The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart, Camden

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
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The Great Old Ones

@ The Black Heart, Camden

21st March 2015

Review by Jarod Lawley
Photography by Jo Blackened
Altercarnated Photography

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

With winter now over, what better way to mourn the passing of our favourite season than with an evening with French black metallers The Great Old Ones?
Doors open much later than planned but the first band arrives on time at 8pm, and opening up things tonight is the midlands based Conjurer (4/5).

Conjurer @ The Black Heart
Conjurer @ The Black Heart

Their baby faced frontman and the rest of the quartet combine the best of lush, old school doom harmonies and the ferocity of forward thinking, modern metal.

Conjurer @ The Black Heart
Conjurer @ The Black Heart

Their relatively unknown standing in London is reflected by the small audience, but they barge on looking both proud and pleased to be playing on the same stage as both Bast and tonight’s headliners.

Conjurer @ The Black Heart
Conjurer @ The Black Heart

This is my first exposure to their music, but I have no doubt that this brand of sludge metal is exactly what they sound like on record, with every note being tight and precise and all instruments and vocals working beautifully together in the mix.

Conjurer @ The Black Heart
Conjurer @ The Black Heart

The individual members all have their own charismatic appeal, with drummer Jan Krause’s football scarf tied lovingly onto his cymbal stands, and bassist Andy Price’s maniacal, stage defying presence, as he performs the best part of two songs amongst the audience.

Conjurer @ The Black Heart
Conjurer @ The Black Heart

Most in attendance are quite sleepy and unresponsive for the most part, but some comedy stage banter and humble thanks to the crowd raises the room’s energy and proves that Conjurer are delighted to be playing their music tonight, and when they sound as glorious as this; there’s no reason they shouldn’t be!

Conjurer @ The Black Heart
Conjurer @ The Black Heart

Bast (3.5/5) seem to take their music a little more seriously, and although they begin their set a few minutes early, the audience has bulked up in size to welcome the Londoners onto the stage.

Bast @ The Black Heart
Bast @ The Black Heart

Despondent vocal calls are provided not only by the guitar playing frontman but also by drummer Jon Lee and below over the murky, dank atmosphere that is mainly created by the doom-laden riffing of axeman Craig Bryant, as they perform tracks off their latest five song album Spectres.

Bast @ The Black Heart
Bast @ The Black Heart

To my ears their style is nowhere near as engaging or as instant as the previous band’s was, but I’m sure that those already familiar with the tracks they are playing are having no such gripes.

Bast @ The Black Heart
Bast @ The Black Heart

They use the noise of feed backing guitars to create an ambient wall of sound that pushes out a range of dark moods, atmospheres and soundscapes onto the audience.

Bast @ The Black Heart
Bast @ The Black Heart

A smoke machine is let off and gives the trio a more mysterious and sinister aura, and the enlarging crowd gathers closer to be met with their bombardment of doom before the Brits exit the stage and anticipation gathers for the headliners.

Bast @ The Black Heart
Bast @ The Black Heart

Grabbing a quick drink at the bar downstairs at, I feel the ceiling above me shake, and know it is time to run back up to the live room for the arrival of The Great Old Ones (4.5/5).

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

Upon arrival some seem to be a little bewildered, a few even thinking there has been a power cut, but next the pitch black stage is turned into an amazing blue space, with the performance area transformed into a huge sea of fog and spectacular lighting.

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

They open with “Antarctica” off their latest record Tekeli-Li and make it blindingly obvious why this LP was praised a greatly as it was, with discordant riffing and eerie vocal howls.

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

Their approach has its risk of feeling monotone in the live environment, but the aggressive moments thrown in inject life into their set.

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

They make this small venue feel like a stadium, with a great big image of H.P. Lovecraft watching over the fans as they stand back in awe. No devil-horns are raised tonight, with many simply standing in an awesome trance as they feel drowned and possessed by this whole experience.

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

The Black Heart is almost packed out by now, and an influx of Vader fans arrives, all of which are taking advantage of Old Empire’s generous £3 entry for all Vader ticket holders, as this promotion agency has hosted their 10pm finishing headline show just opposite at The Underworld.

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

The French post-black metallers have dedicated the front of their stage not to a frontman but to a huge, brass Lovecraftian ornament, which stands like another worldly Lord amongst the amazing dense whirlpool of an atmosphere that the five-piece have created.

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

I’m tempted just to close my eyes to embrace the spirit of their sounds more, but the visuals are too hard to resist gazing at.

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

This isn’t just a gig, it feels like a sensory experience, and the musicians onstage in their uniform hoods serve simply as spiritual mediums for their music.

The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart
The Great Old Ones @ The Black Heart

No open minded music fan should pass the opportunity to see this act in future!

Setlist
For video footage, please click here: www.youtube.com/user/Altercarnated/videos