Returning to The Parish, the argument of ‘save our local’ doesn’t hold up enough substance and never will, so regulars to the pub and anyone reading this post, wherever you are, should take into account the following points. It is worth bearing in mind the pub’s history (discussed earlier), it’s listed status (also discussed earlier), and it’s potential as a tourist venue in recent times – given that people will travel from further afield to see bands such as the aforementioned. In the face of venues in bigger cities such as Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester, The Parish can be considered one of Huddersfield’s success stories in terms of an alternative venue outside the major cities, putting Huddersfield on the alternative scene map. Such things are nothing new, and Huddersfield is a larger town than many, but considering the live music power base lies within the cities; The Parish’s achievement is no small feat.
So that’s your lot. Any of you ever hoping to catch G.U. Medicine live again, should you not have been in attendance here, have more than likely missed the boat. G.U Medicine signed off in style, delivering a typically raucous set to a packed out crowd in Huddersfield, rallying through a set comprising of their best material from over the years. Songs like ‘Needles and Pins’ and ‘Alcoholocaust’ hit the mark just like they always did and will always do, and damn you can headbang like always to ‘Dirty Little Girl’. Original guitarist/vocalist Lee Storrar rejoined the band to sing ‘Lords of Oblivion’ and Mr. Shiraz vocalist Mikey Baird even got up at one point to sing ‘The Right Time’ with the band. It was a party atmosphere that embodied what the band were all about – sleaze, danger, booze, and all out rock action. The cans of Carling dotted around the stage should have hinted at that alone, if not the band’s association with Jagermeister which has been prevalent over the last couple of years. Now the UK is one more quality rock band short. We probably can’t hold out much hope for a G.U. reunion, at least not in this vein, but this was a fitting finale nonetheless.
I could use other musical examples, but where’s the fun in that? Everybody knows AC/DC deliver good riffs, Ramones great three-chord melodies and The Wildhearts deliver cracking choruses again and again. I don’t need to go over them all the time. So to get to the point, on their fifteenth studio album ‘Utilitarian‘, have Napalm Death’s standards slipped? Not a chance. The Birmingham grindcore legends post-millennium renaissance continues on its constantly rising boom in stark comparison to the world economy’s bust, and, even in a genre where is in rude health at present, one of the scene’s forerunners is back to rightfully reclaim their throne.
The best sludge metal is often mired in nihilistic rage, misanthropy and sheer fuck-it-all attitude. It’s heavier than a herd of elephants riding a gam of whales, if such a thing ever came to fruition. Fister, if you didn’t know, play real heavy sludge/doom metal, and they don’t mess about when it comes to pounding your head with slow megaton riffs and the loud beat of the drums, in much the same fashion as described above.
‘Violence‘ is five different tracks but could well be one track divided into five parts, given the song titles and the fact each song flows into the next one. Vocals are kept to a minimum here, but where they do crop up, they’re as standard for this sort of music – nasty, savage and raw. And save for ‘Violence III: Trail of Tears’, a sparse acoustic, instrumental number, each track takes you further and further into the sonic abyss.
It’s delightfully miserable and the production is perfect for what they’re pitching. They can go long stretches, such as in opener ‘Violence I: Forced Extinction’ where feedback rings out over the heavy boom of the drums, and it sounds just right. It sounds like they could have recorded it in an underground trench with all the rats and other horrors, though its nowhere near lo-fi, much more akin to Eyehategod’s older records instead.
I find it incredible that three records in, Fister are still independent. Maybe they just want it their own way, which is fine. Because they seem more than capable of annihilating one listener after another. ‘Violence‘ is unquestionably their best work yet, but Fister themselves surely know the bar has been set, and is unquestionably more than capable of being bettered.