The Haunted / Mercenary / Needleye

1 November 2006

Camden Underworld, London

It really feels like if it`s going to happen for Needleye now is the time. The band has been a regular fixture on the London circuit for sometime and it now feels like they`ve taken a huge step up. It doesn`t harm them that their new drummer is none other than Adrian Erlandsson, with a past and present including Cradle Of Filth, At The Gates and indeed tonight`s headline band, but it shouldn`t really over shadow the rest of the band`s abilities. Having an actual drummer at all, feels to have given Needleye a more organic egde. The machine morphing to borg if you will, whilst retaining its precision engineering.

With a bunch of fastidiously tight riffs, swathed with very old school Pitchshifter pinch harmonics, Needleye hit hard and direct. Dissolved is awash with flailing hair and scything guitars. The more instant nature of Hollow causes a few ears to prick up and demonstrates how the band will benefit once they have product on the shelves. As an introduction, as it was to most here, Needleye laid their cards on the table and it would appear the odds are firmly on a winning hand.

Needleye set list:

Discharge / Dissolved / Dead Skin / Hollow / Cut Myself / So Help Me God

Mercenary meanwhile were on and off so quickly it seemed hardly worth the visit. Playing only four songs, with all but one from the band`s very recently released The Hours That Remain, there was very little for even the few die-hards even to hang on to. World Hate Center`s familiarity towered in the centre of the set and whilst the likes of Redefine Me felt to come to life in the live setting. the weighting on new material left most as observer`s rather than participators`.

Mercenary set list:

Soul Decision / Redefine Me / World Hate Center / Simplicity Demand

With a 10.30pm curfew the monster setlist lurking behind Patrick Jensen underlined why Mercenary had been dispatch so quickly. Shit, The Haunted didn`t even get to No Compromise and DOA having run out of time after 19 songs.

Tonight was the official kick off of the The Dead Eye tour and the band were keen to air material, playing all but three songs from it. Having lived with the album for almost a week, it has proved to be something of a slow burner that has oozed its way into my liking in a major way. Kicking off with the album`s opening two cuts, the rumour that the band were going to play the whole thing from start to finish seemed to be coming true. The Medication deviates little from The Haunted`s history and, as a Haunted song, is a classic already. Beyond those two songs is where the depth creeps into The Dead Eye and first we`re given a refresher of Haunted past with a volley of 99, Abysmal (with crowd in full voice) and debut album favourite In Vein.

The Medusa is introduced by Dolving as not about his girlfriend but "the c**t I fell out of". Heavy stuff indeed and the off kilter nature of the guitar lines match the mythical beast, whilst the lyrics hit home hard truths. The Reflection is a world away from The Haunted`s days with Marco fronting the band, featuring a Tool like verse that rises into a crescendo of powerful chorus. All Against All brought things back to familiarity with the pit whipped into fury.

Thus was the ebb and flow nature of the gig which allows The Haunted to span out such a lengthy set without becoming tiring. Dolving with his floppy mowhawk hair and pot belly, looking more and more like Fungus The Bogeyman, remains the centre of attention whilst the rest of the band simply get down to thrashing business. The close proximity on the tightly packed stage of the Bjöler brothers has you checking for double vision until confirming one has four strings and the other six, cast across a back drop of inverted crosses. Tucked away at the back, Per Jensen is tonight looking like a 70s casualty with headband and lengthy beard.

Dolving dedicates Hate Song to the flu, though he doesn`t appear impeded at all and neither does the pit for that song. Dark Intentions provides the warm up for the inevitable Bury Your Dead. But as The Failure rakes us over the coals, it`s something of an anti-climax that we`re then kicked out into the cold with two classics glaring at us from the set list. Leaving them wanting more they say and it`s not something I expected to believe after 19 Haunted songs, but such is the maturity of the band`s last two albums, The Haunted are developing an unexpected depth.

The Haunted set list:

The Flood / The Medication / 99 / Abysmal / In Vein / The Medusa / Trespass / The Reflection / All Against All / The Guilt Trip / The Prosecution / Shadow World / Sweet Relief / The Fallout / The Cynic / Hate Song / Dark Intentions / Bury Your Dead / The Failure


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