Stuka Squadron / Scar Divine / Hybris
9 March 2012
The Unicorn, London
There’s an incestuous nature to tonight’s proceedings at The Unicorn, with certain band members appearing in more than one of tonight’s three acts. First up, James Begley from Stuka Squadron fronted openers Hybris, dealing out thirty minutes of thrash metal.Encouraging us to “Wake up the neighbours”, the London based band put in a tight performance with twisting riffs at times bringing to mind 80’s thrashers Nasty Savage, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.
The familiar faces of Federica from Centurion’s Ghost and Achilles from Abgott handled the six strings, impressing with breathless rhythms and speedy solos. Of their own material Hypertube provided the most immediate returns, however the band piqued the crowd’s interest with a solid rendition of Annihilator’s Alison Hell. A solid performance then which saw Begley’s offer of free cd’s highly subscribed.
For or Friend / Emperors / Hypertube / Volcano / Insidious / Alison Hell / Hubris
Hybris drummer Dimitries Xekalakis remained in place behind the kit for next act Scar Divine, led by Stuka Squadron guitarist George Stergiou. I have to be honest that I didn’t see the whole of the band’s set but did hear it. Frontman Constantine sounded like a cross between Biff Byford and Vince Neil, so it was a surprise to find when I ventured in front of the stage that he looked more like someone who would front a modern rock band than a spandex clad hard rocker.
Musically Scar Divine shifted styles through the set. Code Red had me recalling Countdown To Extinction era Megadeth but with a bit of sleazy edge. Meanwhile, instrumental Blue turned up the speed and gave the guitarists the opportunity to show off their skills. Love... What Love... chugged along through a clockwork verse before breaking into a hard rock tinged chorus.
Scar Divine setlist included:
Code Red / Love... What Love... / Blue
The Unicorn’s policy of charging nothing for entry and, at London standards, little for beer provides a great platform for up-and-coming bands and ensured a packed attendance by the time Stuka Squadron took to the stage. This was our third sighting of the band and they are certainly getting slicker on each occasion both in terms of playing and production.
For the uninitiated, Stuka Squadron portray 1930s German airman-vampires whilst playing a very British style of metal, harking back to the NWOBHM. Tales Of The Ost kicked things off with its rousing chorus bound for glory. Stuka Squadron really get it right when they allow their Iron Maiden fantasies to run wild, most notably on On The Volga Bridge, with twin guitars duelling as Begley sang a familiar sounding chorus refrain. New song Desert Fox was cut from similar cloth and impressed on first hearing.
With a longer set the band were able to include the epic One Eyed God King which started with a swaggering riff as Begley prowled the stage with a steampunk like eye patch. Unsurprisingly the band’s signature song was left to close the set with a positive response from the very busy Unicorn.
Stuka Squadron setlist:
Tales Of The Ost / Lovecraft / On The Volga Bridge / We Drink Blood / Desert Fox / Zabulon’s Inferno / One Eyed God King / Stuka Squadron