w/ Bloodshot Dawn and Ancient Ascendant
@ Camden Underworld
16th April 2013
Review by Kevin Griffiths
Photography by Michelle Murphy
I’m excited tonight, as this is my first time seeing Hypocrisy, and as a bonus, they are being supported by two of the UK’s finest up-and-coming death metal acts; Bloodshot Dawn and Ancient Ascendant.
Even on the way into the capital I spot eager looking, band t-shirt clad gig-goers who are obviously headed in the same direction as me, and you get the feeling that tonight cannot fail to entertain!
I arrive 30 minutes before doors and step out onto a breezy and (as usual,) busy Camden high street, and across the road the snake of black-shirted metallers is already coiled around The World’s End pub, awaiting admittance to The Underworld.
First up on tonight’s bill is Reading’s death/groove outfit Ancient Ascendant.
Opening up to an already half-full venue, they commence laying down tight riffs accompanied with windmilling and immediately set heads nodding across the room.
As the crowd thickens the band visibly get more into their playing.
With vocalist/guitarist Alex Butler leading the way; tearing into ‘Casting the Shroud Aside’ from their latest EP ‘Into The Dark,’ headbanging between vocals, over groove sections interspersed with blast beats and all set forth with some tasty riffs.
They are obviously a well rehearsed band but could possibly do with speeding up a notch to add more intensity to their live performance, but that’s just my opinion.
I enjoy watching guitarist Nariman Poushin wielding his Gibson like an instrument of melodic destruction, and to good effect.
The sound thus far is a little over-saturated but it doesn’t detract too much from their set. After a big rock and roll ending, I and a few others are left slightly disillusioned as to what these boys are trying to achieve but, that said, they more than hold their own and set the tone perfectly for the evening.
Next on stage is Bloodshot Dawn, playing to a crowd who are now beginning to jostle for space as the venue reaches it’s more usual sardine-like congestion.
This is my third acquaintance with these well thought of boys from Portsmouth, and they have certainly improved with time.
Riding on the top of Doug Anderson’s always impeccable drumming, Bloodshot immediately feel like a more accomplished band, and horns are thrown skywards towards these 7-string masters of their craft.
They set about their music with workman-like proficiency, and though the band themselves are improved the sound is still slightly sloppy. (This is possibly just due to the remaining gaps in the crowd not soaking up the reverberation.)
I leave my earplugs in to retain the sort of clarity that I wished to receive, but again the band’s performance more than overcomes any problems with the sound.
Vocalist/Guitarist Josh McMorran makes short work of whipping the crowd up with ‘Illusion Aesthetic’ (from the band’s 2012 debut eponymous full length) which unleashes the bands full ferocity. The first pit of the night breaks out to the sound of their own brand of technical melodic death and some significant wankery on the guitar front.
Their triple-vocal approach inspires circle pits and a (slightly limp) attempt at a wall of death (difficult in a room dotted with massive steel pillars) from the more energetic portion of the crowd. With their final song ‘Godless,’ heaviness levels increase with some insane riffs, Doug’s blasting fury, lead guitars piercing from above and it all crescendos to a roar of approval from the highly impressed gathering.
I look forward to catching these guys again.
There is a sense of good vibrations as the venue now reaches capacity, latecomers still arriving to try and buy tickets on the door. The smell of beer and crammed bodies fills the air along with the sounds of people chatting excitedly, awaiting this evening’s main event ‘Hypocrisy’.
There is a tremor through the crowd as the lights go down and a theatrical intro announces Sweden’s melodeth masters onto the stage. Huge flags flank the guitar amps as ethereal lights and dry ice fill the room and as the band launch into opener and title track from their latest album ‘End of Disclosure,’ everyone’s anticipation is justified.
The walls now resound with a tight, full and heavy sound as the kick drum pounds into your chest cavity and people involuntarily begin headbanging and throwing horns with abandon.
Band leader Peter Tägtgren’s consistently vociferous vocals are laid beautifully over the melodic Swede’s musical heaviness.
Peter screams for a pit as they launch into ‘Tales of Thy Spineless’ which effortlessly becomes one of the heaviest moments of the evening. Reciprocated energy between the crowd and the band only serves to add turbulence to the already roiling room, looking for all the world like a tumultuous sea with Tägtgren and co at the head of a ship carving a path with their ferocious-yet-harmonic dispositions.
By the time the more classic ‘Fractured Millennium’ comes rumbling in on Mikael Hedlund’s bass guitar, every face is fixed on the stage. Headbanging and moshers are everywhere and the band confirms for me why they are so highly thought of.
Throughout their set, you feel as though there is no distance whatsoever between the band and the crowd (physically and metaphorically) and this helps keep everyone rapt from start to finish. Horns, cameras and beers are held aloft as an impromptu stage diver launches himself into the crowd.
Vocals are screamed back at the band with equal virulence and at one point a pair of new rocks floats vertically past the stage, presumably attached to a sweaty metaller having the time of his or her life. New songs mesh with old as Tägtgren’s wild eyed performance solidifies his reputation as a legend amongst the metal community.
There was something for fans of both new and old this evening, with a career-spanning set list; each track resplendent in melody and heaviness and executed with skilful exuberance and a seasoned hand.
We can only hope they do not wait so long to return to these hallowed shores, and a UK summer festival appearance I have no doubt would be extremely well received.
A sterling evening all round!
End of Disclosure
Tales of Thy Spineless
Left to Rot
Fire in the Sky
United We Fall
44 Double Zero
Elastic Inverted Visions
Adjusting the Sun
The Fourth Dimension