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Hatebreed Underworld, London November 18 2014 (Live Review)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Take one legendary hardcore band, a perilously tiny (and very stuffy, may we add) venue and a few hundred red-blooded, die-hard fans and what do you get? You get one of the best Hatebreed gigs in living memory, sunshine.

With the band fresh from scaring the living shit out of Volbeat fans earlier in the week, this intimate, warts 'n' all performance is a celebration of the last 20 years. It sold out sharpish and, as soon as the wonderfully cheesy Rocky theme tune blares from the PA system, all in attendance are reminded of just why.

The pit immediately opens up as though someone's dropped a tactical turd in the middle of it, and nobody surrenders for the remainder of the show.

Band and crowd give it their absolute all; limbs flail, fists are raised and the amount of 'Hey!' chants issued by Jamey Jasta is quite ridiculous. The man's a bundle of unkempt energy, beating his chest to the classic, choppy riffs of This Is Now and showering the punters with praise.

Even though the music on display is heavy enough to crush your skull, Hatebreed aren't your average skull-crushing band. They’re more fun than that. Napalm Death's Barney Greenway appears on stage to deliver a few shambolic lines during Live For This, leading Jasta to observe: “We tried to get Lemmy, but all we got was Barney.” Some bands need to learn from this. It's alright to let loose and have a giggle.

Just about all the bases are covered during 75 minutes of meat-headed beauty. The unbeatable Honor Never Dies proves that Hatebreed are still capable of crafting a genuine anthem, while the wretchedly scummy 'Under The Knife' EP is aired in its complete, aged glory. Do the tunes sound dated on record? A little. Do they sound dated live? Not a bit.

Hatebreed are reliable. They’re the Liam Neeson of heavy music. No matter what happens, they're always going to turn up and churn out a cathartic, heavy performance that leaves every audience member feeling elated. With the night capped off by the inevitable Destroy Everything, this gig is a revelation. No encore and no bullshit.

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