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Sal Abruscato is not a happy chap. Not that that isn’t blindingly obvious considering the man has been in both Type O Negative and Life of Agony, but tonight he really isn’t a happy chap. Technical issues delay the start of the set, as Johnny Kelly’s bass drums cannot be heard by anyone further away than six feet – and then, Sal’s mic doesn’t seem to be able to pick up anything above a whisper. But the show must go on, and go on it does as A Pale Horse Named Death [4/5] ride straight into ‘To Die in Your Arms’ with sheer gusto and it becomes clear that, sound issues or not, the band are here to play and play their asses off they will.
APHND - Dark troopers.
Not that The Slade Rooms’ sound demons are going to put off this loyal fanbase. The thing about this band is that they have built up such a cult following during the last year – with debut album And Hell Will Follow Me seemingly going down a storm in all territories – that you really get the sense that this is the start of something big for them. Of course, having two former members of Type O Negative in one band – the original drummer and the guy who replaced him, which still seems a bit strange – automatically gives them an advantage; but in truth, their sound owes very little to that band and has more of a rawer, greasier feel to it; more of a dark biker rock vibe than gothic metal.
A powerful ‘When Crows Descend Upon You’ kicks things up a gear, with the band shrugging off the sound gremlins and finding their groove, and although visibly irritated Abruscato isn’t going to let a poor sound mix get in the way of his performance. The nursery rhyme vibe of ‘Cracks in the Walls’ seems to hypnotise the crowd with its repetitive, trippy melody, and the sound issues actually help as Sal’s low-key delivery really comes through on those delicately picked verses. To add to the charged atmosphere, Johnny Kelly splits his snare drum before the band launch into album highlight ‘Die Alone’, although at this point everybody in the room is in the palm of Abruscato’s hand, singing the words before a pounding ‘Bath in My Blood’ brings things to a close.
Sal Abruscato: "A bloke walks into a pub..."
The old adage of ‘always leave them wanting more’ rings true as one fan leaps on the stage and accosts Johnny Kelly to continue playing, at which point the real appeal of this band stands out – they pretty much embody the reason why we love this music so much; raw, passionate, never missing a beat and just downright excellent. Make no mistake; this band are the real deal and are in it for the long haul, so get behind them now. Right then, let’s go find that sound engineer, as there’s a disgruntled New Yorker who wants a word…
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© 2015 Created by Sal Abruscato.
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