Body Hound (ex Rolo Tomassi), Salvatore Leone + The Broken Oak Duet – Firefly, Worcester – July 11, 2014

photo credit – Joe Singh of snaprockandpop photography –

Mathcore is not everyone’s cup of spiky musical tea. Some say it’s fiddly and discordant. Some say it’s like listening to a Van Halen album on a broken cassette player, all show-offishly hard guitar parts and time changes so random and so frequent that it all makes you feel a bit sick. But that’s just fucking bourgeois reactionary thinking, if you ask me. Mathematically-minded hardcore (math+core) or “technical metal” is one of the more interesting and progressive things the kids are doing with their instruments these days. Not everyone agrees, but a lot of people liked The Gaslight Anthem. Go figure.

First up though – Worcester’s Broken Oak Duet. Well-known down around these parts, fairly prolific – and also promoters for this show – these boys did what the Broken Oak Duet do: a pulsing post-rock sound, with just two pieces of kit (drums and baritone guitar). Imagine a tightly-knotted, swaggering instrumental-only beast that prowled around the room. Biting playfully. That sounds florid. But it pretty much nails it.

Salvatore Leone were a more straightforward kettle of metallic fish. A bouncing kettle of metalcore fish, to be precise. Bursts of nu-metal à la yer Slipknot and blasts of Converge crunching along with triple geetar attack – it all made for a decidedly ambitious sound. Their front lad didn’t lack for self- confidence either. They also brought their home crowd, and it was a truly wonderful thing to see this room basically packed out on Monday night, windows steamed up and the place smelling sweaty – while it was still broad daylight outside. Local metalcore bands have a very high turnover and it’s a congested little market, but I salute you boys for your verve. And I wish you well.

photo credit – Joe Singh of snaprockandpop photography –

Headliners Body Hound have a pedigree. The lead guitarist and bassist spent many years in Rolo Tomassi – toasts of the metal press around the time of the London Olympics – and were obviously in a class of their own. The stretching routine before their set showed they meant fucking BUSINESS. And more than any other math-core band I’ve yet come across, these chaps did the “calculating pi to the n to the power of x decimal places in sonic form” thing with real assurance and style. You could visualise the peaks and troughs in the three dimensional graphs, the non-Euclidian vectors and all that jazzeroo in the precise and inorganic geometry of the neo-prog rock sound they made. There wasn’t much projection in the orthodox sense here. This wasn’t meant to be accessible any more than any grown up art is, I suppose – and fans of Rolo Tomassi may have been disappointed. This was not music to crowd surf and push your friends over to. But the band all went off to their music anyway – I loved the Wilko Johnson turn, guitarist stage left – and in all this was a sharp example of the art. Or rather science. But that makes this sound sterile. And further to my opening gambit, sterile is exactly what this particular and decidedly forward-looking strain of heavy music is not.

– Ed Ling

This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s