Shai Hulud

support Winds Of Plague + Dead Hearts + Your Demise
author PP date 27/11/07 venue Underworld, London, UK

Camden Underworld has lately been the synonym of a great hardcore lineup. Bands like Full Blown Chaos among many others have stopped by and played to a crowd of hardcore enthusiasts, bringing great support acts along (at least namewise). Crowds at these types of shows tend to be pretty annoying; going to the dance floor without getting a fist, or worse, a foot in your face is starting to be a rarity, thanks to the rise in the phenomenon known as 'hardcore dancing', also known as 'scene dancing'. I don't know about you guys, but I think there's something wrong when you feel afraid to come down to the stands at a show. But anyway, tonight's lineup consisted of some great names so I was willing to once again put myself at risk on the dance floor to get a closer look. After all, Shai Hulud, the headliners tonight, were one of the most influential bands in the late 90s melodic hardcore scene, and Dead Hearts is slowly making a name for themselves as well.

Your Demise

The first act tonight was the local London act Your Demise. Based on their show and the sequences of events in the crowd, I don't think they could find a name more suitable, as it perfectly describes my fate in the hands of the hardcore scenesters. Because sound is made out of fast, brutal, in your face punk hardcore in the line of classic 90s punk hardcore acts and breakdowns larger than life, it wasn't surprising to notice how the band had brought in a squad of karate kids along, who were stomping the ground, throwing their fists around, and kicking anyone in the face who happened to wander into their vicinity. Performance wise, the band did quite alright. Lots of energetic jumping and deteriorating stage equipment took place. It's just too bad their music sounds too freaking boring and generic live - I almost fell asleep during their set.


Dead Hearts

In case you haven't checked out Dead Hearts yet, be sure you'll check them out after reading this review. Not only is their latest album "Bitter Verses" an awesome piece of melodic hardcore, but it also has a mind numbingly good concept that runs through from track one to track fourteen. And they know how to deliver it live freaking well. Jumping all over the place, screaming in the face of the kids at the front, their vocalist was the life of their set. His delivery of some of their best songs "Fall", "Hope" and "Innocence" was spot on, running cold chills down my back as he was screaming his lungs out to the concept of the record. The two guitarists and bassist did massive simultaneous jumps, and spent rest of their time crashing into one another at the modest Underworld stage. Their last song, "Hollow", was one of the best songs we heard all night. Moving from fast, in your face punk hardcore to the painstakingly slow creeping hardcore much of their record consists of, it engaged the whole crowd into moving and some were even singing along. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.


Dead Hearts setlist:

  • 1. Dusk
  • 2. Fall
  • 3. Bright Ligts, Burnt City
  • 4. Hope
  • 5. Innocence
  • 6. Goodbye
  • 7. Calloused
  • 8. These Are Our Lives
  • 9. Adult Crash
  • 10. Dawn
  • 11. Hollow

Winds Of Plague

So after getting a beer and descending back towards the dance floor, I saw something strange being set up on stage: a keyboard stand. I thought to myself: "that's odd, this is a hardcore show, why on earth would you have a keyboard in the lineup?". Well, it was even weirder than it sounds, and this is one of the very few times when I have absolutely no idea of how to accurately describe what Winds Of Plague were like, they were simply so strange, so weird, that the whole pissed-off hardcore atmosphere of the venue was instantly transformed into a magical, stare-in-awe-inspiration one from the get go. Imagine a vocalist growling like death metal bands at one point, inducing into beautiful clean singing the next moment and finishing off his incredible range with screamo that wouldn't be out of place on an UnderOATH record...? Done? Okay, now imagine that on top of a sound which combines the beautifulness of Dream Theater's progressive elements (the keyboards especially) together with hardcore punk, intense breakdowns that made Your Demise sound amateurish, occasionally blinding Between The Buried And Me style guitar work, and brutal death metal/grind metal elements that emerge from seemingly nowhere, and disappear equally quickly as the song transforms into a dinner-music styled jazz session? I guess I'm not the only one who has been amazed by this band before, since their Myspace page shows well over a million profile views. By the sounds of it, "Decimate The Weak", coming out on February 5th next year on Century Media will blow everyone away.

Shai Hulud

The peculiar trait about Shai Hulud is that they actually have no official vocalist at the moment. They've changed the front figure so many times that people have actually stopped noticing who sings for the band, people just know the band's gonna deliver no matter who is screaming the vocals at them. But nevertheless, there was a sense of anticipation on who exactly would be fronting the band tonight at the Underworld. I was one of the few people with that knowledge though, having interviewed the band earlier before the show, so I knew the band's new, as of yet unannounced vocalist is one of their mates from home. And let me tell you, he fared exceptionally well tonight, considering he wasn't a part of the writing process for any of their songs. Like all the other bands tonight and typical to the hardcore scene in general, he too was making massive jumps, while storming back and forth the stage in a pissed-off stance. But as an extension to the other bands on the bill tonight, he had no trouble on offering the mic down to the crowd either, and there were several long passages when he was just jumping around on stage while the mic was actually somewhere in the crowd. His delivery was passionate and wholehearted, which can also be seen in the photos.

Punk hardcore songs like "Faithless Is He" created insane circle pits with people two-stepping around the circle (for once the correct way!), while the slow creepers like "Solely Concentrating On The Negative Aspects Of Life" saw the crowd grow increasingly violent - not in terms of hardcore scenesters but in people pushing towards the front while moshing around. While talking to guitarist Matt earlier on during the day, he said the band was used to having maybe 20 people at shows these days, of which maybe four or five would actually be moving around. Tonight, there were about two hundred people moshing around and singing along with dedication, and that showed in the band's stage show as well. They were clearly the band with the most energy on stage today, whether that's measured in terms of simultaneous stage jumps, running around, or throwing your instruments around 99% of the time while playing extremely complex passages - and best of all: it was really tight. As anticipated, the band did choose to play one of their extremely popular covers; a hardcore version of NOFX's "Linoleum" was probably the best way to end the night in high spirits before thanking the crowd for the impressive support tonight.


Shai Hulud setlist:

  • 1. Scornful Of The Motives And Virtue Of Others
  • 2. Solely Concentrating On The Negative Aspects Of Life
  • 3. My Heart Bleeds The Darkest Blood
  • 4. Given Flight By Demons Wings
  • 5. Whether To Cry Or Destroy
  • 6. Faithless Is He Who Says Farewell When The Road Darkens
  • 7. Creation (New Song?)
  • 8. Set Your Body Ablaze
  • 9. The Bonds Of Those Who Have No Understanding Of Consequence
  • 10. Two And 20 Misfortunes
  • 11. This Wake I Myself Have Stirred
  • 12. A Profound Hatred Of Man
  • 13. Linoleum (NOFX cover)


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