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Upon A Burning Body, live in London

Support: Martyr Defiled, The Charm The Fury

After a busy and, on occasion, controversial year for the Texans, Upon A Burning Body arrived in London to lay waste to Camden’s Underworld. Here’s what we learnt.

Martyr Defiled Are Coming Good In Style

Written off by many as a rather obnoxious and throwaway dilution of some of the great deathcore that has been filing through the ranks in recent years, the Lincoln crew surprised us with a blinder of a full-length earlier this year, and they’ve improved immeasurably when it comes to bringing it live, too. Their lyrics may make Fred Durst look like Morrissey at times, but you can’t deny that they’ve nailed those call-and-response moments, and there can be no doubt that they win over a fair few fans tonight.

Controversy Sells?

Many may still bemoan Upon A Burning Body’s infamous and poorly executed PR stunt, but judging by the crowd in the Underworld tonight – which is impressively busy given a) the backlash that greeted that aforementioned stunt and b) Crossfaith are playing just down the road – people are still willing to let the music do the talking. There’s a sense of excitement in the air that has been sorely lacking across much of the more, for want of a better term, ‘mainstream metal’ scene as of late. Despite their setbacks and however many of those may have been self-inflicted, however, this is still a band very much on the brink of going somewhere big.

Trilbies Are Cool

Yes, it’s a shameless gimmick and yes, cynicism towards it is perhaps justified given that it’s being mentioned in this very review, but fucking hell, UABB look cool. In the same way that the first time you witnessed nine masked men from Iowa walk out on stage was a goosebump-inducing, pant-filling experience, the suited-and-booted, gangster-mimicking attire the boys opt for doesn’t feel forced or cheesy – it’s an extension of their personalities, and damn it, it works a charm.

UABB Have Bangers To Spare

Three albums in and the Tex-Mex hellraisers have already amassed a setlist absolutely brimming with huge, arena-ready tunes – and the adoring fans in attendance lap up every single second of it. Red Razor Wrists, Texas Blood Money, Carlito’s Way, Sin City…each and every one screamed back at the band from an audience that is threatening to blow the Underworld’s roof clean off.

Their Crowds Are Fucking Nuts

Given that Hatebreed played here only a few days earlier, it really is no small accolade to say that this is one of the craziest, most passionate crowds this venue has seen in quite some time. There are a minimum of two or three kids crowdsurfing towards the stage at any one point, with almost continuous circle pits, stage invasions and a whole lot of bouncing making this slowly but surely look less like a metal gig and more like a damn riot. UABB frontman Danny Leal is a more than able commander of the swirling vortex of sweat and hair in front of him, directing the masses with a flick of the risk or a simple barked order. A star in the making? Quite possibly.

Turn Down For What Is The Undisputed Metal Cover Of 2014

Rumours surfaced hours before the show that UABB were planning to debut their recently dropped DJ Snake cover – by a margin the best thing on the most recent Punk Goes Pop compilation – and to see it eaten up with such aplomb by a room full of metalheads is one of the defining moments of 2014. People dance, people mosh, people jump – fuck it, everyone is moving. It’s spectacularly dumb, but above all else, it’s fun as hell and a suitably bonkers way to end a late contender to everybody’s gigs of the year lists. If people are willing to look beyond a few stupid decisions, this is very much still a band that could prove a massive proposition. Judging by tonight, they certainly have the chops to pull it off.

Setlist

Red Razor Wrists Mimic Pledge Your Allegiance Middle Finger To The World Scars Once Upon A Time In Mexico Texas Blood Money Carlito’s Way Intermission Sin City Turn Down For What

Merlin Alderslade

Metal Hammer editor Merl heads up the world's biggest metal brand and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.