It is so heartening to see the ULU in London packed for the first band on a four band bill on a cold Sunday night in December. Testament to the hunger metal fans have for a bill that is all about the heavy and the quality of the opening band, Skeletal Remains.
Absolutely crushing it for 30 minutes, the pit is wide open from the moment their brand of intense extreme metal gets going and it doesn’t stop until the band leave the stage.
Skeletal Remains are a name that is growing in stature and this powerful performance, alongside a rapturous reaction, is all the proof you need that they are the next big thing in extreme music. Years down the line, when they are the headliners of these kinds of tours, people will ask “where you there?”
With a line-up heavy on the thrash, we thought Skeletal Remain’s brand of death metal made them the odd ones out. We were wrong as it’s the next band, Enforcer that seem out of place. With music, outfits and stage presence that feels right out of the 80s, the heavy metal band don’t quite hold the attention in the same way as Skeletal Remains. It seems as though many are saving their energy for what is to follow. Although the crowd is still bang into them.
What follows are two of the most beloved thrash bands in the world. Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste. The former could have headlined this show, that’s how strong they are and the glee in which they perform is infectious. Bodies are flying everywhere, fists are constantly being pumped and the flurry of heads non-stop head-banging is a hell of a sight.
In most cases, it would be impossible for a band to follow that but Municipal Waste are not ‘most cases’. A band that I love live but only like on record. They impressed at Bloodstock a few years ago and this would be the first time seeing them in a more intimate location.
Wow, just wow. From the moment they begin to the moment they’re forced to stop mid-song to the moment it ends. Municipal Waste decimate London and love every minute of it. It’s so fast, it’s so heavy, it’s so loud…but not a single person isn’t grinning ear to ear.
Even when the band are effectively told to stop during Wave of Death, nobody is in a bad mood. Why are they told to stop? Crowd surfing. Obviously this song is famous for encouraging not just crowd surfing but crowd-surfing to the extreme. Most venues have a ‘no crowd surfing’ policy but ULU seems to be particularly strict about it. It’s fascinating to watch as security make cutting gestures and the band slowly become aware that they’re in a spot of bother.
They handle it like pros though, a quick chat and a request to the crowd to just circle-pit instead. Something the sweaty masses are more than happy to accommodate. It’s a hell of a night, a hell of a bill that begins brilliantly with Skeletal Remains and ends just as strongly with Municipal Waste.
Municipal Waste fucked London up.
Municipal Waste/Toxic Holocaust/Enforcer/Skeletal Remains at ULU, London (08/12/19)
Skeletal Remains - 9/10
Enforcer - 7/10
Toxic Holocaust - 8/10
Municipal Waste - 9/10