SOD - Bigger Than The Devil

Well, I've got to say, initial impressions are that this is a bit of a disappointment. But hey, I mean, it's been 14 years, your expectations are always going to be greater than the reality of what is delievered. Plus, back then, it was one of my first introductions to this stuff they call hardcore. It was new to me. Now, well I'm no expert on it, but I've heard a lot of it, and so it has to be said, that what SOD offer is nothing new. Back then it was. You can't compete with that. Much like the Star Wars film, you have to really try to turn back to that time of innocence and experience it like that. Otherwise you're just going to be disappointed.

So having said all that, the ingrediants are here. The obvious classics take the blueprint of the first album, in other words, the Ballads of Michael H and Phil H respectively. Classics. But hey, maybe I just appreciate that kind of humour. The rest is there to. The "offensive politically incorrect" lyrics and opinions. Yawn. I mean, sure, some of it is dodgy from my point of view, but so what? Everyone's entitled to an opinion, and there's surely way more dangerous people in the world than musicians. There's politicians for a start.

The title track itself opens, and the bass rumble is there, and so's the crunch guitar and Sgt D is back, and towards the end, we get the chug. Oh yeah, the chug. Though he's currently operating at a speed a touch slower than I would've liked. Though half way through The Crackhead Song there's signs that the beast is begining to find his legs a bit more as there's a few sheer speed blasts and by Kill The Assholes it's really lurching along and on Monkey's Rule we get classic era Anthrax style riff, straight off the Among The Living album. Just like the original SOD album was. That's better. It all feels more comfortable now. Like meeting an old friend, you have to get over the initial "wow, it's YOU" thing. Now I'm not going to mention something about every song, there's 25 of the suckers, but Celtic Frosted Flakes is great, Charlie Don't Chear a lovely speed blast. There's quite a few that just pass by. And I'd name them if I could, but as they pass by, I don't know their names. if you get my drift. Shenanigans though isn't one of them, it manages to throw just about all the classic SOD elements into one 2 minute song. Of course there's more of the sillyness as well, such as Dog On The Tracks, Fugu and frankenstein and his Horse. But that's SOD for you. If you know them, well you'll know if you want this. If you don't know them, then it still has to be Speak English Or Die for your first port of call.

But it just doesn't bite with the same urgency. And that lies in the music. Oh it's all there, but I dunno, can't put my finger on it. The Anthrax track ? is reprised for ? which is both fun and lazy at the same time.

But the cover, well, it's an absolute classic of course. Buy it for that alone. Oh, and pick up Number of the Beast while your at it. May not be Korn, but hey, stands the test of time.

Madball / Barcode / Capdown / In The Clear

Sheffield Corporation

May 23 1999

Really wasn't sure about going to this one and listening to all that unity hardcore bollocks that can tend to really get on your tits after a while. Or if you're not in the right mood for it. Pretty busy week coming up at work methinks, have to finish writing a paper, complete 2 chapters for the thesis, hold a network trial, come up with something to talk about for a presentation when all I've done in the last few months has been the thesis, and sort out a trip to Greece for a bloody meeting. So I should stay in and start doing some work. Besides, I'm not the biggest Madball fan. But I still end up going.

And once more I arrive as the first band, Sheffield's In The Clear are finishing. So no change there then. Except it's only about 6.25pm. I know it was supposed to start early, but I mean, come on!

Anyway, Capdown made it worthwhile. Coming on saying "we're about to commit music suicide" is a great start. Get in your defence before anyone can accuse you. I like that. I tend to do it alot. But it's totally unnecessary right? Because this is a hardcore gig. Unity. Open-mindedness. Togetherness. All that rhetoric, so the fact that Capdown lean more on the punk side with a very large side salad of ska should make no difference right? Yeah well, it does. Hey, I never claimed to actually understand all this stuff. Best band of the night though easily. Live they bring the name Rancid to my mind more than on the EP. But tracks such as Time For Change and the new untitled one have a heavyweight enough 'core to them to go over well. And when the saxophone comes out, well, we're all open minded here so it's not a problem. If Money's Your Life and Yourself, Your Whole Self and Nothing But Yourself are there from the EP and sound great. Apparently they used to be called Soap, and there's a song of the same name here, and as they leave after half an hour, I realise that maybe because of my mood, maybe my attitude, maybe my utter lack of "real" understanding of this whole hardcore thing, but I realise that I've just witnessed the band of the night.

And the next band pail significantly by comparison. Barcode it turns out are from Denmark, and yet I had them down as American due to the American accent the singer seemed to have. Anyway, very standard metal hardcore that really did nothing for me on this occassion. It's all precise and whatever, but it's just crying out for something to make it stand out, something to make it interesting, something to grab you and shake you. Nothing does. The final song introduced as a track they wrote 20 years ago is the best. The song? Judas Priests' Breaking The Law. Even though it's mutilated, it's still the best thing they played. Bzzzt. Next.

Well, next I thought would be Imbalance. Due in part to having been advertised, and one of the reasons I decided to actually come to the gig tonight. But as it turns out, the fact that they didn't take to the stage makes me think they weren't there for some reason.

And so it was, at 8.30pm, Madball come on. I mean, 8.30!!!!!! Why were the first band on so goddamn early. Anyway, they come on, and for 40 minutes run through a set that ultimately feels very hollow. Maybe it was me, but it really felt like a going through the motions. Maybe it's the turnout. A standard Sheffield turnout, which means there's a fair few here, but you're hardly battling for your own space. They play some old shit, and some older shit. Face To Face. Moment Of Truth. And others that I only know from the names given to them onstage and have once more forgotten. Maybe that summed it up. Though there was a song "dedicated to the metalheads". Ah, I can feel loved and wanted if only for a few minutes. It's ok though, cos it's passed now. There's announcments that a new album will be out before the end of the year, it won't be on RoadRunner, and their old guitarist has "officially retired from hardcore". So I guess there's new shit to look forward to. As it would perhaps be put. But after

only 40 minutes it's over. To be honest, the whole evening is a bit of a major disappointment. It's over by 9.10 and it's still daylight outside. Bit of a letdown all round really. Apart from Capdown.

And just in case I need to piss off the purist anymore, I listened to Garbage, Hero and Sophia on the way home. And it soundedgood to me. Some melody that I enjoyed.

Woah there boy. Apparently I've been told that Imbalance actually headlined. Probably as I was driving back to Nottingham. Bollocks, wanted to see them again. But what the fuck is the point in advertising a show as being Madball, having nothing about Imbalance on the ticket, and then have the band that aren't

even mentioned on the ticket headline over the band whose name is in big screaming hardcore we're from Noooooo Yoooik letters on everything. Huh? No sense. Should give a partial refund to people like me that were duped. Whaddayamean I was the only one stupid enough? That's besides the point. (mumble mumble whinge whinge groan).