@ Electric Ballroom Camden
8th December 2013
Review by Ben Spencer
Photography by Jo Blackened
So having a second dose of Black Metal in 24 hours may sound too good to be true, but after catching Hecate Enthroned the night before, it was time to return to Camden for a second dose of brutality from one of the most dedicated and highly acclaimed Black Metal line up’s to be recognized during these modern times.
Having waited around for the night to begin for sometime the anticipation was high through the crowded venue, as the influx of metallers began to fill out the bar area. Having heard that the support act Coltsblood were added to the bill last minute, the trio took to the stage as the lights dimmed back down.
The first thing that became apparent about these guys is that their sound certainly didn’t sound resemble anything similar to Black Metal. The opening few minutes served to fill some tension in the air as the slow tribal drums and riffs ran their course as onlookers were swayed in.
However, overbearing sound of the bass and groaning vocals instantly left a sense of disappointment could be felt from the majority of people in the room.
The distorted riffs and sludge driven sound of the band was unexpected and their set quickly became a chore to watch.
In the midst of the various boos they received from the crowd, the doom driven guitars and their more progressive undertones, certainly served as one of Coltsblood’s redeeming features, but their set seemed to drag on and on and it was impossible to tell how many tracks they played, as it all sounded the same.
There were some dry throated grunts from the vocalist which did certainly fit into their style but lacked any depth or believability throughout.
Instead of what should have been a captivating, performance became sour very quickly and seemed to leave a general consensus throughout the room of people wanting them to depart from the stage as soon as possible. As the general lack of approval increased and more boo’s were had, the end of their set saw the singer announcing into he’s microphone “Fuck You All” before exiting the stage.
This was one performance that certainly felt out of context given the hungry appetites of fans throughout the room that only tonight’s head liners could satisfy.
As Watain take to their instruments, the roaring of fans conjured together as the Swedish quartet unravelled their sound to a flame thrower engulfed stage as ‘Night Vision‘ took form. The instrumental prelude to the sound of what was to come from the track’s second half which saw some impressive drum work and riffs colliding together at full force.
Wasting no time in their onslaught, ‘De Profundis’ explodes with speedy drums, venomous shrieks and sinister sounding guitars that coarse with violent energy. Half way through the solos build up momentum with the relentless drum pounds smacking their way endlessly into a climactic closure.
Anyone accustomed to the band, will know that they regard their live performances as more of a ritual than just a live rendition of their actual songs themselves and tonight was surely no different.
During the metallic sounding beast ‘Devil’s Blood’, amidst its thunderous drum attack, Erik approaches the frontlines of tonight’s crowd with Pig’s blood and anoints the faces of those standing in close proximity as the on stage flames and stench of blood conjured together, giving tonight’s performance a more theatrical edge.
The catastrophic wake of ’The Wild Hunt’ came swinging down at full force as the clean backing vocals fortified the bleak sounding whispers uttered by Erik as the guitar riffs had the head banging crowd moving along with the raspy growls.
Although this track was slower in pace and more brooding in its delivering it was equally as formidable as the band’s more sonic driven fury found earlier and had a strong Bathory influence running throughout.
With most of their set consisted of The Wild Hunt record released earlier this year, ‘Sworn To the Dark’ saw a return of Watain’s earlier material as the metallic riffs ploughed through with eccentric lead breaking into the chaotic density of the track, and formed a wall of raised fists from the crowd and it was certainly was a welcome addition to their set list.
‘Holocaust Dawn’ saw the band at their most aggressive as the gritty guitar work pierced through with razor sharp clarity. The drums and vocals converged into a destructive force that sprayed out in savagely as the drums sprawled out into a rapid fire assault of blast beats and double kick pedals.
Closing off with ’Waters of Ain’ the melodic touches that sparsely revealed have some more room to shine here. The closure seamlessly drifted between anarchic shrieks and guitar led melodies that scaled into some fret board wizardry in the second half giving everything an epic magnitude making it the perfect song to close any set off with.
Despite a shaky start and the time spent waiting, tonight saw a top notch Black Metal band deliver just about every aspect of the genre into their show both musically and thematically. What’s more the music and quality control over their sound is indisputably ranked to a professional level lamenting this as Black Metal of the highest order. Definitely an unforgettable gig for 2013.
1. Night Vision
2. De Profundis
4. Devils Blood
5. Reaping Death
6. The Wild Hunt
7. All That May Bleed
8. Sworn To the Dark
10. Holocaust Dawn
11. Waters of Ain
For more video footage please go to: www.youtube.com/user/Altercarnated