Weedeater, live in London

Support: Dead Existence, King Parrot

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Joe Hoare of Orange Goblin has the sort of grin on his face that can only be described as one of delirious fear. “This lot supported us in America. They’re crazy. The singer always jumps into the crowd, punching people. It doesn’t matter where you stand, you’re in trouble!”

He’s talking about Aussies King Parrot [8], a band so ridiculously hyper, they make most thrashers seem static by comparison. The small Underworld stage can barely contain their grimecore twist on the stoner sound. It’s a ferocious battering, enhanced by frontman Matthew Young’s frequent leaps into the middle of the crowd, lashing out as he goes. The only scar on their 30 minutes of action comes at the end when they say “Thanks”. It goes against the grain of a cascade of previous insults which litter their gloriously splatter performance.

Not everyone, though, warms to the Antipodean diatribe. And Londoners Dead Existence [8] are almost relievingly sedate by comparison. Miserable doomsters, they use the time to showcase songs from their upcoming album. This is breathtaking in its power, taking very early Saint Vitus a stage further. The music is compelling and hypnotic, and leaves you in their thrall. When frontman Jake abandons his microphone to shout at the crowd during one particularly crushing instrumental phase, the moment is captivating.

Now, it’s rare when the drum kit for any band is set up right at the front of the stage. But then Weedeater’s [9] Travis Owen isn’t a normal drummer. He’s a beast, rising from 20,000 fathoms to terrorise mere mortals. His style is astonishing. Forever twirling sticks or throwing them skywards, catching these on their descent without missing a beat, this man is a phenomenon. But all the trickery merely augments a drummer whose sense of groove and cacophony is rhythmically corrosive. It’s his tremendous strength and dexterity that underpins a sound which is a sludge version of Lynyrd Skynyrd. And this is forced home when…

“Oh my god, they’re doing a Skynyrd cover!” slams someone as the North Carolina naysayers burst the seams of Gimme Back My Bullets. But this is one highlight of a set that has everyone in the packed club mesmerised. Dave Collins is a vocalist with a growl so low and menacing he makes Phil Anselmo sound like Daffy Duck, and guitarist Dave Shepherd slings out meaty riffs dripping with blood.

Much of the material comes from current album Jason…The Dragon, but they also throw in old faves like Good Luck And God Speed, as well as a brand new song Collins sets up by barking “Welcome to the band practice”. Full on volume dealers, Weedeater don’t care about image or commercial appeal. They are the soundtrack to a stomach pump at full throttle.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021