(narration and pix by Neil Crud)

Billed as ‘Parti Metel’ – that’s Metal Party to you and me, you sensed it was going to be a sparse evening. That has nothing to do with the bands on the bill and everything to do with the city they were playing in.
The Bangor scene is going through the same period that Rhyl endured in the nineties, ie. There isn’t one! Yes there’s 8,000 students and the gig was on campus, but students are usually only slightly older than school kids, have no money, no sense of belonging and are wankers anyway!

At the tail end of the 80s Bangor had a thriving punk scene, where Anhrefn bridged the gap between the Welsh and English languages and everyone turned out for a show and made a night of it. Nip along to Trearddur Bay and you’ll see a similar set up there now with hoardes of kids ready and willing to knock seven bells of shit out of each other in the name of punk rock.

Nevertheless, tonights bands did pull a respectable crowd in the end and the new look Skinflick (pic above) took us on with a brisk new set, only 7 songs long, full of throbbing, pulsing power that topped the other times I’ve seen them. Regular contributor to this site MWJ has since dusted down his bass and de-tuned those strings low enough to put the fear of dogs into you. Which is aptly the title of the opening track and because its Hallowe’en, MWJ came out donned in a pumpkin! Boasting to be the only band to have got away with screaming ‘Fuck God Fuck Salvation’ on BBC Radio Wales, one listen to the song does actually make you want perform such an act with the holy one!

With MWJ dressed to the pins and the rest of the band in the compulsory black, it was vocalist Justin who let the side down on the fashion stakes with what looked like a Jolly Sailor’s t-shirt of some sort! – A dickie bow and dinner jacket would be the biz! Where he didn’t let us down was in the vocal department. Someone asked me if there was an effect on his voice, and when I said No, they shivered! – Yes it is that scary! His voice is so powerful that co-vocalist Jen struggled to keep on a decibel level. Duncan Black’s guitaring replacement had 4 days to learn the set and didn’t let the band down and taking technology by the devil’s horns, the drummer can actually pack his kit into a suitcase, using the latest electronic drums donated free by Yamaha (it’s a long story). Check out the new double LP out now on Dead Sexy Records.

Leaping over the top of the trenches in full battle cry for a full on assault are Army of Crows (pic above), led by the charismatic Guy, who looks like an American movie star (with a slight but dodgy moustache) in his black shirt and combat pants. I had seen Guy transform Kobe when he fronted them last year with charm and style. The only difference now is that his larynx has slipped further down, probably into his chest cavity judging by the depth of his voice. Either that or was trying to out growl Skinflick (he failed).

Maybe its my age, or probably having shared a stage with hundreds of thrash metal bands in the late 80s, but I always find this stuff highly refreshing for the first four or five songs and then repetitive thereon as one song blends into another. But that’s down to not being familiar with the stuff, and had the twats sent me a CD before hand then I’d have been shaking my booty down in the mosh pit!

The music? Yeah, it’s good old fashioned grindcore, thrashcore, metalcore, whatfor, hardcore, or whatever sub-genre Kerrang tells you to be into this week, with Guy backed by a trebley bassist who looked old enough to be a 70s renegade, a cool guitarist and solid drumming. The song ‘God Within’ comes highly recommended.

Here’s a Skinflick video I did from footage filmed at this gig…