Crud Fanzines PLC present...

Cult of Luna
Army of Flying Robots
S.M.I.L.E.

The Old Angel, Nottingham

17/3/03

The Cult calls, I follow. Stayed in yet another of the dodgiest hotels in the Britain, felt like an asylum seeker, although the manager (jovial Nigerian) seemed impressed to know I knew Mickey Thomas (conversation about fake tenners). Well, Iíve seen him in Llandudno, does that count?

Hadnít been to this venue before but itís great, especially for something of this ilk thatís not going to attract a crowd that would fill Rock City for example. Pub venue geared for music, bands play in an upstairs room, high arched ceiling, massive graffiti art on the walls, relatively small stage.

What better way to celebrate St. Paddyís day (the real one and not the Guinness marketed nearest Saturday) than with an apparently (from their accents) Irish band, or maybe more exiles over here. "Happy St. Patrickís Day". Cheer. "F**k all you fake Irish wannabees". Then into a song called "War" that sets the scene for their sonic assault, intricate riffing, screaming vocals although with some range within them and an occasional touch of melody. The bassist thrashes around whilst still keeping the tight rhythms, speed with the fingers, the guitarist fixed in concentration . The main reference would be someone grindcore like Brutal Truth, but the occasional skanking dub section brings to mind maybe a slight mix with Rage against the Machine, some interesting eerie sections also. Titles like "The sound of organised chaos" and closer "One more Reason to Hate us" should give you a hint as well.

Well impressive, I briefly spoke with them after to bemoan the fact that St. Davidís day keeps getting refused as a public holiday, but thatís something we can work on eh? Start with just taking the day off, official holiday or not, maybe theyíll get the message then.

Next up after lot of messing around tuning up / making general noise etc, the Army. I was kind of getting annoyed with this unprofessional approach but that was soon obliterated by their set. Unbe-fookin-lievable. They describe themselves as crazy ultrafast hardcore thrash, which goes some way to describing it. An absolutely non-stop sandstorm blast of berserk fast music, blast beats a go-go, indecipherable monotone screaming over the top, musicians flailing about. Think of the early Japanese hardcore bands like S.O.B. that influenced Napalm Death. Crowd keep back out of pure fear and music wave pressure, allowing half band to fly off stage when it suits them, including one guitaristís 8 foot leap sideways, ricocheting of a wall to end up flat on his back still playing. What a move. The inter-song respites are just wailing feedback, in me old age their stamina in delivering the explosive goods in this relentless manner deserves muchos respect.

Was expecting MyWar next according to flyer but no sign so on with Cult of Luna.

grandma's party

The 6 piece are cramped on the small stage with the room now filled as well, but that kind adds to a concentrated impact of their performance. The brief backing intro kicks into "Receiver", and while at first Iím wanting more volume to add to the battering riffs, soon Iím sucked into the hypnotic rhythms, the tremendous variety of light and shade, the depth of the structures they develop. The vocalist (backed plenty by one guitarist) erupts his lines, jackhammering his body to the beat, then leaves to the back of the stage in the instrumental sections so all the focus is on the musicians. The back to back combination of "Circle", with its drifting slide guitar intro vaguely reminding of Pink Floyd before giving in to anguished heaviness, and "Arrival", culminating in a chugging steam roller of a riff, almost finishes me off. I have to apologise to a girl whose pint Iíve just dipped my flying mop into, sheís cool and sucks it offÖ It can only be a 5 or 6 song set, gone in a flash despite the epic nature of the songs. Seems most feel the same and thereís a clamour for more. The band come back and inform us that this is their first and final encore, which is an honour, will only be done on the condition that if Blair and Bush kick the war off we give them hell. Thereís unanimous agreement here, and it would be hoped thatís not just to get the extra song. Another few minutes of wrought and hammered tune and accept satisfaction.

Take the opportunity to thank them, and talk about the situation and their concerns really on something starting that could even spread to their neutral Sweden, who knows where this will stop? The US admits that this is too small a war to boost their flagging economy, 600 cruise missiles in a couple of days just wonít do. U.S. intervention in a new Arab/Israeli conflict, now thatís a nice little earner. Two unilateralists are not better than one, Tone, thanks for making us all targets now.

(reviewed by MWJ)

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