Doom Over London VI
@ The Dome, London
26th March 2016
Review by Oliver M.
Photography by Carina Martins
Just two weeks after the successful Doom Over Edinburgh 2016, UK doom metal worshippers had the great opportunity to get a three-day festival mostly dedicated to their favourite musical genre. The Doom Over London festival VI was the biggest edition ever done so far. It was spread over three days from the 25th to the 27th of March and more than 40 bands were invited for this unique event. Last year, the fifth edition of this indoor festival lasted one day only. This time, the organisers had invested more time, money and effort to meet growing demand for this style of music.
The event took place in three different London venues in Tufnell Park: Aces & Eights, the Boston Music Room and the Dome which is well-known for providing an excellent sound. We at Metal Rules have attended the festival’s second day only. This was due to the fact Moonspell was headlining that night. As you may have noticed, we’ve been covering extensively the band’s recent gigs since last year.
I was very surprised to hear the Portuguese would headline such festival as they have never played doom metal in their entire career. However, they were not the only exception since Finnish black metallers Impaled Nazarene and Norwegian veterans In the Woods… headlined the first and third days respectively! Strange decision for a festival supposed to be dedicated to doom metal art.
Anyway, I will not criticize the organisers’ choices at all as they invited some great cult acts throughout this Doom Over London VI. I even thank them deeply for welcoming both Moonspell and Officium Triste at the Dome. These were the bands I was expecting the most and I haven’t been disappointed at all since they were clearly the best ones by far during the second day. Before the beginning of the show, I’ve been informed that Impaled Nazarene offered an excellent set during the previous night and played their old classics mainly.
As the festival occurred in three different venues at the same time, I have to say the stage times were very confusing and in some cases, there were some gig clashes. As a consequence, we had to do a choice and miss some bands unfortunately, which was frustrating. That was the case for OHHMS, Alunah, Wizard Fight and MWWB who were playing at the Aces & Eights. I would have enjoyed to see Alunah (signed at Napalm Records) on stage but Funeral doom metal legends Officium Triste were performing at the same time at the Dome. I simply couldn’t miss them as I know this cult band for many years.
Throughout this festival, there were many acts I didn’t appreciate at all unfortunately. To be clear, there are different styles in doom metal music and I don’t enjoy all of them. For example, stoner and sludge metal are definitely not my cup of tea but I will always bow to Funeral/atmospheric doom. Since I’m not a fan of their respective music, I found Gévaudan, Torpor, Slabdragger, Bossk, King Goat, Conjurer and Sea Bastard boring and uninteresting.
As expected, Ataraxie and Eye of Solitude were very convincing once again. It was the second time I saw them live. Even though their music has some differences, both acts delivered a satisfying performance as always. Signed at Relapse Records, Hooded Menace has been a nice surprise for me. They offered a good set of doom/death metal in the vein of Asphyx and Coffins. Wearing hoodies, the Finns have clearly a good experience in terms of concerts. It was the same case for My Silent Wake who succeeded in creating a sad atmosphere thanks to some soaring layers of synths. The gothic influences could be felt with pleasure within the songs.
Esoteric was also a brilliant discovery for me. It was the first time I saw these British veterans of funeral doom live. There is no need to present them as they achieved cult status for a long time. Greg Chandler, Mark Bodossian (ex-Pantheist) and their mates know perfectly their subject. It’s a pity they played at the Boston Music Room, which provides a sound inferior to the Dome.
By the way, I’m very glad to know that Greg Chandler is currently working on the remaster of Nokturnal Mortum’s old masterpieces (“Lunar Poetry”, “Goat Horns”, “To The Gates of Blasphemous Fire”, “Nechrist”) in his Priory Recording Studios. Those remastered versions will be released in CD and vinyl soon.
Officium Triste (5/5)
The last time I saw Officium Triste on stage was at the Doom Over Paris III festival in 2009. I remember they offered an unforgettable show to their French fans. They were promoting the excellent “Charcoal Hearts – 15 Years of Hurt” compilation at that time.
Since then, there have been several important line-up changes within the band. The Dutchmen also released a Split CD with Ophis and their fifth opus “Mors Viri”. Once again, I’ve been blown away by their live performance. Despite a very short set, Officium Triste proved they’re still one of the masters of funeral doom art.
Pim Blankenstein and his mates performed five songs brilliantly, including “Your Fall from Grace” and “Your Heaven, My Underworld” from their last album.
Of course, they also delivered some old classics from the masterpiece “Reason” (“This Inner Twist”, “The Sun Doesn’t Shine Anymore”) and the heartbreaking “My Charcoal Heart” from the monument “Giving Yourself Away” (their best release to date in my opinion).
It was a pity we couldn’t hear other cult sorrowful compositions such as “Roses on My Grave” for example but their setlist was very restricted unfortunately. They clearly deserved to headline one of the festival’s nights. I’m very looking forward to hearing their next album.
They received warm applause from the audience and I really hope to see them back in the UK very soon. Keep Rotterdoomin’ guys!
During the afternoon, we had the nice opportunity to interview Moonspell’s excellent keyboardist Pedro Paixão who was in a great mood as always.
Four months after the second part of their massive Road to Extinction tour, the masters of gothic metal are currently touring throughout Europe to promote their last critically acclaimed masterpiece “Extinct” again. It was the fifth time I saw them live. The Portuguese offered an amazing performance as usual.
I’ve been attending their gigs in several different places (England, France, Germany, Scotland) and I could feel that same magic every time. They performed 14 tracks in total, including many songs from their last gothic monument “Extinct” (“Breathe”, “A Dying Breed”, “The Future Is Dark”, “Malignia”, “Extinct”).
As always, the Lusitanian wolves didn’t forget their roots and offered several old classics from the cult “Wolfheart” and “Irreligious” masterpieces (“Vampiria”, “Alma Mater”, “Ataegina”, “Opium”, “Awake”, “Mephisto”, “Full Moon Madness”).
I’m still a bit surprised they didn’t even perform a few more songs from “Irreligious” as the wolves are celebrating the 20th anniversary of this cult opus in 2016.
It was also a great pleasure to hear some other excellent compositions such as “Everything Invaded” (in which Ricardo Amorim showed his talent of a guitar hero) and “Em Nome do Medo” (from the “Alpha Noir / Omega White” double album). Moreover, Fernando Ribeiro remains one of the most charismatic singers I’ve ever seen on stage, especially when he was wearing his beautiful cape for “Vampiria”.
Moonspell never disappoints and London was conquered that night. By the way, let’s hope Napalm Records will release their new EP and long-awaited second DVD very soon. Obrigado Moonspell!
This sixth edition of the Doom Over London fest was a great success for everyone. I deeply thank the promoters for welcoming Moonspell and Officium Triste at the Dome. Let’s hope the bill will be as exciting as for this year for the next edition! Keep “dooming”!