The Cruel Knives

The Cruel Knives + Bunker 9 @ Asylum 2 Birmingham, 23 April 2023

The Cruel Knives represent the reincarnation of a sound that never died. They’ve taken everything that was good about 80’s and 90’s rock, and modernised it for a new generation. They’re a four piece with only one guitar, but you won’t find another one-guitared band that manages to create such a beefy sound.

The group formed in 2017 out of the ashes of Heaven’s Basement, and you’ll hear echoes of them in this band, in particular guitarist Sid Glover’s emotive and expressive shredding (complete with matching facial expressions). However, you’ll also hear an adamantly new sound. Many of the songs are guitar led, combined with Tom Harris’ powerhouse vocals, which never faltered this evening despite an emphatic range.

Local support band Bunker 9, on just before TCK were absolutely worth a watch. The five-piece hard-rock band played a 40-minute set including songs ‘Ride’ and ‘Stay Clear’ which I’d recommend checking out if you like bands akin to Black Stone Cherry and Disturbed. Both tracks can be found on the band’s current EP – It Doesn’t End Here.

Tonight’s main event from TCK consisted of 10 songs taken from the bands two EPs – Side One and Side Two – and newer singles ‘All Your Heroes Hate You’ and ‘Overdose’. They also played ‘Shotgun To The Head’ which they’ve been touring for a while. ‘Hollow People’ from Side Two has an intense chorus – “My reflection doesn’t look at me the way that it used to” – and is currently the band’s most streamed single.

Each member of the band was wholly captivating to watch. They put on an explosive performance without the need for added bells and whistles. There was hair flying all over the place, Sid’s stage acrobatics, and drummer Al Junior gave such an energetic performance that he looked like he’d jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed!

The gig closed with ‘Crawl’ from Side Two, the song where you get to see the most from bassist Rob Ellershaw. It’s a dark but defiant track with a fantastic riff and full-on drums.

It remains a mystery to me why TCK haven’t garnered more success, especially off the back of several massive shows supporting The Pretty Reckless last Autumn, and the release of single ‘Overdose’ in December. Whilst some of their music might be a bit heavy for the mainstream, ‘Overdose’ has real commercial viability and, in my opinion, should have catapulted them up the rankings. I’d love to see them selling out much bigger venues on their next tour. That said, what a great opportunity to see such accomplished musicians up close.

I was lucky enough to meet three of the band at the end of the night and they mentioned they’ve been in the studio, so here’s hoping for some more high-energy guitar-shredding music soon.

The Cruel Knives’ Setlist:

Black Eye Friday
The Life That We Made
Kill The Messenger
Hollow People
The World We Were Sold
If This Is The End (I’ve Been a Fool From The Start)
All Your Heroes Hate You
Shotgun to the Head

Review: Chrissie Duxson


Check out our other reviews album reviewsnews and interviews

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *