Overkill @ Islington Academy 7/10/2012

Sometimes a gig can be such a legendary night for both band and brothers that it seems silly not to make it an annual tradition. This is the fourth Killfest New Jersey legends Overkill have hosted and despite a slightly less thrash-orientated line up than previous years, the Blitz brigade are still out in full force for a Sunday night show clashing with Voivod across town.

Killfest serves up a starter from Sweden in the form of melo-thrashers Degradead. The crowd is gradually swelling in the venue but the band lack an energy that would be worth leaving the bar for. Norway’s Purified in Blood manage to break the ice with a much livelier approach and although the band have a past of being thrown into the “core” corner, tonight’s performance is fuelled with aggression – with tracks from the latest ‘Flight of a Dying Sun’ sounding particularly promising – while frontman Hallgeir literally throws himself into the set with the crowd meeting him in the pit.

Canadian’s 3 Inches Of Blood are met with an almost full floor as the more known support act, and their old-school approach to heavy metal appeals to the mature members of the audience. Cam Pipe’ pipes are on top form as usual tonight, with his power metal shrieks being heard from the merch stand, whilst the rest of the band practise what they preach, and in the words of their 2012 release; long live heavy metal.

As thrash veterans Overkill enter the spotlight, the crowd erupts and despite the same venue and same name, Overkill keep their set list unpredictable for this year’s Killfest. With new album ‘The Electric Age’ already learnt religiously by fans, Bobby and co kick off the set with sheer intensity in the form of ‘Come And Get It’, ‘Electric Rattlesnake’ and ‘Bring Me The Night’. Thirty years in the business would tire many but Blitz is ever the iconic frontman, running back and forth from backstage like an excitable puppy, while the rest of the band are clearly enjoying themselves as much as everyone else. Mixing it up, the legends delve deep into their discography to play older rarities such as ‘Who Tends The Fire’, Thunderhead’ and ‘The Wait’, which lack tempo but ooze ferocity and an undeniable rock’n’roll vibe. The pit is continuous chaos as beer and bruises flourish and when the staple songs like ‘Rotten To The Core’ and ‘Elimination’ are unleashed, it’s understandable why. An encore of ‘Fuck You’ and ‘Powersurge’ completes a night of classic musicianship and stage ownership and the wave of middle fingers during ‘Fuck You’ seems apt as we all dread the reality of Monday morning.

 Review by Lily Randall

Published on Soundshock.com

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Aeon – ‘Aeons Black’

Aeon – ‘Aeons Black’

Ah, the refreshing stench of Swedish death metal has returned and although Aeon don’t stem back as far as the old school likes of Dismember or Master the loyalties to their origin remain. Aeon’s three previous full lengths have proven to progress as time goes on and ‘Aeons Black’ is no change as the Swedes continue to develop and swell into a monolithic beast. Tommy Dahlström’s consistent yet destructive vocals make Aeon distinctive throughout their discography but riff-wise ‘Aeons Black’ shreds its formers to pieces with swirling melodies and homogenous brutality. Technicality shines through clearer than before in a similar style to other bands in the limelight, with ‘Garden of Sin’ and the title track ‘Aeon’s Black’, confirming that Aeon can keep in with the youngsters while preserving the old school tones. The first listen may not grab you at first but see it as the threatening letter you receive before a reckless beating.
4/5

Review by Lily Randall

To be published in Iron Fist #2

Anaal Nathrakh – ‘Vanitas’

We expect most extreme metal to cause an element of fear and discomfort to our lives but it would seem that this year Anaal Nathrakh have taken it to a whole new level. Their blackened grind with an industrial twist has always been disgusting (mostly in a positive way) and ‘Vanitas’ confirms this with a gnarly branding rather than a pathetic stamp. The Brummie boys have managed to continue their style into an even darker abyss with structures so twisted your insides feel crushed and blastbeats add to the pain. The electronic moments on certain songs  are a disturbing bonus, rather than losing it credibility like many bands and although the grind element has been left behind in predecessor ‘Passion’ to some extent, it still rears its ugly head in tracks like ‘Todos Somos Humanos’. The black metal riffs show a wonderful paradox of beautiful ugliness, as doomy sections and several melodies are joined by Ihshan-esque clean vocals to haunt you further. Anaal Nathrakh have managed to stick to their roots without becoming boring or changing their ways and have instead grown into a more terrifying monster in a similar way snake poison hardens and expands the human blood, causing death.

4/5

Review by Lily Randall

This review is to be published in Iron Fist #2

Weapon – ‘Embers and Revelations’ [8]

The wonderfully brutal hybrid that is black/death metal can often be a confusing one, but for Canadians Weapon, there is no other way to describe them. Their previous two albums showed how well they moulded an array of influences; however Relapse debut ‘Embers and Revelations’ launches further into the depths of hell with a sharper blade.

Founder of the band Vetis Monarch’s Bangladeshi origin adds an Eastern feel akin to Nile or Melechesch whilst the addition of a second guitarist, found in Rom Surtr, creates a slick yet sludgy sound, much crisper than the previous records. The dark chugs in Morbid Angel style, blended with a fascination in Satanism runs fluidly from song to song with mesmerizing leads stopping this album from becoming generic. The Disicple’s double bass pounds consistently through the ‘Embers and Revelations’ and a high production keeps the fire burning from his feet and avoiding anything tedious. Whilst ‘Liber Lilith’ and ‘Shahenshah’ showcase the atmospheric attributes of black metal with haunting back chants, tracks like ‘Crepuscular Swamp, Unhinged Swine’ keep the riffs deathly with more old school worship. The song writing and delivery is as evil as its predecessors, which is likely to stop underground fans from complaining of too much evolution within the band, but with a stronger backbone in musicianship and a current invite supporting bands like Marduk and 1349, Weapon are sure to continue killing off any Christian bones in your body.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

Embers and Revelations’ is out now on Relapse

You’ll like this if… you and Satan fancy getting some amazing old vinyls and melting them together to create a demon with an awesome music taste.

Winterfylleth feature

If you need a band to fully endorse the phrase “home is where the heart is” then ever-growing black metallers Winterfylleth continue to prove they’re worthy of just this. After their previous two albums caused a stir both positively and negatively, this years’ ‘The Threnody of Triumph’ is as triumphant as it claims and with the Northerners finally being understood, it’s their time to fly the flag for black metal. Lily Randall caught up with the band at Bloodstock festival, prior to a flawless set.

One of the great things about Winterfylleth is that they don’t fall into any of the typical black metal stereotypes. Unlike the fellow bands such as Watain and Behemoth playing for Bloodstock today, Chris Naughton (vocals/guitar) and Simon Lucas (drums) aren’t awaiting pyrotechnics or for their corpsepaint to be applied. Instead Simon is more than happy to talk for hours about horror films and Chris is calmly discussing bands with a pint in hand. After a stellar set in 2010 on the same Sophie stage, the UK black metallers were asked back this year, albeit slightly lower on the bill. However, the band doesn’t see this as a bad thing, as Chris explains, “I think we got a good slot. I mean, there’s a slightly different vibe this year I think.” As Simon points out, the band clashed with Cannibal Corpse last year, yet they had a great crowd and this year, it’s no different.

2010 was the same year ‘The Mercian Sphere’ was released and it threw the band into the media’s attention. Despite the majority being positive, the surge in popularity caused many to delve into their past to find criticisms. The band’s folklore-inspired music screams out with pride and history of their English turf and like most black metal, this caused some controversy. In years previous, former band members may have taken this nationalism slightly too far, but Chris and the band have always explained that they are not extremists at all. “The whole kind of [thing with] heritage-themed black metal bands or bands that sing about national culture, is that you’re always going to get people that are going to pick the race aspect”, Simon discusses. “They look for that stuff and 95% of that stuff has nothing to do with race or immigration or any of that. We recognised people may target us from the word go, we’ve never been a band that’s candid to people; we’ve always just said it how it is, that’s all you can do.”

Despite recognising that people will always nit-pick, Chris wasn’t expecting it to blow up quite as much as it did. “People can be wonderful, creative, great individuals but people in groups, people online, it’s a different thing. I think a lot of it was driven by people bored at work. I think we always knew this stuff would happen and we’ve always been keen to talk about it and for people to ask questions. I mean, I don’t think you should go and try to police the internet but people like to get the wrong impression and I think it’s got to a point now where people know enough about what we do and it’s up to people to sort of self-police it if you like.”

Despite all this, the band have discussed it extensively and finally people are accepting for what they really are, which is a dedicated and talented group of men. It’s been proven, with ‘The Mercian Sphere’ reaching many ‘album of the year’ lists. Many claim the third album is often the most difficult, so how did Winterfylleth find it? “I’m not going to lie, I think there was a bit of pressure but I think it’s kind of self-imposed. I think when you come off the back of a record that’s really well-perceived which we’re proud of and grateful for, it can be a bit daunting. You feel you’ve got to write a better record. Once we got into it and started the writing process again together, because we had line-up changes and we had Mark and Nick who to be honest have helped developed the sound and had a lot to contribute. We shared the writing duties a little bit more, I still do a lot of it but it’s good to have those guys’ input.”

After hearing Chris explain about the change in members, it’s definitely apparent that Winterfylleth are stronger than ever both live and on record. As explained in SoundShock’s 9/10 rated review, the new album is “unyieldingly aggressive and adds another dimension to the band’s already full-bodied sound”. The folk has been stripped out and the black metal atmosphere has been turned to the max as Chris describes the studio goings-on. “There’s a lot more layering and melody. We went to town a lot more on the guitar layers and the vocal layers and the dynamics of the songs. The songs have always been dynamic I feel, they’ve always been moving forward and progressing and stuff but this time we tried to fill some of the space we had on the last album with more intricate guitar work and multiple layers of lead guitar.”

Since its release ‘The Threnody of Triumph’ has been highly praised for creating a bench mark for future black metal bands and a hopeful increase in British black metal at that. 2012 seems to have been the year for Winterfylleth and Damnation Festival in a few weeks’ time will once again see them own the stage along with fellow Brits Wodensthrone flying the flag. Olympic golds were great this year but two astonishing albums from the British black metal scene is a much bigger nice surprise.

Feature by Lily Randall.

Published on Soundshock.com