Ever willing to explore what is happening in the alternative music scene in Newcastle, my friend Alex and I decided to go to the city’s ‘premier rock venue’ for, dare I admit it, an evening of metal and extreme ear-drum battering. I definitely felt like an outsider in that place, everyone either had very long hair or a close-shaved head. I was in the middle ground somewhere and I don’t have a beard, so I must have been considered as some kind of freak. Intervening on such a gathering of gothic metal heads is an astonishing experience; it’s like the 1990s never happened. Sufficient to say that the music was loud, and my worries about damaging my ears were compounded when I noticed that the person standing infront of me was wearing ear plugs.‘Disaster Area, a plutonium rock band from the Gagralacka mind zones are generally held to be not only the loudest rock band in the galaxy, but in fact the loudest noise of any kind of all.’ - From The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.Even though everyone else seemed to take the headline band seriously, including the band themselves, they came across as being more of a self parody, like the Spinal Tap of the death metal circuit. This band have really boiled down this genre of music to leave the core of what it’s about: loud, dropped tuned guitars played through tortured amplifiers, frantic drumming, one string bass-lines and sub-sonic wordless vocals. It was minimalist in a weird kind of way, although I would have preferred it if the bass player stopped pretending and simply discarded the 3 strings he didn’t use. So, was it worth damaging my ears for? No.