Trap Them and Okkultokrati may seem like odd bed fellows on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you can see the dirty punk residing at both of their roots. Strange as it may seem, the two make excellent tour partners, helped by the fact both bands completely dig the other’s music. After tearing up stages together in Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium, their tour finally hits London, ready to tear apart the Boston Music Room.
Employed to Serve are first on stage, having already attracted a more than respectable sized crowd considering their early start time. The Woking based five piece are a high octane fury of sludge tinged hardcore with a twisted hint of grindcore thrown in for good measure. With the crowd suitably riled up, and getting busier by the minute, Venom Prison take the stage. Hyper-tempo drums and thrash-influenced riffing abound as Larissa Stupar’s formidable, bloodcurdling roar tears through the venue. It’s a masterclass in contemporary brutal death metal, with fretboard squeals aplenty.
The small neckless rabble in attendance purely to punch people in the head and call it a “pit”, relinquish their one-foot-on-the-stage pose, and make a beeline for the smoking area the second that Okkultokrati begin their first song. It’s entirely their loss, however, as the fusion of post-punk and black metal on display is infectiously fun to watch. The Norwegian five piece play their way through some of the best tracks from latest release ‘Raspberry Dawn’, while sending both equipment and band members alike flying from the stage. There’s something old school about their approach to playing live that kicks up undeniable 80s vibes. A much welcome respite from the “wreck your neck” atmosphere that’s been brewing thus far.
There’s a scrabble to get to the front as Trap Them start up – this performance is to be without the turbulent stage antics of vocalist, Ryan McKenney, as he broke both legs a few days before and has to complete the remainder of the tour in a wheelchair. This in no way puts a dampener on the evening, as he still manages to remain just as ferocious and determined as they play through songs from ‘Crown Feral’ as well as older favourites from ‘Blissfucker’ and ‘Darker Handcraft’. It’s a blistering performance bolstered in heaviness by how passionate both band and fans are about the music. As the Boston quartet rage their way through their setlist, they’re accompanied by multiple stage dives, screams into the mic from the audience and a bloodthirsty moshpit. McKenney provides a stellar show, considering his injuries, and the crowd finally get the action they’ve been hankering for.
Review by Angela Davey