Live Review: Unearth w/Prong & Dust Bolt at London ULU

We’ve been singing the praises of Boston Massachusetts Metalcore heroes Unearth for as long as we can remember. They are one of the bands that started out during the Nu-Metal era and rose to prominence in the first wave of Metalcore and are now celebrating 22 years together in 2020. Seven albums in that time may not have made them the most prolific of writers but each record is well constructed and while we had to wait four years for 2018’s “Extinction(s)“, it’s a mighty fine piece of work. We had the fortune to see Unearth at the other end of this tour cycle at the very same venue when they brought Left Behind, Misery Signals and Darkest Hour with them and that was one hell of a night.

German Thrashers Dust Bolt [6/10] are touring 2019s “Trapped In Chaos“, an album which dropped via Napalm Records and will have a new single, potentially from its follow up, in “Chaos Possession” out on 20th February. The quartet play like they’re the headliners with a surprising amount of showmanship given that their songs like “Dead Inside” are essentially extended Thrash-a-thons straight from 1982. Smoke machines and a golden ticker tape shower seem to be over kill for a club show but are nice enough none the less. The issue is, it’s been done and better by other bands like Power Trip and they bring nothing new to the table.

Some places maybe billing tonight as an Unearth headlining tour, but others are advertising it as a “Beg To Differ” 30th Anniversary run for Prong [8/10]. The truth is that it’s a co-headlining tour and Tommy Victor and company play for an hour. Wearing a Testament “Oakland” work shirt, Victor is every bit the live wire character with an ear to ear grin when he’s not hammering out the riffs or spitting the venom. A lot of the tracks are essentially timeless and the likes of “Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck“, “Unconditional” and “Another Worldly Device” are classics that don’t tire.

Headliners Unearth [10/10] treat us to a career spanning set with “Survivalist“, “Incinerate” and “Dust” taking pride of place alongside “My Will Be Done“, “Black Hearts Now Reign” and of course “The Great Dividers“. The interplay between guitarists Buz McGrath and Ken Susi is perfectly balanced and McGrath’s tapping solo sections see him in blisteringly good form tonight. Talking of history, the band maybe on their fourth full time drummer but Nick Pierce is an animal on the kit and sets it off with some seriously impressive double kicks and big crash cymbal hits throughout. Metalcore may have had it’s time as a sound which got saturated and eventually faded but Unearth are one of the bands that stood out from the pack like As I Lay Dying or Killswitch Engage and when it comes to the crunch, they have the material to prove it.

 

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