Candlefest 2010 – Winterfylleth/Xerath/October File/Eastern Front @ Underworld, London

For those of you unaware, this is not Christmas carols in the Metal Fashion, regardless of what the name may suggest, which hopefully becomes visible when you see the line up for this London show. Despite a variety of genres on the bill, one thing all the bands have in common is their record label Candlelight, well regarded and lauded for the artists they support.

First up is Eastern Front, their war-induced black metal getting the crowd into a grim spirit and collecting a generous crowd despite starting their set at 6pm. Both aesthetics and audible darkness are witnessed as they Panzer through this year’s debut, “Blood on Snow”.

Next up October File flood the stage with a presence which many may find unacceptable, clean-cut tattooed youngsters, looking quite the paradox compared to the previous. Their hardcore-inspired heaviness seems like an anomaly in the line up, however the crowd still seem to lap up the scuzzy guitars and tracks that will be found on the new ‘Zombie Driftwood’ movie.

Xerath enter with a beastly aura and, despite often being negatively received live, give a show that oozes with graveyard grooves. Their progressive metal with deathly tendencies carries with strength around the venue as vocalist Richard Thomson leads his congregation of chaos. Their one and only full length is received well, but most are eager to hear more new endeavours from the British band.

For many, the choice of headliner tonight may split the crowd, as they do not seem to fit with the predecessors of the evening, however Winterfylleth are a band, who in the space of this one year, have finally put black metal back on the British flag. This year’s ‘The Mercian Sphere’ has reached the majority of publications’ ‘Album of the Year’ lists and from tonight it’s completely understandable why. After a blistering performance closing Bloodstock in summer, the Mancunians manage to create a sound full of grace as well as aggression, whilst avoiding any BM clichés of Satanism and corpsepaint. Instead their patriotic anthems are played effortlessly and without gimmicks, they concoct an atmosphere of true battlefields. After a short but stern speech on the recent poppy burning, the band and audience unite with pride and a truly good soundtrack to accompany it.

Review by Lily Randall

Published on Soundshock.com. Click here for images

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