With the Christmas and New Year festivities well and truly over it’s time to shake off the January blues and for our first gig of the year we are once again heading off to The Underworld in Camden. On tonight’s bill there are death metal acts from three different continents and we’re anticipating a night of brutality that will start 2014 off with a bang.
Upon arrival at the venue, support act Fleshgod Apocalypse are already a fair way through their set and the room is looking pretty packed - especially for a cold and rainy Monday night. The Italians are receiving a good reaction from the crowd and, although they’re not a band I’m over-familiar with, I am pleasantly surprised that I’m able to immerse myself straight into their performance.
I find the enthusiasm and theatrical showmanship more than makes up for any deficiencies on the sound front (guitars and backing vocals especially being frequently lost) and overall I’m impressed by what I see and hear. In particular I’m personally quite drawn to Francesco Ferrini’s beautiful keyboard work.
They certainly seem to get the audience in the right frame of mind and they’re a band I’ll definitely be checking out more in the future. 7/10
Next up are stalwart Brazilian death metallers Krisiun who are, generally speaking, far more up my street and a band I’m much more accustomed to.
They start as they mean to go on with ‘Ominous’ from their 2004 release Bloodshed and we are subsequently taken through a set of such ferociousness that it gets the packed-out crowd whipped up into a complete frenzy and the mosh; which vocalist/bassist Alex Camargo comments is the most brutal of the European tour so far, going mental almost from the start.
The synergy between the band and the hungry crowd gives off an amazing vibe and throughout we are frequently (and somewhat endearingly) reminded how important ‘We’ – the fans – truly are. However, in spite of these brief interludes - in which everyone gets to catch their breath - there is barely a moments rest as the guys deliver belter after belter: ‘The Will To Potency’, ‘Combustion Inferno’, ‘Descending Abomination’, ‘Vengeance Revelation’, ‘Vicious Wrath’, ‘Black Metal’ (Venom cover), ‘Blood of Lions’ and finishing up with ‘Kings of Killing’.
Sound-wise the set was good, but (yet again) my one niggle is that the lighting was at times atrocious and way too in my face, I noticed I wasn’t the only audience member squinting like crazy, which makes actually seeing the guys on stage very difficult.
Nevertheless with such an enjoyable, energetic and tight performance the South American trio wholly deserve an 8/10
Tonight’s headliners - Montreal hyperblast kings - Kataklysm quite rightly receive a more than hearty welcome onto the stage from a crowd still hyped up and eager for more.
They start with ‘Let Them Burn’ from the In The Arms of Devastation album and follow it with ‘Push the Venom’, making it clear from the outset that in this more intimate venue they too enjoy - and also encourage - a more tactile interaction with their audience. They are clearing loving the numerous diving attempts and stage invasions.
Whilst this tour is in support of latest album Waiting for the End to Come, a perfectly pitched set-list means that the most recent offering isn’t rammed down our throats. The healthy mix of fan favourites such as ‘At the Edge of the World’, ‘Blood in Heaven’, ‘Taking the World By Storm’ and new songs alike keeps the momentum going for the duration of the show and from beginning to end we’re given exactly what we all want - and what the Canadians do best – a blend not just of barbarous blast beats, audacious riffs and vicious (yet lyrically discernable) vocals, but also pounding rhythms so brutal that it quite literally has the venue walls throbbing.
The band finishes up with an encore of ‘Crippled and Broken’, but despite cries from the crowd for ‘one more’ presumably because of the curfew that’s (unfortunately) all we get.
It’s a blistering performance that will remain deeply imprinted on my memory for many moons to come and a much better start to my gig-going in 2014 than I could have even imagined. 9/10
And more pictures: