The Wheatsheaf, Oxford
02 March 2014
I’ll be honest. Death Metal is not my thing. Back when I was 17 and first getting into Metal I was rather scared one day by some very *odd* people who REALLY liked Death Metal and since then, despite knowing some perfectly lovely people who do like Death Metal and aren’t any weirder than any of my other friends, I’ve erred strictly towards the far far away.
Anyway when Andy at Metal Blade sent me an email saying Entrails were playing in my home town, I went and had a listen and discovered I really rather liked them. And well, if they’re playing in my local, it’s just RUDE to not go along. Then add in the fact that it was the brutally awesome guys at Slave to the Grind promotions running the Oxford show and I knew it was time for the WWRS to represent, and for the Not Evil side of the Terror Twins to plunge into the murky waters of Death.
First up were Atonement. Geoff is a one man Death Metal act from Bristol and whilst there was nothing wrong with his act , apart from a couple of technical problems, it didn’t work for me. Still, he’s an enthusiastic performer and went down very well with the crowd, with several people in attendance to see his set specifically so that’s always a good thing.
Zombified were a wonderful surprise. Hailing from Belfast these guys, according to my good friend Spike are ‘a bit like Morbid Angel‘. About ten minutes later he said their also ‘ a bit like Boltthrower’. I am unfamiliar with both these acts so I’ll take his word for it, but what I do know is that they’re pretty damn good with harsh punchy tracks, a rich guitar line full of depth and melodic flavour and vocal stylings designed to melt off your face. I LOVED Zombified. Just as soon as I can, there’ll be a review of their latest work on the reviews page so watch out for that and if you get the chance to see them live, do – they had the first pits of the night as well.
I should at this point, remind you all that whilst the Wheatsheaf has a music pedigree not to be sniffed at, it is also TINY. Which makes it an awesome place to see bands, but a dangerous place for a mosh pit. Which I suppose adds to the fun, though I have a general “no pit” rule. I am small, break easily and react instinctively violently when punched. Avoiding mosh pits is a public service really.
Basement Torture Killings were up next and aside from bring the brutality they also bring costumes and one hell of a stageshow. Tracks are introduced with amusing horror-esque voiceovers and between that and costumes, its a total gorefest of horrific proportions. There wasn’t much of a pit – more of a ‘mosh line’ but a small pit occurred every now and again. There wasn’t a single point of the BTK set where I wasn’t immensely enjoying myself, several points where I straight up laughed and all of this happened whilst giving myself an awesome neck ache from headbanging.
Finally, with an 11pm curfew in sight Entrails took to the stage, and the world exploded. The pit was brutal and ran for every single song. I moved down the front to try and get a better view instead of being stuck behind every 6ft Metaller within a 50 mile radius, who had suddenly materialised from nowhere, and the pit fell into me twice. I have awesome bruises as a result. Musically speaking the set was a doozy. I don’t think anyone stopped moving at any point, hair was flying everywhere and whilst Entrails can’t be described by anyone as a chatty band, they are *very* good, and I’m afraid I can’t give you a set list because I didn’t stop headbanging for long enough to take any notes. Which is, in and of itself, an excellent recommendation. To add to this they were happy to chat with fans after the gig, kindly gave us a spontaneous two song encore and didn’t mind posing for photos.
Entrails will be producing more material later this year, so hopefully we’ll see another tour next year. If you can’t wait that long they’re playing festival dates in Germany and the Netherlands in the Summer and that’s only an hours flight away……..