Thy Art is Murder, Heart of a Coward, 7th February, Camden Underworld

Thy Art is Murder, Heart of a Coward, Aversions Crown, Aegaeon

7th February, Camden Underworld

Review by Simon Hastelow

Thy Art is Murder are a brutal bunch. You do not watch a TAIM show you are assaulted by it. But their energy and enthusiasm are palpable and every time they come to town the tickets are bought straight away.

So it was with this their third visit to London in a short period of time. Their previous two gigs last year at the Barfly and The Garage are still talked about in whispered tones by those that were beaten up by the noise but this ensured that tonight’s gig at the legendary Underworld was a sell out.

I’m not a great fan of having a long band list at small venues and the count of four for tonight’s entertainment was pushing it a bit. In the end Aegaeon had tech issues so only played three songs. Announcing ‘due to problems with our computer. . .’ is just about the most un-metal thing you can say at a gig like this.

Being an unfamiliar band (to me anyway) I’d researched Aversions Crown before the gig and the tracks on their Facebook page were pretty impressive. However their performance didn’t quite deliver the same mastery of their craft and I found myself thinking I could probably make an early exit to get to the bar before the rush. Only the flailing scene-chimps seemed to be getting excited.

After a rather acceptable pint of The Underworld’s own ‘Underworld’ beer (which tastes suspiciously like Caffreys bitter) we await Heart of a Coward. I must admit that I think these guys are fab. Their latest album; Severance is just faultless and puts many better known bands to shame. On stage they did not disappoint. My gig buddy for the night hadn’t heard them before but had both Severance and Hope and Hindrance on his iPod the next day!

You could be forgiven for thinking that a band from that most unexciting town of Milton Keynes would have little to sing about but vocalist Jamie Graham soon shows you that they are not messing about. You WILL pay attention and do exactly as you are told. Imagine the precision drone of Meshuggah with the more tuneful artistry of Deftones thrown in and you get the picture. After just a couple of songs the audience were going mental. The aforementioned hardcore/scene windmilling losers had run for cover and proper moshing took over. Surely these would be easy contenders for best band of the night?

Then we get to Thy Art is Murder. We were expecting great things. They’d already put on two of the best small shows I’d ever been to in London. Would they be able to top their last performance at The Garage that had people quite literally climbing the lighting rig? Holy shit yes! Just seconds into their set there was little doubt that we were going to get the crap beaten out of us.  As CJ loomed onto stage in his trademark black hoody (only the ‘North Face’ logo spoiling the illusion of menacing darkness) the place just erupted.

I must admit that I was standing at the back as a lingering knee injury kept me out of the pit but in the Underworld ‘the back’ is still only 10 metres from the stage. The steps leading to the emergency exit to my right were now packed with quivering emo kids looking for safety as the intensity just increased. The ticket stated under 14s should be accompanied by an adult. I might suggest they bring their whole family for protection next time.

For the last song CJ always encourages people to get up on stage, tonight was no exception, despite the fact that the Underworld stage is miniscule there were a good couple of dozen people up there. If you’ve seen the reports from the Soundwave festival in Australia this kind of activity is not appreciated by a lot of venues and promoters, luckily stage diving is pretty much normal activity in Camden.

Sophie K featured these guys on her first ‘Breaking Bands’ show on Team Rock Radio. Thy Art is Murder are no longer a breaking band, they have arrived and they will tear you a new one.

Great venue, great bands, total carnage!

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