Gama Bomb

support Bonded By Blood + Sworn Amongst + Savage Messiah
author EW date 14/10/08 venue Underworld, London, UK

Back to the Underworld I came after just a 2 day break, this time in anticipation of a school night of new-old school thrash metal with an Earache-strong line up featuring 2 of the scene's strongest acts in the current renaissance: Gama Bomb and Bonded By Blood. Given the mandatory alcohol and headbanging required of such a gig I was abit nervous about the consequences for being alive at work the next time but I went on unfazed to bring the low-down on the tour that promised to 'stamp out inferior metal'.

Savage Messiah

Setting the tone for what was to come with the following three bands, Savage Messiah brought forth their desire to play thrash of an 80's nature despite hardly being out of nappies by the decade's conclusion. Singer/guitarist Dave Silver, ex of Headless Cross, was the main focal point of the band's fairly standard thrash metal fare, with a persona and singing style I could liken to Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, a band that have no doubt influenced these guy's choice of a fairly restrained thrash attack, with their increased willingness to mix up tempos and hold back from driving in 5th gear all the time. The audience however was sparse for much of Savage Messiah's set resulting in a muted reaction for the likes of "Servant To Your Death" and "Spitting Venom" with a set offering not a lot more than a gentle introduction to the bigger bands to come.


Sworn Amongst

Indicating that the night could be split in two with the two openers displaying a more 'serious' side to thrash, Sworn Amongst didn't come across wholly indifferent to Savage Messiah except with the addition of more Slayer-isms and a very confident frontman in Liam Liddell, not afraid to talk to the assembled throng and have the enthusiasm required of any good frontman. Some strong solos excluding, the half-hour set of Sworn Amongst ran past without terrible interest, but far from bad it was as potential in the performance arena had been evidently displayed; not it is time to transfer that to the song-writing department.


Bonded By Blood

With a near-capacity audience seemingly emerging from the various darkened nooks and crannies of the Underworld, Bonded By Blood were greeted as near heroes upon their first London appearance and if they felt any nerves prior to performing to such a crowd little of it was shown. It seems hard to imagine that anyone with some kind of interest in metal of any kind could not find such a style of thrash perfectly suited to the live environment, with its headbanging-friendly speed and a 'happier' performance than what one gets with a death metal band. Bonded By Blood fit this category perfectly, looking extremely pleased to be playing in London to near capacity crowd and the band did their best to bely their young years with sterling well-performed renditions of "Feed The Beast" and "Necropsy" from album "Feed The Beast", a cover of the classic Exodus tune that generated their monicker and of course, closer "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". I'd have never thought years ago when I loved the 'Turtles I'd witness a hilarious thrash metal cover of their signature song.


Gama Bomb

BBB's labelmates and by the looks of it good mates all around Gama Bomb fit in the S.O.D./Nuclear Assault glove rather than the Megadeth/Slayer of earlier and rather like BBB the end result was a damn entertaining 45 minute blast of thrash metal mayhem that has enough impetus to win over even the most cynical about the thrash revival. Frontman Philly Byrne knows how to win over the crowd with humour and confidence, clearly embracing the moments when a Limp Bizkit 'Best Of' suffered the misfortune of finding it's way into his hands and, more bizarrely, a Lionel Richie vinyl. You'll be pleased to hear however that Lionel, not being the recognised 'enemy of Metal' that the Bizkit are, had a song dedicated to him rather than ending the night in numerous pieces. Good stuff. Plenty of tunes from "Citizen Brain" was what everyone was craving, with "Evil Voices" in particular being wonderfully entertaining on such a small stage. Ending with a crowd invasion of the stage (I was in the minority still being on the floor) Gama Bomb put on an excellent show, and anyone still not convinced about the worthiness of 'new old school thrash' had better eat his words.


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