Eastern Front Album Launch @ Black Heart, London

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Eastern Front Album Launch

@ Black Heart, London

26th July 2014

Review by Caitlin Smith

While the trenches on the eastern front may have been damp and cold, but t temperatures rise at the Black Heart that evening as it hosts an similarly grim day of black metal to mark the release of Eastern Front’s sophomore album ‘Descent into Genocide’.

Eastern Front Photo by Black Arts

Eastern Front Album Launch

Jøtnarr [3.5/5] open that evening, bringing with them a filthy mix of blackened crust. The early start time means the Colchester based trio kick off to a disappointingly quiet room. Despite forsaking a bassist and doubling the guitars instead, they remained crushingly heavy dispersing chaotic episodes with atmospheric breaks. Their crust edge gave them a rawness that was unmatched throughout the evening and despite being the opening band, proved to be one of the most exciting bands on the line up.

Due to logistical issues, it’s a last minute change as Sturmtiger [2/5] taking the place of billed Scutum Crux who pulled out just a few days earlier. It’s isn’t all change however, with both bands sharing Demiurge, taking on drum duties for Sturmtiger rather than the usual vocal and guitar parts. The band however didn’t hold out as a solid replacement for Scutum Crux, sounding distinctly out of practise and empty compared to previous band Jøtnarr.

Fresh off their show earlier in the year with Inquisition, Primitive Graven Image [2.5/5] have landed themselves some serious credentials on the scene, and by the look of the crowd, they seemed to be going down well with the handful of people in the room. For many though, their brand of English black failed to inspire and fell a little flat compared to the other bands on the line up that evening.

Arriving for their debut performance since the line up change and the release of their EP ‘Ascension to the Throne of Self’, blackened death monsters Sidious [4/5] quickly prove why they deserve their place that high on the bill. Having recently announced drummer Khrudd and a move from Isfeth taking the position as vocalist alongside guitar duties the band have really stepped up their game, and this is reflected in the crowd as the room quickly packs out. With a heavy Behemoth influence running throughout most of the set, each note drips with malice as they churn out a huge wall of sound. For an opening performance, this band really knows how to make an impact.

When it comes to stage presence, The Infernal Sea [3.5/5] is by far the most memorable of the night. Donned in plague masks, the guitarist and bassist certainly create a menacing image, while vocalist Dean Lettice’s rocking creates for an unsettling but menacing stage presence. Combining solid tremolo riffs backed by an enticing groove that quickly captures the listener it’s easy to see how this band have drawn so much attention while scarcely setting foot in the London scene.

Bursting out of a city that seems to churn out quality bands, Liverpudlians Ethereal [4/5] may have been playing for 12 years now, but have transformed themselves with a new line up and what seems to be a totally different band. Vocalist Naut proves to be an energetic front man leaning reaching out to the crowd backed by an assault of blast beats and frantic riffs delivered with deadly precision. This band may have sat in the shadows before but by the looks of this performance they have risen stronger, tighter and more determined.

Check out our Ethereal interview here: www.metal-rules.com/metalnews/2014/08/18/interview-with-naut-and-iyaan-from-ethereal/

Temperatures rise and sweat drips as the room packs out for headliners Eastern Front [4.5/5]. This is a band that has rapidly become a staple on the London scene since the release of their debut album ‘Blood on Snow’, sharing the stage with black metal giants such as Endstille, Pentagram and Taake in recent years. The band blasts their way through the set with their usual deadly precision, although on this occasion their sound is slightly marred as it mashes together at points dissolving into indiscernible noise. Predictably their set mostly contained tracks off their new album, ‘Descent into Genocide’, but was nicely rounded off with a return of their usual crowd-pleaser, ‘Blood on Snow’.

The room may have been blistering, but there was certainly nothing warm about the music that evening. Black metal may be accused of lapsing into stale habits, but if this evening proved anything, its that the UK scene is as alive and fresh as it has ever been.