Somewhere under a Rainbow, way down low, there’s four bands that are playing, making your ear drums blow…
In order to access the basement portion of the Rainbow venues, you have to pretty much walk through the toilets. Filthy. Much like the sounds on offer from tonight’s assembly of noise makers, brought to you by Birmingham’s Milque & Muhle Records (to be found in the nearby Custard Factory) and Surprise You’re Dead Promotions.
First on were Birmingham’s own BAYONNEBLEEDER, fronted by Nathan from the aforementioned Milque & Mule, who got stuck straight in with their no nonsense hardcore slash grindcore. Birmingham has for decades produced groups that have created world renowned sounds such as these and BAYONNEBLEEDER are not letting the side down. With a no frills delivery, their mid tempo and sludgier moments carry more weight between the blast beats, reminding me at times of Neurosis during their earlier brasher moments. A fine start, aided my a fine mix.
A complete change of pace brings ALIENIST to the stage. The latest incarnation of Brummy hero Nicholas Bullen (Scorn, Napalm Death) sees him looming over an assortment of guitar pedals (got, got, need, want, got etc.), microphones and other noise producing devices. Sources of noise vary from multiple microphone and effects
chains, small PCB gadgets and pre-recorded sounds from dualing media players. The results are pretty enjoyable, from straight up power electronics, synthy JK flesh style throbs and dark ambient moments. I would personally have preferred to see some of the pre-recorded elements produced live in some way but there is no doubting that the performance was abrasive and enjoyable.
Co-headliner number 1 are FULL OF HELL, a bleeding noisy rabble from the USA who have various impressive collaborations under their belt, including the legend that is Merzbow and tonight’s co-headliners The Body. Tonight it is purely FULL OF HELL and that is more than enough. These guys have a fearsome live reputation and based on the performance tonight it is easy to see why. The vocalist prowls between his comrades between confronting the front row with his roars and forcing distorted tones from his poor Microbrute. The drummer blasts into ferocious action before seething and recharging for the next outburst. The axe wielders are perfectly in tune with each other when delivering their precision grinding hardcore riffs. Intense and gripping stuff.
Finally, American two piece THE BODY take up their weapons. I have followed THE BODY right from the word go and have always enjoyed their willingness to incorporate pretty much anything into their approach to aural battery. It is perhaps inevitable that their live performance is stripped back somewhat compared to some of their recorded output, but it is still fearsome and muscular. Guitarist and vocalist Chip locates himself behind his flight case of fear
which contains who knows how many stomp boxes and effects. The resultant tone he produces is near overwhelming. Power chords are transposed down through the seven levels of hell and the resultant wall of sound at times swamps even the thunderous tubthumping of the drummer. Noise levels at the front of house reach pain threshold andI retreat to the rear of the venue as THE BODY grind through their set, reminding me of a pissed off Jesu meeting Khanate/Gnaw full on for fisticuffs. Live, THE BODY exchange some of the nuance of their finely crafted studio output for an outright sonic bludgeoning but it surely still a sound to behold and be bruised by.
Ears ringing, we file out via the bogs once more knowing we’ve seen something rare, something that will stick in the memory as one of the most brutal sounding nights out we’ve had for quite some time.