Living in rural mid/north wales I’d understand apprehension when describing an account of my experience last weekend at a quaint, typical run-of-the-mill tavern in Forden, on the outskirts of a town with a population of just under 7’000 (known as Welshpool) witnessing a few close friends performing what can only be described as metal in death, as well as a punk/hardcore band who would be notably compared with the earlier years of Biffy Clyro.
About 20 people were already settled as I walked in with one of 3 guitarists in the band Salacious Crumb, named after the memorable vermin from the Star Wars films. The name itself gives you insight into the 5 characters of the group: delightful, charming and generally happy people. However there is nothing cheerful about the music they play. Covering songs from deathcore giants Whitechapel, who interestingly contain the 3 guitarists necessary to imitate their songs accordingly, Chelsea Grin and Suicide Silence, where the 3rd guitarist makes up for the (for now) missing bass player, as well a couple of purely brutal songs of their own. They were looking to surprise the parents and locals who’d come on a typical Thursday night to enjoy some free, live music.
As well as this, supporting were the all more aggressively (and appropriately) named Impaled Through the Skull, who’s name would only give insight into the genre of music they perform. Amateur veterans to the gig scene, they formed in the summer of 2011 and have toured locally near since. Covering songs from their main influences Job for a Cowboy, Nile, as well as (also) Whitechapel to near perfection, their talents are nothing to be underestimated, and if it wasn’t for either bands unfortunate position on the map and niche genre there would be no doubt in my mind that they wouldn’t have made noticeable impressions upon Britain’s music industry, at the bare minimum.
First to perform, however, are young, carefree band Space Monkey Mafia. Formed in 2010, they play more conventionally pleasing music, playing songs of which range from grunge to alternative metal. Their name also suggests the genre played, and under the leadership of frontman Brad Hunter (also a guitarist in Salacious) often perform surprisingly satisfyingly, leaving the most optimistic of people in awe and wonder at heartbreaking solos played allegedly “off the top of my (Brads) head.”, and the beauty of passionate singing that near left me in tears. As expected, I sat and listened to covers from the likes of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box, Foo Fighters Monkey Wrench and Stone Sour from these young (just-gotta-love-em) boys. On his knees wobbling the E string as the music died, they received modest applause and whistles from the audience, however none of them seemed to clap as loudly as I did.
The mood was delightful as Impaled set up for their set. Their expressions were sincere, fully focused and determined to do what comes naturally best to them. I turned away for a second, and dark growl caused me to half jump as a symbol in the near distance sounded lightly, preparing the crowd for an uneasy yet undoubtedly excellent 45 minutes, thoroughly enjoyed by the local greebs and death metal fanatics who bounced and headbanged on the small floor in front of them. After 10 minutes of brutality the excitement intensified as Salacious vocalist Tom Keen grabs a chair and jokingly threatened to attack the pit he had started, which resulted in him being headlocked and removed from the performance. After apologies and much convincing from himself and his bandmembers the Owner grudgingly let him return inside, however made sure to keep a sharp eye on the crowd – as a lion would observe a gazelle. Moshing was thereby banned for the rest of the night, however it was tested to the limits by the riled up crowd.
The performance was flawless, and performed with such gritty prowess I felt almost awkward smiling at the vocalist Omar Batoctoy’s attempts to lighten the atmosphere. With a final insight into hell the sounds of the drums softened, and the other instrumentalists looked into the ground with solemnity. Applause consisted of a light clapping and a wolf whistle from the back, which left me questioning myself – how long will it be before these boys get the recognition they ultimately deserve?
Traditionally, 20 year old Salacious drummer Matt (Shep) performs the arduous ritual of preparing his drum kit – which contains twice the equipment of that an amatuer drummer requires. Shep, on the other hand, is very much the opposite. A professional in his own right, Shep has has been called up to bands of all sorts for his unique and admirable talent to bang the drums for years of his life. A private and elementary drum teacher this guy is certainly an unmissable essence of the minuscule giants that are Salacious Crumb.
Finally, late but ready to devastate, Tom Keen announces the start of the bloodbath with the bloodcurdling cry (“Get the fuck!…”) – the crowd has a split second to express their delight before a deathly growl silences the room (“…UP!”) followed expertly in time by the instrumentalists, the beginnings of Chelsea Grin’s classic Lifeless from their 2009 EP. This is a favourite of mine, and I instantly rose from my seat to participate in the non-existent crowd to cause a scene in an attempt to inspire others to celebrate Salacious’ set. My efforts seemed to have worked to an extent, as after much jumping and screaming through a venetian jester mask others rose to follow my example. The very essence of brutality was what occurred throughout the next 30 minutes, with such anthems as Whitechapels (what can only be described as) gruesome Devirgination Studies, as well as another of CG’s singles from their latest album My Damnation (My Damnation), which I must admit sounds almost better than the deathcore behemoths themselves. Vocalist Tom can imitate Alex Koehler’s voice to an almost identical extent, whereas the other band members (guitarists Joe Supple, Rhys Graham and Brad Hunter) play the riffs and solos with ease and to perfection, in complete contrast to Shep’s unique patterns of kicks and diverse rythym(s) that although don’t always follow the ‘script’, display his professionalism and rare talent brilliantly, which he carries into each and every song performed.
What strikes me most about this band though, is there outstanding ability to conduct their own music with such an incredible… excellence, precision. With such songs as Queen of Deception, the satirical yet disgustingly heavy One Dissection and my personal favourite: Prophetically Disillusioned, these are songs I couldn’t believe were their own, down to the fact they’re performed to the standard that outdoes many, many over bands that I’ve seen in my lifetime, and some of the best music I’ve ever heard (in terms of the deathcore genre).
The end of the night was beginning to dawn, and what better way to set the crowd off one last time than to Suicide Silences Disengage (a fan favourite). As the final chords of the night were struck, only Sheps quietly (yet expertly) covered drum solo was to be heard over the exhausted applause of a truly worn audience.
Check out their pages yourself:
for videos, band pictures and gig announcements.
these guys are all truly talented and deserve due credit. They truly enjoy what they’re doing and only aspire to please the masses. If maybe their music genre’s not to your taste even a like would be much appreciated from them.