Live Review – Wolfbastard & Devastator

Hutch heads to Cardiff for a night of blackened crusty speed thrash punk with the WolfBastard and Devastator boys… here’s what he thought and saw on the night!!

Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff 6th April

Maundy Thursday. A time for reflection, compassion, and care for each other. Yeah, right! For as long as I can remember Maundy Thursday has been the starting flag for four days of debauchery, alcohol abuse, and overindulgence. Like the Brits need an excuse. 

It was evident as I strolled into the centre of the Welsh capital that many of my countrymen and women had squeezed (literally in many cases – have you fuckers no mirrors in your houses?) into their best party clothes and were already “getting on it” as we say in these parts. 

For those unfamiliar with Cardiff’s premier rock and metal venue, Fuel is tucked away on Womanby Street, opposite the City’s jewel, the magnificent castle that dominates the main thoroughfare around the top end of the city centre. Womanby Street is a sanctuary for those who don’t fit into the mainstream, and Fuel plays its part, housing the misfits, the outcasts, the tattooed and pieced, and those whose musical tastes we applaud but who the conventional can never understand. And that’s the way we like it, for whilst some metal outfits may breach the popular consciousness occasionally, the filthy vibe of death, rattle and roll or punk-infused rage is never going to be accepted by those that fill the Brewdogs and the Las Iguanas of this world. 

Tonight’s Devils and D-Beats Tour wouldn’t be on the playlist of those across the capital. In fact, they’re unlikely to be on the playlist of all that many who proclaim to like metal, for the two featured bands are most definitely underground outfits. However, the very fact that these two have slogged across the country on one of the most notorious travel days of the year is testimony to their dedication to the cause. And for 30 or so loyal souls, the two put on a fiery display that showcased all that is good about the metal scene in the UK. Sure, the excellent promotors 12AX7 Promotions should have benefitted from a bigger audience, but those who were there were very much there because of the two bands, and that is better than a room full of poseurs in my book. 

First up are Wolfbastard. “we’ve travelled six hours to get here” snorts guitarist Dez (Derek Carley) before launching into their first number. Wolfbastard are the very epitome of a band who do it because they love it. “we’re having fun, even if you aren’t” laughs bassist/vocalist Si Fox. They rampage through a set of tracks drawn from their trio of albums, but mainly focused on their excellent last release, ‘Hammer the Bastards’. The Oldham lads have an earthy sense of humour that only those from the North possess. They drink lager from Aldi between songs, and quip away. Nothing is off limits. ‘Northwest Sex Pest’ rips at the sex trafficking gangs, one of the more serious moments of the night. It’s followed by quips about their Lost Prophets cover (it doesn’t happen!), threats to play Tom Jones songs, and much more. 

Underneath it all, Wolfbastard’s black metal crust is brilliantly delivered. Fear the Exxxecutioner, Buckfast Blasphemies, Black Friday and Whiskey Militia are all fast and furiously executed. Drummer Dave Buchan appears on the verge of collapse several times during the set, but testimony to him, he batters away at a speed which is simply a whirlwind of thunderous drumming. 40 minutes after they hit the stage, Wolfbastard blast through ‘Graveyard Slag’, say “ta” once more and knock off. Thoroughly entertaining, comical but still slamming, I’d see these guys every time they come round. You should too.  

Derbyshire’s Devastator are one of the leading lights in the UK blackened thrash scene. They stand alongside the likes of Hellripper and Nightfighter amongst others. Bursting through with their demo and then their live bootleg in 2018, the quartet’s filthy combination of Motörhead, Venom and Slayer hits all the right notes with those who demand their music with dirt under the nails. 

They are crammed on the small stage, which offers little room for them to move, but it’s their ferocious Satanic onslaught that drives the small but vibrant pit on the dance floor. ‘Conjurers of Cruelty’ segues into ‘Worship the Goat’ and things are all good with the world. Bassist Thomas Collings is also the band’s vocalist, and his gruff, rasping delivery works superbly alongside his driving bass rhythms which get the heads nodding. He’s supported by rhythm guitarist and chief gurner Chris Whitehurst and anchored by the blackened faced drummer Jack Scarlett. This leaves lead guitarist Richard Bateman free to shred for fun, which he does with aplomb.

A Devastator show is an onslaught, but there’s also some banter from the stage. The threat of new music is turned into a reality with ‘Liar in Wait’ and ‘Death Forever’, the first two singles from the new but to be released album. They fit in neatly alongside older favourites including ‘Howling Night’ and ‘Spiritual Warfare’. 

It’s not a long set, about 45 minutes in total, but the sheer intensity makes it full value for money. If there’s a band more suited to cover a Motörhead song than these four, then I’d be very surprised. They roar through a typically gnarly version of ‘Iron Fist’, on of the classic line-ups more underrated songs before the raging ‘Baptised in Blasphemy’ sees the pit erupt once more. It’s ‘’Hail Death’ from their debut EP that wraps things up. It’s a hot, sweaty club that rains down the applause at the end. 

Savage, nasty, irreverent, and filthy. I’d say that’s a good start to the Easter weekend. 

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