Nile @ The Garage, London

For once The Garage in London isn’t shoving the death metal devoted into the tiny upstairs area but this doesn’t stop the gig ending in blood, sweat and beers. Opening the night are Belgian deathsters Pestifer, who seem pretty unknown tonight. For those out early, it’s a showcase of tidy yet uninspiring tech death that does little to wake up the crowd and despite groovy breakdowns and vague stage presence, it’s unlikely Pestifer will be a band Googled profusely after the show.

Luckily Svart Crown have far more power behind them, as they blast into their eerie blackened death that may not sit pretty on this bill but is lapped up almost instantly. The four-piece from France feel monolithic from the stage, as they proof they still have it in the form of new tracks ‘In Utero’ and title track ‘Profane’, blasting immaculate yet sinister melodies amongst the chaos. Despite their darker approach to brutality, the band seem to have won over genre elitists tonight and rightly so.

Kataklysm’s “side project” Ex-Deo are certainly starting to make their own name, especially after a strong set at this year’s Bloodstock festival. With themes as strong as Nile’s Egyptian love affair, the death metallers death metal is smothered with Roman mythology and thus has an epic presence live. The guitar is a little low in the mix but with armour intact and heavy melodies galore, the band still prove their worth on this line up.

US veterans Nile have their loyal followers in tow before they’ve even played a note and it isn’t long until temperatures akin to their worshipped desert land are reached. Mosh pits break out for all the classics including ‘Sarcophagus’, Kafir!’ and ‘Lashed To The Slavestick’ and unlike their performing predecessors, the guitar sounds as crunchy and widdly as necessary. ‘The Howling Of The Jinn’ is one of a few songs that are a rarity live but still sound as terrifying as one would hope and although latest offering ‘At The Gates Of Sethu’ was weak in comparison it’s tunes still get some energy from the pit.

As the night draws to a sudden close due to a lack of encore, favourite ‘Black Seeds of Vengeance’ confirms that twenty years in the business has not worn Nile down and the spirit of Ra is still strong across the metal plains.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

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Aborted @ The Garage, London

It seems to be common knowledge that if a death metal show is on at the Garage, you’re going to be crammed into the upstairs of the venue, making for a claustrophobic yet intimate show and ear plugs certainly required. Aborted were last on our shores back in February supporting Vader and if you thought The Underworld show was crazy, you’re in for a treat tonight.

Opening the night is a convenient yet obscure choice in the form of System Divide. Containing three Aborted members, including vocalist Sven and his wife Miri Millman (ex-Orphaned Land), the band are a far cry from the brutality on the rest of the line up with a beauty and the beast approach on the vocals that falls on its head a bit with this audience. Although the band is pumped up and the overall musicianship is strong, the melodeath tracks from debut ‘The Conscious Sedation’ are predictably commercial and lacking in grit.

London’s own Acrania are up next and the evening is swung to the other end of the heavy spectrum. With a sound akin to the likes of Whitechapel, the youngsters slam through their set of standard deathcore with breakdowns galore. With obvious brutal DM influence throughout, it seems this is enough to sway some of the audience who claim to be “anti-core”. The band may dub themselves as “politicore”, which is cringe worthy in itself, but there is nothing overly powerful about their presence other than the obvious.

The last year has seen death metal Brits Dyscarnate flourish under the spotlight, with great support slots, trips around the world and a well-received sophomore full length. Tonight is a perfect example as to why they deserve the attention. With a set similar to their appearance here earlier on in the year supporting Aeon, it explosive from the word go and it’s amazing to see a trio cause such a wonderful racket. Their straight-up death metal has no gimmicks and pummels you through chunky guitars and blistering drumming. ‘The Promethean’ still stands out as a favourite and with a new album on the way; it’ll be interesting to see how much more this band can evolve.

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of 2003’s Goremageddon album, Aborted are back on our shores after supporting the likes of Vader earlier on in the year. Although, the set list is relatively similar to February’s onslaught, the brutal death metallers show they’re suited to intimate venues, as vocalist Sven rabidly wonders the staged like a man possessed. Blending chuggy breakdowns with face-melting speed, the Belgians swoop through favourites such as ‘Origin of Disease’ and ‘Fecal Forgery’. The sound is tight with each piece of the brutality barricading you into its grasp. The crowd isn’t as mad as you expect but this doesn’t stop the night from being a success with the ending the perfectly bloodied cherry on top.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

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Suffocation @ O2 Bar Academy, London

There’s nothing better to flush away those Monday blues than an evening of death metal and if it doesn’t wake you up for the week, you must be dead. What’s more, the fact that the gig has been moved from Islington’s Academy to its smaller brother upstairs cause s further aural devastation and without any explanation as to why this has changed.

Either way, the masses bustle in and are warmed up with a slightly more gentle approach to death metal through openers Fallujah. By using the word gentle, many will cringe in disgust but we use the term lightly as they approach brutality with a progressive approach fuelled with melodies. At times it feels as though the US based metallers have to force the technicality in a hope to be further accepted but regardless the sound is tight despite such a small proximity to play in.

Thrashers Havok have no issue with a tiny space, as they’re used to ripping open intimate shows with their speedy onslaught. Despite being slightly out of place on this line-up the quartet are bursting with an energy that slowly disperses into the crowd. Their sing-along anthems such as ‘D.O.A’ and ‘Covering Fire’ are met with the usual enjoyment as the band thrash through a couple of new tracks from upcoming album ‘Unnatural Selection’. From what is heard, it sounds as though Havok are continuing on with what they know best and neo-thrash shall return.

As expected, if one goes within certain proximity of the Cephalic Carnage dressing room, the stench of weed will seep into your nostrils and it’s pretty much the same story as they walk out of stage. Well known for their love of the dope, the band are full of jokes to try and keep the crowd giggling but their music itself doesn’t seem to get the response desired. Their technical deathgrind is the bizarre brutality experienced on record but the pits aren’t as frequent as predicted and frantic, tinnitus-inducing bass is played alongside ridiculous blastbeats. The setlist is pretty standard, with favourites such as ‘Kill For Weed’ and ‘Raped By an Orb’ with frontman Lenzig’s vocal vomit spewing out for all to embrace. Their usual closer of ‘Black Metal Sabbath’ sees further comedy with black metal piss takes and ensues their final pit for the evening, leaving the band worthy of skulking off for another joint.

When news spread of Frank Mullen being unable to make all Suffocation live shows from now on around the same time of new album ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ was unleashed, it left many in the scene baffled. As promised, the band continued to tour and this visit sees Dying Fetus’ John Gallagher taking the mike responsibilities and being a lot more dynamic on stage than with his usual comrades, perhaps due to the lack of guitar weighing him down. Starting from the “classics” pile, Suffocation relentlessly rip into ‘Thrones of Blood’. They may have been in the game for a quarter of a century now, but the American death metal A-team prove they’re still as brutal as ever with guitarist Terrance Hobbs’ slamming riffs still as relevant as back when they were spawned.

This year’s full length ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ has been hailed as one of their best in recent years and so the band exhibit why with tracks like ‘Purgatorial Punishment’ and ‘My Demise’ causing bodies to flail. At times, the absence of Mullen can be sensed and the hand chop is sorely missed and although Gallagher’s vocals are much deeper, it still does justice to the show and as the Fetus man says himself, ‘Infecting the Crypts’ is likely to have created the whole slam death metal genre. So, what better way to end the show than with an anthem of brutality, loved by many and proving that Suffocation are still the dads of death metal, deserving a larger venue in future.


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Sonne Adam @ Boston Arms, London

Tonight’s one off show at The Boston Arms sees a swelling audience from the doors opening due to a couple of exclusives in this evening’s proceedings. With an ever evolving underground sound thriving in the capital, what better way to start than with homage to OSDM, courtesy of Decrepid. The band fills the stage with Swedish rawness and a slight tinge of crusty grind, with frontman Cris Bassan stomping the stage into the ground like a bald Barney Greenway.

Craven Idol need no introduction for most who reside within London, with a consistent showcase of their blackened thrash on stage in recent years. As always they dominate clad in studs and leather, with buzzsaw riffs and echoing gnarls of hatred consistently pummelling the venue. With such a tight set and influence from legends such as Destroyer 666 or Bathory, we can only hope a full length will soon haunt us with its existence.

The fact that this is Grave Miasma’s only UK show this year is likely to have been a pulling point for many tonight and it soon becomes apparent why. Whilst much of the atmosphere on their EPs is created by an old school production, the murky depths of their blackened death seem to intensify in a live environment. The gloom-riddled guitars and rasps of the occult on the likes of ‘This Tomb Is My Altar’ become almost hypnotic as the set encases you in total darkness.

Sonne Adam’s previous journey to our shores supporting Grave was a show to be reckoned with but their first headline show in London is destined to push into another dimension. As soon as the intensely low riffs of ‘We who Worship The Black’ commence, the crowd are under the Israelis’ spell, with every ounce of evil seeming effortlessly brilliant. Nothing is forced here, with every track from incredible debut ‘Transformation’ sounding as crushing, if not more, than on record. Despite Dahan’s departure last year, the current four piece are meticulously bound with Davidov’s vocals harrowing every ear tunnel within venue. Tonight is a perfect example as to why Sonne Adam’s entrance into the spotlight was such a breath of fresh air for doom death.

Review by Lily Randall

Published in Iron Fist

Sonic Obliteration @ Camden Underworld, May 2013

A 3pm start for an entire day of extreme metal may seem a little extreme in itself and it will be a miracle if everyone leaves with the capability of hearing and walking but fans are eager to accept the challenge. A wide range of local talent is on offer to warm up the crown and provide background drinking music for many with thrashers Axonide starting off the procedures. Grindcore trio Oblivionized get brutal without a bass and slightly more known Brits Bloodshot Dawn bring a more conventional deathly sound into the day.

The slightly manic Unfathomable Ruination blastbeat their way into frenzy, whilst The Last Shot Of War’s deathcore falls on its face with predictable breakdown galore. Rearmed continue the madness with some more brutality but suddenly the break between bands begins to lengthen.

After playing a show in Ireland previously, the remaining three bands are still nowhere to be seen and it develops that their ferry is not going to arrive in time. This unfortunately results in the assaulting sound of Decrepit Birth not being heard tonight, much to our displeasure and many others’ here.

Luckily Cattle Decapitation do a tremendous job of picking up the bad vibes and blasting them out of the venue in a frenzied showdown of death metal done good. Frontman Travis Ryan devours the stage whilst spewing out demented vocals to create the best uneasy listening one could ask for. Latest tracks from ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ get a stellar response and new favourite ‘Forced Gender Reassignment’ causes the biggest mosh pit of the night to explode. Instead of suffering with sea legs, the nastiness is played with a precision so pummelling, they take the band of the night award.

You’d think a band with as much experience as Cryptopsy would be able to follow this performance in their stride but unfortunately their set becomes quite the anti-climax. Despite last year’s self-titled album throwing the band back into the spotlight to some extent, it feels as though the band have lost their bite in general since frontman Lord Worm left. The sound is swamped by double bass and there is an intensity lacking in songs such as ‘Slit Your Guts’ that would normally blow off the roof. Due to this the crowd seem knackered prematurely but its understandable when you take in how much has been displayed today.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

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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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Enslaved/Winterfylleth,Ancient Ascendant live @ The Underworld 2013

Enslaved, Winterfylleth, Ancient Ascendant


The Underworld, London

With the weather refusing to jump into Spring, we continue to brace ourselves for a Nordic winter evening and once again, Scandinvian sounds prove as the perfect soundtrack. After supporting Dimmu Borgir back in 2010 and doing a few shows along the way in the UK, tonight sees a sold out show for Enslaved, allowing both crowd and band to embrace a headline set.

Ancient Ascendant’s origin may not be as Viking-esque as they look and sound, but the Reading death metallers do their influences proud with an energetic onslaught of melody-riddled brutality with smatterings of black and thrash for extra kicks. The youngsters choose to play latest EP ‘Into The Dark’ in its entirety despite releasing a full length in 2011 but the tunes on show tonight prove the deathly developments made. The band grab the heart strings of the crowd with a cover of Bathory’s ‘Flash Of The Silver Hammer’ and an ideal scene is set for the rest of the night.

Winterfylleth have grown to become one of Britian’s most loved exports and with last year’s ‘Threnody of Triumph’ being so, ahem, triumphant in the annual album charts, the anticipation is buzzing this evening. This is only further increased thanks to a few technical difficulties when starting but as soon as the intro tape kicks in on the second time round, the ‘Fylleth four are all guns blazing/ Known for their adoration of the homeland and its natural beauty, the Northerners black metal streams with an organic effortlessness, as frontman Chris Naughton smiles and gnarls through tracks such as ‘The Swart Raven’ and ‘The Fields of Reckoning’ with pure enjoyment.  Despite a predominantly fast tempo, the band slows down for fist pumping patriotism and closer ‘Defending The Realm’ from debut ‘The Ghosts of Heritage’  is a prime example of pride, as it creates an epic intimacy between fans and band.

If you want prove of a band that refuses to stick to their regional stereotype, look no further than Enslaved. After bursting from the second wave of black metal cocoon that Norway produced, their roots laid deep within the nature and history of their surroundings, in a similar vein to Winterfylleth now. After a Viking-fuelled few albums, the band’s experimenting into more progressive realms continued to grow and tonight’s set is dominated by the evolution of Enslaved. With last year’s dark yet pristine release ‘RIITIIR’ showcased through tracks such as ‘Roots of the Moutain’ and ‘Thoughts Like Hammers’, the progressive pummelling sounds even more monolithic  than on record, which seemed impossible prior to tonight.

Albums ‘Ruun’ and ‘Axioma Ethica Odini’ are visited briefly and are presented with style, whilst the band banters between itself in a manner that is not very “krieg” at all, yet it causes the crowd to adore them further. There are likely to be a few in attendance this evening who are disappointed by the lack of true, raw black metal Enslaved used to conjure, however they are extremely outnumbered by the looks of the sweaty and eclectic crowd that are lapping up a Led Zepplin cover of ‘Immigrant Song’ as the night draws to a close.

Review by Lily Randall

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