Cauldron & Primitai
@ The Black Heart, Camden
20th September 2018
Review By Beandog
Photography By Jo Blackened
Perhaps more than any other London borough, Camden is the metalhead pub-crawlers wet dream. While nearly every town will have a rock-friendly pub somewhere on their streets – Perhaps a barman who doesn’t mind a bit of Thin Lizzy on the jukebox, or even better, at the other end of the scale, a bustling dive bar with blackened walls adorned with Iron Maiden memorabilia and a sound system that goes up to 11 – but, just by breadth of choice, Camden significantly ups the ante.
Here, you can exit the station and walk a short distance in any direction to find one of several metal pubs. All of them staffed by genuine rock & rollers who, as they serve you drinks, will play anything from Angel Witch to Morbid Angel to Electric Wizard on their booming sound systems.
In amongst all of this, the thirsty punters of Camden make up a colourful cocktail of counter-culture in a community that is given a strong representation from the heavy metal fraternity.
This being the case, it’s no wonder that touring metal bands frequently choose Camden as a popular destination to play to their London fans. Tonight, of all the many venues to choose from, Cauldron have picked the Black Heart to kick off their European tour. For this reason, we have braved the blustery weather and we find ourselves down at Greenland Place, hoping for a boozy evening among the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal.
For this date on the tour, Cauldron have paired up with UK melodic power thrashers, Primitai, whose job it is to warm people up for the main event.
Both bands have a new album to promote – In Primitai’s case, they are playing in support of their newest record, The Calling – which is a perfectly solid set of heavy metal tunes from which they draw their opening song.
After a brief intro, Overdrive crashes in to wake up the gathering crowd, who – to be fair – seems fairly pumped already. The sight of Primitai in their cut-off sleeves, high top trainers and skinny jeans leaves little doubt about where they are drawing their influences.
Theirs is a style of metal that peaked in the mid to late eighties when a great melody was just as important as some pummeling riffs, and a fist clenching chorus would unite a crowd into a rousing sing-a-long.
That’s not to say that the band sound dated; this traditional style of metal is enjoying a very healthy resurgence in recent years, and it’s easy to see why, as frontman, Guy Miller soars across the chorus with it’s, “keep the flame alive” refrain.
Primitai have over a decades worth of material to draw from (which they do – taking songs from across their albums) and they have certainly paid their dues, playing alongside some major names (Sepultura, Blaze Bayley and Grand Magus come to mind) and this experience has obviously given them the confidence to work a stage. It is to Primitai‘s great credit that they move around the Black Heart’s small stage as if they are playing an arena show.
There is a buoyant enthusiasm to their performance that proves to be irresistible. When Guy introduces both guitar players as Serj (That would be the equally deft, Sergio Girón and Srdjan Bilic) as a way of bringing them together on a song called, Power Surge, it could easily evoke a roll of the eyes – Not tonight, because Primitai play their music with such conviction it’s difficult not to just embrace the clichés and have a good time watching them.
When the dust settles on a climactic run through Scream When You See Us – A song that has gained notoriety due to the album version featuring Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner on guitar – The Metal Rules team head to the bar to refill our glasses. In the short break between the bands, we guzzle some booze in anticipation of the main event and watch the venue fill up to damn near capacity
Cauldron also have a new album to promote. New Gods has only been out in the UK for a couple of weeks but the bands’ confidence in the material is clearly evident as they take the stage and rip into a one-two-three opening trio of Drown into No Longer followed by Prisoner of the Past. All of which have sounded great on tape, but tonight there seems to be an extra layer of muscle pushing these tunes out from the stage.
Perhaps it’s the cobwebs of jetlag being blown away by the passion of the crowd, who are already air-guitaring and hollering out their requests. My honest feeling is that is it is also partially due to the return of powerful sticksman, Chris Stevenson – who is given such a raucous reception that later on in the set Ian Chains just starts introducing songs as “Chris Stevenson” to get maximum cheers!
The passion of the obviously faithful crowd is rewarded with a throwback to the whiplash-inducing, End of Time which is given a suitably thrashing reception that will surely result in a few sore necks tomorrow.
The set continues to jump through the bands career via Tears Have Come and No Return before it comes chugging back to the present day with the steady thump of Letting Go from New Gods and there is a moment where I find myself watching the crowd go wild while reflecting on what it is I love about a band like Cauldron.
Quite simply, they are a complete celebration of all of the successful elements of classic heavy music. Great riffs, no pretension, rousing vocals and a good time attitude. I get the sense that they would be just as happy checking out your stack of thrash metal vinyl as they would be rifling through a box of Dokken and Metal Church cassettes while complimenting you on your Black Flag tattoo and recommending several Rush albums.
They pour all of this love for rock and roll into their performance and the crowd responds accordingly. It feels as though everyone here is having an excellent time. Fun is high on the agenda and Summoned to Succumb‘s fist-pumping tempo feels like the perfect soundtrack to all of the jubilation.
The band aren’t done with faster, thrashier material though, and a blast through All Or Nothing and of course the double bass drum assault of Chained Up In Chains gets a huge crowd response. Chained Up In Chains, in particular, reminds this reviewer of a supercharged version of Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark At The Moon – and I mean that in the best possible way.
Throughout, it’s been a triumphant set that climaxes with an impressive drum solo from Stevenson before the band offer their gratitude to the sweaty crowd, who flash smiles and throw the horns eager to hear some more… The fans definitely aren’t done.
However, at this point, the house lights come up and as we know by now, all good things must come to an end.
Both bands completely delivered tonight. It’s been an absolute pleasure!