruction’ tour hit Leeds Uni Stylus. First on the bill was Bat an American Motorhead-esque trio, with the group even dedicating a song "Wild Fever" to the iconic band. They had tonnes of energy with fast solos, although felt a bit confused at times with their song “Cool Discipline”, which perhaps sounded more at home in the 80s Hair Metal scene. With being a very younger band, they had a slightly awkward stage presence at times, which was most noticible in their song ‘Ritual Fool’, although the audience did enjoy them.

Next came Finnish Grind four piece Rotten Sound. In typical Grind fashion, their music was fast and intense, with an amazing energy. Solid breakdowns and blastbeats with extremely powerful vocals were rife throughout their set. They certainly grabbed the attention of the crowd and affirmed the positive stereotype of the Scandanavians doing Metal better than most. Certainly one to watch for the future.

At the halfway point, American Death Metal four-piece Misery Index arrived. Out of the three bands I hadn’t come across before, I was most impressed by these guys. They had a smooth polished sound, with distinct growls and screams from their two vocalists. Like the two bands before them, they also had a great presence on stage, delivering their punishing riffs and atmospheric solos perfectly, providing a phenomenal reaction in the crowd.

EYEHATEGOD were up next. Out of the five bands on the lineup, the only two bands I had heard of previously were headliners Napalm Death and this New Orleans based Sludge Metal band. There was an unnecessarily long intro of feedback to their set, which didn’t bode well for their set in my mind. The Lead singer seemed drunk, stumbling around the stage and slurring his words between songs. The group seemed to lack energy at points, especially compared to the other bands, looking bored throughout most of the set. However, the audience seemed to love them, so I can’t fault them in that respect, but I wasn’t too impressed.

Finally came the main event, Napalm Death. They instantly captured the audience with their iconic style of Grind, often being called ‘The Godfathers of Grind’. They didn’t let up throughout their hour and a half set, playing songs new and old. Arguably the best responses came from their seminal album 'Scum', with songs such as the album’s title track and the infamous ‘You Suffer’, which they played twice. I was astounded at the amount of energy they had on stage for a band as old as them, being able to keep up with bands many years their junior. They grabbed the audience’s attention throughout, even in the breaks between songs where front-man Barney Greenway made political speeches and told stories of how the band has remained independant since their formation in 1981, and the crowd loved every second of it, with Metalheads old and young all in harmony.

Overall it was a phenomenal night of Metal. Napalm Death may not be as prevelant as they might have been in the 80s or 90s, but proved in phenomenal fashion why this should not be the case.


Review - Gordon Rae

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