The Zombie Hut in Corby is still a relatively new venue and in its first year of existence it’s had such luminaries as Killing Joke, Pete Murphy, Warrior Soul, Extreme Noise Terror and Über Röck faves Tigertailz treading its boards. Tonight it’s the turn of somewhat more local based talent.
Corby’s very own Beast are first on, a three piece made up of ex-members of Raging Speedhorn and Thunderhorse. All their songs are instrumental so I haven’t got a clue about song titles are but what I can say is that the eight tunes presented are slow and groovy, slower and doomy, and occasionally a bit faster! As you would expect based on their previous pedigrees, the songs are well played, the riffs heavy and they are tight unit. I just feel the addition of a strong powerful voice to the mix would make them even better. Keep a careful eye out for the Beast!
Goat Leaf aren’t local, South Yorkshire in fact, but have played here before! Supporting Warrior Soul, I didn’t really pay much attention as I was busy celebrating a friend’s 40th! Tonight I did pay attention and wasn’t disappointed. Although I have to apologize to the band as I’m not 100% as to what songs they played, but I’m fairly certain they included ‘Truth Be Told’, ‘Ain’t Got Time To Bleed’ and ‘One Last Line’. What I do know is they are excellent. They’re heavy but with a real groove, so much of a groove that a girl friend called it ‘shagging music’! Singer Jonny has a cracking soulful voice, guitarist John’s riffs are heavy and fluid, and the rhythm section keep it relatively simple but tight as anything. There is the odd Warrior Soul-like riff (no surprise as John played with them!) and one song that so reminds me of the excellent Mindfunk. Throughout the set, Jonny, who certainly looks the rock’n’roll part (!) cradles a bottle of JD, offering it to the ‘young ’uns’ (who look like they’ve come to the wrong place but enjoy the whole night!) at the front and gets their well deserved appreciation in return. Jonny ends the gig how he started it, on his knees, spent. Goat Leaf came (!) and blew us away.
Headliners for tonight are Leicester’s very own masters of the mysterious and magical, Mage. The brooding heavy opener ‘Chariots On Fire’ and slow and stupidly heavy ‘Legacy’ are older songs from their first EP, with the newer ‘Cosmic Cruiser X’ in the middle. Next song, ‘Starborn’ (and the majority of the set), is taken from their self-financed album ‘Black Sands’. Whilst still heavy, the newer songs from the album show the band are expanding and growing within the stoner/doom framework. ‘Dark Matter’ is an even newer song and it just blasts, it’s probably the best song of the night. The band are tight, singer Tom’s vocals soar, the great bass flourishes from Mark, the heavy riffs from Ben and Woody, all underpinned by Andy’s solid drumming. It’s also clear why they are headliners, there’s a noticeable up-shift in the playing and performance. ‘Rust’, ‘Drowning Doom’ and ‘Hulk Out’ highlight that they can mix it up between the slow doom and almost thrash speed. Next up we get a cover of Weedeater’s ‘God Luck And Good Speed/WizardFight’ before we get the excellent ‘Degenerate’ as the last song.
A great set from a band that just need to get a bit of luck with a good tour support or on a festival to give them a bit more exposure. (Both Mage and Goat Leaf are in regional heats of Metal to the Masses 2 with the chance to play at Bloodstock). From that they will just get better and better. The future of the burgeoning British stoner/doom scene is bright with the likes of Mage at its forefront. Go and see them for a rocking night out.