Wolf + Primitai + Shrapnel @ The Underworld, London

30 March 2019
Review and Videos by Demitri Levantis

Britain is the home of metal, and with that status, London must play host to all genres of metal music, including the old school. Celebrations of the traditional ways of heavy music went down a storm at The Underworld in Camden tonight with Sweden’s Wolf keeping the ways of the veteran musicians alive and well through new songs.

 

It wasn’t just the great old ones of metal being hailed this night, for opening up the evening were some English blood exhibiting a love for the extreme side.

Shrapnel

Shrapnel, all the way from the historical city of Norwich, started the night as a small crowd gathered and slowly but surely swelled as their crunching thrash metal riffs ripped into the audience.

Having been on the road for 10 years and released two studio albums, Shrapnel haven’t seemed to have mellowed in their sound. Their songs are just as fast and violent as the eponymous bullets that will be fired into your brain by this band as they deliver some mighty fine modern-day thrash.

Vocalist Jae Hadley told the audience the band had re-recorded some old tunes from the earliest of days and played them with a ferocity that would please a fan of any music that is fast and focuses on mindless violence and death.

Killing people and bloodshed was what a lot of Shrapnel’s songs were about by what Hadley said as they jumped from tune to tune – not the first sort of thing you’d think of when you think of their hometown of Norwich, but it was a very memorable performance.

More people had arrived and some headbanging had begun as the fun-loving Shrapnel finished their set and were met with as much applause a small crowd can muster.

Shrapnel setlist:

1.0.1
Jester
Pseudocommando
Live Vindictive
Eternal War
Rider of Black
Warhead

Up next it was the turn of some Berkshire guys to showcase their take on the old ways.

Primitai, a band one can describe as having all the speed and agility of groups like Motörhead and Venom but keeping with the traditional themes of Judas Priest and other NWOBHM acts – the sort of group to have in your collection if you love motorbikes or an undying sense of adventure and excitement.

Primitai

These boys were excited to play, as were the crowd who were now milling back into the arena and filling the place up with a very friendly and jolly atmosphere which Primitai were more than happy to turn into a party of riffs and bass pedal bashing.

The whole venue became a melting pot of noise as Primitai screeched down the audible highway with songs exhibiting the vocal, string and percussion strength that gives heavy netal its reputation as a hefty and strong alternative to the regular, radio-friendly type of music.

All I could say about Primitai is that they know how to have a good time. As well as giving London a fun rendition of old and new songs, they brought in a former guitar player to make their power surges of noise into something layered well, like the foundations of a majestic idol.

Primitai was fun and brutal together, playing with the happy anger and slight campiness that arises from young men indulging in the challenging musical talents required to play this sort of music. The Underworld applauded well as the set came to an end and the band left satisfied with the mark they’d left.

Primitai setlist:

Overdrive
Black Rider
The Calling
The Cannibal
The Line of Fire
Power Surge
Scream When You See Us

Now, in the wake of the beautiful violence that had ravaged The Underworld to this point, it was time for the main attraction. Hailing from Orebro, Sweden, came four men with guitar and drum talents oozing from them as they took to the stage.

Wolf

Wolf, having been around Britain for the last week and playing shows that told us these guys weren’t calling it quits anytime soon, was just the thing needed to end this night of traditional mayhem.

While the venue was not full to the brim, I could tell the crowd around me were devoted fans to both Wolf and the NWOBHM style they exhibited from the get-go.

Each song was sharp and melodic together, a fun juxtaposition for kids who want to have loads of fun. Tunes that get the energy pumping and lyrics ranging from the dark and morose to a great sense of humour involving creatures from the deep blue sea. Testosterone was pumping and people sang along as well as headbanged.

As the setlist wore on, vocalist Niklas ‘Viper’ Stalvind explained that the band had been busy writing and recording their eighth studio album, and I was humbled when he said the band members still have day jobs, so there was a moment of working-class pride at this gig, for the most successful of metal bands have originated from said backgrounds.

With that all said and done, Wolf tore into another set of fun tunes and ended with an encore that was lovingly received by the small yet devoted crowd. This was easily the smallest crowd I’ve seen at the Underworld at a weekend show, but it was great to see they did not shy away from being true to their love of the music.

A very enjoyable night all round.

Wolf setlist:

Night Stalker
Skull Crusher
The Bite
My Demon
Evil Star
Full Moon Possession
Voodoo
Midnight Hour
K-141 Kursk
Hail Caesar
I Will Kill Again
Venom
Genocide
Speed On
Overture in C Shark
Shark Attack

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