Exodus / Man Must Die / Shrapnel

23 November 2010

Islington Academy, London


Shrapnel continue to impress the team here at Rockers Digest with another solid live display at the Isington Academy.These five young lads from Norfolk play thrash in the old –school style and whilst many of the revival bands have failed to convince me, Shrapnel do the genre justice.


Obviously pumped up to be opening for their heroes, Shrapnel made up for the lack of stage space with frantic bouts of headbanging.Toxic Slaughter from the band’s brand new EP, The Devastation To Come, caught our ear early in the set, mixing bay area chugging and pace changes with classic gang style vocals and a hint of Slayer.By fourth song Eternal War, they had done enough to invoke a mosh pit which endured to the end of the set.


The four members of the band with instruments provide a very tight platform for Jae Hadley’s vocals and the amiable frontman led the crowd through a punch/shout along as the popular Warhead closed out a short but hugely enjoyable the set.


Shrapnel setlist:

Death / Toxic Slaughter / Rider Of Black / Eternal War / Hammer Blow / Warhead


Shrapnel Shrapnel


I’ve a lot of time for Man Must Die, but as the death metal filling to a thrash sandwich they were somewhat mis-billed tonight.A handful of fans created a huge space behind the frontline of people on the barrier, which remained gaping for most of the set.Behind the gap, stood an army of mis-trusting folded armed thrashers.


Playing what is a quite familiar set now, the Glaswegians are highly polished in delivering their schizophrenic death metal assault.Gainsayer’s frantic guitar work left you disorientated before the pummelling It Comes In Threes whacked you around the head.Frontman Joe McGlynn took a trip into the photopit to try beckon the crowd forward and assured the crowd that Man Must Die all grew up listening to thrash metal.


An impressive cover of Slayer’s Postmortem finally breaks the ice with the pit filling with a few more bodies, before Kill It Skin It Wear it brought an end to the set.It was a tough night for Man Must Die but they stood up to the challenge.


Man Must Die setlist:

This Day Is Black / Gainsayer / It Comes In Threes / No Tolerance For Imperfection / Silent Observer / Postmortem / Kill It Skin It Wear It


Man Must Die Man Must Die


I can’t believe it’s now 5 years since we last covered Exodus, though I did catch this line-up on a non-review night in this venue with Overkill last year.That show five year’s ago marked the London debut of a “new” Exodus and the only change tonight was original drummer Tom Hunting back in place of Paul Bostaph.My dilemma that night was whether it was still Exodus, but tonight with two original members there feels more legitimacy for the Exodus name, though it remains a very different beast.


Once again I was left in two minds by Exodus but this time it was because the first half of the set failed to ignite.My biggest moan with recent Exodus is the unnecessarily long songs.Each of the three opening songs, culled from the last two albums, are packed with great riffs and melodies but could all benefit with about 2 minutes pruning.A glance at might watch revealed those opening numbers had taken up 24 minutes of the set.


It’s a similar story later with Deathampetamine and Children Of A Worthless God, both great songs, but a couple of minutes too long to be awesome.Rather controversially the latter was introduced by Rob Dukes commenting, “I know that you muthaf**kers have been to Bradford.Yeah I said it.Bradfordstan that’s what they call it right?”The irony was that a few songs later Dukes tells us that one of his favourite things about England is curry.


After a rather flat start however, things began to pick up.Dukes dived into the pit and challenged crowd surfers to make it to the stage, increasing the crowd involvement.This culminated with the largest pit I’ve ever seen in this venue for The Toxic Waltz.


Playing wise Exodus could not be faulted and one thing that hasn’t changed is Gary Holt’s distinctive guitar tone which defines the Exodus sound.Lee Altus locked in tight with Holt and their traded soloing was impressive.


Early classics such as Fabulous Disaster mixed well with post millennium gems like War Is My Shepherd, which saw complete mayhem in the pit.Of course there was a healthy smattering of Bonded By Blood classics and the title track itself was the pick of the bunch.I might sound like someone who harks back to 1980s Exodus and whilst I do miss that band I do feel with a few tweaks in song writing, or more exactly editing, Exodus’ punch could be even more direct.


Exodus setlist:

The Ballad Of Leonard & Charles / Beyond The Pale / Iconoclasm / A Lesson In Violence / Children Of A Worthless God / Piranha / Deathamphetamine / Blacklist / Fabulous Disaster / War Is My Shepherd / Bonded By Blood / Motorbreath (jam) / The Toxic Waltz / Strike Of The Beast / Good Riddance


Exodus Exodus