Concert Reviews

Campaign For Musical Destruction
Napalm Death - Eyehategod - Misery Index - Rotten Sound - Bat
March 4th 2020
Wizemann, Stuttgart, Germany

Review By: Stefan Raspl

Seems like I finally get why folks don't appear for the openers: Back in the day I just couldn't understand why you'd miss out a band playing live, especially when you paid for admission. Well, get a day job, and you'll know why! So when my crew and I arrived, Misery Index were already on. I overheard some folks making remarks to the extent that the two openers weren't anything to write home about, but that's just hearsay.

Misery Index' mostly mid-tempo material with some tasty dissonance bits (not unlikely Napalm Death' Greed Killing era material) mixed in was very well received, although their sound was a bit muddy - especially the bass drums were lost somewhere in the mix. The two vocalists seemed to be tightly stuck behind their mic stands with their instruments, so there was hardly any movement on stage at all. I didn't really understand why they bothered with two vocalists to begin with, since their typical death metal voices differed in fine nuances only. Unless that's vastly different on disc, I'd say they should rather go for a single vocalist (or take turns, or whatever), and see if they cant get a bit more action on stage going. Still: A solid gig, and the approx. 500 in attendance (hard to estimate in that place) easily liked it well enough to sing Happy Birthday for one of the vocalists right away.

Eyehategod were next. Starting off with a minute-long feedback orgy, this was either gonna be an epic gig, or a complete trainwreck. Unfortunately, it was the latter. Their generic, but well played doom material was not so much the issue as the vocalist: He screamed in the same key for almost the entire set, with zero variation or any kind of edge to it, absolutely unfitting to the music. A good vocalist would have come up with some interesting vocal lines that would add to the songs. But this was ridiculous! His street bum-like appearance didn't help, either, and he seemed drunk or stoned or both, and was ultimately completely useless. The bassist didn't seem to give a shit, the drummer played like a factory worker on his shift (didn't miss a beat, but not too motivated, either), while the guitarist was the sole person on stage which seemed to enjoy himself and provide at least a bit of entertainment with some crowd interaction. Still: With an appearance like a couple of random dudes who met at a 10 steps program, combined with the abysmal vocals that ruin every last trace of hope, I was actually _glad_ when they finally launched into yet another feedback orgy to end the gig. While it seemed that a couple of attendees skipped their performance, the ones who did attend responded way better than what i could have ever imagined - so what do I know?! I applaud the organizers for mixing things up with some contrasting bands, but to me this was a total miss - if I want to feel miserable, I'll just listen to some post-Justice Metallica, thank you very much.

Finally, Napalm Death entered the stage, and they didn't take no prisoners! Barney was charming as ever, the center of attention, with his trademark moves, constantly in motion, and his usual political banter in between songs. The sound was good once they fixed the monitor sounds after the first song, even the bass was audible. They continue to deliver excellent setlists, and this was no exception: A well balanced mixture of old and new tracks alike, including some deep cuts we hadn't heard in a while, like "If The Truth Be known", "Mass Appea Madness", "Can't Play, Won't Pay" or "Cleanse Impure". However, the latter was the only track from their grove-oriented phase - I could have done with a few more! Crowd was totally into it, naturally, but it was not until "Suffer The Children" till folks finally put their cellphones aside and got the pit going! They also played their most recent track "Logic Ravaged By Brute Force", which came out great. And they also made sure to include some of their ultra-short tracks, humorously commented by Barney. Sadly, they still performed with their stand-in guitarist (still hoping to see Mitch get back to the band eventually), who very obviously had one hell of a great time - the Eyehategod folks hopefully took note! But at least Shane seems to dig them, sporting an Eyehategod T-shirt- oh my...

If nothing else, this night was a demonstration that Napalm are still going strong as ever. I was especially impressed with Barney's voice which was in great shape as always, and even his clean parts came off quite convincing. The only gripe I have is that they ended their gig after 65 minutes with two cover songs (no encores): The obligatory "Nazi Punks Fuck Off", followed by Sonic Youth'(!) "White Kross". Sure, the latter was a typical odd ball that they like to throw in to mix things up, which is a nice idea. But as the gig-closer...? I'd have preferred to have one final no-holds barred all-out grindfest to leave the place in shreds - I guess you can't have everything.

In any case: Napalm is going strong as ever, and I'd strongly recommend attendance when they are somewhere close - they just never disappoint!

Back to Concerts