Man Must Die / The Rotted / Sworn Amongst

3 July 2010

Camden Underworld


I’ve not had much luck catching Sworn Amongst in the past and timing again conspired that they were well into their set when we arrived in the Underworld.The last time I’d actually caught the band was at Bloodstock 2006 when they received a last minute bump up to the mainstage due to a band running late.I’d commented then that I thought perhaps they’d reached their ceiling but I have to eat my words as Sworn Amongst have matured significantly since then.


I’d not been majorly impressed with their debut album, but this year’s Severance has moved them to a new level.The vocals of Liam Liddell have been a significant improvement but the band as a whole and they’re songwriting is far more solid.The band’s modern take on thrash is entertaining and despite the fact that there’s only 23 people in the venue they play as if it’s a full house.


Sworn Amongst setlist included:

Crimson / Severance / Numb


The Rotted burst forth with the title track from their Get Dead Or Die Trying album to a dispersed looking crowd that had hardly swelled.A cry of “F**k Ozzy” from the crowd alluded to what a few had said tonight, that Mr Osbourne’s iTunes Festival appearance up the road at the Roundhouse was the cause of the turnout.I don’t buy this however as tickets for that were on a competition basis and in any case I don’t see the fan bases being so similar.More likely it’s the typical British apathy to their own bands.Had the two main bands been from Europe or USA I suspect we’d be looking at a much busier venue.


Regardless, The Rotted plough on through The Howling, which frontman Ben McCrow tells us is about “Wanking off in Hyde Park after an occurrence that I want to forget”, erm, nice!McCrow is an animated bruiser of a frontman, bounding around the stage and trying not to get caught up in guitarist Tim Carley’s dreads.


Unfortunately the sound wasn’t doing them a lot of favours tonight, perhaps due to the lack of bodies in the venue, but having only one guitarist meant that they didn’t seem to pack the same brutal punch of their recorded work.


Two new tracks from the forthcoming Anarchogram EP were aired which indicated more of the same from The Rotted and a cover of Motorhead’s Iron Fist was well received if a little obvious.The best response was saved for closer Nothin’ But A Nosebleed, but overall conditions had conspired for it not to be the best setting for my first The Rotted experience.


The Rotted setlist:

Get Dead Or Die Trying / The Howling / Dawn Of A New Error / A Return To Insolence / Angel Of Meth / Only Tools & Corpses / Drink Myself To Death / Iron Fist / Fear & Loathing In Old London Town / Nothin’ But A Nosebleed


At a guess we were up to around 40 people when Man Must Die took the stage, however with a general move towards the stage the congregation looked more respectable.Building on this, the Scots seemed not to let this affect their performance, actually making it feel like a proper gig for the first time this evening, as they launched into a brutal This Day Is Black.


I said it before when I reviewed these guys opening for Decapitated, Man Must Die deserve more attention.In terms of UK death metal they sit near the top of the tree for me.It’s taken them until third album No Tolerance For Imperfection to truly hone their sound into something which is actually more than straight death metal.The emphasis is not just on brutality, though brutal they indeed are, but also on wrapping melody and memorable songs around their extreme core.Complexity is often thrown in but never at the expense of the song.


With only a seven song headline set, to say we were left wanting more would be an understatement and in fact, those not on the press review list may have felt a bit short changed.However there were so many ideas crammed into those seven songs it actually felt longer.It was the first five songs from No Tolerance For Imperfection that really hit home the hardest.It Comes In Threes was monstrous with it’s mid pace chorus riff getting head’s banging.The album’s title track saw singer Joe McGlynn venturing into the crowd in the mid song breakdown.McGlynn never let up his encouragement for the small gathering and the rest of the band weren’t slacking under the circumstances either.Bassist Danny McNab resembled a deranged Catweasel (for those old enough to remember that TV show), darting about grimacing at the crowd.The band was joined by a second guitar player who I believe McGlynn introduced as KJ.Apparently he’d stepped in at the last minute but you wouldn’t have guessed.


Kill It Skin It Wear It closed the short set and what had turned out to be a well spent evening in the Underworld.


Man Must Die setlist:

This Day Is Black / Gainsayer / It Comes In Threes / Silent Observer / No Tolerance For Imperfection / A Lesson Once Learned / Kill It Skin It Wear It