In the space of a two years Burning Flag have gone from being a great band to being a fucking amazing band. Their debut eponymous album of June 2015 was a shot across the bough. If you stuck your head up it was going to get blown off. Fast forward to now and the newly released ‘Izabel’ album leaves you with nowhere to hide; Burning Flag, with that obvious pent up anger (no doubt from living in Halifax) will wipe you off the face of this shit planet.
With Rhyl being an outer suburb of Liverpool we put the pedal to the rusting metal, did some donuts in Asda’s car park and slammed it down the A55 and up the M53 to Liverpool. The journey should take 50 minutes; we do it in 40, smashing through police barricades, speeding along pavements, down stairways and through shopping malls, before a handbrake turn sees us nestle gently behind Maguires. Steve Sync took out three cops while Rich and Garry held up a bank and I ordered a green tea at the bar.
Aüralskit are making a racket as we walk through the pizza-parlour and into the venue. They kind of remind me of ‘Why’ period Discharge (when Discharge were good). It’s ear blistering stuff, angry, loud and furious. Vocalist Matt looks the part, and is more than ably backed by Amy, Mauds and Kieran.
My viewing pleasure of both Aüralskit and Ballpein is somewhat fragmented due to recording demands, as behind the venue in my car I had the honour of recording Carl Gintis doing an acoustic session for my radio show. Such a contrast from the barrage going on inside.
We finished the session and rejoined the fun as Ballpein (pic above by Rich Phillips) are ripping through their set. They hold legendary status around these parts, and although new to me, they look like they’ve been around the block several times (probably tied to the tow-bar of a jeep and dragged behind it). There’s a lot of colloquial banter between songs; too much at times, but when the songs do kick in, they do just that – kick in – it’s fast and yes, loud, with brilliant guitar work and unusual vocals. They used to be called Sutcliffe’s Hammer which earns them extra points.
Not only did promoter Dave Ballantyne have the pressure of organising a gig, Burning Flag added to it by being stuck on the M62 – thankfully he did have an outlet to vent his frustrations in the form of his band Abonimate who offered up a no-holds-barred blackened grindcore blast full of Scottish fury. Something agitated the bassist, (maybe the over enthusiastic crowd) that resulted in two of the audience being asked to leave – AND they got a refund! Songs ranged from five minute epics that transcend old skool hardcore and sludge to two minute thrashy blasts during their truncated but brutal set.
Enter Burning Flag, a band at the top of their game. They unleashed a tidal wave of fury in tsunamic proportions with in-yer-face vocals screamed at you from the normally quiet and polite MD. This is while the band rage on and on – ripping through their repertoire – very little old and mostly new – the new is better; more immediate, demands your attention, such is the strength of the new album. This is despite the old being almost as good. It’s all over in a burning
flag flash as MD screams ‘IZABEL’ at you… Superb stuff… I could’ve watched it all again – and I will… Next time…