Darkest Hour, Venom Prison and Lunatic Hooker at the Underworld - live review

US metal punks still destroy the competition

Art for Darkest Hour, Venom Prison and Lunatic Hooker live at the Underworld

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LUNATIC HOOKER [6] have a wonderfully evocative name and make a serious amount of noise; hone those songwriting chops and they could be onto something. VENOM PRISON [8] are already on that thing. Their hardcore-charged death metal is always brilliant, but if sound gremlins rob them of a touch of brutality tonight, they still stand head and shoulders over all of their peers. The reputation they’ve earned of shaming headline bands is well-deserved, although they don’t manage it tonight because they’ve come up against DARKEST HOUR [8], surely the most underrated metal band around right now. Time and time again they release a brilliant collection of punk-drenched, melodic thrash metal – this time it’s the wonderful recent Godless Prophets And The Migrant Flora album – turn up on tour in a shamefully less-than-full room and slap the taste out of everyone’s mouth. John Henry’s vocals are just as savage as ever, while Mike Schleibaum and stand-in guitarist Doc Coyle peels out eye-stinging riffs like it was the simplest thing in the world. Those here circlepit to perfect metal songs like The Sadist Nation and Doomsayer and it’s genuinely brilliant. Just like it always is.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.