KraaniumWithout doubt one of the most brutal line ups I’ve been in recent years as a healthy mid week crowd crammed themselves into the virtually tropical ambience of the Star And Garter. The lengths that metal fans go to see their favourite acts never surprises me on the whole though I was mightily impress with the girl I was talking to on the night who had travelled from Stuttgart, Germany just for this show.

Deciphering song titles throughout the evening was challenging to say the least as all the bands were new to me except Crepitation. Arriving slightly late the duo comprising Operation Cunt Destroyer were already in full flow as a barrage of programmed drumming was beating a rather indifferent audience. “Vaginal Parasite From A Dirty Hermaphrodite” was a blurring amalgam of thuggish riffing set against a programmed back drop that actually sounded decent and not too artificial before announcing that one of the tunes was about masturbation and was possibly “Cries Of The Chronic Masturbator” The Scottish duo eventually instilled some action as I had a brief look at the copious amount of merchandise on sale by all the bands. Newcomers to the slam scene Visions Of Disfigurement increased the momentum substantially by being a full band and tore through a set of crunching double kick encouraging plenty of hammer hands to pound imaginary objects. By now the venue was ridiculously hot as I think I picked out “Cranial Fornication” from the gurgling song title announcements otherwise the band shoved relentless amounts of riffing hooliganism down the throats of everyone and went down exceptionally well helped by the fact the band was from Manchester.

US death metal monsters Splattered were streets ahead of anyone that played during the evening, their consummate brutality was laced with melody as the singer had one of the lowest toned voices I’ve ever heard and without too much microphone cupping with his hands. Clueless on song titles I attempted in vain to buy a shirt, which my shooter managed to obtain one in a size too big, as this gig was on the tail end of European tour. Disappointed as I was Splattered was every bit that their name implied, gore soaked aural carnage and juggernaut drums that pulverized the crowd with remorseless gusto and gave the remaining two bands a very difficult task of upstaging them which they didn’t.

With a rather tongue in cheek approach Crepitation were received extremely well though I felt their overall approach had too much chat even if it was funny. However I can’t abide the so called pig grunting vocal style as the twin vocalists had plenty of stage presence that had the very animated crowd surge backwards and sent people toppling and grabbing anything to stop themselves hitting the deck. An inflatable hammer (equivalent to power metal swords anyone?) was thrown around and encouraged the hand waving fraternity to exercise their shoulders though I find the whole hand waving thing baffling to be honest. The bands set propelled a mushy sound of infra sonic bludgeoning at the crowd who had depleted for some reason but allowed plenty of pit action in the tiny venue. I couldn’t fault the attitude and performance of Crepitation but they had a mammoth task to overshadow Splattered and came off second best.

Norwegian act Kraanium played to an even smaller crowd initially which I found completely mystifying and whilst they didn’t upstage Splattered they were damn close. With four albums already out and newest offering “Chronicles Of Perversion” due out soon the band were a tornado of blasting drums and cleaving riffs. The Funderud twins are prolific in the extreme metal scene with many outfits that they contribute to and their experience was obvious as people came trundling back into the venue to absorb the bands blood-soaked aural butchery. I gave up trying to decipher song titles and decided I’d just allow myself to be pummelled by the relentless brutality which was unmitigated battering continually. Some guy in a pink shirt was doing his level best to catalyse some pit action and a few did, but the with the venue literally dripping in sweat I think some had given up.

As a mid week deathly mauling this gig was very welcomed after the trio of festivals I’d gone to and proved that people will come to these shows if the line up is solid and cheap enough to get in, though the £6 entry was hardly going to break the bank was it.

(Review Martin Harris

Photos Adrian Wheeler)