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Nemhain flyerNemhain
Five Second Rule
Kain

Borderline, London
Wednesday October 6 2010

 

 

 

It's time for a bit of ROCK tonight, I think. That's ROCK in capital letters, as distinct from plan old common-or-garden lower-case rock, you understand. There's a difference.

Kain are an effective rock unit however you type the R-word, that's for sure, although for all their modern metal looks the band makes a curiously seventies-ish racket. Their songs are traditionally constructed and meticulously played in a kind of pre-heavy metal, seventies hard-rock style, and Samara Kain - she who is Kain - has a vocal style like a precision-controlled Cherie Currie.

We don't quite get the full effect of the band's dual-pronged guitar assault tonight, however, because Samara breaks a string early doors and throws her guitar aside for most of the set. But even with only half the number of guitar strings available to deliver The Rock, Kain still fire on enough cylinders for us to get their measure. In a way their old-skool influences almost make the band sound like a classic rock project, but I reckon if they can steer a course more towards the Shakin' Street side of the, erm, street - and it isn't exactly crowded over there these days - they'll find territory they can claim as their own.

Kain / Five Second Rule

There's an unscientific theory that if you drop some food on the floor, it's OK to pick it up and eat it as long as you grab it within five seconds. The germs won't have had time to infect it. Theoretically. Unscientifically. Don't quote me on that. And don't blame me if you try it and go down with botulism.

But that's where Five Second Rule get their name from. Where they get their on-stage demeanour from is anyone's guess, mind. They're a motley crew, the singer tall, skinny, cowboy-hatted, giving comedy shout-outs to the crowd as if this is an Enormodome show. The bassist ups the rock 'n' roll ante (in fact, he single-handedly bumps the band up into the ROCK zone) by appearing bare-chested, with the word 'VALHALLA' tattooed across his stomach. Now that's commitent to the rock 'n' roll cause right there.

Five Second Rule make a suitably down 'n' dirty racket, all whumping basslines and no-shit guitar, and although I'm never too sure just how seriously to take the singer, who defaults to a kind of playing-it-for-laughs schtick at a moment's notice, we all get suitably rocked by the Rule.

NemhainOn the face of it, you'd think Nemhain would be stars by now. They've got all the advantages: drummer Adrian Erlandsson has played for assorted metal megastars (and Cradle Of Fillth, but you can't win 'em all); vocalist Amber Erlandsson has a whole other career as a vampish model and fetish performer.

Nemhain themselves play a kind of rip-roaring post-Distillers rock that pulls influences (and should therefore pull audiences) from both the punk and metal side of the fence. And, since the Distillers themselves no longer exist after Brody Dalle decided to get all alternorock on us, there's surely a Nemhain-shaped gap in the market.

Nemhain are doing pretty well - the Borderline fills nicely for their set. But it's still the Borderline, you know? Maybe it's a case of too many side projects, too many other things to do. If Nemhain cleared the decks and spent nine months or a year touring the rock kids into submission, I think they'd soon be above Borderline level. But tonight, here they are. So let's check 'em out while we can still get close enough to see the whites of their eyes.

Nemhain hit the stage at 100mph. They whip through 'Ana' like a rock 'n' roll bullet train, Amber giving the vocal plenty of decibels. 'Die, Die, My Darling' gets a slo-mo intro before the band collectively tread on the the max heaviosity pedal, and the riff descends like a ton of bricks. 'Second Skin' arrves on a crazed whirl of drumbeats and departs in a cloud of dust.

There's even a cover of 'Bad Moon Rising' - a slight surprise, for takes a certain amount of chutzpah for a contemporary band to throw in a classic rock standard. If you're not careful, you risk looking like the covers band in your local pub. But Nemhain soak the song in their own murky swamp water and turn it into something slo-mo and spooky. There are touches of theatre, too. Armed with needles and candles, Amber turns herself into a human birthday cake for a fan - which, let's face it, isn't something you're likely to get from Avril Lavinge. She generously provides drinks for the front row by injecting booze straight into their gobs from a syringe - well, I think it's booze. It's red liquid, anyway. And nobody dies. So it's all good.

So, what's the verdict, then? Are Nemhain rock (lower case) or ROCK (upper case)? You know what? I think they might actually qualify as ROCK. Upper case and bold. Make a note of that, rock kids. By their typography ye shall know them.

Nemhain: MySpace | Facebook

Five Second Rule: MySpace | Facebook

Kain: MySpace | Facebook

For more photos from this gig, find Nemhain by name here.

Find a Nemhain album review here.

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Page credits: Review, photos and construction by Michael Johnson. Nemesis logo by Antony Johnston. Red N version by Mark Rimmell.
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