Ross Baker rocks in the Ritz with Evile and Cerebral Bore as part of the HMV Next Big Thing 2012 festival.
Although this show is billed as being part of the HMV Next Big Thing festival, it is more notable for being the evening that Earache records celebrate being a quarter of a century old. For 25 years the label has been at the forefront of the UK extreme music scene and tonight’s selection of acts shows the diversity of its current roster.
Earache may have made its name with grindcore from Napalm Death and signing up the mighty Carcass but newbies Cerebral Bore lack the depth and range of either. The odd riff of blast beat grind is redeeming but they would be more palatable if it weren’t for Som Pluijmers‘ pig scream and grunt vocals. The throngs mosh regardless; nothing is going to poop on this party.
Evile are a breath of fresh glare compared to the support. Belting out a set leaning heavily on last year’s ‘Five Serpents Teeth’ opus, they seamlessly make the transition to larger venues. Matt Drake is the commanding presence up front but the best thing about this Yorkshire mob is how tight they are. ‘Five Serpents Teeth’ and ‘In Dreams of Terror’ get the moshpit whirling with young and old thrash metalheads united in head-banging the place down.
‘Cult’ has a fist-pumper of a chorus that grabs the Manchester Ritz by the scruff of the throat, hurling fans into an enthusiastic circle pit that has enveloped the dance floor. Guitarist Ol Drake peels off the solos like a avid stamp collector and in a touching tribute to deceased bassist Mike Alexander, ‘In Memoriam’ is delivered sans cliché, the audience singing the “When the darkness comes” lyric much to the band’s appreciation.
It is a wonderfully emotive moment that brings the band together with their audience. ‘Thrasher’ restores a more celebratory feel to the evening before ‘Infected Nation’ injects a triumphant end note. It may be a short set but it’s one to suggest that while the band have overcome trials in the past, theirs is indeed a bright future.