GIG REVIEW: Venom Prison, Corrupt Moral Altar & God Complex Live at The Flapper, Birmingham
If you’ve been paying attention to the underground scene of extreme music in the past year or so, you may have been made aware of the hardcore and grind-influenced Welsh death metal band Venom Prison. Featuring past members of Wolf Down and Brutality Will Prevail, and off the back of a critically acclaimed 2016 debut album ‘Animus’, Venom Prison embarked on a UK tour which came to Birmingham venue the Flapper, supported by War Master, God Complexand Corrupt Moral Altar.
Opening band War Master played to quite obviously a small percentage of the people who would later to gather to watch the headline act, but nonetheless put on a decent performance that definitely seemed to spark the enjoyment of certain people towards the front of the room. Sometimes at a show you just need a straightforward hardcore band to kick things off – metaphorically and literally – and War Master achieved exactly that.
Up next was God Complex, who definitely upped the game in terms of physical musical power and ferocity that was rocketing out of the speakers on each side of the stage. War Master was good, but every band from God Complex onwards was just on another level completely. It can often be difficult to expand into some kind of detail when it comes to gratuitously heavy music, but basically to put it shortly: it was very good indeed.
The penultimate performance of the evening came from that of none other than Corrupt Moral Altar. The only way I can describe the initial first impression of Corrupt Moral Altar as a live band is this: imagine ‘Jane Doe’-era Converge but with even more intense vocals, and that is essentially what was happening in front of me. Incredibly loud, brutally extreme, but fantastic to watch a band with that dedication for music that heavy and uncompromising be that brilliant to stand and see. Their stage presence was very reminiscent of early 2000s melodic hardcore titans Alexisonfire, with both guitarists contributing to vocals as well as a bassist who looked ready at any point to completely lose his mind.
And to round things off, it was Venom Prison who was tasked with closing the night. This was my third time seeing them in 2017, and my fourth time seeing them live altogether. And yet unsurprisingly, once again, Venom Prison still continues to fail to disappoint me. Larissa Stupar has the single best stage presence of anybody in heavy music right now: period. The band playing behind her are unbelievably tight as a unit of musicians, delivering some of the most nihilistic, vital, and brilliant death metal you will hear for a while. If you’ve been sleeping on Venom Prison and their excellent debut album ‘Animus’, basically do yourself a favour and hop on board with them.
With all these great young bands popping up all over the place, whether it’s the aggression of Code Orange and Employed to Serve, the gothic worship of Creeper, or the grunge-pop vibes of Milk Teeth, the fact that Venom Prison still manage to be towards the top of that mountain is a sheer testament to their ability as one of contemporary heavy music’s finest young prospects. And as a live band, there are very few bands on their level. Big up Venom Prison.