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So after romantically waking up in a strange bed and romantically having a hair of the dog pint I romantically drove down the short motorway trip from Preston to Liverpool for a romantic evening of more grinding and thrashing.  The main headliner from Scotland had neglected to make the trip down but there was still plenty of fun to be had.  

First I reached my base in Kensington but as my host had also been at the gig last night and was now unsure of the location of his trousers I ended up having a solo mission down to town to take the opportunity of some record shopping while in the big bad city. Some excellent selections in Cult Records down in the basement of Grand Central, not bargains but where is now? Realised I may have overestimated my reserves of energy and had to have a pit stop in the pub before returning for my local guide. We then had a non-candlelight meal of pizza out of the box before further warmup pint in Ye Cracke and then getting into the Pilgrim.

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Another pretty good turnout, though as downstairs at is open to all and cheap beer (less than £2 a pint, remember that?) that makes for a busy place too. Upstairs it’s up close and personal with no stage and Joe of locals Project Mess likes to stretch his legs. I’ve seen him do one man grind projects before but for this he’s got a really sharp drummer too (all that playing in the wedding band has obviously paid off!). The music has more crusty power violence mixed into it, with gruff but varied vocals, good impact all round and apparently they are close to having some recordings out.

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Next Mountains Crave over from Leeds, a band not long set up but with a wealth of previous experience from the likes of A Forest of Stars and The Afternoon Gentlemen (some contrast!) means they have definitely hit the ground running. A slow start of sampled atmospherics evolves into almost Cult of Luna style post-metal before the harsh black metal core of their material is unleashed. The ambience is enhanced by mists from the machine and there’s an uncompromising nature to the epic shifts through their structures. Very impressive and sure to quickly get a good standing in the UK scene with performances like this.

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Finally, Insurgency from Lancaster to bring us some relentless heavy thrashing. There’s a big slice of early Dark Angel in their sound to my ears, which is a obviously a good thing, and that’s partly having a powerhouse drummer in the shape of the legend Malek. There’s no cheat beats here, its pure fast battery that reminds me of Dave Ellesmere (Crippens/Discharge). Linked in really well to charging guitars and an insistent vocal, lots of hooks in the lyrics. I’m happy to pick up a copy of their debut release, they will also be bringing the assault to Almost Fatal Fest in the summer as well.

The night(mare) continues down at the Swan and then the highly salubrious Cabin Club before we retire for a rummage through various elements of punk rock history at Mik’s Library (including Quincy M.E.). Fantastic weekend of underground mayhem.