|Venue:||Kentish Town Forum|
Walk down any given high street in any given town on any given weekend and you’re likely to have to play ‘dodge the chuggers’, those street fundraising bib-wearing bastards with their good looks and fake smiles, trying to get your credit card details off you to set up a standing order with whichever organisation they’re collecting for that given day. In my opinion they give the word charity a bad name.
What’s that? You’d like an example of something that gives charity a good name? Hmmmm.
How about BoltFest?! This is Bolt Thrower’s self-thrown 26th birthday party, tickets a paltry £5.99, with all proceeds, including all merchandise sales, going to The Teenage Cancer Trust and all bands on the bill reportedly giving up their time without charge for this noble cause. The international media are always quick to report how heavy metal music is responsible for idiots going on gun rampages and the general moral decline of the world, but here’s an act of extreme charity from an extreme metal band that will barely be reported anywhere outside the usual music press. Disappointing.
Also disappointing is the fact that I miss the sets from Vallenfyre and Benediction (Sorry, I was busy watching my beloved Brentford beat Bury 3-0) but I arrived in time to see Discharge take to the stage. Musically, they seem fairly tight, despite a few technical problems late on, and they get a decent enough reception from a quickly swelling Forum crowd.
Autopsy are just what the doctor ordered. True old-school death metal with excellent riffs, they fill the mosh pit within seconds of arriving on stage. It’s pretty rare to see a drummer act as lead vocalist in any genre but Chris Reifert does sterling work, maintaining his double bass drum and a sinister growl throughout. Between songs he admits it’s been 22 years since Autopsy have graced these shores, and on this performance us Brits have seriously been missing out. Their set is excellent, so good that I’m concerned if Bolt Thrower will be able to match it.
I shouldn’t have worried. Bolt Thrower are awesome. There’s no polish, there’s no panache, just four middle-aged men and one woman thundering out quality death metal from a back catalogue which most bands of this genre can only dream of having. Personal highlights for me include 'World Eater', 'For Victory' and 'At First Light', exemplars of the band’s ability to harness sublime heaviness and speed with trademark whistle-along harmonies. The mosh pit is full; heads bang, bodies clash, eardrums are pounded. This may be a charity event but the headliners take no prisoners. The curfew is 11pm but they don’t close until quarter past the hour, 'When Cannons Fade' drawing the evening to fitting end.
I leave with a smile on my face, hoping that BoltFest will become an annual affair, but also inappropriately pondering if any other metal bands might try and take a leaf out of Bolt Thrower's book; Perhaps Dying Fetus could do a gig collecting for the NSPCC? Cattle Decapitation for the RSPCA? Over to you for other suggestions...
Posted: Fri 13 April 2012