@ Camden Underworld, London
14th December 2013
Review by Ben Spencer
Photography by Jo Blackened
After arriving to Camden Underworld early to interview Carpathian Forest before hand, the bright lights of the venue were accompanied by Eastern Front’s sound check within a near empty room. This was without question soon to change. After the informative conversation and back story behind tonight’s head liners, the darkly dressed Black Metal disciples soon flooded into the venue like a mass black wave, eagerly anticipating the return of a band whose last sighting upon English shores was around 2005.
Following from an orchestral intro, Eastern Front take to stage.
They display pure black metal brutality with enough relentless drumming and acid induced vocals, so potent they could peel the flesh of your ears straight off.
They also threw in some good solos along with double kick pedals, displaying a truly staggering sound that definitely set the ball rolling.
With killer numbers such as the pounding ‘Blood On Snow’, with its snare bashing drum attack and rapid fire kick pedals you feel as though you’ve instantly been thrown in the deep end.
Vocally, the singer rages on with he’s bloody shrieks throughout. The riffs are sturdy and definitely match up to their overall ferocity as the final upheaval of deep throated growls erupt during the final few minutes.
‘Motherland’ saw them crank up the aggression with plenty of onlookers captivated by their gruesome sounding guitars and vocals that not even the most tortured of souls could rival. The drumming sounded as tight as it did chaotic throughout and was definitely a strong feature of the band.
Eastern Front certainly know how to pull things off live and together these played really well with the crowd soaking up their sound. It was definitely a sure sign of what was later to come and their music is certainly something to look forward to seeing more of in the future.
Up next, we find the no nonsense killing machine The Rotted; a band whose punk driven dynamics measure up surprisingly well.
Full of bravado and a strong sense of crowd interaction, the band plunge into thrash riffs, galloping drums and heavy bass slams as front man Ben Rotted shouts toward the crowd – “I want to see the Gin Drinkers in the Room”…Which was received with several raised drinks in the air from the arms of onlookers.
After grueling their way further into their set he then turns to the crowd and says, “I may need some help with this song as I’m pissed”, before bursting into the filthy sounding guitars of ‘Rotted Fucking Earth’.
The heavy bass driven song thrusts through with full force with infectious drums that are balanced with plenty of harsh sounding roars injected into the microphone.
‘Nothing But A Nosebleed’ gets the spit stirring into pure anarchy as a wall of fists and bodies collide into each other as the manic drum beats go into overdrive.
The guitarist throws in some pitch harmonics around half way through as the seething rage reaches boiling point.
What I liked about these guys was their direct, yet technical song writing abilities. At times they sounding harsh and to the point but their style was interesting enough to not lapse into a generic onslaught of pure noise. Instead they retained a high level of interest from the venue and kept each song sounding just as good as the last.
Finally the highly anticipated return of Carpathian Forest are about to set the air ablaze, as the face painted warlords assembled with vocalist Nattefrost entering with a Monk’s habit and inverted Cross…which when raised to the crowd, was met by raised arms reaching toward him.
After some grandiose operatic intro [Omen theme] with blue lights, the battle lines became drawn as they lunged into their set.
One thing that became quickly apparent was that their skills as musicians hasn’t diminished over the years as the veterans started wreaking some serious on stage havoc.
Full of blistering drums and frost bitten vocals they went at full force through flagship tracks such as ’The Suicide Song’. The drowning guitars sliced through with the adrenaline induced drums and vicious sounding shrieks so ghastly that they would give any un baptized ears of the genre nightmares for some time to come.
‘Knokkekmann’ was also well received as the crowd of long haired metallers rumbled with explosive energy and started swinging their hair in the traditional windmill fashion.
The gritty bass ruptures could be heard locking everything together, whilst the vocals and enraged drumming paved the way into further chaos.
In terms of stage presence Carpathian Forest do more than just deliver their music as they deliver some on stage antics with Nattefrost exposing he’s genitalia throughout the duration of the show.
As the band breezed through their what felt like no time at all, the sinister prowess of ‘Shut Up There’s No Excuse To Live’ barged through with a punchy bass, galloping drums and blood drenched growls and snarls which was met with plenty of fans diving off of the stage.
The emphasis upon their songs seemed to be geared towards more short outbursts of energy and ‘He’s Turning Blue’ was certainly no exception to this rule.
As the guitars waded through anarchic tones the vocals hailed out with “He’s Turning Blue” something that the audience mirrored with plenty of violent pit stirring towards the front as well as a female fan attempting to snog him on stage during the performance.
As the encore played out its final note and the lights came back on, what was clear about Carpathian Forest is that they have a strong following and have indisputably passed the test of time.
Given their performance and stage presence its easy to understand why they have been able to remain as highly revered in music scene for as long as they have.
Tonight was a great performance from all three bands whose calibre of music will no doubt awaken even the most demanding of Metal Heads to the more darker aesthetics of tonight‘s show. Top stuff!
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