Sepultura - Wolverhampton Civic

December 15

First up were Strife, a StraightEdge hardcore band from California, who were fairly typical hardcore fair. Not bad, but didn't stand out too much. Makes you see why there is a need for bands like Life of Agony to bring something just a little more and a little different to the hardcore scene. Some fair enough self promotion of their current album and the soon to be recorded follow up, and of course we get the song about racism, and the one about protecting the environment and not destroying the world. And also how we have to protect the mind and ourselves if we wish to be able to deal with the crap that life throws. Fine sentiments, but not necesarily easy to do. Life is a cunt and sucks, and that's the end of the matter. No matter how strong the mind, it still sucks. But the vocalist still puts his foot on the monitor and adopts the hardcore singing pose which really isn't far removed from what say Bruce Dickinson used to do with Maiden. And the rest of the band are fairly energetic. It's a fact though, that you need to see a hardcore band in their environment, a small club, where the band are not isolated from the crowd by barriers, security and club rules. Oh, and Igor guested on drums for the last track.

Floodgate would seem to be getting some attention from the media at the moment with claims of 'the new Machine Head'. Well on this listen, nope, they're not. They come from a more slow, Sabbathy kind of background, which is not so instantaneous to listen to. In fact after a while it became kind of boring. Although there was some good synchronised headbanging at times that hasn't been seen in a while.

Sepultura were I think slightly delayed in coming on, due to the power cutting out before the gig actually began. But they eventually made it to a backing tape of THE tribal song off of roots. And then, it was in to Roots Bloody Roots itself. Now, my relationship with Sepultura is sometimes rocky, no pun intended or delivered, they are a good band, but they aren't the gods some would have you believe. Having said that, they earn your respect with something like their Donington performance this year in difficult circumstances, and then tarnish it with all the CD reissues that have been taking place. And this relationship extends through tonights performance. It was good, but I think at 1 3/4 hours they are pushing it a bit, and the show sometimes seems unbalanced. We're hit with a fairly major chunk of Roots to begin, then we get the early thrashier section before going to the tribal session and then encores. And was it 2 or 3 encore, I can't remember. It's like sometimes they are caught between 2 poles. The stage setup seems to pander back to some of the old metal days, with some props that aren't really of any worth, but they look to try and leave all the old stodge of metal behind. Sometimes they, and in my opinion, a lot of current bands, get trapped inbetween. Some of that which they try to distance themselves from, they in fact become. But it's still all entertaining enough.

Everything is performed well, but there's a major distinction between earlier stuff like Troops of Doom and the later day stuff. But whereas a band like say Metallica have changed, they've also it seems lost some of the heaviness. Sep may have lost some speed, but not the heavyness. Straighthate and Spit sound better live than on the frankly boring and disappointing Roots album, but their highlights are still the stuff from Chaos AD, such as Refuse/Resist, Territory and their best bit Biotech is Godzilla.

Everything ends on a tribal note a long time after it all started. A good gig, but maybe at times just pushing it a little.