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The beer is flowing, the patch-splattered jackets line the streets, and this is the only place in London serving burgers named ‘Pleasure To Grill’: it can only be Live Evil, the annual true-as-steel tribal gathering where all bow to the timeless strike of hammer to anvil, and do so in refreshingly unpretentious and warm-hearted fashion. Any worries about image usurping talent at this festival are swiftly dispensed by the oppressively unglamorous Millennium kicking proceedings off with a mid-‘80s bombardment of considerable gusto, with late-period NWOBHM grit and Y&T glitz vying attention with a certain Friday-Rock-Show relish. Wytch Hazel, however, are the band to really kick the weekend into gear, and their mystical and heroic assault comes dangerously close to stealing the entire festival at a very early stage. The medieval costumes present may initially raise eyebrows amongst the uninitiated, yet soon become a mere detail in the full-throttle delivery of indelible anthems delivered with feverish conviction and guileless zest. Their set is no less than a riff-driven time machine that traverses the mid-’70s via the middle ages, with Wishbone Ash-esque twin harmonies and Jethro Tull heraldry helping to make them look suspiciously like future headliners. It’s some testimony to the openminded approach of Live Evil that the transition from such uplifting frolics to the viscera-gargling old-school corpse-bothering of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne’s Live Burial seems like a fairly smooth one. Yet it makes it even easier that the latter band delivers the depraved goods in such sterling fashion, with Autopsy slow ’n’ low locking horns with Obituary sickness to pint-raising effect, and bolstered by a cheerfully boisterous stage presence.

One of the most startling experiences of this weekend is seeing the leaps and bounds that Horisont have made in the last couple of years, as their trips to both Venus and Old Grey Whistle Test in fact rivals Wytch Hazel for Saturday band-of-the-day. Progressively-aligned material from last year’s ‘Odyssey’ – particularly the opening title cut – throw Moog-assisted prog shapes and Blue Öyster Cult mysticism into their self-avowedly Quo-style boogie stylings, arriving at a refreshing and charismatic set which impresses as much through gung-ho spirit as all or any lank-haired retro stylings. Norway’s Black Magic, on the other hand, boast one of the highest T-shirt counts of the weekend, and their blustering 1983-to-damnation racket promises much on record, but this only serves to make the slightly muted thrills of their show tonight something of a head-scratcher. It’s worth stressing that your hack is in the minority here, as the assembled lose their marbles to this flurry of exuberance and overload, but it’s hard not to wish for a tad more finesse and presence from this grimy epic onslaught.

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About Terrorizer Magazine

There are only a handful of bands that I absolutely love, have really made a massive impact in my life and, ultimately, don’t let me down when it comes to live shows, recordings or attitudes to life. The Dillinger Escape Plan are one of those bands and it’s an honour to have them grace the cover for the second time while I steer the good ship Terrorizer. I have fond memories of TDEP – from the first time I Interviewed them for another metal magazine in their early days, right through to the last show I recently saw of theirs at the Old Blue Last in London at the tail end of the Summer. Always faultless, it’s safe to say they are going out on a high and while few bands will ever step up to the plate like Dillinger do every night, their legacy and recorded output will last forever, and for that we should be thankful. Kevin Stewart-Panko first interviewed them for these sacred pages, so it was only right that he should interview them one final time. I hope you enjoy his (and the bands’) words and do crank out their new album at the same time – it’s nothing short of breathtaking. Until next month… Darren Sadler