A year can be a long time in music, six can be an eternity, it’s been that long since Raging Speedhorn’s last full tour and when a band is away for an extended period of time there is always an apprehension as to what the returning form might be. Tonight we find out.
Leading the charge for Liverpool and opening up tonight Oceanis may very well be the mechanised infantry of their metal scene, methodical and precise, rolling over you with a mix of technicality & force; acutely avoiding a facelessness that can sometimes render a sound cold, largely thanks to vocalist Joe standing atop it all screaming about Octopi from the moon and dragons escaping from the earth’s core.
Siege Mentality may have the potential to be one of the most interesting bands in the Northwest at the moment, swarming feedback from guitarist Chris Fane giving a wonderfully filthy haze to every riff, the feeling that everything could fall apart at any moment gives everything an energy, and just when you think it will Siege Mentality lock into a furious rhythm, songs are attacks, which if you survive convince you that music can still challenge, still excite.
If you are looking for something the furthest from commercialism, something involving an honestly and true anger, as most of the audience tonight are, then Siege Mentality are exactly that, a greasy handshake between punk and metal resulting in a punch in the throat.
Bands may often claim to be reaching the next level and evolving their sound, when in reality nothing really evolves and there’s no real innovation. Sworn to Oath genuinely prove that a band can progress, mature and craft their sound, utilising a faultless mix of their influences both old and new and live experience playing with established acts.
Their newest album Pillars is them looking at their most introspective, taking their influences and improving, contemporising.
Tonight the ‘Oath are exhibiting all the traits of a band comfortable in themselves, having removed anything that got in the way of the songs and sharpening their already considerable edge.
It’s quite possible guitarist Dave ‘Sleaze’ Leese has one of the best sounds of the scene at the moment and it’s a constant surprise that these guys are a three-piece there’s so much power presented, it’s only on reflection you realise there’s virtually no solos and instead there’s a straight line directly to the songs. Tonight it’s the final song Crosses that shows Sworn to Oath have come of age and that now is the time to see them.
What to expect from Raging Speedhorn tonight?, immediately you have to put any expectations or preconceived ideas of what is coming to bed when drummer Gordon walks out hits various pedals and the amps sing out an air-raid sound and he waves everyone forward. Front-man Frank strides on, with a ladder, yes a ladder, then bassist Dave walks out with a kettle raised high, yes tonight will not be by the numbers as Knives and Faces is thrown out to a rabid crowd. Speedhorn are here for fun & violence.
The ‘horn envelop the stage, any moment Frank isn’t singing and John is he still sings the lyrics off mic, if there’s an area of the stage not being tread on there’s an almost surge from the band to cover it, Super scud is chain-sawed to bits tonight, attacking and powerful as it ever was.
It’s loose and then instantly impossibly tight and as the night moves on things become more and more chaotic, like a bizarre hardcore wrestling match the ladder is pulled into use, Frank standing atop, leaning into the crowd. Water and booze is thrown over Gordon and it’s clear that Raging Speedhorn are enjoying themselves almost too much, its then announced that the kettle from before wasn’t a prop, it contains buck fast and all the band are encouraged to drink from it like an insane metal chalice, a crowd member gets a pour too, this is a party within a fight. And then they play The Gush.
By now it’s abundantly clear that Raging Speedhorn haven’t missed a beat, in fact they have gained some new ones, offering up a new tune Halfway to hell which is Speedhorn as you remember, as you want them to be.
By now the fight/party is in full effect, the double tap of The Hate Song & Fuck the Voodoo Man see the band climbing the p.a, the barrier, each other and are the epitome of leaving it all on stage. Thumper rolls round and then Frank takes to the drums to bring everything to a slugging finale.
Should this current run end and nothing more come of Raging Speedhorn they could still claim to be as important as they ever where, maybe more so as they represent what music can be at its most chaotic, fun and unpredictable.
Welcome back boys, welcome back.