There’s an undeniable thrill that comes with watching a band poised on the cusp of great things, and tonight it’s twofold. This is the first of two sold-out London shows for tonight’s co-headliners (Heck close tomorrow) and there’s a sense we’re about to witness a pivotal moment in their trajectories. The room is almost full by the time THIS BE THE VERSE  kick things off with their pulsing, muscular industrial grooves and it’s clear frontman Cyrus King is relishing every moment of their NIN-tinged set.
It doesn’t matter how many times you experience the mayhem of a HECK  gig, an inherent sense of danger always sits heavy in the air, and just two seconds in, it’s all kicked off. Frontman Matt Reynolds and guitarist Jonny Hall have charged into the frantic pit, guitars held aloft, while the London quartet try to stop the crowd being strangled by trailing mic wires. Powerboat Disaster causes everyone to completely lose their shit and anyone dismissing Heck as silliness over substance is silenced by the ferocity of closer See The Old Lady Decently… The closest thing to a mathcore opus, it’s a jaw-dropping 16 minutes of jagged wizardry, rampant soloing and head-crunching riffery that reveals tight musicianship underpinning Heck’s deranged assault on the senses.
After all that, it’s a concern that BLACK PEAKS  might be anti-climactic, but the Brighton post-rockers give such worries a short shrift. Opener White Eyes whips up a hypnotic maelstrom of power, depth and dexterity that twists Mastodon and Tool sensibilities into bruised and dissonant shapes. Like Heck, they’re touring a brilliant 2016 debut in Statues, yet drop the likes of Crooks to play an as yet unnamed new song. It’s a bold yet confident move that pays off, but it helps to have in Will Gardner a frontman with a scream that could shred the skin on a man’s face. His eviscerating vocals on Set In Stone and Say You Will are as brutal as Ramsey Snow on a flaying binge as he stands arms outstretched, lost in a landscape of complex rhythms and doomy nuance. A triumphant Glass Built Castles brings an end an exhausting but exhilaratingly intimate evening with two of the UK’s most brilliant bands. We’re going to lose them soon to the big leagues and we can’t wait.