Municipal Waste // Gel // Undeath // Live Review // The Limelight II (Belfast) & Islington Assembly Hall (London)

“Saturday night’s alright for a moshing” Elton John once said! Well don’t quote me, but tonight Islington Assembly Hall is in for a pounding that’s for sure.

One of the best tours the UK has seen all 2023 is hitting London town.

Richmond, Virginia thrashers Municipal Waste are currently touring in support of their 2022 album “Electrified Brain”. The boys have rounded out the tour package with some current fantastic bands.

New Jersey hardcore punks Gel & Rochester, New York skull dragging death metallers Undeath.

Doors have only been open thirty minutes & the venue is already packed to the brim. A perfect audience for Undeath to ink their fingers into. As the bands take the stage & blast straight into “Rise from the Grave” the crowd are already banging their heads.

Frontman Alexander Jones eggs on the crowd asking for more movement from the crowd & they are more than happy to oblige when the group rip into “Necrobionics”. Now I’ve been to many gigs, hundreds but tonight during Undeaths set was the first time I’ve seen a crowd circle the whole duration of a band’s song! Let alone an opening band!

Undeath really has their live show down. They have the tunes to keep the crowd engaged & the musicianship between the group is second to none. Guitarists Jared Welch & Kyle Beam back & forth lead playing is just fantastic. Even using cool lead sections to be the “main riff” as you will take some balls & they pull it off easily.

Even having the balls to showcase some unreleased material of next year’s upcoming album “Brandish The Blade” sounds like the band’s most extravagant material to date. Featuring the band’s heaviest, most caveman-like break down really shows this band are on their way to the top of the Death Metal Mountain & tonight really helped make some thrash fans into some skull death metal fans for sure!

Next up are the punk rock assault that is Gel. Calming taking the stage, vocalist Sami Kaiser welcomes the crowd, a wall of feedback from the band begins to bellow as the band explodes into their first song.

Fast, classic style hardcore punk with some great mosh parts. These guys really get the crowd going. As a group they are very tight & energetic which is always great to see. With their time slot they are able to throw a lot of songs into their set but still keep the crowd’s attention.

Alex Salter may have a slim stature but he hits hard & his fast d-beat style drumming is a great focal point of the band. I spent a few tracks just watching him play & he’s got it nailed down!

These guys show that the boom of hardcore in 2023 isn’t just a fad, and there are some top-notch bands killing it within the scene. Gel is one of the bands you need to keep an eye on!

Now for the meaty main event! Municipal Waste!!! As Rocky IV’s training montage plays as the band’s intro music you know you’re in for a slobberknocker!

Smashing straight into the band’s intro “Deathripper” gets the fan’s blood pumping before frontman Tony Foresta comes out for “Breathe Grease”.

His signature vocal yell is always great to hear. Still keeping up with the speed of the band his mile-a-minute vocal cadence is 100% tonight.

Getting to hear my favourite track from the band “Grave Dive” was a tremendous pleasure. Even heavier than the album this stomper turned the pit from going in a circle to smashing bodies together & that’s what I like to see. Nick “Nikropolis” Poulos’s solo on this track is a face melter & is played perfectly live. This guy’s chops are second to none.

“Headbanger Face Rip” the band’s now classic track fits nicely at the halfway point & keeps the crowd going! Non-stop pitting for this banger! This track also showcases just how fantastic seasoned vet Dave Witte is as a drummer. Now in his 50’s the guy has no showing of slowing down!

Encoring with the mega “Demoralizer” from the band’s newest album is a great new closing hit for the band. Tonight was a nonstop lesson in violence and firmly cements them as this generation’s kings of thrash metal. Long live the waste!

Review: Joseph Mitchell (London) 

Photography: Mark McGrogan (Belfast) 

@flashartmark #flashartmark 

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