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

published on soundshock.com

Svart Crown – ‘Profane’ [9]

Despite being a lesser known act compared to many that have been bred in France in the last decade, Svart Crown are by no means flagging when it comes to producing to a first-class metal record. Their previous two albums received rave reviews from those who could be bothered to embrace the blackened death they conjured up and this instalment certainly breaks the third album curse. In a similar vein to 2010’s ‘Witnessing The Fall’, the French four piece entwine death metal brutality with a blackened melody, as vocalist JB’s deep growls engross your aural passages alongside tremolo picking and chunky riffs. The tempos twist and turn a lot more than on their sophomore effort, creating a more organic and technical feel and the layers flow from one track to another with a pleasant unease.

‘Genesis Architect’ is a prime example of blastbeat-fuelled fury full of sinister undertones and ‘Profane’ continues to creep up on you with sudden break downs and slower, more evil-sounding entities. Svart Crown have stayed loyal to their proposed weapon of soul destruction and instead of experimenting with their style, have continued to evolve when room for improvement has been suggested. Hopefully 2013 will be the year that underrated Svart Crown burst into action, just like the pregnant woman on the front cover.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Profane’ is out 22nd April on Listenable Records

You’ll like this if… you like your blackened death brewed to a dark and modern blend of tastiness.

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Shining/Enthroned/Svart Crown/Order of Apollyon @ Underworld, London

With the Shining’s apparent refusal to play anywhere other than London in the UK, grimsters have travelled far and wide to get their frostbitten fix. With this in mind what better warm up than blackened death debutees Order Of Apollyon, despite this being their first ever time playing together in the same room, the supergroup consisted of members from Akercocke, Aborted and Cradle of Filth. Regardless of their lack of gigging OoA manage to pull off a pristine set showcasing their first album and collecting up more minions along the way.

Next up is Svart Crown, who’s equally brutal blackened death attracts a larger crowd to unleash their varied tempos with a calm and collected live presence. The French metallic furies are definitely a diamond of a find for those here who haven’t heard of them before and cause the first pit of the evening. Lead support Enthroned appear to have quite a following already and concoct a sound much more raspy than the previous. Their almost symphonic black metal creates a Dimmu-esque aura and clearly attracts a similar crowd. Although their performance is tight, it seems a little style over substance for a line up leading up to a band such as Shining.

After faking his death frontman Niklas Kvarforth, is back for his second offering of his enigmatic personality after supporting Satyricon last year. Enigmatic of course, depending on your viewpoint of being vomited on from the stage. Shining’s depressive yet equally enchanting DSBM creates a room full of hypnosis, the audience’s heads banging in sync, almost like a nod of approval despite the front row being covered in sick. The Swedes, not to be confused with the jazz hands of the Norwegian Shining, wail out an array of their discography, which sounds clean and concise, a shame the smell in the air is not the same.

Review by Lily Randall

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