Antediluvian @ The Boston Music Rooms, London

Spread the metal:


@ The Boston Music Rooms, London

15th May 2015

Review by Jarod Lawley
Videos by Jo Blackened

Despite the cluster of metal gigs in London around this date, this eclectic mix of a bill was always bound to be a date on many a headbanger’s calendar.

After having a short drink and looking around the dimly merchandise tables, it is time for the extremities to begin.

Opening the show is home-grown band Lychgate. Not just any old gig for them, their forty minute, late-starting set is a special showcase for material from their upcoming album, which is due this month. They enter a stage that is so soaked in red light, it looks like the bloody set of a horror film, and from the back it makes pitch black silhouettes of all in the mid-sized crowd.

Musically, their brand of avant-garde black metal is very cinematic too- with a heap of odd time signatures and perverse mood changes. After a request for a bit more proper lighting on stage from frontman G. A. Chandler, the six-piece prove they have more to give than just creating atmospheres, with stunning musical technicality shown by synced lead guitar and organ licks, that run chromatic mazes around the inhuman shrieks for vocals.

Not for all, but certainly the most unique band I’ve ever stumbled across in the live environment.

With their “Nothing But The Whole” design t-shirts pinned to the merch stands like the flags of invaders, Belgian brutalists Emptiness step foot onto a UK stage for the first time in their millennium-spanning career. It’s clear that in the 11 years since the debut record, plenty of London-based fans have been awaiting this four-piece’s arrival, whilst those who only recently got into the band, myself including, are treated to an opening trio of tracks from the latest LP.

Dressed in hoods, army boots, black guitars and bathed under minimalist light, the Brussels metallers carve their depressive sound with the bold bass of Phorgath and bone-snapping snare drum of Jonas Sanders cutting through the unfortunately murky sound mix the most. As their set progresses, they manage to impress what will oddly enough, be the largest crowd of the night with not just the black metal horror they are known for, but with beauty too.

The twin guitars of Olve J.L W and ex-Manic Movement axeman Phil Pieters Smith blend to create rich textures, with clean tones and discordant riffs reverberating a variety of moods from either side of the stage. A lot probably forked out the near £20 ticket price just to see these guys, and I’m sure all were satisfied with their decision.

Svartidauði (Icelandic for “blackdeath”) may be from a country that feels like a long way away, but are the best travelled bunch out of tonight’s bill. They came over to Britain last in March 2014 as part of a European tour called ‘Untamed and Unchained 2014’ with Mgła, A Thousand Lost Civilizations, and One Tail, One Head.

I wasn’t there, but regardless I hope their sound mix was better than it is tonight, as to all newbies to the band, myself included, their primitive yet sophisticated brand of black metal is completely lost in murky translation. Luckily, those who know tracks off their sole full-length seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, stirring up a mosh pit which is met with aggressive appreciation from frontman Sturia Vidar, who hurls his bandanna off and into the crowd- a sweaty souvenir for one of their dedicated following.

When guitars do cut through, they are washy and eerie, carving raw yet beautiful at times soundscapes for which the gruff vocals of Vidar can thunder over, but over all it is a disappointment that the showcase was spoilt by a sloppy job at the mixing desk. A good effort but unfortunate results.

Despite being the headline act, Antediluvian are the most mysterious band of the night. Unfortunately, the dwindling crowd size, which has been declining since Emptiness left the stage, is like a mirror reflection of their mysterious online presence, which only offers a handful of grainy promo pics and limited biographical info on their Facebook page.

Regardless off attendance, the quartet of a live line-up turn the stage into their hell, with crimson light and smeared face paints being the main features. Their sound is as dark as a nuclear nightmare, with a strong satanic atmosphere, but they suffer the same downfall that has plagued previous bands tonight throughout, with a dire mix that makes a mess of their style.

To those not familiar with their extensive discography, the style of these Canadians sounds suitably hellish, but unfairly disorganised- the resulting effect that they sound like a bad Belphegor tribute band. However, this four piece are highly skilled musicians, who have just chosen to pour their talents into a highly destructive art form.

Fortunately as their hour long set goes on they manage to prove their prowess with dextrous riffing and animalistic drumming, and despite North American roots, European influences are obvious. After wielding their chaos for just shy of sixty minutes, they exit the stage swiftly, and leave me feeling that a return to the UK will be needed to show us British metal heads what they can really offer.

An interesting and varied night for the metal scene’s darkest corners, which introduced new bands to new fans with a few short(ish) sets that were all long enough to give the crowd a taste of some different each time.

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