Rezinwolf/Thrash Thursday – The Unicorn, London – Thursday 23rd February 2012

“Permit me please to declare my discontent.”

“What?”

A fight.

The smell of bins circulating in the air as he came round again, that man of violence, the irate pugilist, returning to face his foe.

The kebab shop door was blocked. The man, shirt stained, dishevelled airs about his person, strode up to those gathered outside, his anger deafening.

“Imposed upon me this crepuscular slight, t’will not stand, t’will not.”

And a wayward punch thrown at one of those blocking his way. From across the street could be heard his shouts. The scene: one wholesome Thursday night of viciousness. A slew of incoherencies, all unravelling, but no cause to be discerned.

They held him back, and off he went, only to return again ten minutes later.

“The apex of mine ire cast upon you doom and time’s sudden collapse.”

They anticipated his return and stood waiting. And so the tedious routine of man’s savagery continued, the episodes broadcast generously over one lengthy retardathon.

Outside, a dispute about a fallen falafel.

Inside, the resurrection of Thrash Thursday.

Here, cradled by the warmth of the Unicorn, the expectations were of a wholly different type of violence. Here, physical fisticuffs would be made interesting, subsumed into a musical form – sonic aggression instead of flesh ramming flesh.

The usual characters mingled by the bar. Thrash devotees. Thrifty Metalheads. Scene veterans. International eyewitnesses. Official Reviewers. Enigmatic labourers. All come to peruseLondon’s best gallery of free Metal.

Thrash is a genre that’s straight to the point. By the time we’d grown bored of the spectacle outside, openers Arkhaos were playing. They promised the sort of direct, concise engagement that was missing from the fight.

Arkhaos.

With their youthful staccato ways and visual adherence, they threatened Crabcore. Bent legs and floppy fringes in a slipstream. All the usual angst procured vacuum-packed from the Metalcore discount outlet.

These Londoners were better than that. Sometimes. When the songs sped up, when melodies were ditched in favour of fury, when the riffs stretched beyond the adolescently-hindered vocals – then, but only then, could Arkhaos provide.

When the bad parts rose, it was the spectre of Crabcore that rose with them. Such a fiasco was tempered by the eternal glimmer of promise, but for the most part the childish tendencies were dominant.

The audience was not the right audience. There should have been girls in Attack Attack t-shirts mingling by the pillars. The band could have finished, left the stage and went to discuss Capture the Crown with the girls, doing everything they could to avoid parapraxis.

Arkhaos – producing music far from the “Melodic Death Metal” they say they play – could still find their niche. However, it won’t be within the confines of the Unicorn. They ought to seek out the fortress of emo hair and upside-down crosses. There, digital cameras will photograph their pouts and diligent whingers will embrace their songs.

Arkhaos were not commensurate with the Thrash appetite. The principles of the genre could not find reflection in their music.

Thrash consists of small component parts – parts that science has named Riffs. This is Thrash at its fundamental level. All composition follows from it.

Makavalien.

These guys were not a Metallica tribute band, contrary to appearances. The white flying V, the Hetfield vocalisations, the Ride the Lightning t-shirt – all were mere signs of a band summoning “infectious thrash metal, played in all its insaniac glory.”

These guys were not a Metallica tribute band, repeat. Yes, they played ‘Creeping Death’, but that was a cover.

For all the obvious passion and naïve charm, Makavalien were too enounced in the music of their heroes to exhibit anything exciting and new. The songs were okay, but they were basic reiterations of songs assembled decades ago.

They are guilty of a fault that afflicts many. By pursuing a specific sound, they fail to be themselves. Too many summers spent at Kill ‘Em All camp have sapped the creative juices. Limitations innate to the form run riot.

Anton Webern saw composers as not only artists, but also researchers making discoveries, leaping into new idioms. Makavalien don’t need to develop indeterminate avant garde forms to practise this notion. The band simply needs to do its own thing, free from the models of old.

Another band.

After Makavalien, another band played. These men wore capes and straddled the stage with a sombre stance. It could have been a rogue druid procession. They could have mounted the stage and stared at the floor whilst Night on Bald Mountain played in the background. We wouldn’t have been surprised.

Instead, this mysterious group, now transformed into a lacuna, played a bland mish-mash of Thrash Metal and Black Metal.

The deficiencies on show drove the populace back to the bar, back to the rear to exchange anecdotes. Seeing Overkill on tour. Hearing the Exeloume album. Tracking down a rare Artillery EP. Thrash thrash thrash. A compendium of names.

Terrathorn were supposed to headline.London’s “super shitty” Low Emission Zone put the kibosh on that. Presumably, charges for the transit in van were insurmountable.

Rezinwolf.

We got Rezinwolf instead. On a night of questionable band names, these guys were the best in moniker and music alike. Their Thrash Metal had enough ideas and thrust to win us over.

Thrown into the set was a cover of ‘Fucking Hostile’. The night had been mostly pit-less up to that point. The injection of Pantera added favourable energy to the performance.

Rezinwolf, setting aside their quest to be the sons of Testament, were a thoroughly enjoyable finale to the return of Thrash Thursday. We took their punchy assortment of riffs and left unburdened by the sort of circumlocutory bullshit that might mire the immediacy of Thrash at its best.