6th April 2015
Review and Videos by Jarod Lawley
I’m sure Old Empire were slightly terrified to be bringing The Mentors to the UK to headline a show at The Black Heart, but at least they rewarded London with a dose of sickness strong enough to last a long time.
Damned Pilots have had a strong online presence with their music gaining some good attention on YouTube in particular recently, so I’m quite surprised to see them so low down on the poster tonight. I’m even more surprised to see that there is quite noticeably no more than a dozen punters waiting around to see them enter the stage late, as they open with their lush, classic rock influenced sound. Some gruffer vocals and doomier riffs are thrown in and they perform with tight precision, which is helped by a great mix, and show a sense of humour with the memorable “Hell is Cold”.
In recent years we’ve known metal and comedy to often meet, and Bastardhammer are the equivalent to a dark, British cringe comedy in a world where we’re more used to the prancy pantomime of bands like Evil Scarecrow. Once they kick off, they really show everyone how it’s done, and after announcing that he’s cut his lip, frontman John Retardy makes himself star of the show. It’s hard to describe what happens for the next 40 minutes, but I’ve never seen an audience laughing so much at a death metal band; and for all the right reasons. “6 Million Ways to Die” name checks everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Mayhem’s Dead and Euronymous, and the four piece introduce a drawing competition to draw the “most badger-y one”” from Immortal. It’s pure hilarity, and I still don’t know quite know who won the competition…
After a long wait, it’s time for USA veterans The Mentors to bring the depravity. Despite the death of forever true frontman El Duce 18 years ago, they aim to play on in his sickened spirit, and although the trio lack energy at the start, some enthusiastic crowd appreciation brings things up a notch. Their classic 80s, rock n roll styled heavy metal wins over everyone on this sleepy bank holiday with the wah-wah solos of Sickie Wifebeater being most memorable. Of course they perform hooded, but everyone who spoke to him behind the merch stall earlier tonight knows that the frontman is Dr. Heathen Scum, who is nearly 60 now and I’ll be honest it shows in his stationary stage presence, although he seems to be enjoying the attempts of sexy dancing that are given by a sole stage invader, and due to the lack of bouncers/barrier, this lasts for quite a few songs! “Four F Club” induces a crowd chant along, after all this is one of the sick anthems that made The Mentors known back in the mid to late 80s, and so does “Golden Shower” which is one of the songs that famously prompted the PMRC to introduce those parental warning stickers you know from all the albums your parents said you weren’t allowed to have. It’s a fitting tribute to El Duce, and to sleazy rock and roll itself- we will see you next time you sickos!
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