Slab Album Launch @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Friday 29 October 2010
Can it really be three years since Slab's début album “Betray The Past...Infect The Future”? By the same token can it really be two and a half years since I first saw them live? Before witnessing them promoting their new album, there were two other acts to view....
Vicious Bastard. What else could they be but grindcore? Mixing spells of psychotic velocity with slower sections of crushing brutality, this was a fine opening set. Scott from Godsize was a welcome presence on bass – good to see you back on stage fella! - but it was drummer Dave who really caught my eye. What a technician – watching a drummer make it look so simple when playing at that speed was nothing short of breath taking. Steve (St Evil) of Anaal Nathrakh sprang to mind by way of comparison, although they have very different styles.
Thirteen songs in half an hour – enough said. Fans of Fukpig, Wormrot, and Selfless will find Vicious Bastard right up their street. Set list; “The Grand Slut”, “Baptised In Shit”, “Dead Hooker”, “Chewed Up”, “From Inside”, “P.A.L.”, “Two Stabs”, “Piss Of The Last Leper”, “Druids”, “Bang Bang”, “From The Smoke”, “Blast”, “Biffy Clitro”.
Gehenna were tonight's out of towners having made the trip up from Bristol. Their trip was definitely worthwhile as they scythed their way through just under half an hour of clinical hardcore in the style of Hatebreed or Stampin' Ground. Ably led by an energetic and marauding frontman, the band were compact and vicious. Massive opening chords led into immense breakdowns. This was the first time I'd seen them but I'm sure it won't be the last. They're a crushing and dynamic live outfit, capable of mixing brutality with groove with considerable flair and ease. Well worth checking out next time they visit from the West Country. Set list; “Face To The Concrete”, “Dead Buried Forgotten”, “Between Blood And Pride”, “Refuge”, “Juggernaut”, Obedience”.
Slab are a band that never cease to amaze me. Since that first gig at Scruffy's I've really no idea how many times I've seen them – rest assured it's a lot. What's so astonishing is how they manage to mix harmony and melody into an extreme metal framework – the contrast between full on fury and quieter, almost reflective passages, is what the band are all about.
New album “Megafaunal Genocide” was what it was all about, and unsurprisingly it provided nine of the dozen tracks they performed. They've been creeping new material into their live performances for a while now, but hearing these songs played with such passion during a near hour long set was nothing short of jaw dropping. This display was insanely good and begs the question again 'why are you still unsigned'?
I put my notepad away shortly after twenty minutes, and spent the rest of the set either grinning manically or headbanging violently. Slab possess three musicians in perfect harmony at the very peak of their game. They're a band to be marvelled at and in time, I suspect, revered. Check them out next time they play and witness technical extreme metal at its finest. Set list; “Thylacine”, “Kevorkian”, “Tetradon Zombie Voodoo Ritual”, “Pigshifter”, “The Nihilist”, “Pockets Of Resistance”, “The Bite”, “Devilwalk”, “Animal Faced God”, “Human Rain”, “Chaos Bastard”. Encore; “Yi Zi Er Shi”.