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Merciless Terror supported by Stanford Prison Experiment + Sanhedrin + Infernal Creation. 29th July 2011

By Lauren Brooks

Kicking off the evening at The Ringside with an engaging explosion of deathcore were The Stanford Prison Experiment, a promising band in its infancy, having formed in April this year. This was the second time I had seen them perform, having attended their Hollywood n Vine gig earlier in the month. Their performance started in much the same way, with vocalist Jamie letting loose an almighty scream that hailed the start of I Kiss My Sweetie With My Fists. Immediately, Jamie started prowling the floor in front of the stage, with all the aggression of a starved predator advancing on its defenceless prey. Although a little slow to get going, the track comprised of classic deathcore guitar work with guitarists George and Zakk throwing in some surprising yet effective Dream Theater-esque licks. Following this, the band treated the crowd to Geoffrey Leonard – a very dark song about an Australian paedophile. Steve’s staccato bass intro captured the attention of the audience, before Danny’s extremely fast paced drums kicked in with Jamie’s vocals. The Stanford Prison Experiment continued their set with Reasons and then their EP title-track Welcome to Euthanasia. The latter was a prime example of Jamie’s excellent vocal range, switching from eerily low growls to shudderingly high screeches and back again, almost effortlessly. Overall, it was an enjoyable start to the night, but one thing I would criticise was the ending of their set which came to an abrupt and unexpected end, leaving the audience a little confused like befriending a clown that suddenly turns out to be the most vicious of predators.

The second performance of the night came from Huddersfield’s Black/Death metal band Sanhedrin, whose atmospheric set impressed me. Reece’s distinctive vocals were set to awesomely catchy riffs from John – an element as rare to find from the death metal genre as a vicar at a bible-burning. Also evident was some impressive bass work from Tom (who, notably, was playing a five-string bass), and extensive and effective use of cymbals from Par mahn – who remarkably didn’t even break a sweat during the set despite playing with all the ferocity of a category five hurricane. Another nice feature was the crowd interaction from the bassist and vocalist – it’s always good to get some contact from more than one band member. They continued their strong set with In The Fields of Akeldama and Gardens of Gethsemane, during which it was difficult to hear the bass at times. Their last song, Of The Infernal Legion, employed a great fast-paced beat that had the crowd moving with it, and alternated with a slower pace in which some sweeping riffs set a sinister tone. Sanhedrin’s set was highly enjoyable and I would love to see them again, perhaps with the addition of their keyboard, as having listened to their work online I must say that the keyboard is the perfect finishing touch.

Next, Hull’s very own Infernal Creation took to the stage in front of a greatly increased and eager audience. Looking formidable clad all in black, they entranced the audience with their ominous trademark of black metal. Their music featured powerful vocals from Neiphrobous, supported by Sin’s backing vocals and flawless guitar work, some earth-shattering drums and cymbals from Bastard and a strong backbone of bass from Deimos, all of which combined to produce a devastatingly striking and unique sound – it was easy to see why such a vast crowd had turned up to see them play. Not only were they a dark pleasure for the aural sense, but also a vision to watch, as Neiphrobous provided a theatrical display of dramatic gestures and mesmerising contortions that would seemingly break the back of most people, as well as possessing an air of command when he bade the audience go mental. Also entertaining was the notion that he seemed to have a deep-rooted grudge with the microphone stand, ensuring it was doomed to keep crashing to the floor. Everything about this band was fantastically over the top even down to the song names – such as Cataclysm and Omega, all of which appear to have been ripped straight from the dictionary of a Doomsday cult.

Headlining, Nottingham’s Merciless Terror performed next, beginning with vocalist Dale asking “Where the fuck’s everyone gone?!” The large crowd from the previous band had diminished somewhat, which was a pity. Interestingly, they used a recorded intro to set the mood before they launched into a fiery frenzy of great Thrash/Death metal. Including songs such as Vortex of Death, Exiled to Suffer and Circle of Contempt, drummer Pete generally maintained the wrist-snappingly fast beat expected of the thrash genre, with guitarist Dave and bassist Dan providing a relentless aggression and ferocity, occasionally incorporating some unexpected technical solos, and Dale’s vocals were very Randy Blythe-inspired and challenging in places. The band also maintained a great movement, with the vocalist head-banging in such a way that he was practically mopping the floor with his hair. One song that stood out as a change of pace was their last track, Severance, which started off slow, and had some great melodic guitar work in the middle. The song, and set, ended dramatically, with Dale screaming himself into the ground followed by one last red-hot blast of pace.

All in all it was a fantastic gig especially considering it was free. I would have liked to have seen more people loitering about for bands other than Infernal Creation but I can’t the fault the band for carrying on with their set with a gung-ho attitude regardless. To top it all off after Merciless Creation ended their amazing set we went downstairs and was to witness the drunken glory of Hull’s finest slaughtering rock and metal classics at Chunk’s Metal-oke. The perfect end to a near perfect gig.