Live review: Obituary and Exodus @ The Engine Rooms, Southampton, 30/10/2016
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Less than eight months after completing their last trek of the UK, San Francisco thrash legends Exodus returned to our plucky little island. However, this time, the unfathomably heavy five-piece were not the main event. Rather, the group co-headlined a series of dates with the Florida-based Obituary, providing a double dose of die-hard metal with Prong and King Parrot helping them along the way. With Obituary representing their hometown of Tampa and Exodus flying the flag for the California Bay Area, this new tour has been dubbed the ‘Battle of the Bays’, and its culmination – the fifth and final UK date – came at the appropriately seaside Southampton. It may have been the night before Halloween, but that didn’t stop Aussies King Parrot (★★★☆☆) from bringing the party early. The five-piece delivered a mix of Cattle Decapitation-esque grindcore blended with hardcore punk and while the group pulled off a charismatic opening performance, they were sadly let down by two factors. First, the audio mixing was horrible. The drums come through clearly but other than this, it seemed that everything came through either muddily or not at all. The biggest sufferers here was the bass of Matthew “Slatts” Slattery and the vocals of Matthew “Youngy” Young. The second issue was the crowd, which began as a tiny cluster against the barricade as King Parrot took the stage and did not grow fast. Other than this, however, the humour of this fast-paced five-piece resonated the most, demonstrated brilliantly between songs and as vocalist Young leaves the stage to interact with audience members against the barrier. The momentum remained strong as New York rifflords Prong (★★★★☆) took the stage. At this point, the metal masses of Southampton got noticeably bigger and the power trio led by singer/guitarist Tommy Victor began to work the city into a thrash-tinged frenzy. Visually, the front-man is actually the most notable aspect of Prong’s entire set, as – whenever he is not stood at the mic – he either jumps wildly or moves around the medium-sized stage with an enigmatic swagger, showing a confidence that most modern metal bands would endlessly envy. Victor and co. were the least heavy band to don the Engine Rooms’ stage on the night, but the group’s sheer demeanour was enough to win over the venue’s crowd, as well as some melodic moments on cuts like ‘Unconditional’, which contrasted whole-heartedly with the intense, extreme metal that would go on to close the night.
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