Aura Noir @ The Underworld, Camden

24th May 2012

The Underworld has become a consistent venue when it comes to bringing the London extreme scene something to drool over and an album release party from black thrashers Aura Noir is no exception. The  Norwegian’s latest onslaught ‘Out To Die’ has received plenty of praise like the rest of their catalogue and is definitely worthy of its own shindig.

London-grown tour whores Disfago and Sepuku start up the fire with their crusty death metal and if you have somehow missed their live shows before, then you can expect sheer brutality sweating from every pore, while experimental black metal outlet Code are equally welcomed by the crowd.

Unlike many bands who share their genre, Aura Noir have managed to be reliable when it comes to creating an album which manages to stick to the raw roots of Scandanavia, without sounding outdated. ‘Out to Die’ is no exception and when played live it sounds outstanding. Many of the fans in the crowd have clearly had a sneaky listen while the rest of the set shows honour to their previous classics. Thanks to mixing the elements of black and thrash, the atmosphere manages to be fuelled by speed, fun and brutality, as well as by aggression and ultimate evil, leaving plenty of blood, sweat and beer under the stage. Back to their original line up, Aura Noir manage to expose a gritty sound whilst still being tight in the often temperamental Underworld acoustics. Groovy licks such as ‘Gaping Grave Awaits’ keep hair flailing and old favourites off their debut prove that regardless of how long Aura Noir go on for, they will always unleash a black thrash attack.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

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Gojira – ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’

GOJIRA – L’ENFANT SAUVAGE   [10]

If Gojira were an applicant for a job, they would be the ideal candidate. Despite a four year break from creating their previous masterpieces, it’s apparent that they are consistent, reliable and ridiculously hard working when it comes to producing extreme metal that is hard to pigeon-hole into a certain sub-genre. In fact, the patience we had to endure for ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ was probably due to the perfectionism of the Frenchman and it was totally worth it. Their death metal tendencies are contrasted by lyrical themes of life and the environment, creating a sonic relationship similar to that of beauty and the beast.

Opening track ‘Explosia’ proves Gojira won’t delay in starting from where they left off on the previous ‘The Way of All Flesh’, with an explosive start of the signature guitar picking and mammoth riffs. Title track ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ was released as a taster for the album earlier on, getting fans’ tongues wagging and ears ringing, as the ideal example of what was to come from the album regarding speed, strength and Mario’s super polyrhythms. The rest of the album manages to impersonate the ocean waves, breaking from the calm into a musical storm, as tracks like ‘The Wild Healer’ and ‘Pain Is A Master’ show the more mellow and trippy atmospheres which are reminiscent of parts of ‘The Link’.

The finale comes in the shape of ‘The Fall’, a longer tune which manages to create possibly the most psychedelic aura of the album without losing any brutality. Admittedly, Gojira have kept to a structure and style that has followed them from their debut but quite frankly, if they did change, they wouldn’t be Gojira. The fact their ideas, talent and general presence in the music scene is something that should be praised and it’s unlikely you’ll find a live act that can top them, they are true all-rounders.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ is out June 25th on Roadrunner Records

You’ll like this if… you agree the band are Gojiramazing. Or just if you want something made of pedrigree heaviness.

This was published for Soundshock.com

Devin Townsend Unplugged @ The Borderline, London

6th June 2012

When it comes to a live experience with Devin Townsend, you know it’s never going to be a show that is just thrown onto the memory pile. We all know Devin’s music is schizophrenic just by looking at his career’s catalogue, however seeing all eras of the legend played on a simple stage with just an acoustic guitar is bound to be as utterly spellbinding as you’d expect.

For many it was a lovely surprise to find out that tonight’s support was Danny Cavanagh of Anathema, who played beautiful renditions of his band’s classics such as ‘Fragile Dreams’ and ‘Flying’. For those who were less aware of Anathema’s amazing discography, he also played Tenacious D’s ‘Tribute’ and Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’, which he managed to add his English charm to, before ending the show with a special guest in the shape of his brother and bandmate Vince for a double serving of deep emotions.

Despite managing to set the tone for the night, Danny’s attempts are suddenly lost as Devin’s infamous Photoshopped slideshow causes laughter and a more informal feel once more. As soon as Mr Townsend graces the stage, you automatically acknowledge the humble aura he brings and the genuine mutual respect between crowd and artist. The venue is tiny compared to Devin’s upcoming Download set, which only adds to the intimacy, and the structure is unnecessary tonight as Devin asks the fans to shout requests to be played. Expected tear jerkers such as ‘Ih-Ah’ and ‘Funeral’ are thrown to the start of the set, hypnotising everyone from the word go thanks to Devy’s raw emotion. It’s fair to say the man is like a metal equivalent of Derren Brown. Regardless of how brutal the band shirt is you’re wearing, or how long your beard is, you look around the Borderline and everyone is in pure, static silence completely mesmerized.

Every now and then the daze is broken with the usual silly humour and acoustic renditions of ‘Juular’ and SYL rarity ‘Satan’s Ice Cream Truck’ mix things up a bit. Seeing as a lot of Devin’s discography is so old and never revisited, there are certain requests that go wrong or take a while for him to get into but no one judges him, as they just laugh along with him or wait patiently. At the end of the show, the mastermind applauds and thanks his audience in such a modest manner, it’s hard to believe that this man has written some of the most beautiful and brutal music in the last two decades without becoming an ego-fuelled monster and this is probably one of the main reasons he is such an inspiration both tonight and for the rest of time.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

Published on Soundshock.com. Click here to view images