Metal musicians have always strongly expressed the views and beliefs of our society: political, religious, and humanitarian; even if radically so, on occasions. With the lineup that a roaring Budapest crowd welcomed this past Tuesday night, they were locked and loaded for a night full of heavy blasting tracks, an overwhelming amount of political talk, and sweat; lots of it!
Being exposed to Russian (relative) up-and-coming band “Siberian Meat Grinder” for the first time was a truly welcomed surprise, as they blasted the stage so hard, and with so much adrenaline, that it felt like they were coming straight from the frozen waters of a Siberian lake. Their energy was seriously infectious and before long, the crowd was jumping in sync with the frontman, whose name I was unfortunately unable to track down.
Their style didn’t match that of the other bands, which I had previously heard, as they are a very effective mix of thrash, power, rap, and hardcore. It was a welcomed surprise, to say the least. Seeing women in their 60s and kids of 10 rocking out and screaming the lyrics word for word, made me realize that this band is truly a hidden gem that I have missed out on.
The main event of their set, and in turn, the most memorable part, was when they welcomed on stage their mascot: The Bear-Tsar, who wore a red crown, complimented with a long, red cape. He truly instilled fluffy fear into the crowd and was the most entertaining part of the night.
It is definitely refreshing to see smaller-scale bands implement mascots into their live sets, as this highlights them to the public and gives them a different edge from the other bands. But, as I mentioned before, their style didn’t match that of the other bands on the lineup, and this translated to their intentions toward the crowd too, as contrary to my opening statement, they were the one band that didn’t include politics into their set.
Next up were the rather dark and moody, US hardcore-punk veterans: “Dropdead”. Their presence changed the complexion of the night as the stage lighting was dimmed and lost certain brighter colors, which effectively translated to the heavy topics they were there to discuss. Frontman Bob Otis wasted no time in introducing the crowd to his intentions and the story he and his bandmates are there to tell.
To complement their song titles and lyrics, Bob introduced the crowd to controversial, and at times conspiracist topics mostly regarding animal consumption and farming, as well as the 1 percent. He was so passionate about these topics that at times it felt somewhat extensive, and as if he was trying to rile up the crowd, which I personally found to be somewhat unnecessary.
Due to their hardcore-punk nature, I felt that I am being transported to the early 90s underground scene. Their provocative on-stage behavior and gestures set the tone for the remainder of the evening and it provided the younger members of the audience with valuable insight into the rebellious punk lifestyle. Bob Otis’ quirky microphone lasso throws and dance moves with the microphone stand played a vital part in lowering the heat of their already scorching presence and topics and even added a flare of entertainment to the set.
The main event of the evening were of course the English grindcore pioneers “Napalm Death”. Their presence was eagerly awaited throughout the night and every band made sure to show respect and gratitude towards them. They were met with an excited crowd, formed of many loyal Hungarian fans.
The band emerged with an energetic and positive vibe which fueled the crowd even more, finely complimented by vivid stage lighting. Frontman Barney Greenway was making laps around the stage faster than the Roadrunner, whilst bassist Shane Embury was proudly waving his curly locks and sporting a funky, stoner shirt compiled of vivid hallucinogenic mushrooms which really caught the eye. In general, the whole band was on top of their game and was out there to quench the thirst of the fans with raw and unfiltered energy!
They opened the set with a banger of a track from their new album from last year called “Narcissus”, which initiated a wild moshpit, that of course would be followed by many throughout their time on stage. They proceeded to deliver a grand total of 21 tracks, which was impressive, to say the least. The Hungarian fans couldn’t have felt they didn’t get their money’s worth!
Napalm Death too, however, had a lot on their mind. Barney Greenway opened up about political and humanitarian injustices that the band felt strongly about, such as the ever-rising immigrant population throughout Europe, which many disagree with. However, He and the rest of the band were of the opinion, that it’s impossible for a human being to be considered illegal and advocated strongly towards supporting people labeled as such. Although political, their approach was somewhat more fan-friendly and less in-your-face, which I found to be more appropriate and was definitely better accepted by the crowd.
This was a night that opened a discussion about a plethora of worldwide issues that the members of the different bands felt strongly about. I do however believe that the nature of some of the topics mentioned were against the overall political belief system of the Hungarian people, which therefore led me to feel it somewhat misplaced. Nevertheless, the bands delivered a more than satisfying selection of music which was exactly what the fans expected, and the “throwback” feel which I believe a lot of the people in attendance were seeking to relive, was truly met by the smaller scale venue and the right bands/music for the job.