LIVE: Terror / Knuckledust / Redemption Denied @ The Underworld, London

By Glen Bushell

Hardcore is undoubtedly one of the few subgenres of punk that has predominantly remained unsullied for the last 30 years. While there are trends, and hype bands sometimes nestled within it, the bands and the supporters that stay true to the real essence of hardcore keep the candle burning and allow it to stay exciting and relevant. Tonight in the packed Underworld in Camden, which has often served as a mecca for some of the best hardcore shows to grace our country, Terror make a one night stop in the UK to show once again why they personify everything that a hardcore band should be.

Before that, we are treated to a half hour burst of energy from Redemption Denied, who hail from various parts of Europe, and perform at full throttle through their set. Their blend of heavy hardcore and old school rhythm is frantic and fast-paced, while confident front man Kasper Hermans bounds about the stage like a man possessed. Still relatively in their infancy compared to the bands that follow, they play like they are headlining tonight’s show, and while already having more than a few fans in the room tonight, they will no doubt have widened their reach in the UK after such a stellar performance.

To a lesser band, Redemption Denied would be a tough act to follow, but unsurprisingly the UK’s very own Knuckledust have no problems. They are the epitome of UKHC, and having been at this now for the better part of 20 years, they could play their set with their eyes shut. A dominating presence as always, they rip through a career spanning set, and despite a minor technical hitch, and one troublemaker in the crowd being rightfully removed during it, they remain unfazed.

‘Sick Life’, and ‘Foundations’ are as relentless as ever, and even though to the outside world a band like Knuckledust could be perceived as a vehicle to promote violence and anger, this is a band that is 100% about unity, family, friendship and ties that bind the faithful hardcore flock together. This is evident by the mass sing-a-long that ‘Bluffs, Lies, Alibi’s’ evokes. You can see Knuckledust time and time again (this reviewer has in fact lost count of how many times he’s seen them), and every time they consistently remain both compelling and inspiring.

By the time Terror emerge, the Underworld is primed and ready for them, and the moment they launch into ‘Better Off Without You’ the dance floor is whipped into a frenzy. Fronted by the enigmatic Scott Vogel, who directs traffic by demanding more stage dives, Terror are on fire tonight. They tear through ‘Stick Tight’, ‘Return To Strength’, and ‘Live By The Code’ and cover all corners of their hefty back catalogue. The classic ‘Life and Death’ incites sheer pandemonium, making it difficult to tell who are band members and who is the audience by the amount of people on stage. Moments like this however, are what makes hardcore so special, and only here can you get such a bond between the band and the crowd.

Several hundred voices eclipse the sound of the PA during the groove laden sing-a-long of ‘You’re Caught’, and ‘Overcome’ still sounds as important as the day that it was released on their 2004 album ‘One With The Underdogs’. Prefixed by a brief dedication to one of the founding fathers of hardcore – the legendary Raybeez of Warzone – Terror end on ‘Keepers Of Faith’, which has now essentially become the hardcore national anthem. Even the most jaded of fans would find it impossible not to get goose bumps during the chorus, and Scott Vogel’s vocal delivery is as passionate as ever.

It’s easy to get cynical about hardcore, and sometimes when it feels like the scene is fading or the message is lost, a show like tonight can bring back that feeling that makes hardcore enchanting in the first place. All three bands tonight exude the true spirit of the genre, and with Terror now being seasoned veterans that show no sign of slowing down, the heart of hardcore will keep beating and continue to be the true sound of the underground.