Kataklysm @ The Underworld, London

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@ The Underworld, London

February 20th, 2016

Review by Ann Sulaiman


A sold-out show awaited Saturday night in Camden’s esteemed concert venue, The Underworld. While London was the second to last date of Canadians Kataklysm’s massive European tour with Septicflesh and Aborted in tow, it was all the more reason to see a high-octane gig take place, especially regarding how rarely Septicflesh themselves are able to play the UK. After tonight, it’s only fair that UK promoters take notes to invite all three bands to play the British isles more often.

By the time grind/death metallers Aborted took to the stage, the venue was already tightly packed and raring to mosh. As much as I’ve complained about moshpits in the wrong time and place at previous gigs (such as Primordial’s London show last year), when it’s for the right band and the right time it becomes perfect. Thus, it was a joy to see all the happy, young and old faces make a circle pit and slam dance together for Aborted’s short yet intense set.

Despite how you may feel about guitar breakdowns on record, played live they became fun to watch thanks to the band’s frenzied vigour and the violent splurge of riffs. It’s not an overstatement to say that the walls of The Underworld literally shook during the main riffs of new son, ‘Bound in Acrimony’ from their latest EP.

Set list:
Meticulous Invagination
Parasitic Flesh Resection
Necrotic Manifesto
Coffin upon Coffin
Termination Redux
Expirgation Euphoria
The Holocaust Reincarnate
Bound in Acrimony
Sanguine Verses
Threading the Prelude
Saw and the Carnage Done

Despite being on the forty-third night of the whole tour, symphonic extreme metal maestros Scepticflesh drew up all their energy for an immense set in The Underworld.

With expressive hand gestures and call outs to the crowd as “friends”, frontman Seth growl-roared along tracks from recent albums since Septicflesh’s 2009 revival, from ‘Communion’ to newer songs ‘War In Heaven’ and ‘Prototype’. It would have been a delight to hear the band go further back to their earlier years last night, the time constraints for musical guests meant they couldn’t do so this time around. In itself this is a shame, owing to how their music’s symphonic character translated into a thunderous, kinetic climate from the stage, while the band headbanged wholly to each vibrating riff. To use that word again, the effect was immense from Septicflesh’s live organised chaos.

One concern would obviously be how Decapitated’s Kerim “Krimh” Lechner fit into the band’s live shows, having replaced previous drummer Fotis Bernado. I believe that Krimh fits well into the band, as his speed near-matched  his predecessor’s explosiveness.

Set list:
War In Heaven
Pyramid God
Order of Dracul
The Vampire from Nazareth

When Kataklysm walked onstage, the packed moshpit and balcony of The Underworld were so warmed up by Aborted and Septicflesh that the fans were bouncing off the walls in time for the main headliners.

While the group’s brand of “modern metal” was a strong contrast to the “symphonic epic” nature of Septicflesh or the raw power of Aborted, they seemed to win over the crowd immediately with their crunchy riffs and high screams. Add to this frontman Maurizio Iacono’s open, easy-going banter with his audience (you’d be forgiven for thinking he did stand up, from how relaxed and engaging he was) and it was inevitable that Kataklysm would be a hit live.

After all, who wouldn’t enjoy hearing a big, friendly Canadian promise onstage “it’s Saturday night – that means you’re going home fucked up!”. And when the same man demands a circle pit and later even shares his beer with the front of the audience, who are you not to happily oblige? That he matched this with a loud, bombastic performance musically only enhanced the experience for everyone.

The measure of excitement and joy was so great that by the time everyone sang along with the riffs of second song ‘If I Was God…’ the atmosphere was more that of a large open air festival than a small venue like The Underworld. It isn’t an exaggeration to add that literally everyone in the room threw up their hands on cue, amid blast-beats and guitar breakdowns.

Songs from new album “Of Ghosts and Gods”, such as ‘Thy Serpent’s Tongue’, were consistently well-received, as was previous track, ‘Push the Venom’, which was dedicated to innocent victims of terrorism.

It was towards the end that Kataklysm truly made good on a promise to wake everyone up, bringing on louder applause from the crowd before tearing right into the tirelessly chugged riffs of ‘Soul Destroyer’.

The energy of the room was so high that even Iacono stated that there were “no words to describe what [he was] feeling right now”. In all honesty, there are no words to accurately describe how incredible the audience were tonight.

Breaching the Asylum
If I Was God… I’d Burn It All
As I Slither
The Black Sheep
Manipulator of Souls
At The Edge of the World
Thy Serpents Tongue
Push the Venom
The Ambassador of Pain
Where the Enemy Sleeps…
Soul Destroyer
The Chains of Power
Open Scars
In Shadows & Dust
Crippled & Broken