The Wulfrun gives Heresy the opportunity to show a large audience what they can do. With keyboard player Karl no longer part of the band, Heresy’s sound is as full as it was and allows guitarist Tom and bassist Dan more space to flesh the sound out. Between songs, front-man Rob works the crowd and before their last song gets the whole place chanting the band name in unison. Not a bad way to get your name out there huh? They adapted brilliantly to a big stage and they won a few more fans tonight. Quite a feat for a band most had probably not heard of. The crowd were really into the band and I suspect we may be hearing more from these guys.

Obzidian’s next album Damned Eternal is to be unleashed on August 1st. And to make that fact known, Obzidian thrust their songs down the audience’s throat with a live set that was brutal. Drummer Paul destroyed his kit with every beat; bassist Matt’s sound is huge; Barry’s riffs are mammoth; and vocalist Matty J is possessed! He hurls himself into the songs, into the performance, and all over the stage. The crowd swallow it up and a monster of a pit forms and throbs and the venue threatens to explode. Obzidian shift the evening up a gear or two with a set of killer songs that shakes the walls. Fierce, vicious, violent, if you missed them tonight get to their next gig. With monster riffs, grooves deeper than the Grand Canyon, and a lunatic front-man, you won’t be disappointed.

Entering the stage to the score for John Carpenter’s classic movie Escape from New York, Gama Bomb takes the crowd back to the 80s with Marty McFly as the driver. Their off-the-wall themes – ninjas, sci-fi, horror, zombies, etc. – and lyrics that refer to every 80s TV show and movie you can think of, name checking every icon of the age, leave more than a lasting impression and bring comic relief to a bill with bands that seem to take the world oh-so-serious. The Steel Panther of thrash, Ireland’s Gama Bomb sound uncannily like early Anthrax and bring fun to the evening’s proceedings. Front-man Philly Byrne air-guitars his mic stand and plays with the audience, dedicating “We Respect You” to the crowd and asking Wolves’ ninjas to unite for “Last Ninjas Unite”. Tongue-in-cheek throughout, Gama Bomb’s set is good fun but is hindered by one thing: the absence of their bassist. We’re all awaiting an explanation but get none. And because of this there’s a gap, not just on stage and in the sound, but between the band and the crowd. Whether homage or parody, Gama Bomb play a set of old school thrash that’s got lightning speed riffs and madcap tunes. Fantastic!

What’s it going to be then, eh? There was me, that is Jason, and my four droogs*, that is Derrick, Andreas, Jean, and Paulo Jr., Jr. being not really Jr. at all (given his greying cropped hair and 41 years), and we stood in the Wulfrun making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip light chill summer bastard though relatively (and surprisingly) dry for England. And so, O my brothers, a Cavalera-less Sepultura are in town to give us a real good horrorshow with thrash exploding in our ookos and lights bursting all over our mozgs.

Sepultura have had to work hard since Max’s departure in 1996 to prove themselves worthy of the Sepultura name, more so since Iggor’s departure in 2006. Paradoxically, their sales have dwindled with each successive album but critical acclaim has increased. I saw Sepultura in 2006 playing at the Academy – a much larger venue – with In Flames whose crowd, I suspect, comprised probably more In Flames than Sepultura fans. It was the first time I’d seen them without Max and, as it turned out, without Iggor too who was taking time off to be with his family. I wasn’t overly impressed and left the gig disappointed. Sepultura wasn’t what it once was.

Tonight’s show, however, changed my mind. Derrick Green is a great front-man with a voice matched only by his stature. New drummer Jean Dolabella (who plays on and co-produced Kisser’s Hubris I & II) is amazing and plays Iggor’s beats note perfect and demonstrates his own prowess and innovative style on tracks from A-Lex. I’d have thought that the band’s sound would suffer with just one guitar but Andreas and Paulo Jr. flesh it out and so they sound as big as ever. The set opens with Moloko Mesto from A-Lex, their latest album based on A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess’ infamous book (read it!) that became Kubrick’s equally infamous film (watch it!). The album is weak but has its moments, and this is one of them, a great song to kick the evening off. Post-Max songs such as Convicted in Life from Dante XXI hold their own and, though they may never match up to the classics Arise, Refuse/Resist and Troops of Doom that are performed tonight, they have the bite of a band that’s determined to prove detractors wrong. Tonight, Sepultura showed us their yarbles and they were bolshy! Live, these droogs are menacing. Real horrorshow.