We didn’t manage to get tickets to see Sabbath at the O2…but on the brighter side of life, one of my favourite Bay Area thrash metal bands – Death Angel - are playing at The Underworld in Camden tonight and after seeing them live for the first time at Bloodstock in August this year, getting to witness them in a more intimate venue is not so shabby a prospect.
Before the gig I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do a couple of interviews - the first was with the amazingly talented Marvin Vriesde of thrash metal band Dew-Scented. The second with the wonderfully patient, accommodating and very witty Ted Aguilar of Death Angel, who I cannot thank enough for doing his upmost to make my ridiculous nerves dissipate.
With both interviews over and done with, I meet up with my man - who is equally as impatient as I am to start raging to some quality metal and we don’t have that long to wait before support band Dew-Scented take the stage.
Dew Scented (read interview with Marvin Vriesde)
I haven’t experienced the German/Dutch five piece live before and so I’ve been eagerly anticipating this show. I feel I’ve gained some valuable insight into what makes the band tick from guitarist, Marvin, earlier and I’m keen to see how the vibe he has spoken of translates on the stage.
With the inventors of heavy metal themselves playing across town, it is perhaps predictable, that even with the high calibre of bands on the stage tonight, The Underworld was never going to be as packed as it should have been. Dew Scented take to the stage to a mediocre splattering of faces and begin with ‘Sworn to Obey’ from the Icarus album. Half way through this a stream of people start making their way in from the bar and after a few tracks, when frontman Leif Jensen tells the audience to move two steps closer so he can see us - everyone on the floor does as he commands and from then on the crowd gets slightly more lively.
Dew-Scented are everything you could want from a thrash band; and more – clean and ferocious riffs, pounding drum and bass rhythms and with the added bonus of a death sounding throb on many of the tracks. Leif’s blend of shouty/gruff vocals have a harder edge than I would normally be inclined to warm to, but he has (surprisingly) great diction and when you add to that his charismatic stage presence I find I can’t help but really like his performance.
There’s plenty of energy in this set and chemistry in bucket-loads, these guys clearly love what they do and they put everything into giving us a great show. Throughout the 40 or so minutes they’re on stage, we’re treated to a great blend of songs from the ‘Issue VI’, ‘Icarus’ and ‘Impact’ albums. Sound is a little ‘iffy’ at times but then I’ve never experienced particularly great sound at this venue anyway so that is no great surprise.
It just so happens that it’s bassist Joost van der Graaf’s 40th birthday today - so after getting a cream pie in the face he gets sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to by the crowd after which the crazy vibe continues and a mosh pit (albeit tiny) opens up.
Those of us sensible enough to be in Camden tonight and not over at the Greenwich Peninsula, were appreciative of what these guys gave us and they’re a band I would definitely love to see back in the UK very soon. I’m certainly looking forward to checking out the new material in what I hope will be the near future. 8/10
Death Angel (read interview with Ted Aguilar)
Death Angel’s set…well, I have to confess, I can’t wax lyrical in any great detail about the ‘ins and outs’ of their show, other than it was freaking awesome! On this occasion I was honestly way too busy enjoying myself to stand in the shadows making copious notes. What I can tell you is that Marvin Vriesde was not wrong when he told me that the Californian thrashers give 110%. What we got from them was ‘in your face’, fast, furious and fucking full-on thrash metal from start to finish and after a particularly crappy week on the personal front, letting myself go (well, as much as I can do with a completely wrecked neck and increasingly dodgy knee joints) was a very welcome release!
Frontman Mark Osegueda did joke several times about the ‘other band’ playing in London tonight - was it Led Zeppelin? Or maybe Kiss? - A blast of ‘Love Gun’ from said rock glamsters has everyone boogying and the Mr and I almost falling down wetting ourselves in a surreal kind of ‘is this really happening?’ sense.
Overall we were treated to a fun and completely amazing show that was over way too quick and without a doubt left everyone in the room wanting more and I’m pretty sure we would have got it if not for that damn curfew. And, as for ‘missing out’ on seeing Sabbath – we both agreed that neither of us would have wanted to be anywhere else but where we were on this cold December night... 9/10