Gig Review: Evile / Divine Chaos / Tortured Demon – The Globe, Cardiff (20th Feb 2022)

Storm Eunice had given way to the front end of Storm Franklin and South Wales had been battered all day by punishing volumes of heavy rain and torn by ferocious high winds. But that was nothing compared to the battering that one of Cardiff’s oldest music establishments suffered at the hands of three of the UK’s finest thrash bands who are currently laying waste at venues across the country. 

Tortured Demon (c) Paul Hutchings

Sunday nights are never great for crowds in South Wales and with the added complication of travel chaos and terrible weather it was a credit to those who did venture out. Those that braved it and made it into the venue early were rewarded with an “I was there” moment as Manchester’s Tortured Demon made their Welsh debut.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, then you may have missed one of the most exciting bands to emerge for decades. This power trio comprise brothers Joe and Jacob Parkinson (drums and guitar/vocals), and bassist Freddie Meaden and released their debut album In Desperation’s Grip last year to deserved acclaim as well as drawing the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at the Jaeger stage at Bloodstock Open Air 2021. Think Alien Weaponry with teeth and you’ll not be far off, although that’s probably unfair on the British trio because the Kiwis are nowhere near the quality of Tortured Demon. Racing through tracks from their debut, this was a performance that the youngsters grew into as the crowd slowly opened to them.  

There’s still a way to go for the band, with the between song chatter as nervy as you’d expect from a 16-year-old who sings and shreds. This will ease with time and experience and being on the road with seasoned veterans will have been a better education than they’d have got sat in a classroom with a mask on. They aren’t the finished product musically either but the tunes they have in their arsenal are ferocious enough to ensure that all watching got singed at the very least. Tracks such as “The Invasion’, ‘Sufferers of the New Plague” and the bruising beast “A Knee to the Face of Corruption” are all destined to become anthems for the band. As they learn how to shape their craft, Tortured Demon is now developing the stage presence which supports their music. For an old fart who loves thrash, the mere presence of this band genuinely warms my blackened heart. 

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Bloodstock alumni abound on this tour and Berkshire’s Divine Chaos definitely fall into that category. Three-time veterans of the festival, the band tore a hole in the Derbyshire countryside last summer with their bruising set on the Ronnie James Dio stage. Their 2020 album The Way to Oblivion was an essential release that year and the band didn’t disappoint in the much smaller and slightly cramped venue. The dual guitars of founder members Matt Gilmour and Chris O’Toole sliced through the air, benefiting from a high quality sound, generally one of the most reliable things about the venue.  

Divine Chaos (c) Paul Hutchings

Kicking off with “Suicide Salvation”, the infectious opener from The Way to Oblivion, it was immediately evident that DC were in no mood to mess about. Vocalist Jut Tabor possesses a roar that would have old Satan shaking in his boots and he stalked the stage with a presence that Chuck Billy could only have approved. They may only have had 30 minutes, but Divine Chaos crammed the set full of songs from both the most recent record but also took a welcome dip into 2014’s A New Dawn in the Age of War. The hammering blows were relentless for an all too brief time and it was no surprise that the by now reasonable sized crowd were calling for more, long after the band left the stage. Buy the album and make sure you check these guys out. Soon! 

It’s coming close to two decades for a band that were once billed as the great UK hope. Evile’s career hasn’t been easy, but last year’s return with Hell Unleased, their first since 2013’s Skull earned a lot of praise. It was certainly a savage beast of a record and the band’s visceral performances at Bloodstock and Damnation demonstrated that the cutting edge which the band hadn’t always wielded was razor sharp once more.  

Having been at both of those festival shows, what was apparent in this more intimate arena was how much more relaxed the band now are. Ol Drake has grown into the role of frontman and vocalist, and his humour during the 75 minutes was greeted warmly. His genuine laughter at being presented with a spoon towards the end of the set by Stu Rake, bassist of local band Democratus, was shared by the rest of the band. Elsewhere, his inability to decipher his own cryptic setlist also produced much mirth.  

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Evile (c) Paul Hutchings

Underneath all the frivolity, this was an opportunity, if one was needed, to remind yourself that Evile are a damn fine band. Powered by the astonishing drummer of Ben ‘The Machine’ Carter, the band raced through a 13-song set list that was crammed with favourites from the breadth of their discography.  The bulk of the set list unsurprisingly was drawn from Hell Unleashed and 2007’s debut Enter the Grave, with other gems including “Head of the Demon” and a storming version of “Cult”, one of three from Five Serpent’s Teeth.

Alongside Drake, guitarist Adam Smith now looks comfortable, the Riptide man ripping the odd solo and adding backing vocals along with bassist Joel Graham, who barely stopped grinning apart from when Evile took it down a notch to play “In Memoriam” in tribute to the band’s former bassist Mike Alexander who died in 2009. Always a sobering few moments, it was a brave move as Ol clearly struggles with it vocally.

Still, no-one was going to complain at the end of a great evening which finished with the pit inducing “Thrasher”, a raucous “Infected Nations” which saw the only attempted crowd surfer of the evening promptly evicted from the building. Thankfully, Evile don’t do the faux encore, and instead ripped through “Enter The Grave” leaving a heaving sweaty mass to catch its breath and for those of us sensible enough to get to the balcony wondering once again if Evile’s time might be coming at long last.  

Photos by Paul Hutchings

Evile: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | spotify | youtube

Divine Chaos: facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube | bigcartel

Tortured Demon: facebook | twitter | instagram | spotify | youtube | bigcartel

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December 27, 2022 7:33 PM

[…] of my gigs centre on smaller, local shows. I hit The Globe in Cardiff for my first Moshville assignment in February and a thrash extravaganza. It was a case of the old school taking the youngsters to […]