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Sick Of It All And Napalm Death Cap Off The Persistence Tour In Style

Photo of Napalm Death

Band Photo: Napalm Death (?)

In an age where Summer festivals dominate, it's nice to have something to look forward to in the Winter as well. While many fans of hardcore will find their most renowned names playing big metal festivals, the Persistence Tour has, since 2005, offered European fans of the genre a great night out in the form of a massive, travelling matinee. This year saw New York hardcore legends Sick Of It All headline the trek once again, having previously taken part in the event four times, being joined by crossover thrash favourites Municipal Waste, Detroit metalcore outfit Walls Of Jericho and for one night only, grindcore godfathers, Napalm Death.

Having been unable to catch the opening two bands (Siberian Meat Grinder and Take Offence,) due to interviews with Napalm Death and Municipal Waste (watch this space,) my first live act for the day was Oi! outfit Booze & Glory. What makes this band very very special is what they stand for. Booze & Glory were formed by two Polish immigrants and over the years their ranks have included people from other countries such as Greece and Sweden, while the English members are themselves descended from immigrants. This background, combined with their love of traditional skinhead and British culture is one of the best slaps to the face of racism and xenophobia, showing the world that we can embrace each other while remaining true to our heritage and cultures. As for the music itself, it was a lot of fun. Booze & Glory offer a good time, in a similar vein to Dropkick Murphys, plenty of sing along anthems and a fierce stage presence. Frankly their studio output doesn't do them justice and I urge all fans of punk, hardcore, Oi! and the skinhead subculture to seek out a live show soon. Superb!

Up next was Walls Of Jericho, the metalcore veterans from Michigan. Vocalist Candace Kucsulain is a beast of a frontwoman, screaming into the face of everything wrong with the world and challenging perceptions to throw down. Walls Of Jericho has garnered a reputation as an intense live act and going on this performance, they've well and truly earned it. Still promoting their latest release, "No One Can Save You from Yourself," which hit the shelves in 2016, the quintet's energy never dwindled and even while they were playing, took the time to help a fan find his wedding ring. This performance felt like a taster of brutality, not playing as long as they would in a headline set of course, but giving enough of a glimpse to make first time viewers want more and longtime fans proud.

It can be said that it was then time to lighten the mood a little bit, when Orange County melodic hardcore outfit Ignite took to the stage. Ignite are certainly no wusses, but in between Walls Of Jericho and Municipal Waste, came across as a little weaker than other acts on the bill. There's clearly a fan base for Ignite and they all seemed very happy with the set, for the neutral though, Ignite offered to little to get excited about, though it was nice to hear some melody this evening. Pretty good, but not a band I'm eager to see again.

As mentioned, following Ignite was Virginia natives Municipal Waste. In 2007, the band released an album called, "The Art Of Partying," which is arguably the best way to describe their live shows. Not having seen them since that album was released, I was eager to see what Municipal Waste are about almost twelve years later. Turns out, the band has only got better with age, with a sound now amplified by the addition of a second guitarist Nikropolis and three more albums with excellent songs to add to an ever improving setlist. Vocalist Tony Foresta has the ability to make everybody move, at least where I was, and bring out a smile on even the grumpiest of faces. Even in the heyday of thrash metal, I doubt there was a ever a band in the genre as fun as Municipal Waste. Take my advice and never miss the opportunity to catch the Waste live!

If ever there was a night which featured two headliners, it was this evening. To cap the tour off in style, grindcore masters Napalm Death traveled down to London to perform for only one night. With fifteen studio albums under their belt, Napalm is the spice of life as they can offer so much from such an extensive back catalogue, treating fans to more modern classics such as "Silence Is Deafening" and "On The Brink Of Extinction" while "Smash A Single Digit" and "How The Years Condemn," two songs from their latest album, "Apex Predator - Easy Meat," which have also become beloved staples from the band, were brought out.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Napalm Death show without the legendary, "You Suffer," which was played immediately before "Dead," two extremely short songs which frontman Barney Greenway insisted in a tongue in cheek manner were, "totally different." It's also a given that Napalm Death will perform the Dead Kennedys classic, "Nazi Punks Fuck Off," which went over really well, before ending their set with older favourites, "Suffer The Children," "Breed To Breathe" and the "Scum" standout, "Siege Of Power." Another fantastic performance from a band which always kept itself fresh, confrontational and relevant.

All good things must come to an end as they say and so it was that from the streets of New York, Sick Of It All came to close a great evening. Personally, I've often regarded Sick Of It All as the Judas Priest of hardcore in that they personify their genre absolutely and positively, bleeding hardcore as much as Priest bleeds metal. Opening with, "Take The Night Off" from the 2006's excellent, "Death To Tyrants" album, which they would later revisit for renditions of "Machete" and "Uprising Nation," the last of which seems perhaps more relevant now than it did when it was written in the middle of the Bush Junior reign.

Sick Of It All, like Napalm Death, have a vast amount of songs to pick, including from their new album, "Wake The Sleeping Dragon," such as, "That Crazy White Boy Shit," a fitting tribute to Bad Brains. Naturally there was plenty of classics on display too, particularly from the debut, "Blood, Sweat & No Tears" album which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year including the staple, "Injustice System," while other fan favourites such as "Us VS Them" and "Good Lookin' Out" from the "Built To Last" album and "Sanctuary" and "Call To The Arms" from the album of the latter's name were also delivered to fans in serious style. The entire band displayed an amazing energy from start to finish that even men half their age can't manage and vocalist Lou Koller had the crowd eating from the palm of his hand from beginning to end. Sick Of It All came with a lot of love and passion and the crowd gave it right back. Ten out of ten, never ever miss a Sick Of It All show!

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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