Review by Joe Carlo, Photographs by Linda Heron
It’s Nasum’s farewell tour and this is to be the only London show. This means that standing in the sizeable and slow moving queue at 7:20, I wondered if I’d see any of Dripback’s set at all. Everyone was buzzing and Nasum fans were obviously apparent in numbers, all looking forward to a final goodbye. The mixed emotions of the crowd near me made for a good sense of anticipation on the streets of Camden and as far as queues go, it wasn’t such a bad one to be in with photographer Linda as the 7:30 kick off time fast approached and we appeared to not be moving at all…
A large surge in queue processing activity meant that as we weaved down into the Underworld the bar was lively expectant. As I turned into the live room to see Dripback launch into their set any possible Scandinavian favouritism was in no way evident – the room was already seething and smelling of hot electrics and sweat.
From the outset, and relentlessly throughout their set, Dripback make filthy, filthy London noise. The band play hard and they play right up in your face. Not to start some ‘my Dad’s bigger than your Dad thing’ but they could be from no other city than this. There’s just a certain flavour to the swagger and spit and it’s all channelled through frontman Wez’s cocky, rolling stage prowl and characitured gurning. His vocals jump effortlessly from vicious screams to dirty grunts and often have thumping old-style English punk rhythms to them while still firing and twitching as the breaks come and go. The shouted group vocals accentuate this style. The homage to and progression from old genres pleases me.
The band sound tight and punchy with killer bouncy breaks and every song is played with an unquestionable ferocity. The guitar, bass and drums sound crisp and monstrous with rich, dirty tones pumping out of the amps as they hurtle from riff to break to drop. Dripback play unapologetic London metal. Go and watch them play and buy the EP ‘Inhaling The Ashes’, out now on S.O.A.R.
Seeing Without Eyes
We Preceed The End
Cessation Of Suffering
Horses/Kick Out Time
No God No Master
Profit Drives War
Dripback embodied a certain Londonicity then Black Breath did the same for America. Sorry Americans, (Black Breath, included), I know you have a big country with many regional differences but I’m only rich enough to have visited 3 parts of it so I can but generalise. Where Dripback inspired thoughts of London harshness and Nasum would later offer a grander, more cerebral metal, Black Breath are obviously a hard working, touring American rock band and it feels rebellious. Everything singer Neil says tells of his respect for both the other bands and the audience.
The band have an effortlessly heavy presence onstage and while the they describe themselves as “fast, hard, loud” it’s actually the slower breakdowns and soundscapes that drew me in most. The vocals are well delivered and behaved more as an instrument than a voice at times which pressed my buttons, and the lead guitarist reminded me of a cross between Duff McKagan and Wilko Johnson, strangely. Drummer Jamie was the star of the night for me though, solid, hard hitting and a joy to watch. Best and biggest hair since Megadeth award goes to Elijah on bass. This is a compliment.
Heavy Kids Virus
Then to much adoration Nasum take the stage and the already full floor squeezes a few more bodies into itself to make the roar all the more appreciative. Nasum deliver their whole set with a degree of professionalism and love for metal that was both heavy and uplifting. Aggressive and welcoming all at once in both stage manner and performance style they seemed at one with an audience who loved them. Stage diving and surfing was in evidence throughout.
Guest singer Keijo Niinimaa, who takes the mic for this farewell tour after the death in 2004 of Mieszko Talarczyk, is apparently welcomed with open arms by the crowd. Physically he is an example that reminds you of exactly how easy it must have been for the northern European Vikings to just come over here and basically take all of our stuff and he is an impressive, imposing persona at the front of the band, controlling the stage and delivering his vocals with power and venom. Jon Lindqvist on guitar gives an amazing performance throughout slipping from crazy devil thing during songs to everyone’s favourite friendly, eager brother in between them, he was utterly engaging and his guitar playing was nasty and fast.
I have to admit some ignorance here – at one point someone else came on to play bass for a song, everyone loved the fact that this happened, I have no idea what it was about but man he could play. It was rough and heavy and his hand was pummelling the fretboard.
After a pounding set the band performed a short encore and graciously made their final exit to a heartfelt and bloody applause. There was a sense of mutual gratitude in the air throughout the bands entire set, I felt. A sense of thanks from both sides, one thanking the other for their respective rolls in a journey that was being brought to a timely, respectful and very metal end.
Masshypnosis/ Scoop/ Bullshit/Relics
The Masked Shane
I See Lies/Tested/Time To Act
Fury/Wrath/I Hate People
Review by Joe Carlo, Photographs by Linda Heron