LIVE: Trap Them / Okkultokrati / Venom Prison / Employed To Serve @ Boston Music Room, London

By James Davenport

Sometimes gigs on a Monday night can end up being involuntarily intimate. Especially when it’s been pissing down with rain for the past few hours, fighting the rush hour traffic to get to a gig is not often the top of people’s ‘to do’ lists. Tonight however is the complete opposite, as a vastly mixed crowd have braved the elements to descend on North London’s Boston Music Room. Despite the rain, the slow entry to the venue and it being a Monday, no one’s spirits appear to have been dampened as tonight’s show is sold out.

As soon as the punters walk through the doors they’re hit as though they’ve walked into a brick wall. And they have, the brick wall that is the deafeningly loud, unforgiving and relentless hindrance of Employed To Serve. Stood atop the monitors and due to the lighting, the band tower over the green wave of nodding heads as they tear through their set list. Vocalist Justine Jones’ sinister silhouette becomes all the more threatening with each intense delivery shortly followed by their guitarist taking a death defying leap into the crowd. As the band bring their set to a close there’s a brief moment of calm for everyone to exhale then take another deep breath before Employed To Serve plough onwards once more with another enormous breakdown that ensures no-one in the room will forget them in a hurry.

Having just released their debut album, Venom Prison have quickly gained a lot of attention and proved themselves to be an absolute powerhouse. As the crowd re-group, Venom Prison open with a great indecipherable, sludgy noise that rumbles through the venue and due to it’s volume, probably the buildings either side. Taking no prisoners they pummel into their set, the only downside being the overbearing amount of reverb that’s making things a little fuzzy round the edges. Once the sound rights itself and everyone familiarises themselves with the adjustments made the sound waves flooding over the crowd are both crushing and devastating. Raging guitars that salute the golden ages of Death and Thrash metal are combined with some modern Hardcore elements and topped off by Larissa Stupar’s impressive range of high and low vocal pitches. The atmosphere Venom Prison have created is dark and heavy which is only enhanced by the thick damp air that rises as the rain soaked crowd finish drying off.

Hailing from Oslo, Norway, Okkultokrati appear to be the odd one out on the bill having a distinctly different sound from the other three bands performing tonight. The breather has done everyone the power of good though as they regain their breath and kick back to the furious Punk ‘n’ Roll offering that comes their way. Raising a few eyebrows to start, Okkultokrati introduce themselves with a fairly Glam Rock intro but soon win everyone over as their tone gradually darkens bit by bit with the addition of some fairly Black Metal-esque vocals. In what appears to be a split second change the band are off, throwing out thunderous Rock ‘n’ Roll riffs making it seem as though an entirely different band have stepped onto the stage in the blink of an eye. Okkultokrati do this time and time again throughout their set adding more and more components to their sound, flowing between Punk, Rock ‘n’Roll, Stoner Doom and Black Metal. At times their dulcet tones are almost trance inducing although it won’t last too long as up next, it’s tonight’s headliner Trap Them.

As the room fills to the brim for the last time this evening, people are gathering and standing on tables and chairs just to get a glimpse of the spectacle that is Trap Them. This is going to be exciting. It’s clearer to those higher up or with a closer view, why some of the fans towards the back of the room are struggling to see where Ryan’s vocals are coming from. As Trap Them pause between songs all is explained. “Painkillers and wheelchairs suck!” exclaims frontman Ryan who has managed to break both heels and one ankle only four days into their tour. Regardless of disabilities, the energy levels are on high as the rest of the band rip roar through a set including the band’s latest release ‘Crown Feral’ in it’s entirety, “because we fucking can” they declare. Although it should in theory, be harder for a band to be on top form with one key member, who’s renowned for their live performances, out of action, Trap Them are an unstoppable whirlwind that tears round the venue. Their performance is a tour de force that goes unparalleled and we’re teased that London is one of the band’s “favourite places to play” so they’ll be back as soon as possible and “I’ll be on a hoverboard next time” jokes Ryan before taking leave of the stage.