@ Boston Music Room, London
18th of April 2015
Review, photos & videos by Oliver M.
Almost two years after their show at The Black Heart, Hecate Enthroned finally came back to London to spread the plague at the Boston Music Room on the 18th of April 2015. Being an avid fan of symphonic black metal, it would have been blasphemous for me not to attend their dark ceremony. Before the beginning of the gig, I had the great opportunity to see the band sound check.
They played two songs, and I was worried about the keyboards’ sound which was not highlighted enough compared to the other instruments. Basically, the drums, bass and guitars were so highlighted that we couldn’t hear the synths properly.
To be honest, I was quite worried about this technical issue as keyboards are the most important instrument of their art. They are indeed the source of their melodies and majestic atmosphere. Hecate Enthroned were supported by three bands that haven’t a lot in common with them: Sturmtiger, Sathamel and Scumpulse.
Hailing from Edinburgh, punk/black metallers Scumpulse (3/5) delivered an interesting live performance that didn’t seem to captivate the attention of the audience unfortunately. The only ones who were really cheering for them in front of the stage were BL and PB from Sturmtiger.
Both bands were on tour in the UK last month and it was good to see some solidarity here. I have to say this young Scottish horde was lucky to be there as their compatriots of Nolti Nan Gana Nan Nolta (commonly known as NNGNN) had to pull out of the bill due to health issues with one of their members.
I had a look at their first self-produced EP “By Design” released last year and I have been impressed by the quality of their compositions.
They mix black/thrash metal with many punk elements, reminding the first albums of Impaled Nazarene and Grand Belial’s Key. However, they sound much more punk than the two aforementioned cult acts. They did a great job on the guitar solos and riffs which are inspired and catchy.
The production was also very good, but this aspect was clearly not reflected throughout their set. Indeed, the guitars sounded too raw when compared to their studio recordings. It was a bit like I was listening to a different band, which was disappointing.
I hope they will correct this problem in the future as their songs deserve a much better sound than what we heard in the pit. Anyway, I highly recommend you check their first EP if you’re into both punk and black metal.
Formed in 2011 under the name of Sheol, the horde of Sathamel (3.5/5) came on stage with corpse paint and blood. After releasing a live demo as Sheol, they decided to change their name to Sathamel two years later.
It was a wise decision from them as there was also another UK death metal band bearing the same name. They have recently released their first eponymous EP which has received many positive reviews from the press.
Hailing from Leeds, they offered a very good set of blackened death metal thanks to their solid musicianship.
Their compositions show a high level of technical skills, which is surprising for such a young band.
The guitar solos were well performed, bringing some slight melodies in opposition to the furious riffs and devastating drumming.
It’s important to mention that their self-produced EP contains a great atmospheric intro “Rise” and it’s a pity they didn’t add some few further keyboards (as interludes for example) to some tracks in order to give them an epic feeling.
I’m looking forward to hearing their first full-length album as they’re very promising. Nowadays, it’s difficult to find young talented musicians within the extreme metal scene and labels should give a chance to Sathamel.
As I’m a big fan of Necrosadistic Goat Torture (European black/death metal act signed at cult label Drakkar Productions), I simply couldn’t miss Sturmtiger’s (3.5/5) destructive performance.
Formed in Denmark in 2003, this belligerent trio moved later to London. Those three soldiers are coming from different European countries (Denmark, Russia, Poland) and are also part of Necrosadistic Goat Torture. They did several demos and EPs before signing with Black Plague Records last year.
Then, this Californian label released their first brutal assault “World at War 1914-1918” (limited to 500 copies) which is a concept album about the First World War. Sturmtiger have nothing to do with Necrosadistic Goat Torture musically speaking and also in terms of lyrics. They play War black metal in the vein of Blasphemy, in the old-school way!
I had the opportunity to meet the musicians backstage just prior to the gig and I wondered how they would be able to play properly at this moment. BL (drums) and PB (vocals, bass) were completely exhausted due to their UK tour and destroyed by the bottles of beer/vodka they drank at the end of each concert. But fortunately, they did it really well!
They started the war with their classic opening song “For your Fatherland”. BL is a great vocalist (for his work with Necrosadistic) but he has shown he’s also a technical drummer.
PB’s vocals remind me a bit the ones of Nocturnal Grave Desecrator and Black Winds (from Blasphemy). Concerning the guitar solos, they were well performed by VJ who seemed to be the only member in good shape.
Unfortunately, they had some issues regarding the sound. BL even did a very good drum solo while some technical problems were being fixed. I’m sure their next performance will be far better than this one (unless they drink some vodka before the gig).
They will support Finnish death metallers Vorum on the 24th of May in the capital. Anyway, it was nice to see Sturmtiger on stage and that they had fun at the Extreme Metal Attack festival in Portugal (supporting Aura Noir) in March. Very promising.
To close this show in apotheosis, Hecate Enthroned (4.5/5) came on stage with banners celebrating their 20th anniversary.
During the nineties, they were the UK pioneers of symphonic black metal along with Cradle of Filth, Bal-Sagoth and Ewigkeit.
Even though they haven’t reached the commercial success of Dani Filth’s horde, they released several masterpieces of the genre that have become cult through the years.
They also made one of the first video clips in the history of black metal.
It was for their classic song “An Ode for a Haunted Wood” (from the “Upon Promeathean Shores” EP) and was broadcast by MTV in 1995.
After going on hiatus for almost nine years, they came back with a great fifth album “Virulent Rapture” in 2013 and are now ready to offer some new satanic ceremonies to their worshipers!
The crowd stayed rather quiet while the support acts were on stage but things completely changed after the headliners’ majestic intro. Their show was highly acclaimed by the whole audience.
A few die-hard fans were also a bit out of control to be honest. Their set was brilliant, delivering classic tracks and a few recent songs.
Fortunately, we could hear very well the magnificent synths throughout their fantastic performance.
Elliot Beaver’s vocals are powerful and bring a touch of freshness to Hecate’s art.
He has a great ability in alternating high-pitched screams and deep growls efficiently.
Even after having attended one amazing hour of infernal symphonies, I wanted more and more.
Thanks to Hecate Enthroned for keeping symphonic black metal art alive!