Bonded by Blood – Fuel Cardiff
A six band thrash fest for ten quid? Absofuckinglutely sir! And so it was that the legends that are Mr Rhod Davies, Mr Benjamin Beer and of course Kreator’s bastard love child Nurse Nick and yours truly rendezvoused at our usual pre-gig haunt of The Gatekeeper for a pint of foaming ale, handily placed right next door to Fuel Rock Club where the gig had been moved to. Credit to Fearless Management who are really going balls out to support metal in South Wales and who really deserve more metal heads to get along to gigs like this. In a week when established venues like The Fleece in Bristol are under threat, it really is difficult for promoters and they deserve massive kudos for putting on such a stunning event.
Unfortunately we missed openers Dread Bolt and arrived in time to catch Madicide, a four piece from Glynneath doing their stuff to a sparse but enthusiastic crowd (which appeared to be the theme for the evening). Madicide are heavily influenced by the usual thrash titans that you would expect for bands on this bill. They battled gamely against a pretty ropey sound system but unfortunately their stuff is instantly forgettable. They weren't helped by some rather disjointed changeovers and endings which suggested that a bit more rehearsal might be helpful. I don't like knocking bands, especially fellow countrymen and there is certainly some potential trapped within the band but on the night they did very little for me. Being named after a brand of disinfectant might not be the best idea either. 5/10
Next up, after a pint of decent but overpriced Trooper was Inferno Ortum, melodic technical death outfit from the Bay area. That’s Cardiff Bay, well, actually Penarth but you can see where I was going with that one can’t you? Their name means Hell, It Will Rise and by the end of the night it probably did. Luckily the sound had picked up quite nicely and the local lads gave a decent 25 minutes which included the intricate instrumental Euhemerism. These lads are all young and provided some decent tunes with plenty of groove and a Lamb Of God type feel about them. Good stuff and worth a second watch. They gig locally quite a lot according to their Facebook page so if you are around give them a watch. 6/10
The evening took a massive turn for the better when Bristol death thrashers Seprevation climbed onto the stage and powered out half an hour of blistering burning groove laden thrash. Led by the incredibly tall Lluc Tupman on bass and vocals, Seprevation, managed by Bloodshot Dawn’s Josh McMorran, delivered a set that belied their obviously youthful years. Tracks from their freshly released album Consumed were absorbed with relish by the assembled throng. Superb shredding from Ian Aston and Joss Farrington and powerhouse drumming from Jamie Wintle combined to provide a sound that crossed Death with Kreator, Bloodshot Dawn themselves and a healthy nod of respect to the big four and other legendary thrash outfits such as Vio-lence and Exodus. All damn fine stuff and I can confirm that Consumed is a storming slab of metal. 8/10
The West Country influence continued with the arrival of Taunton Death metallers Flayed Disciple. I saw these guys at BOA in 2012 in the Sophie Tent where they blew me away with their power and disciplined delivery. Their self-titled EP was in the stereo for a long time after that. Led by Tim ‘Death Chuggin’ Whyte on demonic death growl, FD tore through a selection of tracks from their 2012 release Death Hammer and their other EPs (who doesn't love an EP entitled Ejaculate While Killing) including the brutal The Westboro Massacre. Welshman Paul Williams and drummer Rich Lewis provide a sledgehammer of a rhythm section, and the combined thrash onslaught of Thurston Howe and Jon Whitfield’s guitars combined to make all the heads in the room bang along. Flayed Disciple are vicious but like the best death metal outfits also possess a bit of melody and groove which really enhances their sound. Whyte is the focal point of the band, and his delivery fits the band perfectly. They went down a storm too with the crowd wind milling and demonstrating their appreciation with a massive ovation at the end of the set. Certain members of our party were so impressed that they were calling for an encore. Excellent. 9/10
Bonded By Blood
So the main event of the evening arrived, Bonded By Blood, all the way from California. Unfortunately, a very limited number of the South Wales metal community had demonstrated the same commitment although the pit was enhanced by various members of the evening’s supporting acts kicking seven shades of shit out of each other! The evening was running late and it was a slightly curtailed set. After Josh had patiently organised the sound, it was down to business. Think Death Angel, think Exodus, and you'll get what Bonded by Blood sound like. Frontman Mauro Gonzales, complete with red jeans and a Bloodshot Dawn shirt screams and growls with real venom, while guitarist Juan Juarez lays down riff after riff. This is old school thrash delivered by part of the new school and bloody good it is too. Airing a range of tracks from their three albums including Shepherds Of Rot, Mind Pollution, Prison Planet and The Aftermath, BBB didn’t fuck around and thrashed their way through an hour or so which was well received. Gonzales encouraged the crowd all evening and there were big smiles from the other band members who put on a quality show despite the low numbers and rounded off an excellent evening. 8/10