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Reviewed by Mozzy
Bands: Gama Bomb, Bonded By Blood, Sworn Amongst, Savage Messiah
City: London
Venue: The Underworld
Date: October 14, 2008
Savage Messiah set length: 30 min
Sworn Amongst set length: 30 min
Bonded By Blood set length: 50 min
Gama Bomb set length: 50 min

For the last couple of years, old school thrash metal has enjoyed a somewhat unexpected but most welcome renaissance. Cult acts of the genre have reformed, established stalwarts have put out great albums, and numerous new, young talents have appeared on the scene. Featuring two of the most talked about representatives of the new breed, the Earache-initiated tour bill Thrashing Like A Maniac presented Metal Covenant with a splendid opportunity to take the pulse of the phenomenon.

Savage Messiah

Playing to their home crowd, Savage Messiah kick off proceedings in style. The band look confident onstage and put on an intense and vigorous show which is well-received by the headbangers. Their excellent musicianship result in a blend of aggressive, precise thrash riffs and delicate melodic parts, and the fact that Testament comes to mind is surely not a bad thing.

7 chalices of 10


(sorry, no setlist)

Sworn Amongst

Relying not so much on speed as on heaviness, Sworn Amongst from Hull are essentially a metal band, pure and simple, and a very good one at that. The songs are quite catchy and incorporates good melodies. That said, the thrash metal elements are obvious, as we are served with robust barbed wire-riffing a plenty. Singer Liam Lidell is a commanding stage presence, barking out his vocals with conviction. However, his fellow string-shredders are not nearly as dynamic onstage, and the band's impact is weakened by the flat sound during their set.

6 chalices of 10


(sorry, no setlist)

Bonded By Blood

As Bonded By Blood from Los Angeles unleash their set, the metalheads at the front go bananas, forming a lethal pit. Indeed, neck-destroying tunes such as Psychotic Pulse and Mind Pollution makes the adrenaline pump, and for us not daring enough to immerse in the frenzy the impression is nonetheless dizzying. Although it tends to be a bit similar sounding towards the end, this display is for the most part rather stunning. With the sound being perfectly crisp and deadly as well, Bonded By Blood deliver an utterly vicious, razorsharp thrash attack rarely witnessed these days I dare say.

This owes a lot to the extraordinary abilities of the young musicians: the guitar shredding is annihilating, with soloist Alex Lee showing off some blistering playing, and drummer Carlos Cervesa (if I hear correctly, singer José "Alladin" Barrales announces from the stage that the sticksman turns a mere 19 tonight) punishes the skins with tireless effort. Sporting a manic stare as well as aggressive vocals surely inspired by legend Paul Baloff but also reminiscent of Sean Killian of Vio-Lence, frontman Alladin rouses the headbangers further. Clearly, the energy and dedication onstage reveals that the Latinos have a genuine passion for their music.

Surely no one with some knowledge of the band can have failed to notice - not least because of their name - these youngsters' worship of seminal Bay Area veterans Exodus, and their choice of cover at the end of the set may well be the most obvious ever - Bonded By Blood by said group. It may be easy to write off the band as copycats, but all the same the relentless onslaught at The Underworld - who gives the band loud cheers - confirms that Bonded By Blood are determined and well-equipped to succeed with their mission of following in the footsteps of their idols as well as flying the flag of the resurrection of classic thrash metal.

9 chalices of 10


(sorry, no setlist)

Gama Bomb

Gama Bomb supported the very Exodus at this venue in April, and it was apparent then that they are a treat live - tonight is no different. The band's repertoire, consisting of invigorating, high-tempo thrash in the vein of Nuclear Assault and Sodom, sees the audience working up a frenzy even more intense than during Bonded By Blood.

The gents hailing from Ireland and Northern Ireland have an refreshing aura of self-distance as well as a large portion of humour which creates an engaging bond with the audience. There is a great atmosphere during their set, which provokes many smiles - it is not every day metal songs are dedicated to as diverse figures as Robocop and Lionel Richie, the latter having the honour after a gatefold vinyl with the soul singer is thrown onto the stage!

An entertaining character with endless one-liners up his sleeve, vocalist Philly Byrne really knows how to work a crowd, especially one thirsty for beer and good old thrash metal - the excellent Thrashoholic sets the perfect tone for the festivities, with lines such as "We're thrash, thrash to the core; Our love for cans we can´t ignore". During the last number, band and fans join in one as a mass of enthusiasts invade the stage for headbanging, singing and stagediving purposes.

An absolutely brilliant conclusion to an evening which effectively verifies the powerful resurgence of old school thrash metal. You´d better heed the words of Gama Bomb anthem Bullet Belt: "Put on your bullet belt; Sonic death your face will melt; Back to reign here to say; Thrash your brain or go away".

8,5 chalices of 10


(sorry, no setlist)

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