Vader, Aborted, Bonded by Blood and Adimiron
@ The Camden Underworld
8th Februrary 2013
Review by Caitlin Smith
Photography by Jo Blackened
It was a cold day outside the Underworld when the sign went up at the box office, sold out! It’s only 5.30pm and doors have only just opened, but already disappointed fans were being turned away.
The long anticipated show has finally arrived and I enter early to secure the best spot to witness the madness ahead.
Prog/Thrash metalers, Adimiron [2/5] are first to take to the stage that night.
Travelling all the way from Italy, theses for guys are racking up an impressive support list, having already played alongside bands such as Obituary, Meshuggah and Suffocation.
With a reasonable crowd already gathering, despite the early start time, and sharing the stage with 3 metal titans, they had a lot to live up to.
Decked in all black clothing, combats, skate shoes, sweatbands and plain shirts, they were reminiscent of young teenage metal heads. Music over image has never been a bad thing, however they lacked a sense of drama that desperately needed making up for.
The music was a mixed set, with some brilliant moments, however their overall sound was generic and lacking originality.
It wasn’t all bad, however. Drummer Federico Maragoni provided an exceptional performance, with exciting rhythms, which constantly change and involved. Extravagant solos provided by the guitarist, easily the most interesting part of the performance, compliment these rhythms.
The crowd, however, are appeased and they exit to raised horns and cries of approval.
Fresh off their American tour supporting all female group Kittie, Bonded by blood [4/5] bounced onstage for one of the most dramatic performances of the night.
The Californian metallers return to British soil to celebrate the release of their latest album ‘The Aftermath’, which received good reviews across the board. Sporting a name so obviously influenced by Exodus, it’s not hard to assume we’re in for a thrash treat.
Wearing a pair of extremely tight red skinny jeans, singer Mauro looked like he should be singing in falsetto. He seemed unimpeded by this though, and was strutting round the stage in a manner that would make Steel Panther take notes. He pulls off cocky well; showing us his personality matches the size of his hair.
Throughout the performance, his hands take a life of their own, pulling out an array of theatrical actions, a particular favorite being the throat cut.
As soon as they begin to play, a large crowd appears from nowhere, packing out the room.
Bonded launch into a thrash attack; fast, tight and unrelenting. Unusually we are treated to both guitar and tapped bass solos from the band, both providing electric performances. A pit opens up half way through, and a drunken member of the crowd climbs onstage to dive off, and is only just caught by the sparse crowd at the front.
Their set ends in a touch of violence, with a wall of death forming to finish in true metal style.
“I pity the fool that doesn’t move to this next song.” This immortal cry from Aborted [5/5] singer, Sven De Caluwe whips the crowd up into a frenzy. With such an energetic and powerful performance being pulled out, it’s hard not to get caught up in his enthusiasm.
Constantly moving back and forth onstage and on occasion grabbing crowd members heads and beating himself with the microphone, he keeps the old school hardcore energy alive alongside bands like benediction.
Epic intro music sees the performance in, accompanied by tendrils of smoke. Quickly it finishes and we are launched into a brutal assault of sounds and movement. The drummer is a machine, churning out devastatingly fast and accurate rhythms.
Aborted’s live sound has a much more prominent groove to it than the recorded sound, but is just as heavy.
The crowd are frenzied throughout the set. Pit after pit form an extended brutal assault, and often a flailing limb or a drink would go flying out of the mass of bodies, adding to the chaos. The stage fills up with hopeful divers, and as the front empties, there is no one for them to jump back onto.
Aborted seem to have a talent for whipping up madness from the crowd, with rallying cries and circle pits started on command. One final cry ends the set and the Belgians exit the stage to clear the way for the headliner that night.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Vader had an impossible job topping Aborted’s performance, but they’re mostly saved by their vast musical differences. Both bands had something unique to offer the crowd, making them a powerful combination. The room now smells of sweat and adrenaline, as excited fans bustle to get nearer the front of the stage, anticipating the performance ahead, and determined to secure the best spot.
With a reputation for consistency, I was convinced that Vader [4.5/5] would provide the same performance that I had seen last year on their tour with Gorgoroth, but I couldn’t be more wrong.
Vader arrive all in black, draped in chains and bullets, which was a blast back to the earlier days of black metal. Pale faced and dark eyed, they brought the evil to the night’s show.
This was not just in their image; the music was a low wall of noise, broken only by piercing high-pitched shrieks.
Vocalist, Peter, seems positively demonic throughout.
A smoke machine provides a thick haze of fog, leaving the band barely visible to the crowd, much to the frustration of Jo, the photographer!
Dim coloured lights spread in the haze and create a coloured backing, broken only by flicked hair from the band.
This proved impossible to photograph, and when the tour manager denied photographers in the pit in less than 3 songs in most photographers left annoyed and without many useable shots. It was so packed and crowded there was no-where to stand and the tour manager even wanted to remove those who were disabled!
Since this review, we have spoken to the Underworld and they apologise for the inconvenience and said ‘If a tour manager refuses entry to the pit then there is little we can do, but we apologise for those who did infact have a disability badge as they were meant to stay, this is down to our security not understanding this’.
Fun, it seems, was definitely not allowed. With two guards posted either side of the stage, many crowd surfers and have-a-go stage divers were quickly and forcibly thrown back into the audience. Although many still seemed to be enjoying themselves, it was a noticeably tamer affair throughout.
A brief break is filled with the sound or rain and thunder. Cries for an encore come from the crowd as many early anticipate an extra final song. Having not played their most famous song, I expected a launch straight into Helleluyah.
However, as the drummer returns we’re teased with the tell tale triple beat of Slayer’s Raining Blood.
The crowd appeared pleased, and they pull off the track in a spectacular manner, but I can’t help being a little disappointed at missing out on their signature song.
Five and a half hours later an army of battered, bruised and utterly exhausted fans stream out of the underworld.
It’s been a night of chaos, which I challenge any band to top this year!