@ The Dome, London UK
10th December, 2015
Review by Caitlin Smith
Photos by Michelle Murphy
The weather may be bleak, but the Dome was out to show how grim is really done that evening as that night they were host to some of the vilest black metal bands to haunt UK soil. Hitting off their Conjuring the Dead Raid, Belphegor and Vital Remains are joined that evening by Polish black metal band Hate and Liverpools own Ethereal.
After some last minute time changes we arrive for the third band on that evening, Vital Remains [3.5/5].
The Dome contains a sparse but excited crowd are gathered around the bar, preparing for the onslaught that awaits with the next set, and they were not going to be disappointed. The American death metal quartet are veterans of their trade having been around for 17 years now, the band really know how to work a crowd as right from the opening notes the audience are whipped up to fever pitch.
All the hallmarks of a seasoned performing band were on display. A tight performance bursting with energy as vocalist Brian Werner bounced from the stage onto the speakers and the merch table.
Opening on Where is your god now, the crowd are treated to an Icons of Evil heavy set with the title track following alongside ‘Scorned’ and ‘Hammer down the Nails’. There’s a brief interlude as the vocalist begins tearing apart the Bible onstage, the pages scattered across venue floor as hyped fans tear and eat them.
Breaking out the infamous ‘Dechristianize’, it’s is a devastatingly heavy end to the set.
If you’ve manoeuvred anywhere in the blackened death metal scene you would have come across the headline band that evening, Belphegor [3/5].
Their stage is as impressive as expected with a band from this calibre, overflowing with the bones in true black metal fashion. Musical purists may shout about image not being important but it’s hard to deny the ominous presence both the stage and their blood soaked faces bring to the performance that cannot simply be delivered through the music alone.
Following Vital Remains is no small task but immediately the Austrians prove they can deliver, kicking off with the savage ‘Feast upon your Dead’. With the crowd suitably warmed up we are immediately thrown into an assult of noise as we move through favourites like ‘Gasmask Terror’, ‘Lucifer Incestus’, ‘Pest and Terror’, ‘Conjuring the Dead’ and ‘Bondage Goat Zombie’.
Belphegor met a persistent issue that haunts their sets. While their onslaught of sound may be a powerful wall of sound on record, it never seems to translate as well when they hit the stage. Distorted guitars and furious bass lines mash together, while the bass drum struggles to find its place above the noise.
Despite this, the band are on form throwing out riff after riff with devastating precision that drew in even the staunchest black metal fan. Closing on ‘Bleeding Salvation’ with an encore, Belphegor have once again proved they deserve their place as one of the most respected bands on the black metal scene.
1. Feast Upon the Dead
2. In Blood – Devour this Sanctity
3. Gasmask Terror
4. Belphegor – Hell’s Ambassador
5. Black Winged Torment
6. Lucifer Incestus
7. Pest and Terror
8. Conjuring the Dead/Pactum in Aeternum
9. Bondage Goat Zombie
10. Totenkult – Exegesis of Deterioration
11. Bleeding Salvation