Primordial – Islington Academy, 5th May 2012

There is an amazing buzz around Islington tonight. Even with early doors, the place is packing out fast as Winterfylleth [7] make their way on stage bringing their own form of atmosphere-laced Black Metal. Frontman Chris Naughton’s gravelly shrieks carve through the haunting but elegant soundtrack, and teamed with fellow guitarist Mark Wood, they trade sharp and furious riffs. A sea of heads bang in unison, as a mesmerised audience is entranced by music so beautifully dark and evil. Choosing to debut a new song from their forthcoming album gets the crowd moving and is warmly received by the fans.

Reformed Heavy Metal legend’s Hell [9] have to scale down their grand stage show for tonight’s smaller venue, but sacrifice none of the grandeur. Hell hit the stage with admirable ferocity and the ‘Church of Hell’ is very much in session. After a slight bit of technical trouble with Andy Sneap’s sound, he begins shredding the riffs out with Kev Bower. ‘Let Battle Commence,’ which is a very apt name for an opening song, shows off the obvious talent the band possesses. ‘On Earth as it is in Hell’ has everybody in the Academy singing the word’s right back at Dave Bower. The masterful singer has the whole venue in the palm of his hand and they lap up the gloriously over-the-top theatrics. He isn’t alone though, as the whole band has cleverly choreographed stage moves and synchronised head banging in their arsenal.

An eerie sample fills the venue with cries of despair and agony, which build up ‘Plague and Fyre.’ Dave Bower emerges clad in robes and mask, before Tony Speakman’s thumping bass lines and Tim Bowler’s relentless percussive assault add serious weight to the sound. Hell offer so much more than most bands around today, it’s almost like going to the theatre instead of a Metal gig. Every band member plays their part flawlessly. Strategically deployed samples and voice-overs all add to the effect. It seems as though this act belong on a big stage with all the props and pyro at their disposal, when that does happen, do not miss it!

Twenty-one long years into a fantastic career and Primordial [9] can still give any band a run for their money. Alan Averill Nemtheanga’s voice is simply amazing, his wonderfully executed technique and natural power carries through all of London. They sound biblically huge tonight with Ciaran MacUiliam and Michael O’Floinn demonstrating precise clean-picked guitar lines and some crunching riffs. Primordial connect effortlessly with their fans, who provide an almost militant following, and are shouting along with every song. Several times A.A rallies up his troops with cries of “Are you with us?” and each time he is met with deliriously ecstatic screams and a everyone’s fists in the air.

Fan favourites ‘As Rome Burns’ and ‘The Coffin Ships’ are met with a rapturous response. ‘The Mouth of Judas’ sounds particularly epic tonight with Simon O’Laoghaire working hard behind the kit to provide the thunder for this Folk-tinged Black Metal attack. After commanding the stage for the duration of the set, it is unfortunately time to end as the, very un-metal, 10 o’clock curfew draws closer. It seems that everyone would have been happy for a few more hours of this. Despite the abrupt ending, what a fantastic night it has been here in Islington. Three amazing bands in blistering form, all on one brilliant bill, and you can’t ask for more than that.

Scribbled by:

Metalhead, Wannabe Music Journo, Long-Haired Fool, Thrash Enthusiast

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