29 Apr 2010 – Shaped By Fate
The Purple Turtle, Camden
It all started off so promisingly. Heading up on the Northern line a massive horde of youngsters get off the underground at Mornington Crescent station and eagerly head in the direction of The Purple Turtle. However, the night makes an immediate turn for the worst when instead of bearing towards to the venue, the mass of bodies make a swift left turn and join the snaking queue just across the road where inexplicably popular Danish pop outfit Alphabeat are playing Koko. As RM strolls in alone to The Purple Turtle we're greeted by the news that the opening act have failed to show up, and you can't help but feel they may have counted Mystic Meg in their ranks given the pitiful "crowd" gathered for this evening's rather tasty looking line-up can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
After an awkward wait, Hang The Bastard eventually take to the stage and look understandably gutted at the turn out, but full credit to the local lads their sludge encrusted brand of hardcore still sounds fucking immense. With their inaugural album set to drop in Autumn on Holy Roar, you get the impression that there's going to be countless better nights ahead for a young band with this much quality.
Now as disappointing as the attendance must be for the two other acts on the bill, spare a thought for Armed for Apocalypse who've come all the way from Northern California to play in front of a near deserted room. Given the fact that the sludge metal outfit feature ex-Will Haven man Cayle Hunter, it's peculiar why more punters haven't ventured out to catch them, and tracks like 'We Fell From The Bottom' from last year's solid debut long-player Defeat show that the band would have made it well worth their time.
"We could be playing to one man and his dog" self-deprecatingly jokes Shaped By Fate vocalist Paul Fortescue, seeing that the crowd has thinned out even further before the headliners step onstage, but instead of feeling sorry for themselves and just going through the motions, the Cardiff bruisers still pull no punches at all. 2007's The Unbeliever attracted a host of rave reviews when it emerged and its prime cuts still sound every bit as ferocious and vital three years down the line, as the five-piece rip through a blistering set of molten hot metalcore, with muscle-bound guitarist Luke Grahame leaping across the stage as if his life depended on it and Fortescue humorously chatting to the remaining few audience members between songs.
So who's to blame for tonight's debacle? The promoters, with the show not even listed on the venue's own website? The steep door price? The tantalising prospect of Barcelona squaring off against Inter Milan in the Champions league semi-final on TV? Whatever the reason, almost ten years into their career, one of the best metallic hardcore bands the UK has to offer certainly deserve much better than this.