Review by Gary Spiller for MPM
Universes collide here at The Patriot this evening in what reads like a previously undiscovered edition of the ’96 ‘DC versus Marvel / Marvel versus DC’ crossover series.
Arachnid versus Cephalopod right here in the valleys. From the inky depths of the ocean and the most tenebrous of recesses of the cave. It all adds up to a monstrous clash of the titans.
The grassroots scene is a vibrant one with a wide array of bands vying for the ‘spotlight’ up and down the country. There’s a good number of venues too but the challenge facing them is only too real. Whilst the likes of Maiden pack out the large arenas there is a tangible reluctance for the punter to look across to notice what is happening at their local.
Bucking the trend is Crumlin’s Patriot – expanded in lockdown – with a loyal, local faithful that is bolstered by a travelling contingent attracted by venue’s growing reputation as a ‘place to play.’ From the likes of established artists like Gun, Ginger Wildheart and Cherie Currie to the underground talents of Cardinal Black, Trucker Diablo and Hell’s Addiction make no bones about it The Patriot is rocking!
Tonight’s opening act are fast making a name for themselves. Having just released their debut album ‘MCLXXX’ King Kraken are pursuing legends of their own making. Just a few weeks ago they transformed Merthyr Tydfil’s Redhouse with shades of green with their sold-out album launch show. Their music is hard and uncompromising, hewn from the same rock that their forebearers mined the ‘black gold.’ Yet it’s swift and agile like the Architeuthis upon which the Kraken legend is sworn.
This evening’s set is short and punchy, rattling through nine tracks in quick succession. The Kraken is a polished affair nowadays, the hard work and graft reaping glorious dividends in the live realm. It’s a suite of heavy metal, affluent in its underworldly darkness, drawn in main from the debut long-player with a couple of tracks extracted from their self-titled 2019 EP.
From the low rumblings of opening track ‘Devil’s Night’ through to the additional bonus, at set-end, of ‘Freak’ a tempestuous roar permeates from the catacombs. The rumbustious ‘Green Terror’ is intense in its powerage with a rumour abounding that certain paint manufacturers are now considering offering a Kraken shade of ‘vert.’ Alloying Slayer and Metallica in a ferocious Orange Goblin broth ‘Haddonfield ‘78’ is as venomous as the riled cobra.
Industrial ‘Under The Sun’ takes us right up to the imposing ‘Walls of Jericho’, a healthily sized crowd lap up the broad, metalliferous groove being laid down. “Try to save your soul” the lyrics encourage in ‘Proctor’s Ledge’, the deal has already seemingly been penned.
The highly concentrated fury of ‘Veins’ evokes the ever-welcome ghosts of Motorhead, horns are raised in devout respect. The horde are appeased with the osmium-dense metalliferous offerings of ‘Castle Of Bone.’ The Sabbath-esque undercurrent pulling under even the strongest of willed. The Kraken extends a welcome to its watery lair, one taken up by many within the Patriot this evening.
With just a few short weeks to go until the Black Spiders were due to start this tour all was in doubt. Rocked to the core by the departure of not one, but two guitarists the Spiders were shaken to the core. Undeterred and as ever resilient co-founders Pete Spiby and Adam Irwin, along with the irrepressible Wyatt Wendel, have snared the six-string talents of the mysteriously monikered J’Evans and D’ron. Thus, fully restored to their ten-legged colossal self the Spiders march on brandishing their version of Sheffield steel. Most appropriate given the forthcoming album is titled ‘Cant Die, Won’t Die.’
Without further ado middle digits are raised and we can chant “Fuck you Black Spiders!” as the five cogs that comprise the machinery of this beast stride onstage. Guitars and bass, low-slung, explode with the mind warping riffing of opening salvo ‘Fly In The Soup.’ Accelerating Chuck Berry’s rock n’ roll through the roof we’re summoned to ‘Stick It To The Man.’ There’s as much punch as 12 rounds with Ali herein!
We given a sneak peek into May’s new release with the frenetically paced rodent rocker ‘A Rat Is A Rat.’ Rallying Crumlin frontman Pete Spiby lauds their support “How about King Kraken?!?” before continuing “Alright, alright, alright! Thanks to Ang and Aled for having us!”
Inspired by a certain US band ‘Kiss Tried To Kill Me’ is loud, brutish and delightfully uncompromising and beyond good for it. Apparently, it wasn’t Ace’s fault. The march of the tombs, the ticking of the clock, storm clouds let forth in the doom of ‘Death Comes Creepin.’ A remapped V12 demon hollering from the cataclysm.
Latest single ‘Hot Wheels’ is rebellious NWOBHM fuelled in its bullish, taurus delivery and is rightfully well received. A swift “1-2-3-4” from the ‘Octopus’ behind his brightly illuminated kit and The Spiders rip into the brutalist rock n’ roll architecture of ‘Give Em What They Want.’ Piledriving forces pummel all to fine-grained dust.
“Who’d like a bit of Viking in them?” asks Pete ahead of the pounding Norse-fired fusion of ‘Blood Of The Kings.’ Bones suitably rattled the Spiders have wind in their sails as restless spirits stir out on the windswept moorlands with their heavy groove front the maelstrom.
Striking a mighty, cogent spell ‘Wizard Shall Not Kill Wizard’ ensures the Spiders strike their prey, snared in the web. ‘Creatures’ is a demonic stampede whilst ‘Stay Down’ does quite the reverse ascending at breakneck velocity never faltering. The Patriot ensemble indulge in the time-honoured “FUBS” with middle fingers diligently raised before the nebulous strains of ‘Stabbed In The Back’ bring further Spider mayhem. “One finger, two fingers or five finger shuffle!” jokes Pete.
The Motorhead-injected rampage that is ‘Teenage Knife Gang’ heads the set up to its crescendo as the Ramones / Motorhead crossover of ‘What Good Is A Rock Without A Roll’ blows the roof clean off its footings. You simply can’t have one without the other. Eat thunder, shit lightning! The Spiders have well and truly left their mark!
Photography by Kelly Spiller for MPM