Ephel Duath And Poison The Well And Dillinger Escape Plan

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Concert Review by Mark Bayross

The Kentish Town Forum – 8 December 2004

An evening of ear-splitting metal is always fun and tonight London’s Kentish Town Forum was hosting three bands with a common agenda of sonic extremity but each with a slightly different way of caving your head in.

First up were Ephel Duath, a bunch of Rocky Horror Italians with a fine line in combining Slayer and freeform jazz, complete with onstage trombonist. Death metal ska may not seem like an entirely enticing prospect, and there were times when the whole thing descended into a shambling mess, but if you want experimentation, you have to be prepared for the odd bum note. Interesting, occasionally thrilling, but probably likely to induce insanity over long periods.

Florida’s Poison The Well seem to make more sense, fusing suckerpunch guitars, Jeffrey Moreira’s vein-popping vocals and tons of melody, and they are absolutely stunning. Their performance is electrifying throughout, the crowd greeting old favourites like anthems and singing along, while the new material adds a sense of crushing dynamism similar to the Deftones or Funeral For A Friend. Songs like the awesome THE REALIST bring the house down and leave headliners Dillinger Escape Plan with something of a hard act to follow.

Fortunately for them, Dillinger are like no other band on earth at the moment and anyone who has paid good money to see them tonight presumably have done so with the intention of subjecting themselves to the aural GBH that follows. Taking the stage to an eerie ambient build-up, they launch into a maelstrom of jackhammer beats and strobe lighting, a level of intensity that they manage to sustain, barring the occasional drop-down into a few seconds of funky guitar or fluid electronics, for a Geneva Convention-defying hour.

Buff frontman Greg Puciato screams like his pants on fire and the rest of the band throw themselves around the stage like they are plugged into the mains. By the end of the show, which includes Puciato fire-breathing his way through the encore with a flaming torch in his hand, and, apparently, a Huey Lewis cover, there is little doubt who the daddies of screamo / mathcore / mental metal really are right now.