Full Of Hell/Unyielding Love/ Grief Tourist/Weeping at Kamio - live review

US grind agitators fight the horrors of hipsterville

Art for Full Of Hell/Unyielding Love/ Grief Tourist/Weeping live at Kamio, London

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It mightn’t be 2005 anymore, yet visiting east London it’s still difficult to shake the sensation that you’re in an episode of Nathan Barley. Nearby bars serve burgers named after dead pulp novelists to people who wear Game Boys as necklaces and say they work as ‘self-facilitating media nodes’. But they sure turn out for gigs ’round here and tonight’s sold-out show is no exception. Unfortunately, the venue seem to have forgotten they’re hosting a rammed evening of snarling, grind-heavy metal and conspire to treat those attending to one of the least pleasurable gig experiences in memory – from the hipster-disco playing upstairs at earbleeding volume, to the lack of bar staff dispensing cans of beer priced at twice your monthly salary. Worse, tonight even the music can’t make up for the sense you’re being taken for granted, as every band suffers from an appalling sound mix that renders everything down to an impenetrable slew of bass, vocals (occasionally) and ‘popping’ drums. First to suffer these sonic indignities is Bristolian blackened scream troupe WEEPING [6], the dynamics of their equally jarring and maudlin dirge being rendered largely inert. Despite their best efforts, GRIEF TOURIST [5] fare even worse, theirmore noisew-ashed, hardcore-leaning barrage exploding out of the PA with all the dynamic clarity of a wet fart. They make a great fist of flogging their merch, though. Remarkably, a competent sound engineer seems to emerge – briefly – for UNYIELDING LOVE [6]. Better sonics aside, the sheer intensity of the quartet’s stage presence elevates them tonight; their grinding, post-everything blackened onslaught pulverises you from every angle. And if that wasn’t intimidating on its own, later their vocalist starts playing a rusty saw, then angle-grinding it in his own face. While it was their Merzbow collaboration that brought them into the wider consciousness, FULL OF HELL [7] are a devastating unit in their own right. Not that you’d know it tonight thanks to an utterly appalling mix. Buried somewhere under Dylan Walker’s tortured screams and drums that sound like bubblewrap bursting in a tunnel is Spencer Hazard’s death metal-inflected guitar, but it’s largely inaudible and the likes of Deluminate or the apocalyptic Gordian Knot are drained of all threat. Frustrating doesn’t begin to cover it.