Oathbreaker, Let It Die, Old Skin & Trudger @ Kraak Gallery November 30th
The best venues are those that nobody knows about, the ones that are shoved down a sketchy side street, the ones that you have to pass a pretentious cocktail bar on the way in, their punters glaring from behind the safety of their pina colada and Marlboro Lights as you pass by. Kraak gallery, Manchester, is such a venue and tonight the loft space lays home to Belgium’s Oathbreaker and Church Of Fuck’s finest, Let It Die, Old Skin and Trudger.
Trudger were first to step up to the plate. The rooms population was a little thinner than I had hoped for the openers but still, it didn’t phase them. Their sludgy, doomy metal served to fill the absent space in the room and show everyone in attendance that they had made the right decision by not skipping the first band. Small talk was kept to a minimum other than to thank the more prompt spectators amongst us and to promote their upcoming album in 2014, which is definitely going to be one to check out.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that I’ve seen Old Skin once before, supporting Trash Talk in the summer. I was impressed by them then and tonight they only impressed me further. The band itself was the same setup, front man pacing the floor whilst the band keep things ticking over on stage (that’s to put it lightly). I think the set, for me, comes down to one moment, that moment is when you and a mutual friend look at each other during a particular part and give each other that look, you know the one that means ‘fuck thats good’ without even saying anything? Yeah, well that’s Old Skin.
Next up was the more punky Let It Die. I’ve said this quite recently about stripped back outfits such as Let It Die but I guess I’m about to say/write it again. Normally when I see a three piece that consist of drums, guitar and vocals I normally find the sound lacking compared to the more traditional setup. In the space of a week though i’m about to eat my words for the second-fucking-time. Let It Die are an assault of punk infused metal/hardcore that is by no means lacking in any way, the brash guitar doesn’t need any accompaniment and between the vicious vocal stabs and the impressive drum work they’ve definitely got all areas covered. Church Of Fuck have got it down with tonight’s bill.
Finally it was the headliners, Oathbreaker, that were to take the stage. Europe have always found it easier to add the darker edge to their metal (perhaps without even trying?) and Oathbreaker are a fine example. The band tore their way through their set in a blur of headbanging and hair that would rival even an eighties stadium tour, think Metallica circa Master Of Puppets tour, although Oathbreaker bear no resemblance to the Lars (prick) and the gang other than this. Earlier on in the evening punk and hardcore had more than shown their faces in the form of influence but Oathbreaker were more concerned with the aforementioned darker element and creating a blacker atmosphere in which they definitely succeeded. The only thing that might have held them back at one point was the sound quality, it was a little overwhelmed and at points it was hard to pick out anything up other than drums and vocals. A minor glitch though in an otherwise entertaining set that saw Belgium’s finest bring their unique brand of metal to the U.K, the room may not necessarily get bigger when they return to our shores again but the people will definitely increase.
And, just as an aside, to the cunt who said ‘you looked like you were at a Radiohead concert’ to my friend outside the venue. I suggest you drop your preconceptions about how people should act, move, dress or whatever at shows. The sooner you do that, the sooner you’ll stop being that aforementioned cuss word.