Live Review: Sore Teeth w/Aggro, Good Cop and Divide The Truth at The Lounge Bar in Alton!

There is nothing quite like the comfort of The Lounge Bar in Alton, a safe space to see a show run by a genuine hero of the music scene in Catherine Jackson who also happens to be a co-founder of Radar Festival. Tonight we’re also joined by another absolute legend in Chris Underhill from My Latest Failure ahead of what happens to be the first show of 2023 for Hampshire Hardcore crew Sore Teeth. Once again back on the hunt with as a headliner and now a four piece with the addition of lead guitarist Chris Gilday after a stint as main support for Gutlocker. Sore Teeth also have one eye firmly on a bigger prize as they prepare to enter the ring with Lest We Forget, Voodoo and Stone Soup in Heat 2 of Metal 2 The Masses at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford on 25th March, so we’re expecting an all guns blazing set from them to finish off the night.

Opening tonight are Divide The Truth [7/10] who perform a curious mix of original material that blurs the lines between Hard Rock and Metal with some interesting and eclectic vocal stylings, “Nothing For You” standing out from the pack as the trio make full use of the Sore Teeth drum kit. Having only formed in 2020 the band haven’t released any recorded material as yet, instead honing their skills in the live arena before committing to tape however the material they have has plenty of polish with “Maybe You Remain” is another high point. While there is an undercurrent of social and political awareness running through these songs, the surprise is “F.O.S” a song a out the freedom of speech that brings out the big rock sound with a funky mid section before an unexpected unclean roar. A cover may have been nice to help win over the crowd early on but the band stick to their guns and their own songs which deserves plenty of credit.

Deserving of a place higher up the running order are Aggro [8/10] a five piece Metal band who barely fit on the stage and declare war an the audience with cuts from 2020’s “The Shift Of Balance” being the majority of the set, the mighty bearded Dan Gallop bringing the unclean bark and lead guitarist Phil Williams singing to give contrast. That’s not for a second to say they follow a templated Metalcore formula, instead having plenty of straight up Hardcore aggression about them with an early 2000’s Metal swagger. Some call it resting bitch face but drummer Jon Moore looks like a serial killer behind the kit as he delivers the backbone of the pummelling rhythms upon which the quintet have their name, “Stalemate” and the classic that is “No F***s Given” standing out tonight in a no nonsense set as guitarist Ant Rosher regularly brings the riffs from the pit. New material was recorded in January with Sore Teeth frontman and guitarist Ross Walker in his day job as an engineer, producer, mixer and masterer so it looks like we won’t have to wait too long for their next burnt offering but tonight they’re a mighty fine time.

Remember those famed early The Dillinger Escape Plan or Amen shows that got them all the attention from back in the day with musicians throwing themselves and their instruments in all directions in a demonstration of pure carnage? Watching Good Cop [8/10] is like that… pure unadulterated anarchy unfolding before your eyes, flying guitars in all directions, a drummer destroying the kit and a vocalist who remains in the pit for the entire set. It’s clear that blood, sweat and tears has gone into making cuts with a socially and politically aware message lyrically however it has to be said that some of that gets lost in the spectacle of the bands live show, something they call Extreme anarchist noise under the guise of UK Hardcore. Tonight the band suffer one or two technical issues with the right side second guitar cutting out and low in the mix however a cover of “Tourette’s” by Nirvana finds one of the guitarists picking up the microphone and joining the vocalist in the pit for a rendition which they have made their own. “One Off The Wrist” finishes the set in style, the band a sweat soaked mess having put a real shift in. Some call it art, some call it madness, we call it good ol’ fashioned entertainment.

2023 looks like it could be a huge year for Sore Teeth [8/10] as before the show, frontman and guitarist Ross Walker tells us that he is sat on a completed album that he simply needs to find the time to mix and release, which is music to our ears. The notion of new material in the set is a welcome one and “War“, one of several to make an appearance, makes for a pleasant surprise. As you might expect they are the continuation of the sound that makes 2021 EP “This Is Our Core” a success with the addition of solos and lead parts from the aforementioned Chris Gilday. So expect caustic vocals and chantanle lyrics stripped to the bone with Heavy Hardcore riffs, pummelling percussion, rumbling bass and the kind of solos that appeared on “Dark Ages” era Soulfly cuts and you won’t be disappointed. Live they haven’t quite found the balance in the mix, those leads not as prominent as they deserve, however that will be different when Walker goes full Will Putney in the studio. Elsewhere Sore Teeth harness the power of 90’s Hardcore bands like Brooklyn New Yorkers Biohazard with cuts like “Salvation“, naturally enhancing them live with the additional strings of the second guitar and sheer weight of sound. Bathed in feedback “Products Of Violence” and “With My Fist” get the fists in the air and the crowd chanting along, two steppers and mosh pit action being rewarded with a few free copies the record thrown to those cutting the best shapes. As a live band Sore Teeth never disappoint, even if Ross Walker is noticeably under the weather tonight as the band let the audience have both barrels, leaving every ounce of energy upon the stage.

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