It’s no great surprise that the outside of the Camden Barfly is currently covered in scaffolding, as this increasingly grotty north London pub has seen better days. That said, you can’t help but wonder if the venue’s management have copped an earful of the sonic wrecking-ball that is the Cancer Bats ‘Hail Destroyer‘ (arguably a contender for record of the year) and erected the scaffolding as a preventative measure.
The show is sold out, but only half of those present manage to haul themselves away from the downstairs bar for Hexes‘ set. A shame, as the band’s mix of hardcore bludgeon and Killing Joke-esque sample trickery sounds pretty damn impressive, even at this early hour. Johnny Truant make their entrance to what sounds like an aeroplane taking off from their amps, but even this pales into insignificance as they unleash a barrage of sickeningly heavy riffs on us. These Brighton hardcore heavyweights have been off the scene for a while, but they’ve come back as one hell of a force to be reckoned with.
Are there any bands out there who enjoy playing live as much as the Cancer Bats? It’s debatable, because as vocalist Liam Cormier roars the words of the opening ‘Hail Destroyer‘ into the faces of the front row, he and his band look like they live for moments like these. There’s no tedious aggro on display here, no ‘more-hardcore-than-thou’ posturing – just four guys from Canada who would probably rock just as hard if their audience consisted of three men and a dog.
Thankfully, the folks in attendance clearly know a good band when they see one, and respond to the likes of ‘French Immersion‘ and ‘Lucifer’s Rocking Chair‘ with flailing limbs, copious headbanging and a maelstrom of a circle pit. Things can only get bigger and better for the Cancer Bats, and on tonight’s evidence, they’ve got what it takes – and then some.