Repulsion live @ Relentless Garage, London 03/05/2013

After a few queries about which part of the Garage the gig will be taking place in, it soon appears that underground death metal is far more popular than expected, with the larger room in use tonight. Not only that but it is pretty much rammed from the word go. This is probably due to the names involved in opening act Septic Tank and once you manage to find a spot amongst far too much dry ice, they make it worth your while coming down early. After the unfortunate news that Cathedral had split up earlier on this year, the members Lee Dorrian, Scott Carlson (also of Repulsion) and Garry Jennings have unleashed side project Septic Tank, a far cry from their previous doomy outlet. Instead this one off show is fuelled with DIY energy and crusty thrash fills every corner of the room. Whether or not, we’ll get to witness this again in the near future is another story but regardless it’s a perfect warm up for what’s to come.

Horror fanatics Necrophagia return after a decade’s absence from the UK with a morbid stench as they grace the stage. Frontman Killjoy is his usual ghoulish self, spluttering nastiness through harrowing growls whilst playing with a toy box worth of Halloween props, which is more humorous than it is horrifying. Nevertheless, the US death metal machine plough through older works such as ‘Return To Texas’ and ‘You Ungodly Warlock’, as well as more recent but equally filthy tunes from the ‘Deathtrip 69’. Gore galore may be slightly silly for part of the more “kult” audience but one cannot fault their enthusiasm.

Repulsion need no gimmicks. There aren’t many bands that can make one full length, disappear for a quarter of a century and then return to a full house but they do. Not only that, but ‘Horrified’, the iconic album in question is under half an hour long, so how will a headline set be filled? The answer is that it will be filled with absolute insanity from start to finish. Founding members Scott and Matt Olivo are joined by Col Jones on drums and the crowd go ape shit from the opening of ‘The Stench of Burning Death’, which is over in a flash. Despite the ridiculously old recording sound of the grind created by Repulsion back in the day, the live experience is monolithic as it cleans up certain buzz without the tracks losing their filthy vibes. As Carlson explains, everyone’s favourites are played as the whole album fits in so ‘Black Breath’, ‘Radiation Sickness’ and ‘Crematorium’ are just a few classic amongst several. To fill the time, stellar covers of Venom and Slaughter are thrashed out despite the usual death style of the band and demos are resurrected through tracks including ‘Helga (Lost Her Head)’, each sounding as fast and ferocious as the next. The only downside is that the set is over before you know it and despite a sore neck and a rasped voice, you’re stood there pining for more aural attacks. Yes, it really was that good.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

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