Saturday night and there was something in the air, a sense of excitement and expectation. This could mean one thing and one thing only… a night of wholesome Thrash goodness was in the offing! Thrash heads from all over the Midlands and beyond headed for The Old Bell Hotel in Derby to have their faces ripped off and their asses kicked by Irish thrashers Gama Bomb! Support for the evening came in the form of Leicester metallers Internal Conflict and Wakefield thrashers Blood Sweat And Beer.
First up was Internal Conflict, who were confident and precise in their delivery. Their sound came across as a hybrid of metalcore and thrash. Vocalist Harley Anderson wore the mantle of front-man well, prowling the stage as though looking for his next victim and never afraid to go face to face at the front. The twin guitar attack of Sean Rice and Matt Hall showed brutal force and no shortage of shredding ability. They were more than ably backed up by the bass and drums of Tom Ingram and Dan Robbins respectively. A short but very sharp set, Internal Conflict have all the elements to go far so catch them if you can!
Cheered on and barracked at the same time, in equal measure, by their legion of fans Blood Sweat And Beer took to the stage. They got to work immediately tearing faces off with their more traditional no nonsense thrash metal! Lead singer Dr Gollick was suitably attired in Bermuda shorts, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt and Nike kicks, looking very much like Mike Patton from Faith No More’s ‘Epic’ video, you know the one, the one with the fish at the end! Again, there was a twin guitar attack, Jonesy and Sal both wielding the axe at every given opportunity, with bassist Chloe and drummer Nigel steadily holding things together. What you see is what you get with Blood Sweat And Beers… They look like thrashers, they play like thrashers, they sound, well, a bit northern but don’t hold that against them, they party like thrashers, so if you like you thrash a little more traditional but with a large side of partying then you’ll love Blood Sweat And Beer!
The main event finally arrived; it was now the turn of those lovable rogues from across the Irish Sea, Gama Bomb, to thrash things up to 11! Philly Byrne and the boys wasted little time with pleasantries besides a casual hello, before beginning their assault with ‘Sentenced To Thrash’. This sent the assembled thrashers into overdrive, with circle pits revolving, limbs flying but all with smiles etched across their faces. The onslaught continued with ‘Slam Anthem’, ‘New Eliminators of Atlantis B.C.’ and ‘Three Witches’, all from their latest release “Tales From The Grave In Space”.
With the warm-up out of the way Philly began to banter with the crowd, asking them if they had heard the album “Citizen Brain”?, if they had hen the would know the next few songs – ‘In the Court of General Zod’, ‘Hammer Slammer’ (for which they were joined by a rather worse for wear, Jim the merch guy!) and ‘OCP’. For those of you that haven’t yet had the opportunity, or privilege, to see Gama Bomb in action live, then please do yourself a favour and get to a show soon… seriously, you don’t know what you have been missing!
The pit was still awash with flailing arms and legs as Gama Bomb returned to their latest release again for ‘We Respect You’ and ‘Escape From Scarecrow Mountain’. ‘Global Warning’ was up next, swiftly followed by ‘Pint Of Entry’. More banter between Philly and the crowd ensued, including getting them to repeat sounds and make kissy noises…
With the frivolity over it was time to get back to the thrash! ‘Return To Blood Castle’, ‘Thrashoholic’, ‘Mummy Invasion’ and ‘Last Ninjas Unite’ removed the remaining faces from those that had been hiding at the beginning (or, god forbid, arrived late…). ‘Skeletron’, ‘Zombie Blood Nightmare’ and ‘Zombi Brew’ ended a rather splendid evening of wholesome thrash entertainment, leaving a few bruised and battered, a few more just battered but everybody left happy, albeit without their faces… Brilliant stuff!