Moral Dilemma – Camden Barfly

By Andy

Moments before taking to the stage, MORAL DILEMMA frontman Craig Temple is pacing back and forth with what can be kindly described as a worried look on his face. Why so nervous? This is his band?s first ?major? headline show in London and with that comes a sixty minute set. For a band that?s used to playing for about half of that time, that?s quite the ask. Don?t believe us? Consider this: Moral Dilemma has released two albums previously, the total length of which is a few ticks over 45 minutes, less time than tonight?s stage time. This, then, is a challenge.

Rewind a couple of hours and PETTY BONE [4/5] is charged with warming up the crowd, a task that it approaches with venomous bile of hardcore punk rock that is mean, vicious and fanged. Whilst it?s all too easy to bang on about this being an all-female band, this mere fact proves secondary tonight. This is a band, regardless of gender, that sounds brutal, penetrative and vital, and that just happens to bring Refused to mind during 30 minutes tonight. Tough and impressive stuff.


THE SHITTY LIMITS [2.5/5] proves slightly harder to get a grip on. Rushed from a late arrival the band bills itself as ?The Exposed? and then spends the better part of the set larking around, playing the fool between playing what is some solid enough punk music. The manner and behaviour of the performance though is a little too distracting ultimately and this set passes by without really making too much of an impression.

The Shitty Limits

THE EXPOSED [3/5] on the other hand proves to be a well-oiled machine, slick and professional to the end. More of a poppy affair, the band?s style of melodic street-punk is more in-line with bands like upcoming tour-buddies, Street Dogs, than tonight?s more hardcore element, demonstrated by the audience?s resistance to join in with the sing-along moments (?London you should be fucking ashamed of yourself,? frontman Tony Corrales dismays). Still, it?s a decent performance and one that is noteworthy for the band?s steadfast approach and attitude.

The Exposed

So cometh the hour and cometh MORAL DILEMMA [4.5/5]. The London Trio blasts away any nerves in the opening double header of ?Embrace The Rage? and ?Apathy?, delivered at a breakneck speed that will become the trademark of tonight?s performance. Everything is hard and fast, from the queasy-stomach opening minutes to the wobbly-legged final encore.

Tonight is not only Moral Dilemma?s biggest headline show but it also doubles as a re-release party for ?Right To Remain Silent?, the band?s debut album that?s been unavailable for a good couple of years. Fittingly then, the band delves a bit deeper and dusts off some older tunes. The likes of ?Bodybag? and ?Walking Through Ashes? make an appearance and receive quite the response. The archaic songs sit nicely alongside the more familiar set staples ?Under Surveillance?, ?Cayenne? and ?Question All Authority?, and a few freshly shined new tracks. The fundamental core of all is built of political observations ensnared in hectic hardcore punk. It?s sweaty and valid.

Moral Dilemma

By the time the band makes it to ?Right To Remain Silent? (a song that is the quintessential closer) and its dedication to Jean Charles De Menezez and Ian Tomlinson, things are at full cylinder; urgent and effective. An encore double of ?Our Inheritance? and ?Never Say Die? is a nice one-two punch of new and old albums, a microcosm of the gig in general, and a fitting close to what turns out to be about 57 minutes. Not quite an hour, but close enough.

It?s a heady performance that sets up Moral Dilemma for phase three of the journey. Gigs like this along with the recording of a new album should see this trio start to make further ground. One thing?s for sure after this show, this is an underrated band that really should be listened too, producing thought provoking and intelligent hardcore punk. That?s rare, but oh so refreshing.


All photos by JOSEPH DUNCAN