Sodom, Gospel of Horns and Ancient Ascendant
@ The Underworld, Camden
18th November 2012
Review by Caitlin Smith
Photography by Sabrina Dersel
Germany has long been known for its thriving metal scene and enthusiastic crowds. So when German metallers, Sodom, arrived back in the UK, the usually tame crowd were going to be shown what a metal gig is all about.
With the doors opening late, a queue was still waiting round the corner when Ancient Ascendant [4/5] arrived on stage to a small gathering at the front.
They began by showing us there was no messing around, opting for a short version of the intro from The Veil and then throwing us straight into their starting song, Blood Calls.
Playing their recently released EP “into the Dark” in full, their short set was a tribute to the quality of the British underground death metal scene today.
Having seen them at Bloodstock earlier in the year, they pulled out the same electric performance in the Underworld, putting in the same effort in for 40 people as they did for 4000.
The guys commanded the stage, appeasing the audience with powerful rhythmic grooves, catchy melodies and intense vocals.
These guys certainly earned themselves cries of approval at the end of the set.
Returning from hiatus, Australian blackened thrash metal band, Gospel of the horns [4/5], was next up.
The venue, by this time, was starting to fill up as people packed in to see what was one of the best surprises of the year for me.
Having walked into the gig unsure of what to expect from a band with a name as arrogant as Gospel of the Horns, I was reassured by a nearby fan that it was going to be “fucking epic” and it certainly lived up to that.
Mark Howlitzer is much less charismatic than the previous front man on that night, however their fast tempo, edgy riffs connected with the crowd causing the room to turn into a mass of flailing bodies and limbs.
The band had the same energy that is in their albums, albeit a dirtier edge to the sound, perhaps partly caused by the sound system at the underworld.
This added a real rawness to their sound that is a pleasant change from the polished album mixes.
Finally, headliners Sodom [4.5/5] enter the stage. There was very little to prepare me for the madness that was about to erupt.
The venue was now full and people were desperately pushing towards the stage before the start of the set.
The atmosphere is electric and chants of Sodom fill the venue. The lights dim and the opening song, “War and Pieces” saw what could only be described as pure chaos.
From the onset the crowd was falling over themselves to climb onstage and throw themselves back into the crowd.
Newer songs met a warm reaction, however, classics such as “The Saw is the Law”, “M-16”, “Agent Orange” and “Surfing Bird” saw people gathering onstage causing the band to retreat to the corners in order to continue playing their set in safety. Apart from a stage diver picking a fight with the guitarist and the roadies having to force a few of the more enthusiastic crowd members back into the audience, there was very little trouble caused, and at one point, front man Tom Angelripper even shared a drink and a friendly chat with a fan who was quickly becoming a regular onstage.
Despite having been around for 30 years the guys still have a great sound and have the energy to keep up with the younger bands on the bill. I can’t say I was prepared for the crowd’s reaction that night, as many venues subdue any kind of crowd surfing or stage diving, but being part of a crowd with that much energy is an experience every metalhead should have once in their lives.
The Germans certainly know how to bring a party to the UK!!