|Kernuyck - Plymouth, The Underground - 1st June 2012|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Friday, 15 June 2012 04:00|
Sadly it seems another great venue for live music is on it's way out as The Underground in Plymouth is due to shut up shop in mid June. So a gig with Cornish contenders Kernuyck headlining a sweaty Friday night in this fine basement rock club ahead of expiration was a must for me.
Kernuyck have been making Newquay sized waves around the south west live circuit over the last few years and last year weighed further into the fray with, what I consider to be, one of 2011's greatest hard hitting albums. The almighty 'KAOS' reigned high in my albums of the year list and album opener 'Devastation' is certainly no shrinking violet when it comes to grabbing the first shout live. Roaring into life with an instant injection of audience involvement the roof raising "GET READY FOR THE DEVASTATION" bellowed out in unison with frontman James Rotheram shows not only how much the local scene has taken these boys to heart but also just what an accessible and addictive bunch of tunes they possess. Following straight on with the smouldering 'Cursed' is evidence, should any be needed, that writing powerful, direct, skull crushing tunes is as natural to these guys as bleeding red blood. Each tune on 'KAOS' sounds like a classic in its own right, a variety of tempos, styles and grooves are bound together under one united metal flag and Kernuyck are adding more rock soldiers beneath their bulletproof banner with each successive show.
Live they deliver with the same brutal precision and unflinching attack that made 'KAOS' such an outstanding album and it truly is a pleasure to watch a band that can deliver such a confident and complete sounding performance of their own material unlike many of their more "prettier" competitors who rely all too heavily on image, spin and studio tricks yet fail to play anything other than the top string of their bass in a live setting. Dave Rotheram for instance is comparable to a powerhouse like Vinnie Paul with his capabilities. His beats fly thumping into your chest with unrelenting fury as Bolt's equally thunderous basslines ride alongside in heavy, metallic harmony. Rough, powerful vocals roll from James like chipped marbles. Ragged yet with a pent up power that when unleashed could floor Rob Flynn at twenty paces. Kernuyck ooze the sound of lives lived and as the bearded trio roll out mighty 'Stones' it's like a broadside of hemp smokin' cannons has filled the Underground with a haze of Down influenced grooves.
The haunting and somewhat hypnotic 'Zombie' continues to fill the atmosphere with huge strides of melody and power yet it's the blunt force of 'Suckerpunch' that shows the true heavyweight clout of Kernuyck. A thumping groove swinging like bitch slap straight into the face of weak ass metal it's a three minute lightning storm of fist throwing fury that could take out Apollo Creed faster than a Ivan Drago. A break into cover territory follows with a passionate sidestep into 'Voodoo Child', James's Les Paul tone floating from his Krank amp as if the ghost of Hendrix himself had wandered straight into Plymouth Underground from Electric Ladyland. A bang on rendition done with love and respect in equal measure. So good to hear a band paying tribute to real roots rather than just hamming it up with a "humorous" pop song cover.
More fury unfolds as 'Wrath' unloads a barrage of riffs and rhythm while the crowd swirl around the stage, bouncing like fingers on fretboards before attention then turns towards their next eagerly awaited release, an EP set to launch sometime later this year. 'Mariana', a work still in progress, gets aired free of the lyrics yet to be penned for it. But by having the chance to hear this solid and fresh slice of music stand alone it's crystal clear that these Port Isaac fighters have worked some serious developments into their song structures in the time following 'KAOS'. Appetite for future material is severely whetted by 'Mariana' and with an on stage hint from James that the next EP will also be available as a limited vinyl affair it shows how serious Kernuyk are about using all forms of media, both new and old, to place their music into the hands of the people who truly appreciate it.
A blast of live favourite 'Drink The Beer' is completed with Bolt and JR each downing a murky brown pint of ...something. Sometimes it helps that the lighting in the Underground doesn't always make it possible to see what's being drunk. 'Deathtime' wraps up a sweat drenched set with a final assault of pulsing lows and ferocious highs teeming with James' snarling barks. Overall Kernuyck's live performances are stamped with the boot prints of defiance and played with an unparalleled air of freedom. Their self styled brand of hard driving melody fused with aggressive delivery makes them realistic contenders for future success and 'KAOS' is the sound of metal nails being hammered into the coffin of pomposity. Unadulterated street level music at it's most veracious best, zero ego and a hundred percent ass kickin' rock. Check these guys out asap!
To pick up your copy of 'Kaos' - CLICK HERE