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Live review: Exodus, Lost Society and Dendera @ The Talking Heads, Southampton, 8/3/2016

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The idea of a concert held by LA thrash metal legends Exodus in a venue as intimate as the Talking Heads is exactly as invigorating and exhilarating as it sounds.

Speed metal is inherently a genre of music that not only thrives off of head-banging, moshing and fist-bumping, but these actions are practically a necessity. And tonight, not one, but three bands are going to be providing this sonic, visceral and interactive onslaught.

Naturally, first on the bill is the local act: Portsmouth-based heavy metallers Dendera (★★★★☆). The five-piece provide an exciting blend of classic NWOBHM with modern thrash metal, crafting that perfect blend of soaring musicianship combined with melodic, powerful vocals. The band make the most of their short set, mostly playing newer cuts to promote their latest record: 2015’s Pillars of Creation.

Lead singer Ashley Edison engages with the audience as the crowd begins to build, beckoning them forward before knocking them down with a barrage of unfiltered metal. They may have only had a half-hour to play, but they made the most of every second they had on that stage.

Dendera’s fusion of the new and old-school is a perfect opener the night.

The band provide melodicism with a hint of thrashing brutality. An appropriate warm-up for when the next two acts take the aggression to the next level.

Next, Finland’s own thrash metal prodigies Lost Society (★★★★★) take centre stage. The relentless quartet may be young – the eldest member is only in his very early twenties – but do not make the mistake of thinking that the group’s age equates to them being wet behind the ears. If anything, the opposite is the case.

Lost Society have an unrequited on-stage energy the likes of which is very rare in contemporary metal bands. Especially when said band has to endure the trying task of supporting one of the biggest thrash groups in the world all over the UK and Europe.

As soon as Lost Society begin their set, any unfamiliar metalheads in the audience know exactly what the band is all about: front-man Samy Elbanna screams at the top of his lungs as the insanely quick-paced thrash commences, with intensity enough to make notorious shredders like Dave Mustaine sweat.

Yet the band are not just an undisciplined gaggle of speed freaks. They are far more than a mere exercise in how fast you can play, as their slower-paced cuts like ‘I Am the Antidote’ and ‘Hollow Eyes’ (both from their brand new album Braindead) prove.

Lost Society demonstrate themselves as a band that will one day be a torch-bearer for thrash metal, destined to pick up where the likes of Exodus will leave off. Their immensely quick and meteoric rise is testament to that fact.

And it’s a legacy that the Southampton crowd – based on the band’s reception – is not only aware of, but very open to. Lost Society have the passion and energy to become one of Europe’s premiere metal acts in the very near-future, and the audience returns the energy tenfold.

Lost Society’s set is when the moshpits began to open up, when the head-banging got more violent, when the fists found themselves getting higher. The next time this band grace our small island, it could very well be on a headlining tour of their own.

And finally, Southampton receives the classic thrashing it has so desperately longed for.

Lost Society may have been a surprisingly charismatic and intense support act, but this is an audience that refuses to be satiated until it is given the unmistakable aggression of Exodus (★★★★☆).

And the ninety minutes that follow Exodus’s arrival onto the Talking Heads stage can only be described as hell.

Hell in the best possible sense.

This is a crowd that refuses to calm itself: stage-diving and crowd-surfing is commonplace, much to the chagrin of the security guards that are forced to stand before the stage.

Moshpits occur during every song, bar none.

And Exodus put on a great show. While they may not have been as interactive or energetic as Lost Society, the band definitely know how to engage the rowdy, untamed onlookers. It is in this intimate environment that Exodus and its music is at its apex: no barriers, no separations between the music and its fans. The intimacy of the entire show definitely fuels the crowd.

The absence of mainstay guitarist Gary Holt – who is currently touring the US with Slayer – seems to have no effect on either the band or the audience, as everyone seems to be collectively sent back to 1985. The craziness and unpredictability of rock shows in the ‘80s that are now the stuff of legend have been flawlessly revived.

There are two things that should be taken away from this show at the Talking Heads: 1) rock is very much not dead. Exodus’s ability to revive old-school anarchy is truly something to be admired.

But 2) Someone should call the police: Lost Society stole the show.

Exodus’s latest album, Blood In, Blood Out, is available physically and digitally now via Nuclear Blast Records.

Lost Society’s brand new album, Braindead, is available physically and digitally now via Nuclear Blast Records. Read our review of the album here.

Dendera’s latest album, Pillars of Creation, is available physically and digitally now via Metalbox Recordings. Read more about Dendera in our “Most underrated rock bands” article.




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