Day 1: 4th October 2014
Review by Ben Spencer
Photography by Jo Blackened
After commuting to North London for an early mid afternoon fix of metal in the form of Candlefest 2014, it emerged that Hybris were unable to open this year’s festival. As a result, the crowd was left eagerly awaiting for some live music in the from Black Metal outfit Ethereal…
Ethereal (4/5) burst onto stage with a much needed wake up call with their grandiose sized Black Metal sound.
Full of blistering drums, sinister sounding guitars and plenty of symphonic textures to elevate their sound to majestic heights.
The ever increasing fans congregated toward the stage although not before a slight technical hitch which was resolved fairly quickly as the band retain their momentum going forward.
The speedy drums and use of keys in ‘Unholy Ungodly’ showcases the band’s unyielding prowess of shrieks, blast beats and impressive lead guitar that received a mass applause from the venue’s early arrivals.
Full of intense musicianship and a great live performance, Ethereal are one of those band’s whose focus remains as uncompromising as their sound.
It is on that merit alone that made these guys not only the a fantastic opener to the event but also one of the best band’s of the event.
Cold in Berlin (3/5) take positions on stage and indulge our senses in some female fronted Doom sensibilities as the dense sounding drums and sludgy guitars wade in.
The guitars unveiled a strong use of melody as the vocals managed to keep up with the instrumentation.
As their set marched onward the band took us on a journey into their borderline psychedelic guitar effects which helped to keep things interesting.
The only gripe with their performance was that the vocals felt off key and at certain junctures resulting in a strained set.
This being said, the band did pull out plenty of head banging riffs and crushing drum pounds to satisfy the clientele of the event and they were certainly memorable in their performance.
Coltsblood (3/5) are a band, who having seen live before and feeling fairly under whelmed, proved that they were about mean some serious business.
The doom driven wake of their sound not only improved by several notches but their set seemed on the whole more congruent than before.
Vocally, everything remained as harsh as ever, whilst the heavy bass slams and war inducing drums rolled endlessly.
The band pushed the bar even further with the sound with their double kick pedals sprees and blood hungry growls that sounded like they had erupted from a bottomless pit.
Meanwhile, the waves of fuzzy distortion coated the venue in a thick and tense sounding atmosphere.
These guys performed surprisingly well and while some songs may have seemed to pull you further into an over indulgent trance of murkiness they validated themselves as a band who are entirely their own and not to be taken lightly.
Expect to be hearing more from these guys in the future.
As the World War II Black Metal enthusiasts Eastern Front (4/5) enter the stage with their props and instruments in hand, the opening to ’Retribution Sky’ peeled away with flesh tearing shrieks, cathartic guitars and all rounded sense that these guys are on a warpath.
Their set also included plenty of 1950’s radio samples and the sound of bombs dropping everywhere to really give that feeling that we have all just been plunged back in time to a night of the Blitz.
This helped provide a level of authenticity to their sound and certainly sat perfectly with their new album’s title track ‘Descent Into Genocide’, as heavy drum pounds and visceral screams glided forward.
These guys have been playing shows around London for quite some time and it really shows.
Full of intelligently crafted songs and a great stage presence; if these guys don’t end up headlining bigger venues in the near future then there is something seriously wrong in the world.
Ancient Ascendant (3.5/5) Waste no time in their vicious sounding death metal crafted craft, as they race ahead with infectious guitars and solid drum work.
The venomous growls rupture with vitality as the band induce plenty of head banging riffs throughout.
Personal highlight, ‘Under Ancient Stone’ slices through with deadly precision as the enraged guitars and speedy drums race effortlessly away.
The band deliver energetic use of solos darted throughout as well as some solid bass lines breaking out around half way.
To say these guys are formidable is understatement. These guys had a good stage presence, making them all the more enticing to watch and will no doubt satisfy most Metal fans out there.
Towers of Flesh (2.5/5) launch into their set with little deliberation, as the sonic riffs and the complex drumming take root within the first few minutes as the guttural vocals remain brooding as they are distinctive.
‘Veiled Conception’ remains a strong contender for the band’s most hard hitting number as the enraged vocals plough forward into a barricade of riffs and eccentric drum work.
The band’s metallic kick remains at the forefront of their sound with their no- nonsense approach to song writing making them one of the more immediate sounding band’s to play today.
Great work guys!
As Voices (3.5/5) assemble onto the stage, the ever increasing venue gathers to their technically progressive Black Metal package.
Blasting out with their the ferocious sounding ‘In The House of Black Light’, the fast riffs and tight sounding drum work barge onward as some impressive solos break out to the approving crowd.
‘The Fuck Trance’ came with a strong emphasis upon grinding guitars and experimental drumming as the vocals lunged into a deeper sounding growls that fitted the tonality rather well.
The closing track ‘Endless’ that saw the band attaining a strong momentum that appeared to be lacking early on.
These guys performed well, but it would have been better to have had a slightly more versatile set and with a substitute musician stepping for their absent band member who was in America, Voices managed to pull everything off and remain one of the UK’s most interesting and daring Metal band’s.
Abaddon Incarnate (2.5/5) deliver an impressive array of thrash style guitars and deep throated growls.
As the trio barge onward, the bass guitarist provides some worthy backing vocals that are transitioned flawlessly with the guitarist.
The drum work remained fairly consistent with an impressive array of cymbal crashes and kick pedals being fired back and forth throughout their onslaught upon those gathered before them.
These guys remained highly dedicated to their forge and it is their emphasis toward constructing vicious sound blood sprees that keep the crowd engaged.
Definitely a band for those who like their music fast, heavy and immediate.
Shores of Null (3/5) pull out solid guitar work wit soaring vocals that get fans nodding along within their opening minutes.
‘Ruins Alive’ remains a stand out track as the piercingly clear vocals ascend throughout the mix. However, it is the husky sounding lung bellowing vocals that help fortify their sound as something truly exhilarating to behold.
‘Time is Wasteland’ wades out with slow driven guitars before erupting into a passage of violent growls as the mosh pit begins to stir amongst the onlookers.
The track also flexes some impressive solos to boast their sound into something of high quality.
These guys may have remained one of the more melodic line up’s on the bill but that does not mean they weren’t able to pack a serious punch.
Overall, their quality control over both their abrasiveness and delicate melodies gave them an edge over some of the other band’s at Candlefest.
As The Wounded Kings (3.5/5) take up arms on stage, their loyal fans watch eagerly as the Doom pioneers unleash their vast sounding landscape of crushing guitars and tightly woven drums.
‘Baptism of Atlantis’ remains a noteworthy addition to their set as the vocalist sings, “Beyond the veil departed souls of the dead must go” with a strong clarity over the instrumentation.
As their set wades on the guitars crash down with weighty chords as the ghastly vocals fit the style seamlessly.
The guitarists also display a well measured use of lead that never out stay their welcome or detract from the experience of seeing them live.
Full of textures and murky bass lines The Wounded Kings have a sound that is both lethal as is it is sprawling.
With a strong following gathered by the stage, it’s easy to see why these guys are so highly revered.
As tonight’s headliners Winterfylleth (4/5)take to the stage, the anticipation is high as the cheering crowd welcomes them with shouts and cheers.
As they glide through with ‘Svart Crown’ the impressive lead guitar and visceral screams remain consistent before lapsing into a melodic terrain half way through.
The clean vocals remained solid throughout the drum build up and gave the band that epic sounding crescendo to set pulses racing.
The band unravel some of their newer material to their fan’s as the melodic guitars of ‘A careworn Heart’ show a maturity in the band from their earlier days.
As sombre guitar and the and drums remain a driving force the band receive a mass wall of fists upon the track reaches its departure.
Closing off with ‘The Divination of Antiquity’, the anarchic riffs and growls remain in the foreground with fast cymbal brushes resonating throughout.
These guys proved that they were indeed worthy head liners of Candlefest 2014 and whilst their set may have felt too short they pulled off some of the most dynamic and intricate songs of the event and with their fourth album on the way they are sure to be headlining more London shows in the near future.
Day One of Candlefest proved to be an exceptional event full of dedicated musicians who are paving the way forward from the heavier and more darker spheres of Metal. The bands remained equally as dedicated as they were passionate about their music and serve as a reminder that this is an exciting time to involved in the world modern metal.